Article originally posted in Forums by pwongkk
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
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
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.
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.