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Old 24 August 2019, 18:07   #1
leeturner
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Eek Amiga A-500 Plus - Possible Battery Leak

Hi

I have recently been given an old Amiga a-500 Plus by a work college which is pretty cool. I know for a fact that it hasn't been used for at least 2 years because the Amiga has been sat next to his desk for the whole time I have been working at the company but it could well have been out of action for longer.

I got it home and tried to get it up and running with my 13 year old son but unfortunately we didn't get very far. When you power it on the red power light comes on but then nothing else happens - no boot sequence, nothing when you enter a floppy disk in the drive. You can see the light go on and off on the caps lock when you press that but after a while that seems to stop working as well.

Now my only experience with this type of thing is that I owned an Amiga when I was a kid but I have no experience of what goes on under the hood. Either way, I took the case off and had a look inside and the first thing that jumped out at me was the battery. It looks like it has leaked over the motherboard. I had a google around and found that this is a common thing for the Amiga A-500 Plus. I have seen a few posts in this forum that talk about cleaning up the motherboard using IPA alcohol but I don't know whether the battery has leaked too far in this instance and I would also need to replace some of the motherboard components ?

I guess I am trying to figure out if this one is worth repairing or whether it would be better to just buy a new one. I was wondering if anyone here with more experience had a view that they would be happy to share ?

I took a few photos to give a better idea as to what is going on. Hopefully that will help. One thing to note is that I wanted to give as much detail as possible in the images so I haven't cropped or shrunk them down in any way. Each image is about 6/7mb. Please let me know if that is too big and I can shrink them down:

http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3019.jpg
http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3020.jpg
http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3021.jpg
http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3022.jpg
http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3023.jpg
http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3024.jpg

Any help would be really appreciated.

Many thanks
Lee
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Old 24 August 2019, 19:10   #2
Vypr
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First things first. Remove the battery. it has leaked and corroded the pins on U12 and Gary.
Once the battery has been removed, give it a wash down with white vinegar to neutralize the battery acid. get a tooothbrush and give the legs on U12 a good scrub to get rid of the corrosion.
Pop the Gary chip out and give the legs a clean, you will probably need to replace the socket it's in as well.
Check the traces around the battery with a multimeter set to continuity test. In my epxerience, the traces around and under U12 tend to suffer the most damage, if you find a broken trace get a peice of thing gauge wire and use it to bridge the borken track.
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Old 24 August 2019, 19:25   #3
leeturner
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Hi Vypr

Many thanks for your reply. Really appreciate it. I have a few questions:

1) How do I remove the battery? Just had a quick look on youtube and it look like it is a soldering job. Is that correct or does the battery pull out on its own? Do I need to find a replacement for the battery ?

2) Same questions for the Gary chip. By the fact you said 'Pop' the Gary chip out sounds like that might be easier. If I need to replace the socket it is in how do I get the socket out and where would I buy a new one from ?

3) I am a complete noob around the whole electronics side of things so not sure about the multimeter part but can look at that once I have sorted out the other parts.

Sorry about all the basic questions. I take it that you would try and save this motherboard first before thinking of getting a new one ?
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Old 24 August 2019, 21:37   #4
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1) You can just clip the battery off. It's held down with three legs so a pair of snippers at each leg will do the job fine. The battery isn't needed, it's just there for the clock to remember the time. If you really want to you can replace it with a Lithium Ion Cell battery. Amigakit sells drop in replacements if you really want the clock to work but nothing in the system actually depends on it.

2) The Gary chip is just socketed in. get a small, flat bladed screwdriver and insert it gently under one side. Slowly rock it from side to side till you feel the chip start to lift (You'll probably hear a loud crack but don;t worry,t hat will just be the corrosion breaking) Once you feel it star to lift, t the screwdriver out and repeat at the other side. Alternate between the two sides till the chip lifts out
To replace the socket you will need to desolder the socket and remove it. I would recommend looking at some Youtube videos as there are various methods to do this. My personal method is to use a desolder pump to remove the bulk of the solder then a hot air rework station to melt the remnants of the solder and pull the socket off the board.

3)For this kind of work a multimeter with continuity tester is invaluable. A good resource that saves you pouring over schematics which can be daunting to newcomers to this type of repair is http://amigapcb.org.
It will show you the layout of the board and clicking a contact shows you exactly how it is routed and what it connects to which makes continuity testing a lot easier.

I owuld defintiely trry and repair it, I have an A500+ which was in a similar state. Same symptoms and battery leakage. i was able to get it back up and running again with a bit of effort (There are jump wires soldered all over the bottom of the board now. it looks like a plate of spaghetti!) But the satisfaction of seeing the insert disk logo will be worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeturner View Post
Hi Vypr

Many thanks for your reply. Really appreciate it. I have a few questions:

1) How do I remove the battery? Just had a quick look on youtube and it look like it is a soldering job. Is that correct or does the battery pull out on its own? Do I need to find a replacement for the battery ?

2) Same questions for the Gary chip. By the fact you said 'Pop' the Gary chip out sounds like that might be easier. If I need to replace the socket it is in how do I get the socket out and where would I buy a new one from ?

3) I am a complete noob around the whole electronics side of things so not sure about the multimeter part but can look at that once I have sorted out the other parts.

Sorry about all the basic questions. I take it that you would try and save this motherboard first before thinking of getting a new one ?
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Old 25 August 2019, 08:22   #5
dalek
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Great advice from Vyper for the repairs, but to add, if you are a "complete noob around the whole electronics side of things" then please practice soldering/desoldering on something expendable like old PCI cards etc before you even think about touching the Amiga

That socket will definitely need replacing and likely trace repairs too - maybe best to find someone near you that does repairs but it will likely cost more than just buying another one.
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Old 25 August 2019, 08:27   #6
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From personal experience, it is vital that you have the right tools and patience for the job, otherwise you risk causing even more damage. This is especially true for chip and socket removal.

If you have not already got the equipment, tools and materials then expect to invest some money and time, if you want to do the job properly, or at least, reasonably well.

Good luck! It is a great feeling getting it working again!
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Old 25 August 2019, 10:22   #7
leeturner
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Hi everyone

Really appreciate your replies. I am really looking forward to getting into this and I will definitely practice on something first before I start soldering. Or I'll get the help of a work colleague who solders motherboards all the time.

You have talked about white vinegar as the thing to use to clean up the acid from the battery. Is that better than using IPA alcohol ? I have just seen people use both on the videos I have seen so just wondered if one was better than the other. I have some IPA I can use but if white vinegar is better I'll pop out today and get some.
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Old 25 August 2019, 11:28   #8
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Really you should use both. White vinegar will neutralise the corrosive leakage from the battery, but the remaining residue must be thoroughly cleaned away too, and IPA is good for that.
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Old 25 August 2019, 11:40   #9
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To be technically correct, is not 'acid' from the battery. It is an alkaline battery, so it is an alkaline substance that needs to be neutralised with an acid base , like white vinegar.

You then need to clean up the white vinegar with something like distilled water, or even better, with isopropyl alcohol which will evaporate faster.
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Old 25 August 2019, 12:01   #10
leeturner
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Excellent, thank you for your help. I'll get started and see how I get on.

solarmon - I have just read your repair story here - http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=98371 What an amazing bit of work to get that up and running again. I bet you must have been pleased to see the boot up screen
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Old 25 August 2019, 12:12   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leeturner View Post
Excellent, thank you for your help. I'll get started and see how I get on.

solarmon - I have just read your repair story here - http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=98371 What an amazing bit of work to get that up and running again. I bet you must have been pleased to see the boot up screen
Glad you found the thread! I had no prior experience, so I hope it helps others in a similar position.

Yes, it is a great feeling seeing that boot up screen!

I would definitely do things differently and take more time, and invest in better equipment, if I was to do it again. I probably will do it again as it is a rewarding experience.
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Old 26 August 2019, 19:39   #12
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Sorry to go a little off topic but does this advice also apply for leaks from capacitors? i.e. - use both vinegar and IPA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
Really you should use both. White vinegar will neutralise the corrosive leakage from the battery, but the remaining residue must be thoroughly cleaned away too, and IPA is good for that.
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Old 26 August 2019, 20:20   #13
solarmon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim085 View Post
Sorry to go a little off topic but does this advice also apply for leaks from capacitors? i.e. - use both vinegar and IPA?
Capacitor electrolyte are not acidic or alkaline - so you only need to clean it up with IPA.

I believe the electrolyte is corrosive because it is basically conductive, containing a lot of ions, which can etch away at traces when electricity is passing through it.
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Old 08 September 2019, 22:33   #14
leeturner
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Hi everyone

I thought I would continue to post here so anyone else finding this thread could follow along with the journey.

I recently had a bit of time to take another look at this project. I got a few bits of kit (shouldering iron etc) and I removed the dead battery. I also removed the Gary chip. Overall Gary looks OK - needs a little cleaning up but not too bad. However, the socket the Gary chip sits in is corroded and most of the metal teeth have fallen out:

http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3123.jpg

It looks like I'll need to replace this socket. Where do people normally buy their amiga components from ?

Also, while I was looking at the motherboard I spotted something I wasn't familiar with:

http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3116.jpg

From what I can tell this is a rom switcher - AmmSwitch Iss 2. I don't have any experience with these to be honest. The problem is when I took the rom switcher off one of the pins fell off. The one on the bottom left of the photo below:

http://leeturner.s3.amazonaws.com/am...s/IMG_3124.jpg

What are the benefits of rom switchers. Is it worth trying to fix it or would it make more sense to just get the original rom for the amiga 500+

So, next steps are to clean up the board with vinegar and IPA and see where we get too.

Many thanks
Lee
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Old 09 September 2019, 00:59   #15
Vypr
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For the broken socket, you'll need a 48 pin DIP socket with 2.54mm lead spacing

This should work as a replacement:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tyco-Turn...gAAOSwhaJZ04D9

Your ROM switcher looks like it has 1.3 and 2.04 ROMs

They're handy to have if you ever find a game that will only work in 1.3 ROMs but to be honest I;ve never found one that has problems. If you want you can just pop one of the ROM chips out and plug it directly into the AMiga. Replacing the broken pin is easy, it's just a standard pin strip like this one:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10Pcs-Gol...UAAOSwVY1ZndcE

I would also advise getting a fibreglass pen and use it to scrap away the oxidation on the board
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Old 09 September 2019, 13:10   #16
solarmon
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Quote:
I would also advise getting a fibreglass pen and use it to scrap away the oxidation on the board
I got this scratch brush pen set from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Also, decent set of tweezers are useful:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Along with needle file set:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I found all of these invaluable when cleaning up corrosion damage and fixing traces.
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