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Repairing a GS108 gigabit switch

I've had a Netgear GS108 gigabit switch for over a year. It has worked great up until last week. I started to see the "flashing lights of death" on the front of it. Which also meant that is wouldn’t function at all. There was also a very high frequency noise that could be heard coming from it.

Being a computer engineer, I wanted to try and fix it. After doing some googling, I learned that it sounded like this Netgear switch suffered from the capacitor plague.

After removing the two black screws in the back of the unit, the cover came off easy. Upon inspection, I could see two blown capacitors. In the below picture they are the two green ones closest to the heatsink. The way to tell if it is blown is to see if there is any leaking on the top or if it is bulging on the bottom. The capacitors should sit flush on the circuit board normally.

The capacitors that were bad were 1000uF 6.3V electrolytic capacitors. You could find replacement ones online from a website like Mouser easily. I would recommend if possible getting ones with a little higher capacitance and higher voltage rating. Like 2200uF 10V capacitors but if not new 1000uF capacitors will work.

One word of warning though, the case isn't very high so you have to be semi-careful that you don't buy capacitors that are too big.

The first step is to remove the old capacitors. There aren't too many components on the PCB so it is easy to find the pins for the capacitors. You should be able to remove them using a soldering iron fairly easily. Once you do, make sure you clean the holes out with some solder wick.

Now you can connect in your new capacitors. Do make sure you put them in the correct way. The new capacitors should be marked as to which side is positive or which side is negative. It does make a difference. The PCB is also marked with a + symbol on the outer circle near the positive pin. If you don’t see that, the pin in the solid white half circle is the negative pin on the board.

The capacitors I bought were a little too big so I had to get a little creative on their placement. But once I soldered them in the switch now works great once again. This repair took me around 30 minutes to do. And it was a whole lot easier than dealing with horrible technical support.

Posted on: Mar 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm - (0) comments.

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