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RockyRaccoon

What dumb little tech repair have you done recently that felt good anyways?

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A peugeot logo is definitely something odd to put on a lawn mower...

I've always preferred Renault over both Peugeot and Citroen myself. It's been a while since Peugeot made an interesting car... same goes for Citroen. The 80s was  the golden era of French cars it seems. That's when Peugeot and Renault both made the most fun cars, mostly influenced by Group B(The Renault 5 and Peugeot 205), but other cars such as the 505 etc. were not bad at all either. The Citroen BX of the era never appealed to me for some reason. I don't like it as much as I do the Renault 5 and 205. However, in my opinion, the Italian Lancia beats everything.

 

Back on topic, I recently got a non-working C128 working again by pulling its SID chip. It seems that a zapped SID chip was preventing it from booting for whatever reason. The point is, I pulled it out, and it works again(obviously there's no sound, and all the other functions the SID chip provides are now gone.)

Edited by bluejay
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I have an old Gamecube pad I use with my Wii. The cap from the analog stick got worn our and lost somewhere. I had a McGyver moment and put a spare earphone mesh-cap on that stick. Fits perfectly and the pad is usable again.

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I broke the close door mechanism on a GameCube without realizing it. 

 

I've attached a picture below to show it. That's about the size of a quarter. If you break either of those plastic legs, the GameCube will just act like the door is ALWAYS open.

 

IMG_1152.thumb.jpg.130d71738abfed8e47e4f9259c76d2e2.jpg

 

Far as I can tell, you can't really fix this plastic piece as it's super small and kinda brittle. You can replace the board, but that costs around $10-15 for the board.

 

Luckily, I did a bit of looking around and managed to find a couple fixes for this. 

The Fix I Did

 

Another Possible Fix

 

The first video fix actually worked, but I feel (in theory) the second fix would do the same thing. I just used the leg of an LED to bridge the two spots, and it works great now!

 

I mean... The door is now permanently "closed" according to the GameCube, but it's a cheaper and quicker fix than ordering an expensive board. 

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I'm admittedly about as mechanical as a box of whale blubber, but lately I'm improving.  

 

First, I had a very cheap ($10 and some change but eBay gave me a $5 off deal!)  Chinese MP3 player bought off eBay.  For some reason I kinda liked this thing.  It looked like a knock-off iPod with a lime green crackle finish.  It doesn't have Random, but I change out the micro Sd cards with new or different playlists a lot anyway.   I mostly used it in my car or while mowing lawns, just to save a bit of wear and tear on my SONY MP3 players as those are my Favorites.  Unfortunately the same old problem as ever on these things rears its ugly head.   Battery Life!  I was getting to about a 25-45 minute run time between charges and I decided I'd try to replace the battery myself.  So I specced a better one off eBay (spent $8 on the new battery for my $5 player haha) and carefully cracked it open (it's kind of like a snap together model with adhesive as it turns out and 2 Very tiny eyeglass type screws holding the board), then I soldered the tiny little wires to their tiny little points (No connectors here)...Put it back together and It Works!!!  Battery Life seems incredible now!   Not sure but I got around 4+ hours out of it the other day and it only showed one Notch Down on the indicator!   But I can no longer use the FAST FORWARD Button!  So if I don't want to hear a song, I have to wait it out haha...Now, maybe I could get it apart again, clean the contacts, make sure everything lines up etc., but I really don't want to risk breaking it in the process...I might just  call this a win, and turn off or turn down the car stereo on songs I don't like or are not in the mood for (I do a lot of random songs for my Playlists so sometimes I don't know what I'm gonna hear...)

 

Then there's my Dryer...  I replaced the heating element on my own (with a new thermostat too),  but as now it's hotter than the furnaces of Hell, even on the lowest setting...Well,  I figure I'm one thermal fuse away from either success or calling a tech and spending money to get'er done right.

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I bought a scuffed and grungy "for parts" Genesis recently (I actually did buy it for parts) but when I opened it up I realized the board didn't look that bad... other than having decades of dust and a bunch of broken crayons laying inside it. I've seen crayon marks on the outside of consoles (and this had several) but I've never pulled a half-melted crayon out of a cart slot before!

Obviously it didn't work (It booted but couldn't read any games) but I decided to clean it up and break it down so I could see what parts were worth saving. I spent the afternoon disassembling it, washing and scrubbing the shell to remove crust and paint and crayon chunks, cleaning the board and contacts, and generally putting way too much time into a busted console because cleaning electronics is zen.

Anyway it works perfectly now. It was just really, really dirty. Turns out cart slots and controller ports work a lot better when they're not coated in wax.

Sometimes the simple fixes are the most satisfying.

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This isn't really a repair, but I recently bought a 6-in, 3-out SCART switch from Otaku Games, and I didn't realize until it arrived that only two of the outputs were SCART. The third output had separate RCA jacks for red, blue, green, sync, and stereo audio. I took a Dreamcast SCART cable I had, removed the Dreamcast plug, and then soldered RCA plugs on that end to hook up to my SCART switch. So far, it's working well!

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I had attented a RGB mod on my N64 FRA.

For those not in the know, the N64 FRA model has a RGB output all drawns on the PCB. But for some reason, Nintendo decided not to add the 3 transistors and 6 resistors (about that number yes) required to enable the RGB output. So it's only a matter of basic soldering and minute work, nothing outstanding like installing a NES RGB chip in a NES)

But apparently, due to lack of experience, I cooked the transistor. Given I hadn't recovered the few games I had at th time, I shelved it, until recently where I found my games back.

So I ordered a new kit (ordering the transistors alone was about the same price, and other parts may have been fried as well.

I went with the transistors only and...

P1000254.thumb.JPG.e502599112665a70d8b353c73e97662d.JPGP1000253.thumb.JPG.549f2c3d7a529dc4abb303d600178852.JPGP1000256.thumb.JPG.e5cb56fb3eb557c0cde5b4cafa3885be.JPG

 

It not as dramatically good as emulators with better texture filtering make it appears, but it's already a nice improvement. Also, this very TV is only SECAM compatible, and contrary to popular belief, the N64 FRA doesn't output SECAM composite - in fact, no video game system since the 2nd gen ever output SECAM composite signal, they either output PAL or nothing (in addition to RGB, except for the N64 which only output PAL) - so I can no use this console on any TV I own.

Edited by CatPix
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Replaced the /? and .> keys on a laptop.  I broke them off when I was cleaning it a little too aggressively. Working good now!

 

Also, last weekend I replaced the tank bolts and seals on one of our toilets.  The person that installed them originally had left the bottom seals and nuts for the tank off and it started leaking pretty good.

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I found an original xbox controller (translucent blue S type) amongst my sister in law's stuff & claimed it. Cleaned it up the other day- it needed it worse than I realized. Aside from a decade plus layer of dust & down, it had bird seed in it (she has cockatiels). Much nicer with all that scrubbed off & shook out!

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After getting a fresh spool of solder, I could tacle on the fixing required on a Sega Saturn that I was given "If you can fix it or for parts".

As I suspected, it was only the power supply. I scavenger one from a working Saturn. The two were slightly different so I had to change the connection to the console and the mains :

P1000316.thumb.JPG.190b7c5f1eb5837a59794cc20b128d0f.JPG

 

After testing it, my video cable gave me two bad surprises; first, the composite video wire broke, then, my older CRT TV didn't displayed anything right. A common occurence on older TV when the ground isn't soldered, and it's always the case on those 3€ Chinese cables.

So, since I had to resolder a wire, I may as well add jumper cables for the ground!

 

P1000315.thumb.JPG.1c7b697e84cce8d0e9dc1169e82b50fa.JPG

 

Well now I'll have to get a bypass cartridge to play my PAL games since this is a NTSC Asia unit...

 

P1000317.thumb.JPG.87ae07f0728c466aa22d9b2395ea15fd.JPG

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Bought an used GTX 1080Ti for my new PC rig. Under load it was getting 84-91C hot, with fans @100%. Since it's my first proper GPU in years I wasn't sure if it's okay or not. Eventually figured out it isn't  (it's super loud, and these cards start to throttle at 84C) and changed the thermal paste. Instantly the temps dropped to ~65C, with fans at 50%. It was a big relief, I was worried that the card is a write-off. Even asked the seller for a total refund, or 20% towards a new cooling block (it was before the paste-changing). Got the 20% :)

 

Now that I've done it, I can see it is inded a "little"-level tech repair, but beforehand I was a bit panicky since GPUs look kinda complex, and also cost a lot.

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Any recapping job. Makes me feel like a reanimator technician. And truly adds years of life to all 'tronics.

 

Recent repair was my old original first disk drive, a sick and dying Disk II. I could hardly believe I had an Apple hardware failure. And on my favorite original personally-prized drive nonetheless. The head banging recalibration sound was slushy and muted. The red LED was flickery with stepper motor activity. The speed sounded inconsistent. Easiest fix in the world. Remove the internal cable on the analog board, brush it with an eraser, finish up with DeOxit. Back! In! Business! Should be good for another 35+years. In the drive's defense it was really used and thrown around during BMX to "wArEz conferences" and all that. And when I first started driving I had an old Chevy with no shocks on it. Fucker'd bounce all over town!

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The 486 motherboard I'm about to discuss has 2 sources of CMOS battery backup - and for good reason* too. Onboard barrel Ni-Cd, and external offboard 3-cell Alkaline. And it illustrates a simple fix buried within a multi-disciplinary & complex repair. Let's get started with this incredible odyssey of repair & refurb shall we?

 

The deal is this. After lengthy storage the soldered-in battery went sour. And took some traces with it. To make matters worse it dissolved a via and tunneled its way deep inside, following the copper and eating it right up. There was no option** except to spend several days of INTENSE hard & delicate labor to dig down into the 3rd layer to effect a fix. Things like drilling sideways, cleaning and neutralizing acid, injecting new trace material, and layering the fucker back up with epoxy, were all par for the course. What makes it all the more remarkable that it was accomplished all in an area about 4mm2 under a standard 16-pin DIP. This. Folks. This is *T*H*E* stuff of legend!

 

Here's the easy fix within a fix. So, after the repair, the offboard CMOS Alkaline battery still had too much current draw. I knew my work was stellar. Maybe even Universalistic! Approaching divinity itself!

 

The problem had to be outside the repaired area. An alcohol and baking-soda Q-Tip scrubdown nearly 4 inches from the repair area fixed it. I was totally unforgivably negligent in not washing the entire board - the acid from the on-board battery had traveled quite some distance. But with the board totally clean the current draw was down to ~7uA give or take. Right where it should be for this board and according to the CHIPS' data sheet and BOTE design life calculations.

 

Twonahalf years later the off-board alkaline pack is 270mV lower @ 4.45V. A remarkable performance if I do say so myself! And it's only been powered on for about 250 hours since the repair. Less than two weeks. Did you hear me? TWO WEEKS. So the battery IS doing real work against a "correct workload". Brilliant!

 

To further enhance my AWESOME SUCCESS the offboard battery continues keeping the (formerly on-board) rechargeable batteries topped off at 3.556V. And furthermore the main power supply trickles them up about .2V more over the course of several days.

 

You see - I desoldered the leaky VartaBomb and put in a simple connector to attach two offboard Li-Ion coin cells in real plastic holders, offboard of course. Thus keeping in line with the original electrical design. Forwards and backwards currents all nominal. Ohh yes indeed I made sure to match the slope and size and shape of the solder to what came from the factory wave machine. It's easy.

 

Now there is no possibility of leakage damage ever again. And this old vintage Gateway 2000 system lives on, and on, and ooonnnnnnnn.

 

 

* There is a special, shall we say, bootstrap procedure, that needs to be followed before this board is shipped to the factory assembly line. Or the customer. It's my special secret. I'm not giving it away. And no one is gonna get hold of it. It's part of the planned obsolescence of the design. Once this board loses CMOS power, pffftthhttt!! That's it! It ain't ever gonna work again.

 

And lose power it will. As do all computer clock batteries. The external Alkaline will last some 4-6 years as expected, but the soldered-on battery won't. It leaks and shorts itself out by growing whiskers. Whiskers that short the electrodes and puncture the seals. This electrically deactivates the board both through physical damage and wiped CMOS. Beautiful and wondrous design isn't it. So when the stupid customer (not as intelligent as me) goes to swap the Alkaline cell, poof! 0V. The board's a gonner. 6 years is the target, baby! 6 years. Not only that, it will spit out a few POST codes that are totally unrelated to the true issue if you simply replace the two batteries. Further throwing off the technician wannabe. You just gotta suck this stuff up with zest and zeal.

 

** Finding replacement motherboards for this rig on ebay is an impossibility. They're either corroded or 0-voltaged. So to fix my nostalgic and sentimental first PC a lot of technical gymnastics were involved. Lots of interdisciplinary thinking. Advanced thinking.

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On 11/20/2020 at 11:21 AM, youxia said:

Eventually figured out it isn't  (it's super loud, and these cards start to throttle at 84C) and changed the thermal paste.

What mfg. of card? And what thermal paste did you select? I'm about to do mine soon enough. Currently I'm considering MX-4 or a Carbonaut pad for this job. Don't overclock and don't need every last wm/k.

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1 hour ago, Keatah said:

What mfg. of card? And what thermal paste did you select? I'm about to do mine soon enough. Currently I'm considering MX-4 or a Carbonaut pad for this job. Don't overclock and don't need every last wm/k.

Gigabyte Gaming OC. I used a local brand (Silentium PT2) which I bought for my Ryzen 3600. Never used it for the proc because there already was some preapplied new stuff on it, and it seems to be doing fine, for now at least.

 

That Silentium paste is an equivalent of MX-2 I think. I looked up some "paste benchmarks" (lol) beforehand and the difference between the top brands (say MX-2 to top Carbnonaut) was max ~2C.

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I was able to get a nice deal from a guy online for a pair of battered looking GBA SP 101s through a group I'm in on facebook.  They arrived yesterday, the pearl pink one fired up fine, buttons checked out, wasn't too bad other than being a light by funky and well beat up.  Then there's the pikachu 101, art on the exterior is jsut gone, all blackened and nasty on every seam and crevice.  I hadn't looked close at first, plugged it in the light was on but it was dead battery to start I thought.  Then I charged it a tick while going over the first, came back, dead.  I wrote the guy during the time for a response he said it worked, but it sure as hell didn't.  I knew it did supposedly when I got it, so I got to cleaning the battery connector, buttons, switches etc, nothing.  I got kinda peeved and wad like whatever, got aggressive slightly with the power switch on-off super fast and it attempted maybe 1 in every 15-20 swings to power on, eventually once it did, then didn't again...it lived?  Stripped it, cleaned the hell out of the on-off switch, other contact points, board, whatever.  Now it works perfectly, and it is still 100% confusing what got to it because non of the water sensitive squares in there show it got washed in coke, candy, food, whatever.  Got a pair of shells, new power plugs, and some second hand OEM rear stickers coming for them too in the mail.  Keeping all I can off the pika model, going to restore that one to new. :D  (The other sold to cover my expenses.)

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Rebuilt a pair of CX24 joysticks with Best Electronics' lifetime PCB kit.  They now work great, but the one thing that the kit can't do, unfortunately, is make them comfortable to use for more than about 20 minutes.

 

Began rewiring our utility trailer.  The old wiring had a number of internal breaks, and it was still using incandescent bulbs.  When finished, it'll be all-LED and with properly-conduitted wiring.

 

The dryer decided to snap its belt coupled with the tensioning pulley biting the dust.  Replaced both of those and it's quieter than it has been in years; having dry clothes in the middle of Winter is also nice.

 

Getting ready to tear into 3 XLs (600XL, 800XL, and 1200XL) that have been in storage for about 15 years; discovered that the 1200XL's PSU is missing so have back-burnered that one.  Booted the 600XL and 800XL last night to check for general operation; they were OK, but the 800XL needs a keyboard mylar.  Decided that The Brewing Academy's Replacement Power via USB for Atari XL/XE cables are awesome; paired them with couple of USB A Female to USB micro female adapters in order to reuse RasPi PSUs I had knocking around.  Worked perfectly.

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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Replaced all four belts in the 410 this evening and cleaned the playback head.  Loading is now much more reliable.

 

And yep, cassette drives are of limited use these days - but they're good for a quick-and-dirty SIO test as well as a way to test booting on 16K machines.

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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My dumb little "repair"

 

- I took apart all my SNES/SFC controllers, put all the parts in a pile, and assembled one controller from all the best parts.  Works great!  I also bought some aftermarket rubber contact pads, and was able to get a second controller up and running like new.

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Here's one that I feel foolish even posting...

I have one of those cheaper quality USB to 2 Atari joystick port Y adapter cables, purchased via ebay years ago.  It has annoyed me for a long while now by disconnecting from the computer when the cable bends even a little bit.  I have always handled it gently and wondered how the cable became shorted.  To make a short story even longer, I planned to cut off the USB connector a couple of inches up the cable and splice on a new cable with correct end from my junk box.  Tedious work I had put off doing for months as I hate splicing tiny wires and messing around with shrink tubing.  Before doing that, I decided to use a sharp razor to cut open the defective type A connector.  I was surprised to find that this particular cable end could be taken apart to reveal four solder tabs.  Stupid job, I know, but so much easier to fix and good soldering practice within a tight space.  The vinyl outer jacket slipped back over metal and now it looks decent and no longer disconnects the joysticks in the middle of a game.

 

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Connector wire bonding seems to have always been an issue with various devices.  A couple decades ago I bought a TV tuner card for my PC.  It came with a remote control and a sensor to plug into the card.  The sensor didn't work.  I cut the vinyl off of the sensor side and found that one wire wasn't attached.  Soldered it on, and then the remote worked.  Even further ago, my NES had started showing snowy interference on the TV, but playing with the connection at the NES could temporarily fix it.  Turns out the ground wire disconnected from the plug on the antenna adaptor.

 

So if you have a plug-in device that likes to be finicky, it's probably a wire that's supposed to be soldered on but isn't.

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We had a dimmer switch that stopped working.  Luckily it broke in the "on" position, so I could still turn the light on and off at the fixture with a pull chain.

 

Anyway, I did the simple job of replacing that broken dimmer with a "regular" on/off light switch.  I hooked it up correctly on the first try, but then I somehow convinced myself that it was going to show the word "OFF" when actually on.   Rewired it a few times and even tripped the breaker until I realized I just needed to flip it upside down - LOL.

 

Glad I didn't start a fire.

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