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Retro Nerd

Packard Bell 416SX issue

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Hi. Major issue. I have been using a Packard Bell 416SX without any issues until lately. When I turn the unit on, the hard drive makes the usual sounds, but doesn't read from the 3.5 nor the 5.25 drives. And nothing shows up on the screen. No other odd noises or actions. I have not been doing anything different. The battery has been dead for some time, but the computer seems to work without any issues. I have a lot of 5.25 floppies that I like to use from time to time and I don't want to have to buy another unit somewhere. Does anyone have any ideas that I can use to solve the problem? Thanks for any constructive advice.

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Check for corrosion near, around, and under the battery on the motherboard.  If the onboard battery died ages ago, and it is one of those lithium "can" types, they are ticking timebombs waiting to corrode the traces in your motherboard from the inside out.

 

From the sounds of it though, your board might already have been eaten. (Perhaps fixable with lots of bodge wire, but that's an advanced project.)

 

 

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Thanks. I'll look into it. I unplugged the hard drive and the disk drives last week and looked at all the boards and didn't see anything unusual. But I wasn't looking at the battery. Thanks.

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Posted (edited)

I looked over the computer, took things apart and reassembled. Didn't see any corrosion or broken parts. I'm submitting videos to show what is going on. Might not help, but I'm giving it a try. The first video shows how neither floppy drive works, nor can you hear the hard drive. The second video shows the top of the 5.25 floppy. As I said in the post, everything worked fine up until a few weeks ago.  I've had several people tell me to replace the battery to see what happens. They claim it works. I'll see.

 

https://youtu.be/1XTnpNh5oGM

https://youtu.be/zqWkBuhIhFg

battery.jpg

Edited by Retro Nerd

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OK-- that is a nice, well contained external pack.

 

that is good.

 

 

I would check to see if your PSU is outputting proper voltages.  The lytic caps in those PSUs get... "out of tolerance" as they age, and release trace amounts of water vapor from their electrolyte solution.  This causes them to stop operating within spec, and eventually they stop being sufficiently in spec to power on a motherboard, or to sustain the loads of connected devices.

 

Troubleshooting steps:

 

Remove all peripheral cards and attempt power on. (I see you already did, in the videos)

Unplug all disk drives' data and power cables. Attempt power on.

Attach a different PSU to the AT/ATX header on the mainboard, attempt power on.

Remove the RAM sticks from their slots, and clean the fingers of them with a WHITE VINYL (No, NOT pink pencil! NO no no!) art eraser, then wipe with static free cloth, and reinsert. Attempt power on.

If you have a POST card, insert it into a slot, and attempt power on. Record the numbers on the POST card, and cross reference.

 

 

 

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