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Mike's Retro Fixing - Amiga/AES/Mega Drive/Saturn/Apple


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On 26/11/2020 at 07:28, Colonel Panic said:

Through hole recap: somewhat relaxing

Surface mount: NOPE!

 

It was actually the first time I'd ever tried to do a SMD recap.

 

Why I picked an Amiga 4000 board which is worth silly money to learn on beggars belief even to me. 

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Cleaning In Progress...

 

The board after soaking the affected areas and sockets in vinegar, rinsing with water, cleanup with IPA, scrape off black solder mask, clean with fibreglass pen, clean again with vinegar, clean again with water, clean again with IPA, removal and vinegar soak/rinse of keyboard socket, scraping of any dusty bits of solder from vias:

 

IMG_2272.JPG.b7fadd4353454afe06b6972a853ec03f.JPG

 

IMG_2273.JPG.769c96688023592b85d09aa36de20ad0.JPG

 

Currently sat in the airing cupboard for second day of drying out (probably unnecessary), with keyboard connector to be resoldered and a retest to see if everything still works to follow. I haven't removed the CPU/ROM sockets yet - they look clean so I will see how it goes.

 

Removing the old bits of battery and keyboard socket was a total sod due to corroded solder and massive ground plane.

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Post Leakage Cleanup

 

It's had plenty of time in a warm room to dry out, so I put the keyboard socket back on (currently useless as I have no keyboard), put the CPU and ROM back in then powered it on, to get a black screen, which is the same issue it had when it arrived and the typical symptoms of battery damage. I swore loudly then noticed that I had put the CPU in upside down.

 

A sheepish correction and it still works!

 

IMG_2274.thumb.JPG.8fb78b137e4fe8d6d1270c789da6abaf.JPG

 

A quick blast on New Zealand Story also confirms that the joystick port and sound is working correctly. The battery backed up clock is now working also (albeit without battery currently).

 

1 hour ago, Ninja Doctor said:

Are you going to do a preventative recap whilst it’s stripped down?

 

These machines don't tend to suffer from leaky caps but I probably will as they are all through hole and there aren't very many of them. Probable upcoming jobs therefore are:

  • Sort out a keyboard (a proper one is on its way)
  • Tin/seal exposed copper traces
  • Maybe replace CPU/ROM sockets
  • Coin cell battery
  • Extra RAM on SCSI card (on its way)
  • Solution to replace the ancient spinning hard drive (maybe SCSI2SD)
  • Upgrade Kickstart version to 3.1
  • Clean up the case, get all of the dust out of the PSU and service the floppy drive
  • Recap
  • Maybe an accelerator (TF536 or period equivalent)
  • Maybe a graphics card (I like the look of the MNT ZZ9000)
  • Maybe a quieter fan for the PSU

I might have to sell the A500 repaired earlier in this thread to fund some of the above as my study is starting to look like a museum (my wife is less enthused by this than I am).

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I've been spending the past few days testing the A2000 to make sure it's stable. It will run memory tests successfully and generally operate fine for hours at a time which is good, but upon testing with Zool (an original 1MB game I have to hand that puts a bit of a strain on the hardware) I noticed graphics corruption at the bottom of the screen on the first level. I also noticed that Sysinfo (a system info app) would corrupt the screen and occasionally crash the machine after launch.

 

After testing a load of other games, all of which were fine, I tested Zool on my A1200 and saw exactly the same issue, which adds to the now very tall "Reasons Zool Sucks" pile. I was also using a very recent version of Sysinfo which probably isn't too familiar with stock A2000s from 1990, so I got hold of a version from 1993, which works without issue. I think I am happy with the machine's stability.

 

I have acquired an untested and broken A2000 keyboard for more than I ever thought I would pay - it works fine except one key is broken:

 

s-l1600.thumb.jpg.1f14416c2962a3d20dfd288a46e7086e.jpg

 

It doesn't press down fully and doesn't register a keypress at all so will tear that down to investigate - I have already cleaned it natch.

 

Next: Replace solder mask, install additional RAM, investigate keyboard.

 

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I nearly bought that 2000HD! It was the first model Amiga I ever saw so it has a special place in my heart. 

Wouldn't have had the skills to do what you've done though, so glad it went to the right person. 

You got any ideas about what I could do with a Spectrum +2A on which the joystick ports appear not to work ? (Doesnt register an upwards push on a joystick connected to either port - and I've tested the stick on other machines and it's fine).

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42 minutes ago, Anne Summers said:

You got any ideas about what I could do with a Spectrum +2A on which the joystick ports appear not to work ? (Doesnt register an upwards push on a joystick connected to either port - and I've tested the stick on other machines and it's fine).

 

I would be getting a multimeter and checking continuity on the offending pins in the port all the way back to where it comes from (you'll need a circuit diagram). Very odd that it is doing it in both ports, I'm not sure what circuitry in a +2 controls the joysticks but I was under the impression it's the same as the keyboard.

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@mikejenkins I'm thinking of powering on my 1200 and 500 but I'm certain the psus are faulty. Are you still using the original psu with your Amigas? Most forums seem to suggest binning old psus and getting a new one. Checking around there seems to be a few makes available but not much info on which ones are good quality.

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Been enjoying reading these! Nice one Mike.

 

I have a couple of faulty consoles. My Sega Multi Mega, last time i tested it was not ready CDs which I'm kinda gutted about. Also, my PS2 doesn't read CDs either. I ended up buying a replacement lens incase that was it but i haven't got round to trying to install it.

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42 minutes ago, gizmo1990 said:

@mikejenkins I'm thinking of powering on my 1200 and 500 but I'm certain the psus are faulty. Are you still using the original psu with your Amigas? Most forums seem to suggest binning old psus and getting a new one. Checking around there seems to be a few makes available but not much info on which ones are good quality.


I am still using the original PSUs with mine, I give them a cursory check for any obviously leaking capacitors or burn marks and check voltages with a multimeter and all have been fine so far. If I were to replace them I would probably put one of the Meanwell units in the original case. 
 

A500 and 1200 PSUs are interchangeable in the event one of yours works OK. 

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30 minutes ago, Darhkwing said:

Been enjoying reading these! Nice one Mike.

 

I have a couple of faulty consoles. My Sega Multi Mega, last time i tested it was not ready CDs which I'm kinda gutted about. Also, my PS2 doesn't read CDs either. I ended up buying a replacement lens incase that was it but i haven't got round to trying to install it.


The Multi Mega would definitely be worth looking at, they aren’t too common! Could be the laser or maybe capacitors/PSU. 
 

I also have a PS2 with a dodgy laser but mine won’t read anything at all, I’ve left it so far as it has a hard drive with Freemcboot installed. 

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Fix Traces/Replace Solder Mask

 

As mentioned previously the battery backed up clock was not found, then found again, and when cleaning the traces that go to the clock chip (they ran under battery) it was evident why:

 

IMG_0004D.JPG.c832a754e0d6c3d3d1790a078630b0d6.JPG

 

Bits of trace disintegrated and came away from the board. They were too far gone to repair with thin wire so I ran some fix wires under the board (I ran out of thin wire hence the fat red one) and fixed in place with hot glue:

 

IMG_0007.JPG.44527f7e083409d5a7ec26117379b5b3.JPG

 

Notice that there was some corrosion on the underside of the board also. This was cleaned up as with the top side, then UV curable solder mask brushed on as neatly as possible (i.e. not at all):

 

IMG_0009D.JPG.2e2f5f5b657a1199145486f01876e1c5.JPG

 

Then cured under UV light (I nicked an idea from famous Youtuber Jan Beta and hung the torch from my helping hands):

 

IMG_0010.JPG.6c257d0a6e1091155cc3ba55147dc133.JPG

 

End result - not pretty but better and will not corrode any further:

 

IMG_0012.JPG.b850f9aaa7e04838cbc5f0f2dcfabdfe.JPG

 

As you can see the board is back in the case and everything seems to be working OK. I decided to format and reinstall the 40 meg (space is at a premium) hard drive, and while doing so noticed the floppy drive was sounding a bit laboured so stripped that down and serviced with a clean of the heads with IPA and lithium grease on the moving bits (worm gear in top left and slider under the plastic):

 

IMG_0013D.JPG.7e87c1b58eaef046600bd5f8b85f721d.JPG

 

Which has resulted in a quieter drive.

 

Next: Keyboard/Mouse Service, RAM Upgrade

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On 03/12/2020 at 19:45, mikejenkins said:

 

I would be getting a multimeter and checking continuity on the offending pins in the port all the way back to where it comes from (you'll need a circuit diagram). Very odd that it is doing it in both ports, I'm not sure what circuitry in a +2 controls the joysticks but I was under the impression it's the same as the keyboard.

I think you're right about the keyboard. There are a few odd things going on with that, too. When I got it the keyboard didn't work at all but after I stripped it down and gave everything a clean it worked again. But when I plugged a mega drive controller in just to see what happened, it locked the keyboard up totally again, until I unplugged it and switched it off and on again. 

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Keyboard/Mouse Repair/RAM Expansion

 

As pictured above, the A2000 keyboard had a non-functional left Alt key. It was twisted and the key didn't register when pressed, so I opened the keyboard (LOTS of screws) and pulled the key off with my puller - it came out with half of the plunger attached. These keyboards have a carbon contact mounted on rubber to a plastic plunger, with a rubber cup under the key acting as the "spring" - the plunger looks like this when complete:

 

IMG_0015D.JPG.e3e53c8cfa6cf4a54a4bd436abc39e87.JPG

 

Mine was in three pieces, so I removed the rubber/carbon piece and stuck it back together with superglue:

 

IMG_2277.JPG.23fd5ce8dff5f1219afd0be1984d3a02.JPG

 

Surprisingly this held well and functions normally, but the key still didn't work. I measured across the carbon piece with a multimeter to find nothing at all was passing through it, and found that it had snapped (this was not noticeable until it was flexed). I ordered another one off eBay (£3.50!) and fitted it, which resulted in a working key. As the left Alt key can get a bit of use, I swapped the repaired plunger with a key that doesn't, in this case Scroll Lock on the numeric keypad. I now have a fully functional keyboard:

 

IMG_0014D.JPG.56f380480bf76e31608578987cab4622.JPG

 

Mouse

 

My tank mouse which I picked up from Facebook a few months ago had a very picky left mouse button which has got steadily worse, so I replaced the switches under both buttons. This is a very simple affair, you just desolder the old switches from underneath and solder the new ones in - I had some spare switches from doing the same to my A1200 mouse:

 

IMG_0008D.JPG.0a303509da1d1d1a45ca36a68051e4ef.JPG

 

The mouse is now working well, the new switches are rather more "clicky" than the old ones but these will break in with use.

 

RAM Expansion

 

The Commodore A2091 SCSI card that came with the A2000HD has sockets for up to 2MB RAM to be added in addition to the 1MB on the motherboard. My one didn't have any so memory was a little tight and performance on the hard drive was slower than it could be (still ultimately pretty slow by modern standards, less than 1MB/sec, but the whole OS is less than 2MB so not too problematic).

 

IMG_2267.JPG.9cc1974db67d7f019ebea1576a8ef580.JPG

 

The empty RAM sockets are on the left and the very large (physically not logically, it's a 40 meg drive) SCSI hard drive is screwed to the card on the right. RAM needs to be added to the card in 512KB banks (256Kbit*4 DIPs, 1Mbit/128KB per chip), so I got 8 chips for an extra 1MB total and installed them in the sockets on the board, which was just a case of pushing them in and setting a jumper to indicate how much RAM is installed.

 

Once installed, the hard disk was a lot faster as it can now do DMA transfers rather than PIO thus substantially reducing seek times, and the computer in general got a bit of a boost due to the way the Amiga deals with its memory access (the extra ram is Fast RAM). It now has 2MB RAM total:

 

IMG_0006D.JPG.b7fe250787b7e555456c664bc7e11b4f.JPG

 

The A2000 and all its peripherals are now in fully working order with the exception of the lack of clock battery, and I will be on the lookout for some expansion cards to install in the ample case.  I am interested in getting hold of a PC bridgeboard which will allow the A2000 to act as an old PC using actual hardware rather than emulation, an accelerator of some sort, and something that will allow me to retire the spinning hard drive which to its credit is working flawlessly.

 

I will probably also get an OS (ROM + software) upgrade as Workbench 1.3 is somewhat restrictive.

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A2000 PSU Fan Upgrade

 

The A2000 has a 1989 vintage 80mm exhaust fan in its PSU, which is extremely loud, and coupled with the 1989 vintage hard drive makes hearing any actual sound the Amiga generates rather difficult. I decided to buy an Arctic F8 Silent fan to replace it (4 quid, good reviews on Amazon).

 

The old fan was riveted in to the PSU (holding the grille on) so I masked up the area to stop any metal bits falling onto the PCB and drilled the rivets out:

 

IMG_0020D.JPG.d964608c8c4334932e97072afe2a2939.JPG

 

I then pushed the rivets back through the case with a screwdriver and removed the old fan (I will keep hold of it as it still works):

 

IMG_0021.JPG.105f9af0c85c34eabe55a4ad083de817.JPG

 

This fan is soldered directly to the PSU's PCB rather than using a plug, so I cut the wires, took an old spare connector apart and soldered its pins onto the wires to allow the new fan to be connected up without having to cut that as well:

 

IMG_0025.JPG.3e576e2b419101f1ed77886e95e0ca2c.JPG

 

I then connected up the new fan and gave it a test:

IMG_0023D.JPG.ad0b53bdfd699438b07f138f34302f27.JPG

 

Everything span up as required, and it was indeed very quiet so job done.

 

Except, it turns out, the reason the new fan is so quiet is that it moves almost no air and is therefore completely useless for any application I can think of. The glowing Amazon reviews were for other models in the range (sneaky) and most of the ones for this particular model complained of the same issue. I have since removed the crap-o-fan and replaced it with the Noctua I should have got in the first place but was too cheap to spend on (£9).

 

The Amiga is now a lot quieter, albeit still loud thanks to the hard drive. I am investigating replacements for this due to its age, capacity and noise output, but I'm not sure which path I will take yet - I can either replace it with a newer SCSI HD, get a SCSI2SD device, or get an IDE controller and use that.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A2000 OS/Hard Drive Upgrade

 

I decided after much consideration to go with another spinning hard drive to replace the original noisy 40MB one installed in the A2000. SCSI2SD devices are £70+ and I would likely need to upgrade the ROMs on my SCSI card to use one, and an IDE controller card was similarly priced to which I would need to add a CF card adapter etc etc. I am trying to go with period correct (ish) upgrades for this one, although this makes no real sense.

 

50 pin SCSI hard drives of a size that my SCSI controller will accept (1GB or smaller) appear to have mostly passed into the hands of eBay recyclers, and cost £75+ to buy. Having messed about with Macs a lot in the early days of my career I changed tack and looked for an early Power Mac computer, which go for less than that, and tend to contain a hard drive and other nice stuff like RAM and SCSI CD-ROMs. £50 later I ended up with this - A 1995 Power Mac 7200.

 

1.JPG.67400d46fe02dda3e254d8c237082d62.JPG

 

It had a 1GB hard drive which "seemed to be working" according to the seller, a 4x CD-ROM, and as it turns out a load of extra RAM which I can sell later. I extracted the HDD, the CD-ROM and the SCSI cable, and installed the HDD on the Amiga's hard drive card (pic of 40MB drive from 1990 in background compared to 1GB drive from 1995 in foreground):

 

2-1.JPG.4065a8bb888a97a05d6c5986b1f09c3c.JPG

 

I wanted to upgrade the OS at the same time. Amiga OS is made up of a ROM (Kickstart) which contains key parts of the operating system like the command line environment, SCSI drivers, etc., and a software component (Workbench) that lets you run programs from the GUI. I got a new ROM from eBay and installed it, swapping the chip over with a screwdriver:

 

6200260.jpg.703ec6597d3ae0c09ef02cefbd09c9fb.jpg  ->   974727556.jpg.62ff0a3df3a3734b5b9da9cf415e8853.jpg

 

I also temporarily fitted a Gotek virtual floppy drive I have knocking about, and booted the install disk for Workbench. At this point the new hard drive was spinning but I had no idea if it was going to work, due to being very close to the 1GB controller limit, very old, and containing Apple firmware. I loaded the hard drive setup utility which detected it correctly - this is a very good sign:

 

2.JPG.567bbbd0ff55e0b439114e8ccc2c7bd1.JPG

 

I partitioned the drive, formatted the partitions, and installed the OS from the virtual floppies. This all worked fine and the drive seems to be about twice as fast (although not much quieter) than the old one.

 

I thought I would push my luck and see if I could get the CD-ROM from the Mac working as well. This involved using the multi-port SCSI cable from the Mac to connect the HDD and CD-ROM to the SCSI controller at the same time, then loading the CD driver which came with the updated OS by double clicking its icon. I connected it all up, clicked the icon, then realised I don't have any data CDs to test it with. Being old, I remembered that Nights for Saturn had some bonus stuff for PCs on the disc, so I put that in and had a look with an image viewer:

 

3.JPG.04fb52451a73213a07b93bd754bddf0b.JPG

 

Here is the Amiga doing its party trick of multitasking the OS (4 colour 640x256) and a different-res screen (4096 colour 640x480):

 

4.JPG.2fb0fa75e89b67a523c70e62eac6df8a.JPG

 

I have decided to keep the Gotek in the A2000 as it is useful for transferring files over (I mount a virtual floppy image on a USB stick in UAE on my Mac, copy files to it, then mount it on the Amiga via the Gotek). The A2000 has nonstandard floppy drive bays, so rather than mounting it in the spare 3.5" bay with big gaps I am going to put it in the 5.25" bay with an adapter/fascia which should look better. This leaves no room for the CD-ROM, which I will keep as it might be useful in future for transferring a lot of files, although I will likely use something else for that.

 

I'm now on the lookout for an accelerator and graphics card, although they are getting scarce so it may be some time before I find them. I might also have a poke around in the Mac, but the ones of that area have nonstandard video, mouse and keyboards so this will depend on me finding something cheap to deal with that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Japanese Saturn

 

A few months ago I picked up a "broken" white Japanese Saturn console with a copy of Puyo Puyo Sun and the Japanese version of Phantasmagoria (all 8 discs of it, no language option, only slightly more baffling than when you can understand what they are saying).

 

IMG_2247.JPG.248f444a93aa381caec5e78ee0a82504.JPG

 

It's a bit yellow but in decent shape. Not knowing exactly what was broken, and it being an import, I opened it up to check the fuse on the PSU in case someone had plugged it into UK mains:

 

IMG_2248.JPG.9a066066893e905a2c758e13a90ccd53.JPG

 

No problems there, so I plugged it into a stepdown converter and it fired straight up. I put a disc in (I have a load of Japanese Saturn originals) and nothing happened, the disc didn't even spin up. It recognised when the tray was open/closed, and should spin the disc when the lid is shut, but it just sat there and gave an error relating to no disc being inserted. If I moved the lens manually it returned to its normal position when powered on, so it was getting power.

 

I unplugged and checked the ribbon cable going to the disc drive and all looked OK. I could see the laser moving up and down trying to see the disc, and if it is dodgy it doesn't recognise there is anything there. I removed the disc mechanism as there is a laser pot that can be tweaked to change the power:

 

IMG_2249.thumb.JPG.e5978bdcdb41b68c3366ec36a9ca703b.JPG

 

Messing with this did sod all, so I bit the bullet and ordered a new laser from Aliexpress, as this console has the very rare Sanyo laser and that's the only place I could find one. Three months later the new laser arrived, so I swapped it over (old one pictured below):

 

IMG_0042D.JPG.43e156b9b17c9db002dd25e72bce3485.JPG

 

Powered up, put Nights in, and the disc started spinning. I saw the Sega logo come up which is a sign the disc has been recognised, and it started loading, only to never get anywhere.

 

I tried Virtua Fighter 2, which loaded to the title screen but crashed when the selection screen came up, and Daytona, which loaded to the intro and played music but came up either with an illegal instruction (same one each time) or an address error:

 

IMG_0044D.JPG.e471c320c7789c10458f7e92ac0e2f76.JPG

 

I started tweaking the pot on the new laser to see if it would help, and I can make it stop loading games at all but nothing will actually play. This leaves me with the following possibilities:

 

  • Bad/misadjusted new laser - unlikely as it recognises discs and plays audio CDs fine, would need oscilloscope to test which I don't have;
  • Bad component on system board - The Saturn is a world apart from the stuff I have looked at before and is chock full of surface mounted components so nothing can be easily swapped. I haven't found any hardware diagnostics for the Saturn so far.

 

Not really sure what to do with this one - I might keep fiddling with the laser adjustment to see if it helps but I doubt it. I have another Saturn with a modchip so could start a burned CD if I needed to, unfortunately the disc mechanisms are incompatible otherwise I would swap them over to test. It does run the 3D model of the spaceship from the console menu without issue as far as I can see.

 

 

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all I could suggest is perhaps check the voltages coming from the psu. One of them might be off and hindering the drive. Failing that chuck a ODE device in, there's a few now but they're not exactly cheap.

 

Maybe (and a risky proposition) buy a few duff units and cannibalise a working unit from them?

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I've just been testing a few more games and Street Fighter Zero 2 loads, plays the Capcom FMV fine, then displays a load of corrupted blocks where sprites should be at the intro then crashes. Phantasmagoria loads and lets you start the game (corrupted fonts), and actually plays the game FMV perfectly but your little pointer is corrupted (square of random pixels to the left of the actor, you can move it around as normal):

 

IMG_0045D.JPG.550d8537c4841f5c172a5512604c6c2f.JPG

 

I think there is a RAM fault.

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13 hours ago, Jei said:

The Saturn looks like classic VDP2 failure which unfortunately seems to be getting more and more common. :(


oof not heard of this, I take it there’s no fix for this?

Any idea on the cause? Is it just wear and tear/old age?

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On 02/01/2021 at 19:15, mikejenkins said:

I've just been testing a few more games and Street Fighter Zero 2 loads, plays the Capcom FMV fine, then displays a load of corrupted blocks where sprites should be at the intro then crashes. Phantasmagoria loads and lets you start the game (corrupted fonts), and actually plays the game FMV perfectly but your little pointer is corrupted (square of random pixels to the left of the actor, you can move it around as normal):

 

IMG_0045D.JPG.550d8537c4841f5c172a5512604c6c2f.JPG

 

I think there is a RAM fault.

 

 

I've got a spare JPN region ( I think , all will become apparent further through this post )Saturn board kicking about the office, if you fancy trying to get the RAM chips off it, I "tried" to do a BIOS swap as it wasn't loading, so pulled another board apart, started removing chips, but one of them, I ripped the trace form the chip, as Sega GLUED the bloody things down :( I stuffed one or maybe both of the boards up on the shelf, figured they might come in handy at some point, so if you fancy it, it might be worth ahving a go.

 

The PSU not working right WILL cause issues with discs loading and can give garbled video out.

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On 10/01/2021 at 23:56, MikeBeaver said:

 

 

I've got a spare JPN region ( I think , all will become apparent further through this post )Saturn board kicking about the office, if you fancy trying to get the RAM chips off it, I "tried" to do a BIOS swap as it wasn't loading, so pulled another board apart, started removing chips, but one of them, I ripped the trace form the chip, as Sega GLUED the bloody things down :( I stuffed one or maybe both of the boards up on the shelf, figured they might come in handy at some point, so if you fancy it, it might be worth ahving a go.

 

The PSU not working right WILL cause issues with discs loading and can give garbled video out.


Thanks for the offer - I don’t think I would be able to get the chips off and back on without making things rather worse so I think I will look out for a working board. I will also check out the PSU as I haven’t actually tested that properly - games definitely take longer to be recognised than they do on my working Saturn. 

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Might be worth going for a PICO PSU, it's a worthwile upgrade anyway, can pick them up for around £30, and I've had systems that started working properly again once the PSU has been swapped over.

 

No worries on the chips, I don't think I'd try it again unless it was absolutely required, this one was just sort of messing about, and a little more dilligence ( and some decent Flux, which I have now ) may have left the board in a better state.

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  • 2 months later...

Pile o'Macs

 

In the interest of acquiring some 30 pin RAM and some SCSI hard drives for the various Amiga stuff I have, buying a cheap pile of old Macs seemed to be the most sensible way of going about it (of course):

 

IMG_0124D.jpeg.cfcafe9d5802523d35f98619bbfaed38.jpeg

 

There is a IIcx, two LC IIs, three keyboards, three mice and the most un-Apple official Apple product ever made - a generic OEM VGA monitor with an Apple sticker slapped in the corner and a VGA-Mac connector screwed onto the cable:

 

IMG_0123D.jpeg.310138a1fab6d9405e0fed49ae694bf8.jpeg

 

I did some initial testing, with the following results:

 

Apple Basic Colour Display: Dirty but works

LC II #1 - Powers on, grey screen, screaming noise from speaker

LC II #2 - Powers on, black screen

IIcx - Power LED rapidly flickers on and off, clicking noise

Keyboards - 2x Extended Keyboard II which work but are yellowed, 1x Keyboard II which has a batch of keys that don't work

 

I tested all the hard drives in my donor Power Mac displayed above (I got this machine up and running which has been very useful) and they all work.

 

LC II #1:

 

The screaming noise and grey screen indicate issues with failed capacitors, and sure enough they had all leaked all over the motherboard- the yellow goop by the feet was all over the general area but no traces appear to have been damaged.

 

IMG_0125.thumb.jpeg.540a713bbcd9fbd35303f92c2f32008f.jpeg

 

I removed the capacitors using the twist-with-pliers-and-push down method (don't judge me), then doused the board with IPA and scrubbed it with a toothbrush to clean up the leaked electrolyte. After removing the capacitor legs from the pads with a soldering iron I cleaned them up by wiping them with the iron, flux and solder wick ready for new caps:

 

 IMG_0135D.thumb.jpeg.5c1e879303d08af0debc912e3f33b7c3.jpeg

 

Then installed new ones. This was my first attempt at installing surface mount capacitors and I used the approach of adding solder to one of the pads, heating it with the iron and "sliding" the capacitor into place with some tweezers, then soldering the other pad when the capacitor was secure. This worked well and took no time - I connected it up, got the "Happy Mac" chime, and it asked for a boot volume as I hadn't connected up the hard drive:

 

IMG_0141D.thumb.jpeg.21a3bb3bbf155e21dd9169a61ce0e6af.jpeg

 

While I was waiting for the capacitors to arrive I washed the case as previously described - All Purpose Cleaner with a nail brush then rinse with the shower. I reassembled everything and it booted into the install of System 7.1.1 that was on the 80MB drive, with everything working correctly as far as I could tell. This one has a 16Mhz 68030 processor and 10MB RAM.

 

I connected up the repaired Keyboard II, reinstalled a clean copy of the OS, transferred some games over (more on these things later) and did a proper test - all was well and LC II #1 is now fully working:

 

IMG_0149D.thumb.jpeg.6783783427b30f1ef12bd3eca8e78320.jpeg

 

Next: Keyboard repairs, IIcx, Software Install/transfer

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  • mikejenkins changed the title to Mike's Retro Fixing - Amiga/AES/Mega Drive/Saturn/Mac
  • 1 month later...

More Apples

 

The Mac IIcx and other LC II were also fixed by replacing the capacitors on the motherboard, so not much to show there. None of the 68K Macs have an Ethernet card, but they do have a Localtalk (serial networking) interface, so in order to get software onto them I have to connect the Power Mac 7200 to my network, FTP files to it, then drag and drop the files to the 68K Macs over a LocalTalk cable which the Power Mac can also use. It's a bit slow (approx. 30K/sec) but works well and is extremely easy to set up. I wrote a new set of System 7.1 install floppies on the Power Mac, installed a fresh OS on all of them from these disks, and copied some games over using LocalTalk. I quite like the IIcx (apparently the first desktop and tower form factor computer) so I will keep that one.

 

The Keyboard II (shown above) had a couple of clusters of keys that didn't work, which normally means the membrane has some damaged traces - I took it apart and could see two tracks that were obviously corroded, and a continuity test with a multimeter confirmed that they were broken. As usual I forgot to take any photos of this process, but it was:

 

Remove keyboard membrane - this one is a single layer activated by conductive "feet" on the keys, rather than a two-layer sandwiched one which made things much easier.

Remove corroded bits of traces - basically very thin layer of copper painted onto plastic, leave some good copper at each end of the now-broken track

Buy conductive pen and draw new traces on - I was very sceptical of this (basically tiny bits of metal as "ink" in a pen) but once dried a couple of coats between the good copper on each trace fixed it right up.

 

Both Extended Keyboard IIs were very dirty and yellowed. Here is one of them before cleaning and bleaching with peroxide (note the space bar is yellow but all the other keys are fine):

 

IMG_0127D.jpeg.54c2c930b69c4726dd9348cd3a950279.jpeg

 

And after:

 

IMG_0156D.jpeg.4b362ce26382f3354958e587bb94c7c2.jpeg

 

Which was a pretty good improvement. While doing all this the look of the "spare parts" Power Mac started to offend me so I bleached that as well - before:

 

IMG_0027D.jpeg.83f4219d3ed06d6e5df67b34a1c632b8.jpeg

 

After:

IMG_0161D.jpeg.f69ee384ebe84d4a8a1644b90b970934.jpeg

 

Again, not too shabby. As most of these Macs and accessories were bought as spares, I have harvested the bits I want and will sell the rest of it to pay for other stuff, speaking of which...

 

Apple IIe

 

My parents bought me a second hand Apple IIe as my first "proper" computer in 1988, which I could never really work out and whose games were mostly worse than my Speccy at the time. It's a slightly updated version of the 1970s-tech Apple II but somehow remained on sale until the early 90s - they were very popular in American schools but were like hens' teeth in the UK. I spotted one on eBay for what seemed like a good price, bought it and it arrived:

 

IMG_0195D.jpeg.68fee020b25c1ad0e1a1bd54da3f46ee.jpeg

 

More to come on this one as it has been far from smooth sailing.

 

 

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Apple IIe

 

As mentioned above I bought an Apple IIe to have a tinker with. This is a slightly enhanced version of the Apple II from the late 70s, so has 64KB RAM, can do lowercase text, and with an expansion card which mine has, can do 80 columns of text and increases RAM to 128K. It was advertised as working, and sure enough when it arrived it worked, so I connected up my old Thinkpad to the tape drive input which allowed me to download software from https://asciiexpress.net/diskserver/ and "play" it into the Apple. It automatically formats disks for you then writes the software you choose to disk.

 

I had a box of 5.25" disks so downloaded a few games I remembered to test, then while trying to write one of them the machine froze requiring a power cycle. When it came up all I got was this:

 

IMG_0185D.jpeg.c6714eda830354b6986e8f67403d5b06.jpeg

 

It has a built in self test which I ran a few minutes before the above happened, and it passed, so I did the standard test procedure of taking it to bits, reseating all the thankfully-socketed chips, spraying with contact cleaner, etc etc and would occasionally get it to boot but it would crash shortly after. The power rails checked out although it seemed worse with the disk drive connected, so I rigged up an old ATX PSU to see if it was that (it wasn't):

 

IMG_0186D.jpeg.d7f3cfe4bc4427f2454a7b17d80da07f.jpeg

 

Seamless I am sure you'll agree. I read through a load of historic and current troubleshooting guides, most of which arrived at having to replace custom chips, so I took a punt on some RAM chips as the issue looked like bad RAM to me. £5 later and a lot of swapping of RAM (one of the existing and two of the replacement chips were bad) it came back to life so I started writing some more software (now using iPad instead of Thinkpad which worked better):

 

IMG_0282.jpeg.387fc68fe83e8ceda5a6280d5dfa791f.jpeg

 

Only for a burning smell and flickering screen to happen. I quickly unplugged it, unplugged the power supply, and noticed an arcing sound coming from it. These machines have a common fault with failed filter capacitors resulting in a lot of smoke (my original machine failed in this way in 1992) but these had been replaced on this one. I messed about with it for a while, looked without success for a new replacement (it needs -5v and -12v), bought an old Shuttle PSU which didn't work, then lost patience and almost sold it as faulty before having one last look at the original PSU, at which point I noticed a dry joint and faint blackening - cleaning and resoldering solved the issue.

 

Once again I had a functional machine, until the next day when I turned it on and everything was red or blue depending on screen mode (this should be a black screen with white text):

 

IMG_0197D.jpeg.9246a8070f17ac228aec47c802644c45.jpeg

 

This machine is a PAL model, so doesn't rely on the famous NTSC glitching as the others do, instead having a very odd setup with a demodulator doing the opposite of what it's supposed to do. It uses composite video and has two variable capacitors on the board that adjust the colour signal from the computer - tweaking these corrected the issue until the next day, where I had no colour at all. There is very little info on the PAL IIe on the Internet and all I could find was someone that had no colour and replaced said demodulator chip to fix it - these are still available new for £3 so I took another punt and it once again fixed the problem.

 

It has remained functional since (touch wood) so I got a joystick for it which was easier said that done in the UK - it sucks but some games dont work without one - all the horrors of analog joysticks and no consistent calibration system came flooding back:

 

IMG_0009.jpeg.9ac55045a0eb78eb316c594622019747.jpeg

 

And gave it a bit of a clean and hit the brown spacebar with peroxide, which came up better than expected:

 

1328636629_IMG_0334D(1).jpeg.516df967af1eb848d6f3a16b5f2ac39b.jpeg

 

And played some old games on it (it has moved around a bit):

 

IMG_0280.jpeg.3e1b6c1229678f8b3fe23d30a92bfdd1.jpegIMG_0199D.jpeg.24eb4d07d8593f974dbc18849b37b1dc.jpeg

 

Not sure what I'm going to do with it next but I'd like to try to touch up the corroded bits of the badge and replace the dodgy floppy drive with a proper Apple one.

 

 

 

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  • mikejenkins changed the title to Mike's Retro Fixing - Amiga/AES/Mega Drive/Saturn/Apple

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