A hold up at the airport

PC Pro logo Posted: 1st April 2000 | Filed under: Press Articles
Author: Paul Ockenden
First Appeared in PC Pro 2000

Many of us have wireless networks in their homes and offices, and they are often built using Apple's wonderful little Airport base station. Paul has such a network, and relies on it heavily, especially for essential tasks such as surfing the Web, in the garden, whilst supping a nice cold beer... err... sorry... I meant while doing the research needed for articles like this one.

Anyway, given this reliance, it was a disaster when Paul started his half of this month's column only to find that his wireless network had failed. The various wireless LAN cards dotted around the place seemed fine, but with one look at the Airport base station it soon became obvious what the problem was - the builders are in at the moment, and the Airport had somehow found its way under a pile of dust sheets. It was warm. Very warm. That smell the plastic kind of warm, and had obviously failed. Rather than the normal green LEDs flickering away on the front, it was showing shades of red and orange.

A quick search on revealed this to be a common complaint. It seems that there are a couple of electrolytic capacitors inside the airport which can fail if they get too hot. This is actually a strange failure because the capacitors that Apple used are supposed to be able to get hot. Paul whipped the case off his Airport, and sure enough there were the tell tale signs of two bulging capacitors. They'd been well fried!

A quick trip to Maplin to buy some properly temperature resistant replacements, a quick dab with a soldering iron, and a quick bit of case dremmeling (because the new components were somewhat bigger) and Paul was soon back on the air.

There's a rumour that Apple have a policy to replace devices with this fault, even when outside of the guarantee period. Apparently you have to ask the technical support people to look up knowledgebase article #111785 - it is only available to Apple staff. Paul really couldn't be bothered with sending his Airport away, though, and found the DIY repair much more convenient. Take a look at to see more details - there are several sites out there detailing the problem, but this one is probably the most comprehensive.