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Old 08-27-2005, 08:20 PM   #1
muddywaters
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DIY motherboard repair ?


My backup computer is an IBM Netvista P3. In the last while it started to go into a spontaneous
reboot cycle. The problem became bad enough to make it totally unusable. When I opened the case I
noticed some very funky looking capacitors. A little googling revealed that this was a very common
problem with my particular model number. The problem was common enough that IBM had a silent policy of
providing free motherboards for this model well past the warranty period.
My soldering experience doesn't go beyond home appliances and the odd car repair. Would replacing
these be beyond my ability? Computer shops around here charge $90 CDN/hr and moneys tight at the
moment. Anyone ever try this?
 
Old 08-27-2005, 09:08 PM   #2
ToothlessRebel
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I've done similar with success. If ye think ye can solder on only the contact traces that you see leading to those capitors give it a try. Especially if ruined the motherboard isn't too big a deal to you.
 
Old 08-27-2005, 10:02 PM   #3
williamwbishop
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What have you got to lose? You screw it up, you pay 15 dollars for a replacement from ebay. The board is not worth the repair costs.
 
Old 08-28-2005, 12:20 AM   #4
muddywaters
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Doh ! Ebay didn't even occur to me. Thanks There is a board just like mine on right now. A little more than $15 bucks but cheap enough.
 
Old 08-28-2005, 02:06 AM   #5
elliott678
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Replacing a capacitor is easy. Just desolder the old one take it to Radio Shack or similar store and find a replacement. It should cost under $5. It is very simple, just make sure you put the new one in the same way you took the other out, making note of the line going down one side of the cap. There is only two points per cap.

As long as you don't put on way too much solder or get it way too hot you should be fine. It doesn't have to be pretty it just has to work.

If you are unsure of your skills try practicing on an old useless circuit board first.

If you don't have an iron, you can get a cheap 30 watt for about $5-10. Don't use a gun they are useless in circuit boards.

In the end you get the satifaction of fixing it youself for less than the cost of a new board.
 
Old 08-28-2005, 02:50 AM   #6
Lim45
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If you decide to go for it, here's an interesting site with plenty of tips/advice:-

http://www.badcaps.net/
 
Old 08-28-2005, 03:02 AM   #7
kencaz
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I would say that yes if it was a standard capacitor, and you know how and have the equipment to check capacitors, and are sure that is the problem in the circuit... but... most MB's use surface mount components and are very small... A standard soldering iron just will not do it... but, hey, like many have said... If it's gone anyway what could it hurt to have fun...

KC
 
Old 08-28-2005, 03:12 AM   #8
elliott678
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Quote:
Originally posted by kencaz
I would say that yes if it was a standard capacitor, and you know how and have the equipment to check capacitors, and are sure that is the problem in the circuit... but... most MB's use surface mount components and are very small... A standard soldering iron just will not do it... but, hey, like many have said... If it's gone anyway what could it hurt to have fun...

KC
It sounds like one or more of the large power caps are leaking. These are easy to fix. If they have brownish yellow stuff coming out of the top they are bad and need to be replaced. Bad caps cause voltage stability problems, that causes crashes. I know from personal experience, I have had three boards in the past that have had leaky caps all replace successfully no problems afterwards.
 
Old 08-28-2005, 03:34 AM   #9
kencaz
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Yes, It may be obvious or not, however, "caps" are not fuses and there may be other reasons for their failure and you can't be sure that their failure is the only problem in the circuit without testing... Sure you can "replace and prey" but that's not really good practice...

KC
 
Old 08-28-2005, 04:09 AM   #10
elliott678
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I always fix the obvious problems first. If it is running but crashing it is either caused by bad RAM or voltage problems. Caps, in my experience, have usually been the cause of voltage problems. Whether they are on the MB or in the PSU. They are meant to keep the voltage and current stable, if they are leaking they loose thier ability to do that properly.

Since it is a common problem, as he said, with this series of systems, it sounds like IBM got ahold of a bad batch of caps.

I may be wrong, I have never worked with this series of computer before. IBM may have made an error in the design of the board or there is another component in the board causing the caps to go bad. Without testing there is no way to be sure.

I have a Dell Optiplex GX100 that had two leaky caps when I got it. I changed them and have been using it for 2 years. No other problems yet, hell I haven't even had the case open for atleast 6 months.

Some parts are just bad from the factory. Some are time bombs that wait a few months/years to show problems. Most companies are looking for the lowest price, not the highest quality parts.
 
Old 08-28-2005, 04:35 AM   #11
kencaz
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That may be true and components fail but if IBM knew of the problem and the user knows of the problem, why should the user take it upon himself to fix a corporate problem... I would hope that just because I am able to fix a problem that the person who is at fault fails to take responsobility for it...

just a thought

KC
 
Old 08-28-2005, 04:48 AM   #12
davcefai
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About 3-4 years ago some people in Taiwan set up a capacitor factory and "appropriated" what they thought was their former employer's electrolyte recipe. It wasn't, and as a result these caps are liable to outgassing and even bursting. If the tops of the caps are domed, not flat, then you quite possibly have caps with this problem.

I've come across 2 of these boards in the past 3 months. One was replaced for half price. The other, my daughter's, I decided to replace as at the time she couldn't afford to wait for any time at all due to pressure of studies. There were 9-12 domed capacitors on the board which would have been easy enough to replace but then one doesn't know if any other components had been compromised.

If the PC is not a vital "production" machine then all you have to lose is a couple of dollars and about an hour's time. (assuming you have a suitable soldering iron and know how to solder. DO NOT overheat the track, it can lift off quite easily.)
 
Old 08-28-2005, 05:00 AM   #13
kencaz
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Quote:
Originally posted by davcefai
If the PC is not a vital "production" machine then all you have to lose is a couple of dollars and about an hour's time. (assuming you have a suitable soldering iron and know how to solder. DO NOT overheat the track, it can lift off quite easily.)
Agreed, I would do what is needed if my PC is vital to my company to fix the problem, however, your saying that if it is vital then it is worth loosing a few dollars... Well, they may work in one of two cases but how many of those dollars are you willing to use fixing problems that others could have done in the first place...

KC

I stand corrected that davcefai had stated that the equipment in question was not vital, however, my point remains...

KC

Last edited by kencaz; 08-28-2005 at 05:02 AM.
 
Old 08-28-2005, 05:17 AM   #14
makuyl
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If you do decide to replace them, start with taking a few digi photos of them and their surroundings. Trust me, you'll need them for "damn, now which way did this go..."
 
Old 08-28-2005, 06:15 AM   #15
davcefai
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These are electrolytic capacitors, so they have a polarity. Personally I would replace them one at a time.
 
  


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