Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Last M.A.M.E standing part 4: Pop a cap in it

You mean shoot your own project with a 9mm slug?

Actually this thing might be more effective..

Well tempting true, but no. We're putting some new capacitors in it.

Don't get me wrong, after wrestling with loading Windows 7 a bajillion times and then enough resets to completely forget why I started this damn project, the idea of lining it up as target practice seems a very valid one.
But something something Rome built something in 24 hours and all that and here I am looking for possible problems hindering my chance to play Spinjammers in my own shed.

Once again Dr Google brings the main course to the table, suggesting that some bad capacitors on the motherboard might be causing the mystery. And after a quick glance there seems to be a section of my board where the capacitors have decided to join the dark side by bulging more than an over enthusiastic male stripper (and leaking in a couple of examples). Yes the things on the board meant to store energy aren't really holding anything anymore. Basically they're currently as useful as a turd in a swimming pool.

You're dead to me cap..

So out they come! And in the process of giving them a new home (the bin) I learnt a lot about my soldering iron and soldering ability:

-I have a 25W soldering iron. Apparently to remove capacitors in a motherboard I needed a 40w soldering iron with a spade like tip and my pointy tip low end version would be completely useless in doing this. Like a dump truck in an F1 race.
-I briefly considered taking the board in with me to work and bribing one of the engineers with a couple of cans of Jim Beam. They'd be out within 30 seconds and the board would be cleaner than fresh dishes ready for dinner...but I'm a glutton for punishment so I decided this would be an idea I'd save for last.
-Considering a possible upgrade I looked at a few soldering iron models and then searched Youtube instead. There I found plenty of guides to removing the bad caps..using the equivalent of my soldering iron. It's all in the technique and the tricks you need. Yay for tricks.
-A full on frontal assault on the existing solder turned out to be useless, so using a combination of wick, extra solder, wiggling the offending cap out, sweating, swearing, grunting and threatening to crush them all under my size 12 boot, they all eventually came out. Glorious!

Don't think I didn't see you there..


And stay out!!
Which now leaves a nice bit of empty real estate, ready for some new caps. I've ordered some of the same specs off eBay so now we wait (hoping like hell that this solves this restart problem once and for all - I've spent way too much time on the guts of this thing and should be getting ready to build the rest of it..)

You overstayed your welcome. Now we give someone else a go. 
 Last M.A.M.E standing cost so far:

Dodgy Motherboard $20
Caps that will hopefully fix dodgy motherboard $6.40

Will this work? For the love of everything holy I really hope so...stay tuned!

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