Solo bulging Capacitors (Repaired with Images) 32


Article originally posted in Forums by pwongkk

DISCLAIMER

I do not suggest anyone with warranty or without electronics knowledge to open up and attempt your own repairs. By doing so, Sling will void your warranty. In the event if you troubleshoot wrongly, you’ll lose your opportunity for RMA. Sling had not publicly acknowledge bad caps as the cause of freezing as of the time this article is bring published, but they’ve started to RMA boxes they deemed are faulty even when they are out of warranty. It is at your own risk if you decided not to wait for Sling’s announcement and conduct your own repairs.

Many people have reported success in reviving their boxes, but did not leave any documentations to convince others, especially the engineers and technical support over at Sling this could be the cause for majority of the users. I am not the first to discover the solution, but decided to open up my out-of-warrenty box after reading feedbacks from other users. Indeed, 2 of the capacitors have bulged in my set.

Tools and components needed

Phillips screwdriver

Pen-knife (you don’t have to tear off the entire label underneath the box, just slice across will do)

2 x 470uF 16V capacitors

Soldering Iron

Solder strip

Suction pump

As promised that I’ll document the repair of my Slingbox Solo. Since I’m banned from posting in the Sling’s support forums, the details will be posted here for all to see. *shame* on Sling for not acknowledging the capacitors possibilities despite so many user’s successful repair story and banning users they deem as hitting the right note.

Before starting off, these are the 3 images posted by me in Sling’s forum and removed by their moderators.

The only good capacitor for now – 220uF 16V.

On inspection, there are 2 bulging capacitors manufactured by G.Luxon rated 470uF 16V. The other capacitor rated 220uf 16V does not show any signs of bulging yet. But this does not mean it may not bulge later. I’ll replace these 2 capacitors first while the other can wait.

Another find – There is a gap between the base of the 2 bulging capacitors and the PCB. Although this does not have any effect on the caps operations, the question remains why is it on these 2 caps again? The extra gap created to allow these 2 capacitors to bulge? The other 220uF capacitor is fully seated on the PCB. Anyone observant enough to see the bulging at the bottom as well.

The 220uF capacitor is well seated on the PCB.

Now, these are the 2 replacement capacitors that will be replacing the original bulging ones. Cost of the 2 components – Singapore Dollars $1.80 (~USD $1.30). Much cheaper than paying for shipping to RMA back to US. Question : Will Sling be supporting RMA if the users are not located in countries they’re operating in?

Before removing the caps, I’ve marked them and their location for any referencing if needed later.

(I need to borrow a multimeter that is able to read capacitance).

And 10 minutes later … the new caps are on the PCB, ready to perform their functions later.

Another bad caps assumption will be proven in minutes to come.

Now, from side view, all the capacitors are no longer bulging and fully seated on the PCB.

Does anyone knows that besides the normal 3 LEDs that lights up when the box is in operation, the board still have 4 LEDs lighting up at the sides? The white box under the naked Solo (PCB only) is the Hava Titanium.

And these are the 2 extracted bad caps from Sling … a prized possession or trash?

I’ll try to borrow a multimeter capable of measuring capacitance and read off the values of these 2 failed components. See how far off they’re away from their rated values.

Viewing the pictures alone does not tell much about the success or failure of the repair job.

This video shows the frustration and number of attempts to force the box to work before repair is carried out. If anyone encounters the same thing, look no further, very likely the capacitors are the cause. ISP throttling or corrupted/buggyfirmware, firewall, anti-virus are not the likely cause if your unit had been functioning well before. Feel free to get Sling’s technical support team to view this thread and site. (Perhaps we can help train Sling’s technical support team too. We provide the video clips.)

Now after repairs. A single click and the box streams flawlessly. My box is back to life, how about yours?

Note: Screen capture is done using Windows Media Encoder which did not render the colours properly and this is also a documentary using old archived film, resulting in poor picture quality. Video quality is the same as before. If anyone have any doubts, I can always do another capture with my video cam.

To prevent copyright violation, only 4:36 minutes of the stream is captured. This should be enough to show the success of the repairs if you compare the 2 clips. Finally, no more frustrations.

Conclusion

I’ll put my box through 48 hours of streaming burn-in test. If the caps or functions does not fail by then, I’ll consider the repair a success. Hope you guys benefit from reading this.

My next planned mod after the burn-in test.

The box runs hot while in operation. The angled design of the box makes it great for adding in 2 5V fans at the sides. Power can be tapped from the unused USB portto pump in and extract the hot air out of the box. an on/off switch is also an option. Some drilling and cutting will be required. Not recommended if you do not have the know how. (Sling’s product does need some improvements after all.)

Some other users have also reported their power adapter failing. Power adapters do have capacitors in them as well. I am not sure for now if these failing adapters are related to bad caps. When mine fails, I’ll open up and do another report if necessary.

I seriously need help, can someone help post the link of this thread to Sling’s support forum so that the community there is able to benefit from this.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

32 thoughts on “Solo bulging Capacitors (Repaired with Images)

  • Denis247

    Those capacitors have overheated. The electrolyte dries and they start passing DC current, which makes them heat up more..you get the picture. They shouldn’t pass DC current, only act as a ‘reservior’ to smooth out any ripples on the DC power line. Once they start to pass DC, they consume power (bringing the power line voltage down) and can’t ‘smooth’ the power line, a double whammy !. Sometimes the power line can be left so bad that other fragile components fail, in your case you seem to have caught it in time. A good article.

    The point about the capacitors not sitting closely on the pcb is not important, some say leaving a gap increases airflow around it, others say a close contact increases heat conduction from the capacitor into the pcb (but this also works in reverse).

    Mechanical size dependant, using capacitors with a higher voltage rating will ensure they are not stressed as much and last longer, as long as there is space to fit them.

    Heat is your enemy here and fans will help, though even extra ventilation holes may be easier. Try to imagine airflow drawn in by the heat through the bottom and out through the top.

    Don’t bother borrowing a capacitance meter to check the old ones, it may well show them as ok, since you are measuring them not under stress, although it should show them to be ‘leaky’.

    Is essence, use good quality capacitors of a higher voltage rating (if they will physically fit), increase airflow through the box and don’t use the box in a hot location (on carpets, on top of other heat generating devices, sunny windows etc etc).

    Congratulations on your post, it IS a shame Sling hasn’t taken on board your findings. Most manufacturers (my old employers included) welcome feedback on it’s products from these forums, it’s free testing for them, and by having a better product as a result helps defeat the competition.

    Sorry about the long post, but it really annoys me to hear about firms like Sling not accepting CONSTRUCTIVE critisism.

  • jack295

    Thank you for such a thorough and detailed description of your repair process.
    I know they won’t like it, but I just posted on te Sling Forum that following your process, I was successful in bringing my Solo back to life!
    I couldn’t bring my Solo up for more than 10 or 15 seconds without it re-setting.
    But after a quick trip to Radio Shack and a few minutes of repair, it’s back to slinging as normal
    I’m quite excited to have it back.
    Thanx again!

  • Ben

    Since I have a lot of experience soldering boards, took apart my Slingbox SOLO and lo behold, the exact same two capacitors are bulging. I placed an order for replacement capacitors and will be putting them in after a quick trip to Radio Shack tomorrow. Sling should give the OP a job.

  • Adam Carney

    I just performed the repair described in this article and it cured my slingbox solo. I was having the same “connection reset” issue that started as an intermittent problem but grew worse to the point where the slingbox was unusable. I disassembled the unit, and found that the same two capacitors on my board were “bulging”. I un-soldered them and installed two 35V 470uF capacitors that I bought at radio shack for under $3.00. The capacitors that I bought are a little larger than the ones that came off but there is plenty of room in the enclosure for them. Problem solved. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this valuable information.

  • badmax

    Yes, I was getting all the symptom everyone was getting with the freezing, only 10 seconds of stream and then to log back on again, constantly. I open my solo since is already out of warranty, and there it is as shown on the picture above, two swelled up caps. Went to Radio Shack and got two 470uf 32v caps ($1.50 each), unsolder the old ones and solder the new one on, took less then 30 mins to do. Tested for about 1.5 hrs and streamed without a hitch. Actually it streamed better then it did when I bought it brand new. I’m glad I did it cause I was going on long trip with the family. My daughter notice the difference when she used it. I sure was going crazy searching for a solution until I ran into your website while searching. Thank you guys for the info, greatly appreciated a million time over. Now, I can watch my sports while I’m away from home………….

  • victor

    This was dead on. the problem was solved. i cant be more happier now. this info should go out to more people that have a solo. went to radio shack and bought two 470uf 35v capacitors. took the original caps off and soldered the new ones in and it was back to normal. this repair was simple and super cheap. im glad to have found this out and not spend my money on a repair from sling or just buying a new slingbox altogether. did the reapair on Tuesday October 19 and so far no issues as of today.

  • Murray

    I’d like to share my experience with you. I went to RadioShack and showed them my board. The person in charge stated that my capacitors were not bulging and that replacing them would not solve my problem. I decided to gamble on the small cost of the Radio Shack # 272-1030’s ($1.50). I replaced them and my Solo is now working like a charm. My advice is to take a chance even if it doesn’t look like the capacitors are bad.
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
    Murray, Camarillo CA

  • Rob S

    Same story as everyone else on this thread. Opened my box, same 2 caps dead. Replaced with 470/35w from RadioShack and box has been continuously streaming for multiple hours. Thanks everyone. BTW, not to encourage anyone to go in “over their head” but I have NO EXPERIENCE soldering and watched a video on YouTube about replacing capacitors, bought an iron for $7 at RadioShack and finished the work in 20 minutes.

  • Chris B

    Add me to the list of the gratefull! I had only been able to connect to my slingbox for about ten seconds before it ended the connection with an error. After replacing the bulging capacitors I can watch on my iphone or over the internet with no end. Thank you!!!

  • kch

    Just wanted to say thanks.

    My one-and-a-half-year-old Solo showed only one red light and would not reset.

    I bought the new power supply as one poster on the Slingbox forum suggested, but that was no help.

    Found your post; opened my box and saw the bulging capacitors; couldn’t find anyone to replace them for a reasonable price; bought the stuff at Radio Shack; studied soldering and desoldering on the Net; and now have a working Slingbox again.

  • lronick

    Thanks from another satisfied customer – 2 Radio Shack caps and I’m back in business (too bad I had already sprung for a new power supply, but I’m still way ahead of the game).

    Just a note on disassembling a SOLO, since it wasn’t immediately obvious from looking at it:

    1) Pry off the 4 rubber feet using a small screwdriver or knife – they’ll stick back on when you’re done. This will expose 4 phillips screws. Remove them.

    2) Cut the serial number sticker in half along the seam on the bottom using a sharp knife. Try not to obscure the serial number or the MAC address, since you might need them some day.

    3) Pry the case apart from the bottom, which should separate along the seam, and remove the cover.

    4) Looking at the bottom of the circuit board, you’ll see 5 silver-colored phillips-head screws. Remove them all. That should release the whole board for you to do your de-soldering and re-soldering.

    5) NOTE THAT THE CAPACITORS HAVE A NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE LEAD. YOU’LL SEE A WIDE STRIPE ON THE CAPACITOR, WHICH LINES UP WITH A MARKING ON THE CIRCUIT BOARD. MAKE SURE YOU PLACE THE NEW CAPACITORS IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS THE OLD ONES!!

  • Andy

    My slingbox solo stopped working last month. The Network and power light kept flashing and I could not follow the advice on the Sling site as my box would not reset (button did not appear to be working).

    Since Sling were out of power supplies I was looking around online and happily found this website. I replaced the capacitors in the Slingbox in the hopes that this might correct it, but no luck. I then opend up the power supply and sure enough the two capacitors near the power cable were bulging at the top. I replaced them with two 1000uf capacitors from Radio Shack and now I’m back in business. Cost? Less than $5. More importantly I did not give any of my hard earned money to a company who seem unwilling to support their products fairly.

    Thanks to all who take the time to post instructional e-mails to help people like me, and I urge you all to post with your experiences – I have to imagine there are thousands of us having these same issues.

    Please feel free to e-mail me if I can be of any help with your project.

    Best regards,

    Andy

  • jamescx31

    I have slingbox SOLO and was having the same issue as described above. One of the two CAPs was “Swollen”….replaced them today and works like a charm. Thanks for the great information!!!

    And total cost to replace both 16V 470uf caps and even bought 3 spares $3.50, total time….20 min

  • IckFlorida

    I echo. Thank you for this post! You just saved my Solo and saved me another purchase. Had a small bulge in one of the capacitors – replaced them both. Working like a charm now for last 4 hours over 3G! Works like it should. Wish Sling would acknowledge this one. Cost of the two capacitors at an LA based electronics store… $1.94 + tax. Going to consider a small USB fan too.

    Thanks again!

  • David

    I had one “bulging” capacitor in my unit, which was freezing every 1-5 minutes after startup — every time.

    A $1.79 470uF/35V replacement capacitor from Radio Shack completely fixed the problem. My slingbox has been working flawlessly ever since.

    Many thanks to the folks responsible for this fine thread and these fine photos!

  • Hector Flores

    Thank you thank you for posting this how to fix SlingBoxSolo. I have been going out of my mind trying to figure out what the problem was. All the time I was assuming it was a set up problem and software.
    I will now go to Radio Shack and buy the two capacitors and replace them.
    I’m not an electronic guy but I have all the tool that my older brother gave before he pass on. I’ll have to thank him too.

    I will let you know what happends.

    Hector

  • Hector Flores

    Thanks again for all the good tip on how to repair the bulgin capacitors.
    I could not get the capacitor here in San Jose, ca. So I ordered them trough the internet. My Sling Box Solo is working like new.

  • Brian

    Thanks to your site my SlingCrap Solo works again! Two of 3 capacitors were buldging but I replaced all three with the higher voltage 470 uF 25v and 220uF 35v.

    When first purchased it worked for 3 months then died. I messed with it and thought it was a router issue so I left it alone. When the router was replaced a year later I worked on the box again. Found this site and after buying at RS replaced them in 20 minutes. Poof! Works better than when it was new.

    Thank you for repairing a known flaw since 1999 by a greedy manufacture that likes built in lifespan control.

  • Charlie

    I had a slingbox and I moved to a new house. While unpacking I used the wrong ac adapter and plugged into into my slingbox. It functioned for about 3 weeks fine and I had no idea I was using the wrong adapter. The other day I tried to connect and it wasn’t working. When I got home after inspecting the situation I found out that although the adapter was plugged in none of the lights were turning on. I found the correct adapter and plugged it in. After about 20 minutes the light turned on but it was blinking. After some searches on the internet I came to find out that I may have some blown capacitors. I opened my device and purchased the respective replacement capacitors for $5 but I did not own a soldering gun, I am somewhat handy when I comes to dealing with electrical devices but this was new terrain for me. I decided to contact a tv repair shop and asked how much they would charge to replace 3 blown capacitors on a circuit board, they said $20. Sounded good to me I went over there and the guy looked at the capacitors they didn’t appear to be in perfect condition so he pulled them off and tested them and they weren’t blown but the farads were increased by some 30% which he said meant they had taken a bit of a beating. He replaced the capacitors and the lights were still flashing or blinking. The capacitors were obviously not my issue. He began checking different parts on the circuit board and found the the 5V diode had been blown, he replaced it and viola! All the lights turned on and we were back in business. He only charged me $20 but it was well worth it. So………if the capacitors are not your problem it could be the DIODE. Hope this is helpful to someone.

    Charlie

  • Erik

    Just wanted to add a “Thank You!” I had the same 2 caps go bad on my slingbox solo which was 14 months old. All better now.

    Erik

  • Marinite

    Same story with me and the bad capacitors on my Solo. I fixed the problem after coming across various forums about Sling’s bad firmware upgrade; the only solution to being victimized by Sling is to replace the capacitors.

    After the fix, my Solo worked fine for 11 months, however, now my Solo only gets as far as “Starting Stream” but no picture ever appears. The remote to my satellite pops up, so at least that is recognized, but I get no picture. It stalls at “Starting stream.” It’s as though the Solo is spinning its wheels.

    I have tried unplugging everything and then reconnecting in correct sequence but no picture. Any clues or solutions? Thanks.

  • gernot

    Hi i am from the UK and want to know :Could the slingcatcher have the same problem as I see from the forums that a great many are failing,anyone tried to repair a slingcatcher,