I have stored electronic devices manufactured in the early 90s and early 2000s and new recent devices and power supplys and they all use electrolytic capacitors. To avoid failures due to disuse in the electrolytic capacitors, I was told to turn on all the devices every 6 to 12 months for a few hours, but I usually turn on them all devices in 6 months but for 1 hour (60 minutes), 1 hour is not enough for all the electrolytic capacitors and I immediately need to turn on all the devices for several hours and restart the 6 month count?
The next time I would turn on the devices would be in May 2024 but that 1 hour is not enough and in May all the capacitors will have losses because I turned them on for 1 hour?
The life of a capacitor depends on several factors. Reforming a capacitor by periodically energizing the equipment may help. However, there are also questions about the capacitor quality, temperature, environment, and the degree to which the equipment stresses the capacitor.
You may find the videos at the end of this note useful. The first talks about the capacitor plague. The second is something I was working on before joining the DigiKey team.
Personally, I have test equipment and radios from the 1960s and 1970s that still operate with the original capacitors installed. It’s worth noting that this equipment was designed for longevity and reliability. These are certainly not consumer devices which are typically built to a price point with longevity taking a back seat.
Sorry I couldn’t give you a more precise answer as there are too many factors to consider.
In my case, the temperature varies from 33-35C in the room where the electronic devices are, I use a dehumidifier in the room to try to keep the humidity at 65-69%. The manufacturers of the electrolytic capacitors in my electronic devices, I don’t know, vary and I don’t have time to open all devices
My question is about failures caused by electrolytic capacitors. I was recommended to turn on all devices that use electrolytic capacitors between 6 and 12 months old for a few hours, but I was turning on all devices every 6 months for 1 hour (60 minutes), not 1 hour. Is it enough to completely reform all electrolytic capacitors? Do I immediately need to turn on all electronic devices for several hours and count + 6 months?
devices turned on for 1 hour after 6 months, electrolytic capacitors have permanent losses compared to turning on for several hours?
In my opinion, there is no definitive answer to your question. There are too many unknowns. In my experience, I’ve seen electronics sit for decades with no apparent problems. I’ve seen aluminum electrolytic type capacitors split at the seams and dry out. I’ve also seen tantalum type capacitors explode like firecrackers when the unit was powered on.
Instead, as you have suggested, there are a set of best practices for preserving the equipment. In my opinion, once or twice a year is a reasonable starting point balancing your time, the thermal cycling of the equipment, the reforming of capacitors, movement of mechanical assemblies, and in all likelihood, many other factors yet to be identified.
May I recommend that you reach out to organizations and groups who specialize in preserving information and aging technology. A few links are included below.
That’s a good question, a question to which you have been looking for an answer for some time.
Can you share what you have learned about capacitors?
Also, I’m curious if you have developed the skill to replace electrical components? Personally, that is how I started. My father would bring home busted radios from the Salvation Army. At first, there was nothing I could do but pull them apart. Later, I learned how to perform simple repairs. A common repair was the replacement of capacitors.
Electronics and electronics repair is a good hobby. I encourage you to learn as much as you can.
What types of failures do electrolytic capacitors present when left unused for a long period of time?
If these electrolytic capacitors are soldered on the PCB of electronic devices and I am going to What types of failures do electrolytic capacitors present when left unused for a long period of time?
If these electrolytic capacitors are soldered on the PCB of electronic devices and I am going to connect power to all electronic devices, how many minutes or hours are needed to reform the electrolytic capacitors to avoid failures due to disuse?
After reviewing your history including a number of deleted posts. I notice that you have asked this question many times. Several highly qualified electrical engineers have provided you with answers. To put this into perspective, you are leveraging nearly 100 years of combined experience.
There can be no direct / definitive answer to your question. As I stated earlier in this post, the best we can do is offer a set of best practices. You a certainly on the right path with your “6 and 12 months old for a few hours” idea. However, as I suggested, there are other factors to consider such as the value of your time, damage from thermal cycling, wear and tear of mechanical assemblies, and a host of other equipment specific conditions that have yet to be identified.
We look forward to conversing with you in the future. However, please remember that there can be no definitive answer to your capacitor question.
Thank you again. Please continue your research. Perhaps you could refine your best practices and provide tips for our readers.