The RT-N16 is an awesome router, but Asus sadly threw in a terrible cap that likes to blow. Symptoms of this popped cap are complete lack of power or only being able to turn on for a few seconds and shutting down.
What you will need for this repair:
- 16V 680uf capacitor (I went with a Panasonic EEU-FR1C681L)
- Soldering iron that can reach 400C. (Lead free solder and a thick ground plane make this a necessity)
- Solder sucking pump
- Solder (I used 60/40 solder since I do not have lead free)
- Philips #2 screwdriver
- Small pliers, wrench, or really strong fingers
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Desoldering brain
As with anything DIY like this, all repairs are done at your own risk. Real Hardware Reviews takes no responsibility for any damage to your device, damage to yourself, Lochness monsters attacks, or spontaneous combustion of your gerbil.
1. Start off by disconnecting all cables from the router and flipping it over. There will be four rubber feet that will need to be peeled off. Under each foot will be a screw that needs to be removed. The top of the router will now freely come off.
2. Stare angrily at the leaky cap that is now staring you down.
3. Remove the nuts that hold the antenna mounts in using pliers, wrench, etc. Since the wires running from the PCB to the antenna mounts are glued to the board, this is a lot safer that trying to pry the glue off and potentially damage the small connectors.
4. Remove the two screws holding the PCB to the case. (I don't have pictures of this part, they're really easy to find though)
5. Desolder the capacitor from the board. Make note of the polarity as you will need to remember it for later. Asus likes to confuse you by reversing the PCB markings from what you'd expect, as the negative terminal sits on the side that is not marked in white.
6. Clean up the holes with your solder sucker. If you do have desoldering braid and isopropyl alcohol, clean up the PCB with the braid and then wipe both the top and bottom with isopropyl to ensure it is super clean.
7. Solder your new capacitor in. Ensure polarity is correct!
8. Test it and hope for the best! If everything went well then reassemble the router. If not, get that cap out and try again.
If you are like me an don't like blinding LEDs, you may as well do something while the router is already apart. Flip the top cover over and you will see a row of acrylic tubes that router the LEDs' lights to the front of the router case. Depending on how much you want to dim the lights, there are a few options.
- Sand the ends of the tubes with rough sandpaper. This will stop a bit of light from making it through and is the method I chose.
- Write over the ends with black marker. This will block most light but let a little bit pass through.
- Cover the ends with electrical tape. This completely blocks all light from passing.