What causes a router and other solid state devices to eventually fail?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dontwalkhand, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. dontwalkhand macrumors 601

    dontwalkhand

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    #1
    These devices are solid state, but a theory my friend came up with, which I do not know if I believe or not is...

    The NAND Flash chips can only handle so much electrical current running through them. Eventually it will get worn out and you need to replace it.

    I know they have limited read/write cycles, but would the limited cycles be due to the fact that you're wearing it out with all that electricity flowing through it??
     
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #2
    Current gives off heat through resistance.

    Heat/cool cycles causes expansion and contraction, and eventual failure as a result.

    So don't EVER turn anything off. ;) :p

    <This ad is brought to your by your local Electric Utility.> :rolleyes:
     
  3. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #3
    NAND has a specific amount of writes. After which it no longer works. However, the amount of writes are usually high enough to last you for at least 10 years of regular usage
     
  4. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

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    #4
    What would be considered irregular usage?

    Also does the amount of users matter more than the amount of bandwith used? e.g. 5 users with heavy downloading/uploading against 10 users with medium usage.
     
  5. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #5
    Does the heat expansion idea explain why old hardware (consoles from the 80's etc) still function perfectly today - because all the innards are bigger?

    (Just started playing my Gameboy again and it hasn't aged in 20 years, some save files remained as well)
     
  6. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #6
    I used an iMac G3 DV400 for years and the hotter this thing has gotten to was 50°C - and it didn't have a fan. Older hardware didn't dissipate as much heat as newer stuff, so it might me the cause.

    The save files on SNES and probably Game Boy are kept on battery-backed RAM. That's what causes the cartridges to stop saving or lose files.
     
  7. kolax macrumors G3

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    #7
    Probably because they are easier to maintain. If something has gone faulty, it'll be easier to diagnose and even do a DIY repair.

    Doubt you'll find many consoles from the 80s that work perfectly fine to this day (and if they do, they'll probably have undergone some sort of DIY repair).
     
  8. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #8
    All mine, my colleagues and family consoles from that era (Master System, NES, Amiga) have taken wear and tear but all work fine without any repairs. At the Eurogamer Expo I met an events company that specialise in old console rentals and we joked about how indestructible these machines (up to 16bit era) are.
    Only the pirate carts (multigames-in-one) I own have become corrupted.
     
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #9
    I think so, or I would not have stuck my neck out so far. :eek:

    Seriously, all wires, joints, current transfer points are now much finer, therefore more "brittle". Less tensile strength.

    Same idea as a 130-volt light-bulb. Thicker filament lasts longer.
     
  10. kolax macrumors G3

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    #10
    Another reason is they have fewer components/simpler design compared to todays consoles. Check out the amount of heat coming off a PS3 compared to a NES.

    But you're right, older consoles do seem to last longer.
     
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #11
    Irregular would be writing an exaggerated amount of things to the NAND flash over and over again.

    Routers don't rely on NAND flash (except for their own control software) to transmit data. So a router will be unaffected by NAND stress. After all, the only time you write to the NAND flash of a router is when you update its software. What really kills a router is heat. Heat kills every electronic component. However, it is fair to mention that excessive heat is the one responsible. Regular heat that the router produces will never kill it. A well ventilated router can last you years or until it is deemed out-dated by networking standards.

    Overvoltage also kills any electronic component, but thats pretty much given.
     
  12. tyche macrumors 6502

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    #12
    A good example of how heat can break something was a Cisco consumer router. They put the power supply right near a capacitor and after about 12 months it would burn out. I had 4 all die at about the same time. When I bought a new one and opened it up, hey had moved the components around to avoid that now.
     
  13. johnhw macrumors 6502

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    Jun 16, 2009
    #13
    Typically that's the reason why they still work today, but generally most stuff back then until 2005 or so are tough since things today are getting slimmer and lighter.. which means it's probably more prone to breakage.
     
  14. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #14
    There are probably two or three main factors in an electronic device dying.

    - Thermal wear: iJH is correct that heating/cooling causes expansion and contraction... and circuit boards contain a load of different components which expand/contract at different rates - so this is likely to cause a connection to break at some point.

    - Dendrites: metal can actually grow crystals over time called 'dendrites' and dendrites can reach across circuit tracks to cause short circuits. This is more likely in humid conditions, or if a circuit has got wet (so even if you dry a piece of equipment that's had coffee spilt on it, and it works fine - the moisture and ion crystals now on the PCB may shorten life due to corrosion and dendrite formation).

    - Capacitor failure: This is probably the most common form of failure. Capacitors have two metal plates separated by an insulator... Electrolytic capacitors have the two plates tightly wound together; the insulator is electrically plated on - and the can contains a liquid. These have a limited life - they can leak, blow, short - they're sensitive to heat, over voltage, reverse voltage. Unfortunately larger capacitors are usually required in power supply circuits, which is usually a part of a circuit that gets hot.

    Electrolytics often have a cross pattern on the top - specially weakened metal that acts as a vent if the capacitor needs to blow (rather than exploding!). Often blown capacitors will be domed on the top - and you can see where this vent has broken open:

    [​IMG]
     

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