Magic Smoke?

Tyler Durden camera_lumina at
Sun Jul 18 10:11:20 PDT 2004

Ah yes. Are you referring to the smoke that powers telecom gear? (ie, the 
gear works until you see smoke pouring out of the top.) I had imagined this 
to be distributed throughout the NE...

As for trolling, well, ahem. I've NEVER done that before...


>From: Thomas Shaddack <shaddack at>
>To: Tyler Durden <camera_lumina at>
>CC: mv at, cypherpunks at
>Subject: Re: vacuum-safe laptops ?
>Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2004 01:13:13 +0200 (CEST)
>On Sat, 17 Jul 2004, Tyler Durden wrote:
> > Sorry to need educating once again, but I had assumed can-shaped 
> > were gone from laptops in lieu of surface mount. Anyone know? (I don't 
>own a
> > laptop.)
>The can caps can be surface-mounted as well. The leads then look
>different, but the inside is still the same: a metal can with etched
>aluminum strips and an insulator soaked with electrolyte. The magic smoke
>they are filled with also has the same color and smell as their non-SMD
>See also for brief description of
>liquid-electrolyte aluminum capacitors.
>There are also some more modern constructions, where the electrolyte is
>solid-state. (The tantalum capacitors, which are more common in SMD form
>than the aluminum ones, use MnO2 as electrolyte and Ta2O5 as insulator.
>The added advantage here is that during a breakdown, the MnO2 layer
>locally overheats and is converted to less conductive Mn2O3, which causes
>the breakdown to "heal". Similar mechanism is used in capacitors with
>solid-state plastic electrolyte.)
>I suppose the solid-state caps could be much more reliable in the
>conditions of rapid pressure changes, if they won't have moisture or air
>trapped inside their construction.

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