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Old 19 September 2011, 16:29   #1
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Preserving hardware

I hope this question isnt too vague but I want to know apart hardware and how long it can last. For example if a Amiga 1200 thats still in its retail box going to live longer than an amiga that has been used at least 3 or 4 times a week since release? does hardware kept running help prolong life? Things like caps, are they age dependant or use depentant?
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Old 19 September 2011, 17:07   #2
Precious & fragile things

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Location: Victoria, Australia
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Several problems present with hardware.

1. Cycling - Power cycling places strain on components, start up and switch off pose the highest threats because this is when you can have spikes etc. going through the equipment

2. Capacitors - Leaving a unit off for a long period of time causes the capacitors to degrade. I seem to recall a Zetr0 post suggesting equipment should be power cycled at least once per month to keep the capacitors for the longest time.

3. Temperature - As hardware is switched on / off the thermal properties of every component along with the PCB and solder changes, this causes stresses and contortions of every piece of material (PCB / solder / components)

4. Dendrite Solder Growth / Whiskers - I don't know much about this but there are several links on Wikipedia etc.

5. Storage Temperature - For server rooms it seems 20 - 24 degrees C with humidity at 45 - 55% RH, if humidity is too low then static can build up, too high and humidity causes water formation / corrosion.

6. Location - Beach side country towns are picturesque, salt water corrosion is a pig.

All just a rough guide, anyone feel free to correct me or add anything.
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Old 19 September 2011, 17:54   #3
Stuck in the 80s

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I remember reading with 'normal use' / 'storage' a electrolytic capacitor has a life span of around 20 years.

Barrell batteries - 5 or 6 years (hence why so many have been found to have spilled their guts )

All Amiga's should have their caps changed or at the very least tested to ensure they are working within normal parameters (hey I sound like Geordie La Bloody Forge now)
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Old 19 September 2011, 21:23   #4
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Well-built capacitors can actually last a LOT longer than 20 years. In the vintage radio scene, many antiques are still running with their original 1930s and 40s-era caps! The trick is actually to continually use the thing. Caps can lose their ability to hold a charge if they aren't used. Luckily, they can often be restored using a variable power supply and very slowly powering up to normal voltages over a number of hours.
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