Friday, November 09, 2012

New Frontiers

It's never a good thing when your computer monitor suddenly looks like this:
First I tried a new video card, but the machine wouldn't even boot-up so after a couple hours of tinkering I took it in to All Systems Go around the corner from my 'hood. Somehow, I didn't notice all of the exploded capacitors on my motherboard:
It's a wonder my 'puter hadn't turned to stone a long time ago, as this is a serious failure that's been ongoing for many months.

Choice A was buy a "new" computer, and swap-in my hard-drive with OS and all files. Simple, easy, quick, expensive, and I lose my supercool custom tower.

Choice B involved buying eleven replacement capacitors from InterTex (IH10 & Hildebrand) then wrestling the failed ones out with lots of soldering gun and plier action that might destroy nearby components. Oh, and removing the old solder with drill bits that are 1/8th the size of mechanical pencil leads. The easiest part was installing the new caps, followed by pretending to be optimistic.

Surprising everyone except Sylvia, my risky fix actually worked and our computer runs WAY better than it has in a very long time.

$11 was the final price for parts, although I ended up adding some stuff while I was in there and also spent quite a few hours, driving up the total if you want to get nit-picky. It was a great outcome for what I spent, and the experience schooled me good. Do NOT ask me to fix your busted stuff--it'll end up at the bottom of a looong waiting list.


Keith Alan K said...

Don't be fooled--I'm only getting paragraph breaks by inserting some code I copied from an editing session.

AlanDP said...

I'm impressed. I used to use a vacuum desolderer in a job I had long ago and I would never have attempted a job like this without it. And since it belonged to my employer and I no longer have access to it, that means I would not have attempted to fix this myself.

Keith Alan K said...

I know what you mean, Alan. With no way to remove the old solder I decided to plow ahead anyway just because it was the only time I had free, and luckily the drill idea came and my brother had the perfect bits for the job. The best part was that he knew where they were located.
Still running fine, so it looks like a good fix. What I like best is knowing what I did, unlike the "faith healing" repairs I usually do where I don't replace anything--just poke and prod stuff. Kinda like how my truck got fixed recently.

Dave said...

Very impressive. It's funny how these days, for most of us, we just treat these boards as a single part and wouldn't even consider attempting a fix like you did. When I was a kid, you could go to a drug store or, of course, Radio Shack, and purchase tubes and capacitors and such, and it wasn't uncommon for people to try to fix their own console television.

You, sir, are an artisan!