Backwards capacitor causes fiery failure for some high-end Asus motherboards

Extreme close-up photograph of damaged computer component.

Enlarge / Burned out MOSFETs on an Asus Z690 motherboard. (credit: Reddit user Duhjahno)

Intel’s high-end 12th-generation Core processors use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat, but Asus’ ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard takes things to the next level. A “potential reversed memory capacitor” in some boards can cause them to catch on fire.

The problem was initially hunted down by the Actually Hardware Overclocking YouTube channel, which diagnosed the issue using images from Reddit users and posters on Asus’ support forums whose boards had failed. The reversed capacitor causes increased current leakage, which generates heat that subsequently burns out the neighboring MOSFET transistors. Users with the flipped capacitors noted that they noticed a burning smell or even fire before their systems shut down. Once the MOSFETs have burned out, the motherboard’s built-in status display will show error code 53, indicating that the motherboard doesn’t detect any installed RAM.

Not all ROG Maximus Z690 Hero boards have the capacitor installed backwards, and the Actually Hardware Overclocking video shows you the exact place to look to see if the capacitor has been installed properly or not. Entering your motherboard’s serial number into Asus’ support page for the problem will tell you for sure whether your board is affected, and the page will walk you through contacting Asus support to get a replacement.

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