Why do the caps go bad, can you prevent it?

The caps in first generation recorders are bad, no secret here.
My question is why?
Did Philips use inferior caps, bad supplier?

Is there a way to prevent caps from going bad in other not yet affected players? Does using them delay the process?

There was a story going around about industrial espionage where some company in the far east stole the formula for capacitor insulation from another one, but got an incomplete formula or something. I don’t know if this is true.

Either way, in 1991/1992 when Philips started building DCC900’s, I’m pretty sure they had no idea that these would start leaking after just a few years. Philips had sold their components division so they didn’t make any of their own components anymore. They just bought what was available, and quite possibly got the cheapest ones they could get, because even a tenth of a cent makes a big difference if you want to build thousands of machines with about 20 capacitors each.

I don’t think it makes a difference whether you use the recorder or not. It’s basically a matter of wet stuff combined with dry stuff, and the dry stuff shrinks and lets the wet stuff out. Probably what matters most is temperature and temperature stability. If you put a recorder in storage, capacitors go bad faster because the dry stuff expands and shrinks more when the temperature varies. If you keep the recorder in your living room, the temperature stays the same so things shrink only by aging. It doesn’t get very warm inside a DCC recorder so I don’t think it makes much of a difference whether you use it or not.


I think you are spot on with your theory.
I know that Canon had the same issues with their video 8 camcorders back in the day. As soon as 1998 they went bad. I send loads of those in for repairs…(I own a Photostore)…

I must admit that I blamed Canon big time and now I realise it was not their fault, so I stand corrected and a bit ashamed…

It really does not matter. We have several NOS that we opened and on all of them the capacitors were bad. In some cases they already had fallen off.

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I know… I’ve seen that on your post on YouTube…

It looks like there’s a Wikipedia article dedicated to this: Capacitor plague - Wikipedia