Electronics Repair (sci.electronics.repair) Discussion of repairing electronic equipment. Topics include requests for assistance, where to obtain servicing information and parts, techniques for diagnosis and repair, and annecdotes about success, failures and problems.

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Cursitor Doom wrote:


Andy Burns wrote:

Sorry I forgot to answer your point he

Does it manage to remember your WiFi credentials every time you turn it
on? Try a factory reset if it has one buried in the menus.


Yes, it remembers the password and accesses the router no problem.


So it has *some* functioning non-volatile storage then, wonder if it
constantly writes your favourites to flash and has worn it out?

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Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 14:31:52 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:

Adrian Caspersz wrote:

Internet only.

Yes, and it remembered my choices perfectly well for many years
before developing dementia, so I think it's fair to assume there's
an internal power supply of some sort.


Why is this "safe to assume"?

If it has access to the internet, then it is *not safe to assume* that
there is an internal power supply of some sort. It is possible that
*every* setting beyond the local WiFi AP credentials is stored on a
server somewhere in the cloud. And the WiFi AP credentials could be
stored in a tiny amount of flash on the main chipset to provide the
bootstrap necessary to find the rest of the settings on some cloud
server.

It's funny they seemed to know already what the problem was since
they quoted me 40 quid to fix it I'm just wondering if they don't do
anything to the radio but just renew my subscription or something
like that.


Why would you think this vs. the more typical option of the minimum
wage phone worker having a table of "customer quoted symptoms" vs.
"quoted repair cost" and the minimum wage worker just reading you off
the quote for the item that sounded most close to your description?

In fact the only odd thing is that there are several 220uF caps which
are showing as anything between 1000uF and 1200uF on my Peak ESR70
meter. I've never known caps so far out of tolerance before.


In circuit or out of circuit measurement?

If they are in circult, and they are in parallel with each other in the
circuit, then the measured capacitance will be the sum of the
individual caps. You'd only need five parallel in-spec 220 uF caps.
to show an approx. 1100 uF net value (and 1000-1200uF is "approx. 1100
uF).


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Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 14:31:52 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Sorry I forgot to answer your point he

Does it manage to remember your WiFi credentials every time you turn
it on? Try a factory reset if it has one buried in the menus.


Yes, it remembers the password and accesses the router no problem.


The chipset /could/ contain just enough flash to store the WiFi
credentials, with every other 'setting' stored in the cloud.

The bootup sequence would then be:

Boot chipset

Connect to WiFi

Download remaining cloud stored user configuration settings


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On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 16:34:13 +0000 (UTC), Bertrand Sindri
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 14:31:52 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:

Adrian Caspersz wrote:

Internet only.

Yes, and it remembered my choices perfectly well for many years
before developing dementia, so I think it's fair to assume there's
an internal power supply of some sort.


Why is this "safe to assume"?


Fair point. Assumptions are the mother of all ****ups - as I've said
here many times myself!

If it has access to the internet, then it is *not safe to assume* that
there is an internal power supply of some sort. It is possible that
*every* setting beyond the local WiFi AP credentials is stored on a
server somewhere in the cloud. And the WiFi AP credentials could be
stored in a tiny amount of flash on the main chipset to provide the
bootstrap necessary to find the rest of the settings on some cloud
server.


You see this is all like rocket science to me. Never in a million
years would that have occurred to me. If my favourites are stored in
the cloud rather than locally then that's a major breach of trust
Roberts has committed. And confidentiality!

It's funny they seemed to know already what the problem was since
they quoted me 40 quid to fix it I'm just wondering if they don't do
anything to the radio but just renew my subscription or something
like that.


Why would you think this vs. the more typical option of the minimum
wage phone worker having a table of "customer quoted symptoms" vs.
"quoted repair cost" and the minimum wage worker just reading you off
the quote for the item that sounded most close to your description?


Look, I'm an old dude. I have no idea what goes on in these places
nowadays. I can only go by my increasingly outdated experience which
is set firmly in the past (25+ years minimum).

In fact the only odd thing is that there are several 220uF caps which
are showing as anything between 1000uF and 1200uF on my Peak ESR70
meter. I've never known caps so far out of tolerance before.


In circuit or out of circuit measurement?


In circuit. And they're not in parallel.
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On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 15:43:08 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:


Andy Burns wrote:

Sorry I forgot to answer your point he

Does it manage to remember your WiFi credentials every time you turn it
on? Try a factory reset if it has one buried in the menus.


Yes, it remembers the password and accesses the router no problem.


So it has *some* functioning non-volatile storage then, wonder if it
constantly writes your favourites to flash and has worn it out?


I wouldn't have thought so, Andy. It would take infintintely more
write-cycles than I have time to enter data. My settings and
favourites have remained largely unchanged for many years.



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Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 02:44:28 +0000 (UTC), Bertrand Sindri
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:
Here's some photos of the insides:

https://yandex.com/collections/user/...M0MzZmMw%3D%3D

Any suggestions?


Wait, you've only dissasembled maybe a quarter of the unit, and it
has not occurred to you yet that what you seek just might be in the
three quarters you have not yet disassembled?


Yeah, I know, I know. I'm not a technician so I don't think like a
technician; sorry about that.


That is just a copout.

Realizing that you've not seen 100% of the boards in the housing is not
"thinking like a technician". One does not have to "think like a
technician" to realize that if you have not found what you are
searching for, but have only searched one quarter of the total, that
just maybe the item you seek is in the remaining three quarters.

Although your other posts have opened the very good possibility that
the device has zero local storage beyond WiFi credentials.

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Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 16:34:13 +0000 (UTC), Bertrand Sindri
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 14:31:52 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:

Adrian Caspersz wrote:

Internet only.

Yes, and it remembered my choices perfectly well for many years
before developing dementia, so I think it's fair to assume
there's an internal power supply of some sort.


If it has access to the internet, then it is *not safe to assume*
that there is an internal power supply of some sort. It is possible
that *every* setting beyond the local WiFi AP credentials is stored
on a server somewhere in the cloud. And the WiFi AP credentials
could be stored in a tiny amount of flash on the main chipset to
provide the bootstrap necessary to find the rest of the settings on
some cloud server.


You see this is all like rocket science to me. Never in a million
years would that have occurred to me.


This just requires thinking like a "cost-cutting businessman".

Question: How can we reduce the manufacture cost of this product?

Answer: Eliminate some of the components.

Question: How can we do that?

Answer: Since it already has internet access to operate, we could
eliminate the local storage of settings, allowing us to eliminate a
flash chip of X amount, or a battery backup of X amount.

If my favourites are stored in the cloud rather than locally then
that's a major breach of trust Roberts has committed. And
confidentiality!


Indeed, but none of the above means they /did not/ commit this breach
for the purpose of cost cutting.

It's funny they seemed to know already what the problem was since
they quoted me 40 quid to fix it I'm just wondering if they don't
do anything to the radio but just renew my subscription or
something like that.


Why would you think this vs. the more typical option of the minimum
wage phone worker having a table of "customer quoted symptoms" vs.
"quoted repair cost" and the minimum wage worker just reading you off
the quote for the item that sounded most close to your description?


Look, I'm an old dude. I have no idea what goes on in these places
nowadays.


Again, think like a "cost cutting businessman". How do I reduce the
cost of my "support team"? Answer: Hire the cheapest workers possible
and give them a canned script to read from and follow (canned script is
so I don't have to pay them for 'smartness'). The very concept of
telephone support people having a "script" that they strictly follow
has been the subject of jokes and parodies for a good 30+ years.

In fact the only odd thing is that there are several 220uF caps
which are showing as anything between 1000uF and 1200uF on my Peak
ESR70 meter. I've never known caps so far out of tolerance before.


In circuit or out of circuit measurement?


In circuit. And they're not in parallel.


And you know this because you have the schematic or have reverse
engineered the schematic from the PCB?

If you have no schematic, you are again 'assuming' they are not in
parallel.

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Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 15:43:08 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:

Andy Burns wrote:

Does it manage to remember your WiFi credentials every time you
turn it on? Try a factory reset if it has one buried in the
menus.

Yes, it remembers the password and accesses the router no problem.


So it has *some* functioning non-volatile storage then, wonder if it
constantly writes your favourites to flash and has worn it out?


I wouldn't have thought so, Andy. It would take infintintely more
write-cycles than I have time to enter data. My settings and
favourites have remained largely unchanged for many years.


This is another unsafe assumption. It is possible that the power-down
sequence could be:

detect press of soft-power button

write user settings from RAM to flash

power down

Where "write user settings" occurs whether or not you have made any
changes to those settings.

And maybe the price quote you got from their phone support was really
the cost for: "replace the worn out flash chip".


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Bertrand Sindri wrote:

maybe the price quote you got from their phone support was really
the cost for: "replace the worn out flash chip".


You can nuke its settings

press menu, main menu, system settings, factory reset, yes

also you may have linked the device to an online account via

http://www.wifiradio-frontier.com

Might your account have been locked-out?
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On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 17:35:35 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Bertrand Sindri wrote:

maybe the price quote you got from their phone support was really
the cost for: "replace the worn out flash chip".


You can nuke its settings

press menu, main menu, system settings, factory reset, yes

also you may have linked the device to an online account via

http://www.wifiradio-frontier.com

Might your account have been locked-out?


I don't have any such account! Certainly nothing that *I* have created
anyway. Unless this is something Roberts do without telling you.



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On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 17:06:03 +0000 (UTC), Bertrand Sindri
wrote:

This just requires thinking like a "cost-cutting businessman".

Question: How can we reduce the manufacture cost of this product?

Answer: Eliminate some of the components.

Question: How can we do that?

Answer: Since it already has internet access to operate, we could
eliminate the local storage of settings, allowing us to eliminate a
flash chip of X amount, or a battery backup of X amount.


.... At the cost of setting up some sort of user account on the
internet for the customer, which also requires time and money to
implement. I don't see the saving - if any - is worth the extra
bother.

If my favourites are stored in the cloud rather than locally then
that's a major breach of trust Roberts has committed. And
confidentiality!


Indeed, but none of the above means they /did not/ commit this breach
for the purpose of cost cutting.

It's funny they seemed to know already what the problem was since
they quoted me 40 quid to fix it I'm just wondering if they don't
do anything to the radio but just renew my subscription or
something like that.

Why would you think this vs. the more typical option of the minimum
wage phone worker having a table of "customer quoted symptoms" vs.
"quoted repair cost" and the minimum wage worker just reading you off
the quote for the item that sounded most close to your description?


Look, I'm an old dude. I have no idea what goes on in these places
nowadays.


Again, think like a "cost cutting businessman". How do I reduce the
cost of my "support team"? Answer: Hire the cheapest workers possible
and give them a canned script to read from and follow (canned script is
so I don't have to pay them for 'smartness'). The very concept of
telephone support people having a "script" that they strictly follow
has been the subject of jokes and parodies for a good 30+ years.


Firstly, I don't believe it's feasible to 'project' (as it's called)
one's own thoughts and emotions over others. You can't get inside
other people's minds in this way whatever the subject matter may be.
And this wasn't some "support team" lacky but rather email replies
from someone who clearly understood the issue even though they were
only prepared to offer a solution which would benefit the company to
the tune of 40 quid.


In fact the only odd thing is that there are several 220uF caps
which are showing as anything between 1000uF and 1200uF on my Peak
ESR70 meter. I've never known caps so far out of tolerance before.

In circuit or out of circuit measurement?


In circuit. And they're not in parallel.


And you know this because you have the schematic or have reverse
engineered the schematic from the PCB?

If you have no schematic, you are again 'assuming' they are not in
parallel.


But YOU are also *assuming* that *I* am assuming that. The fact that I
am doesn't change the fact that you're still making an assumption
here. It just happens to be correct on this occasion.

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On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 15:34:07 +0000
Cursitor Doom wrote:

On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 14:31:52 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:

Adrian Caspersz wrote:

Internet only.

Yes, and it remembered my choices perfectly well for many years
before developing dementia, so I think it's fair to assume there's
an internal power supply of some sort.


It might send its unique ID to the cloud, which remembers your
favourites and tells the "radio" every time it boots?

Does it manage to remember your WiFi credentials every time you turn
it on? Try a factory reset if it has one buried in the menus.

Maybe the "favourites" part of the cloud has gone away? Or is
geo-restricted?


Well, if they've pulled some sort of stunt like that then it's the
last time I'll ever buy a Roberts radio. It's funny they seemed to
know already what the problem was since they quoted me 40 quid to fix
it I'm just wondering if they don't do anything to the radio but just
renew my subscription or something like that.


https://forums.digitalspy.com/discus...-to-favourites


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Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 17:35:35 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Might your account have been locked-out?


I don't have any such account! Certainly nothing that *I* have
created anyway. Unless this is something Roberts do without telling
you.


No one is saying *you* created anything.

All that is needed for the radio to save all your user settings in "the
cloud" [1] is for each radio to have a unique serial number, and for the
maker to run a very cheap server on the 'net to receive a request from
the radio and to either return (for a read request) or save (for a
write request) the user settings in association with that serial
number.

Given that it has a WiFi chipset, it already has a unique serial
number, that being the MAC address of the WiFi chip on the board.

So it is very possible for the radio to use a cloud server to store
your settings. Whether it in fact does so is yet undetermined. But
everything necessary on the radio hardware side to do so is already
present. A WiFi chipset (for internet access), a unique serial (the
WiFi chipset MAC address), and a CPU (given a WiFi chipset, it likely
also contains an embedded CPU as well).



[1] yes, this is not secure, because if you learn someone's radio's MAC
address, you could read/write their settings.

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On 10/01/2021 20:36, Bertrand Sindri wrote:
Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 17:35:35 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Might your account have been locked-out?


I don't have any such account! Certainly nothing that *I* have
created anyway. Unless this is something Roberts do without telling
you.


No one is saying *you* created anything.

All that is needed for the radio to save all your user settings in "the
cloud" [1] is for each radio to have a unique serial number, and for the
maker to run a very cheap server on the 'net to receive a request from
the radio and to either return (for a read request) or save (for a
write request) the user settings in association with that serial
number.

Given that it has a WiFi chipset, it already has a unique serial
number, that being the MAC address of the WiFi chip on the board.

So it is very possible for the radio to use a cloud server to store
your settings. Whether it in fact does so is yet undetermined. But
everything necessary on the radio hardware side to do so is already
present. A WiFi chipset (for internet access), a unique serial (the
WiFi chipset MAC address), and a CPU (given a WiFi chipset, it likely
also contains an embedded CPU as well).



[1] yes, this is not secure, because if you learn someone's radio's MAC
address, you could read/write their settings.


Ok, I had a look at the manual. Like my earlier model, it's a
ridiculously complicated book more suited to a computer product than an
entertainment gadget.

http://www.aeldownloads.com/robertsr...%20ISSUE.1.pdf

There is also a troubleshooting guide

http://www.aeldownloads.com/robertsr...TS.ISSUE.1.pdf.


In the UK, Roberts was a British brand of radio manaufacturer that
catered mostly to the middle class purchaser, and I can hardly see some
of those that have remaining memories of old, having some ability left
to waddle through that nonsense.

However, I had a waddle. Page 64 of the wordy user manual.

"You should not attempt to update your radio unless it is recommended to
you by Roberts Customer
Services. Updating the software may remove all network settings, radio
station presets and alarm settings
from your radio"

So, station presets _are_ stored in flash memory on the device. Have
they been lost in a recent software update?

Suggest, (if it still works) registering an account (Page 30) and
storing favourites there.

Mr Doom. You won't find a battery or a cap. Give up.

--
Adrian C
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On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 21:55:28 +0000, Adrian Caspersz
wrote:

On 10/01/2021 20:36, Bertrand Sindri wrote:
Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 17:35:35 +0000, Andy Burns
wrote:

Might your account have been locked-out?

I don't have any such account! Certainly nothing that *I* have
created anyway. Unless this is something Roberts do without telling
you.


No one is saying *you* created anything.

All that is needed for the radio to save all your user settings in "the
cloud" [1] is for each radio to have a unique serial number, and for the
maker to run a very cheap server on the 'net to receive a request from
the radio and to either return (for a read request) or save (for a
write request) the user settings in association with that serial
number.


I see. Well, I never wanted *anything* to do with 'the cloud' - ever.
So if that had been the case I'd have had strong words with Roberts!



Given that it has a WiFi chipset, it already has a unique serial
number, that being the MAC address of the WiFi chip on the board.

So it is very possible for the radio to use a cloud server to store
your settings. Whether it in fact does so is yet undetermined. But
everything necessary on the radio hardware side to do so is already
present. A WiFi chipset (for internet access), a unique serial (the
WiFi chipset MAC address), and a CPU (given a WiFi chipset, it likely
also contains an embedded CPU as well).



[1] yes, this is not secure, because if you learn someone's radio's MAC
address, you could read/write their settings.


Ok, I had a look at the manual. Like my earlier model, it's a
ridiculously complicated book more suited to a computer product than an
entertainment gadget.

http://www.aeldownloads.com/robertsr...%20ISSUE.1.pdf

There is also a troubleshooting guide

http://www.aeldownloads.com/robertsr...TS.ISSUE.1.pdf.


In the UK, Roberts was a British brand of radio manaufacturer that
catered mostly to the middle class purchaser, and I can hardly see some
of those that have remaining memories of old, having some ability left
to waddle through that nonsense.

However, I had a waddle. Page 64 of the wordy user manual.

"You should not attempt to update your radio unless it is recommended to
you by Roberts Customer
Services. Updating the software may remove all network settings, radio
station presets and alarm settings
from your radio"

So, station presets _are_ stored in flash memory on the device. Have
they been lost in a recent software update?

Suggest, (if it still works) registering an account (Page 30) and
storing favourites there.

Mr Doom. You won't find a battery or a cap. Give up.


Many thanks indeed for that summary, Adrian; much appreciated.
I have never - knowingly - ever done any updates at all since I bought
the thing. I bought Roberts because I've had their broadcast recievers
in the past and been very happy with them in all respects. They were a
bit pricey (though not as much as a Hacker) but the build and sound
quality was very good. Their internet radios, OTOH, have none of that
reassuringly solid feel about them.
I think I'll reassemble it and have a think about how to proceed from
there tomorrow....



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Cursitor Doom wrote:
I bought Roberts because I've had their broadcast recievers in the
past and been very happy with them in all respects. They were a bit
pricey (though not as much as a Hacker) but the build and sound
quality was very good. Their internet radios, OTOH, have none of
that reassuringly solid feel about them.


It could be possible that "Roberts" (the brand name) has gone the way
of a lot of the traditional US "brand names" of yesteryear (Honeywell,
Westinghouse, etc.).

They (the US brands, I have no idea re. Roberts) are nothing more than
"Names" owned by some rent-seeking corporation who will sell the right
to brand anything as "Honeywell" or "Westinghouse" for the right price.

What you mention re. the massive reduction in build quality is exactly
what happened to the products that were "branded" as "Honeywell" or
"Westinghouse" (or others) once they became a "brand name for hire".
The product build quality plummeted.

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On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 23:26:37 +0000 (UTC), Bertrand Sindri
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:
I bought Roberts because I've had their broadcast recievers in the
past and been very happy with them in all respects. They were a bit
pricey (though not as much as a Hacker) but the build and sound
quality was very good. Their internet radios, OTOH, have none of
that reassuringly solid feel about them.


It could be possible that "Roberts" (the brand name) has gone the way
of a lot of the traditional US "brand names" of yesteryear (Honeywell,
Westinghouse, etc.).

They (the US brands, I have no idea re. Roberts) are nothing more than
"Names" owned by some rent-seeking corporation who will sell the right
to brand anything as "Honeywell" or "Westinghouse" for the right price.

What you mention re. the massive reduction in build quality is exactly
what happened to the products that were "branded" as "Honeywell" or
"Westinghouse" (or others) once they became a "brand name for hire".
The product build quality plummeted.


Exactly. They sold out to get rich (or should I say *even* richer).

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Cursitor Doom wrote:
On Sun, 10 Jan 2021 23:26:37 +0000 (UTC), Bertrand Sindri
wrote:

Cursitor Doom wrote:
I bought Roberts because I've had their broadcast recievers in the
past and been very happy with them in all respects. They were a
bit pricey (though not as much as a Hacker) but the build and sound
quality was very good. Their internet radios, OTOH, have none of
that reassuringly solid feel about them.


It could be possible that "Roberts" (the brand name) has gone the way
of a lot of the traditional US "brand names" of yesteryear
(Honeywell, Westinghouse, etc.).

They (the US brands, I have no idea re. Roberts) are nothing more
than "Names" owned by some rent-seeking corporation who will sell the
right to brand anything as "Honeywell" or "Westinghouse" for the
right price.

What you mention re. the massive reduction in build quality is
exactly what happened to the products that were "branded" as
"Honeywell" or "Westinghouse" (or others) once they became a "brand
name for hire". The product build quality plummeted.


Exactly. They sold out to get rich (or should I say *even* richer).


In some instances, it was bankruptcy liquidations that resulted in a
rent-seeker buying the "brand name" from the bankrupcy proceedings (to
gain the "brand recognition" for their junk until enough people learn
the "new X" brand is just junk).

So the original company owners never got rich, and a rent-seeker is
just taking advantage of the "brand recognition" that name had built up
over the years to make a quick buck for as long as they can squeeze
blood from the corpse.

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On Mon, 11 Jan 2021 16:43:35 +0000 (UTC), Bertrand Sindri
wrote:

In some instances, it was bankruptcy liquidations that resulted in a
rent-seeker buying the "brand name" from the bankrupcy proceedings (to
gain the "brand recognition" for their junk until enough people learn
the "new X" brand is just junk).

So the original company owners never got rich, and a rent-seeker is
just taking advantage of the "brand recognition" that name had built up
over the years to make a quick buck for as long as they can squeeze
blood from the corpse.


That certainly has the ring of truth about it; many thanks.

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On 1/10/2021 9:06 AM, Bertrand Sindri wrote:
Cursitor Doom wrote:


In circuit. And they're not in parallel.


And you know this because you have the schematic or have reverse
engineered the schematic from the PCB?

If you have no schematic, you are again 'assuming' they are not in
parallel.


Perhaps because similar leads of each cap are not connected together?
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