I'm back! (plus power component questions)

Gordon JC Pearce gordon at gjcp.net
Sat Oct 28 16:21:49 CDT 2006

aliensrcooluk at yahoo.co.uk wrote:
> While poking around inside the Dreamcast
> games consoles I noticed some familiar
> components which I has seen similar versions
> of in my Amiga.
> The first one is what I have dubbed the "power
> towers" and they look like vertical batteries.
> Usually come in groups of 5. Can anyone tell
> me there name and/or what they do?

Probably electrolytic capacitors.  They'll have a stripe indicating the
negative side, and a voltage and capacitance rating.  They are used in
the power supply sections to smooth out the voltage.

They fail - the ends start to bulge and they leak conductive goo.  This
causes all manner of problems, including random crashes and resets.
It's worth making sure none are on the way out, and possibly just
replacing them with similar ones.  Let's face it, you can hardly make it
work any less, just unlikely to ever work again.

> The second thing is the erm... plastic(?) "polo
> mint" that has what appears to be copper
> wire wrapped around it. Can anyone give me
> (or send me in the right direction to find)
> any information on it.

It's a choke.  The plastic bit is made of ferrite, which is a sort of
magnetic ceramic material.  Again, it's a power supply thing, used to
stop high-frequency interference making its way out through the power leads.


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