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Old 13 January 2008, 16:25   #1
vanfanel
 
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Will all our amigas eventually die because of capacitors?

Hello there

I'm very worried since I read some comments on other forums about AMIGA 1200 computers dying these days because of capacitors leakage. What do you think? I have an Amiga 1200 for daily use, and a brand-new one I got at Vesalia years ago, reserved for the future: will I find this computer dead in, let's say, 20 years, even if I never used it? I though leakage ocurrer because of intensive use and high temperatures, and not on unused hardware, but...

Are capacitors on the MOBOs our machine's unavoidable doom? What do you guys know about this?

Thanks!
 
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Old 13 January 2008, 16:34   #2
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@vanfanel

its sad to say that pretty much the size of it.

but the good news is that these capacitors can be replaced, worse case scenario there is always emulation.
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Old 13 January 2008, 16:51   #3
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Ok Zetr0, but...do they leak corrosive chemicals on the mobo even if the computer is not being used? If they only leak charge, then it's ok because they can be replaced, but if they also leak chemicals even if not used, then...shouldn't we take away capacitors for long-time storage?
 
Old 13 January 2008, 16:54   #4
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Capacitors leak, but not anything that corrosive, however batterys do.!!
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Old 13 January 2008, 16:56   #5
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All hardware will die Some sooner (leaking battery), some later.
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Old 13 January 2008, 17:02   #6
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One thing to remember is keep hardware in a decent environment - i.e. temperature etc. Component life can be affected easily by that. Caps usually have upto 20 year life time although they can be replaced easily enough - especially on none surface mounted boards

Thinking about it most parts from Amiga models can still be picked up these days... there's always the Minimig too I wonder if someone will stick one inside a A500? Imagine the amount of extra goodies you could squeeze in the case along side it
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Old 13 January 2008, 17:29   #7
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So keeping hardware on it's original boxes, with it's original plastic bags, all wrapped in those greater boxes I pick up from the office shoud be sufficient to keep any battery-free hardware ready for mambo if I need to use it in, let's say, 20 years more?
 
Old 13 January 2008, 18:13   #8
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I dont think keeping it in a plastic bag is good, the might release some harmful stuff, that could kill it, I dont know if this is completely true, but I know some plastic bags, can change the structure of other materials, and if just a little water will enter the bag it can come out easy and will harm your computer.

I think the best thing to do is to have it in some kind of material who can absorb any liquid coming from outside or inside

But then again, like Toni say, everything die before you know of it
But don't worry. I got over 30 years old Pong machines being stored in a cellar (before I bought them a few years ago) They still work perfectly. You diskdrev and stuff like that would die first
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Old 13 January 2008, 18:24   #9
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What you've been talking about are electrolitic capacitors, they are the ones that have chemicals inside and can leak. Electrolitics tend to like being used, the voltage at which they leak charge tends to drop the longer they don't get used. When you do use them sometimes they will leak charge excessevely and get warm. Large ones have vents and simply leak, little ones can explode speading electrolitic gunk everywhere. I recommend that you run the computers about once a year and let them run for about an hour to avoid this problem.

This does vary with the quality of the cap, good quality ones can last along time with no problems, but others don't. It also depends on how close the working voltage is to the rated voltage, the more a electrolitic cap is pushed the more likely of having problems.

I've seen several caps over the years explode when equipment firsts gets turned on after many years of not being used. It's fairly rare but it does happen. It's a good thing the large ones have vents, otherwise that could make for a big bang.
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Old 13 January 2008, 18:45   #10
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But Amiga 1200 motherboards have small capacitors, don't they?
And they seem to be sourface.mounted devices, so replacing those is not easy at all...am I wrong?

Ed: Do you mean that, by runnnig my reserved Amiga 1200 once a year and play, let's say, SuperFrog to the end, this computer willl have a VEEEERY long life? Does ocassional use keep the AMIGA capacitors in good shape so in practice they won't die? Is that the solution for avoiding electrolitic chemicals being spread on the motherboard by capacitors?

Last edited by vanfanel; 13 January 2008 at 19:01.
 
Old 13 January 2008, 20:37   #11
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Perhaps get in touch with people that collect antique radios. Although old radios used far different electronics (tubes, etc), techniques used to store them might apply considering we're talking about storing an electronic device for 20+ years.

Off hand, I'd say a cool, dry, dark place. You'd want to protect the metal from corroding, too. Perhaps something that absorbs water.. Sometimes new electronics like DVD players and stuff have one of those packs with beads in them (Desiccant?)..
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Old 13 January 2008, 20:45   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zetr0 View Post
Capacitors leak, but not anything that corrosive, however batterys do.!!
Lots of rumors in this thread.

Electrolytic capacitors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolytic_capacitors) can leak corrosive fluids, but it's very uncommon. No other capacitors types can leak. It's a minute job to replace these with modern capacitors, and if you don't have a soldering iron, any electronics repair shop can fix it. Zero of the arcade PCBs I've owned since 1989 or so have had any such problems. A "how to take care of any PCBs" guide (in Swedish, unfortunately) is here: http://cc.arkadtorget.se/

Leaking batteries I've come across a few times.

Corrosive plastic? Never heard of. Same here - some of the arcade PCBs mentioned came from storage 5 times worse than any basement you've seen.

The only components completely impossible to replace are the custom chips. This is why Minimig and other projects are so promising!


There are greater risks to your Amiga, for example using an A1200 with the weak power supply that came with it. Buy a used A500 and use its PSU instead, or buy a modern powerful one and solder on the Amiga cable. (read the specs on your existing PSU and get a new one with as good or better specs)

Or wearing a sweater with synthetic fabric and accidentally give the Amiga a jolt (static electricity, also occurs on some carpet types, also if you pet the cat just before) when you plug in a joystick or peripheral.

Or 'never dealing with that heat issue that makes your Amiga reset once in a while'. Fortunately for us, Intel never got a decent chip designer that could make a power efficient CPU. So as long as there are PC gamers, there will be cooling solutions the size of grandma's underpants.

For non-classic Amiga users, I guess the biggest fear is that there will be no-one that makes CPUs or PPC boards in a few years.


For peripherals like monitors, mice, etc - there will be a market for adapters for other purposes than home computers in the foreseeable future, and when that era is ended adapters can be made easily by hobbyists.


One final threat to your Amiga's life is the end of production of floppy drives and old type RAM chips. Completely. Now, all Amigas can have harddisk interfaces, which in turn can have an adapter for other storage - luckily most if not all Amiga games have been cracked (what helped kill the Amiga might help keep it alive, who'd'a thunk it??) and many then have been WHDloadable. Which means they can be run without floppies.

RAM chips are trickier - I just now tried to get hold of a just 6 years old RAM type for a client, and found them rare and expensive. Luckily, the RAM specs are low and adapters can be made to bridge to any new RAMs.


Bottom line, if you take care of your Amiga, it will last a lifetime.

Last edited by Photon; 13 January 2008 at 20:51.
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Old 13 January 2008, 21:03   #13
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@photon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Photolicous!
Electrolytic capacitors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolytic_capacitors) can leak corrosive fluids, but it's very uncommon. No other capacitors types can leak. It's a minute job to replace these with modern capacitors, and if you don't have a soldering iron, any electronics repair shop can fix it.
I smell something fishy.... oh bugger there goes another cap!......
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Old 13 January 2008, 21:15   #14
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I remember when working on some of the later Commodore 'PET' models the massive capacitor in the power supply would usually go bang, and I mean BANG!

I remember seeing a PC somewhere than ran inside a tub full of some sort of mineral oil, perhaps running your Amiga submerged will increase it's lifespan
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Old 13 January 2008, 22:59   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanfanel View Post
But Amiga 1200 motherboards have small capacitors, don't they?
And they seem to be sourface.mounted devices, so replacing those is not easy at all...am I wrong?

Ed: Do you mean that, by runnnig my reserved Amiga 1200 once a year and play, let's say, SuperFrog to the end, this computer willl have a VEEEERY long life? Does ocassional use keep the AMIGA capacitors in good shape so in practice they won't die? Is that the solution for avoiding electrolitic chemicals being spread on the motherboard by capacitors?

I think that would be very good idea, just don't do something else that might damage it, like zap the input connectors. This is true of any electronic piece of equipment. Something that I've noticed over the years is that electronic devices seem to go bad juch sitting there, you wouldn't think that would happen, but it's the electrolytic capacitors that go bad. Normally they just get hot, swell up, leak, and lose most of their capacitance. I've never seen the gunk cause any problems, you just have to clean it up.

I think this is what happened to my A1000, the last time I used it it was working fine. I tried several week ago and nothing, the PS is dead, just sitting there. The power supply is a switching type of power supply, very common in computers, there's probably one little cap that went bad and is preventing the switcher from starting. I haven't tried trouble shooting because bad caps usually don't show signs of over heating in switchers because switchers generally have circuitry in them that prevents them from working if they sense something is wrong. In a normal power supply you just let them run until something smokes. Believe me, I've done that many times. That's not a good way to trouble shoot but sometimes it's the only way.
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Old 13 January 2008, 23:06   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanfanel View Post
But Amiga 1200 motherboards have small capacitors, don't they?
And they seem to be sourface.mounted devices, so replacing those is not easy at all...am I wrong?

Ed: Do you mean that, by runnnig my reserved Amiga 1200 once a year and play, let's say, SuperFrog to the end, this computer willl have a VEEEERY long life? Does ocassional use keep the AMIGA capacitors in good shape so in practice they won't die? Is that the solution for avoiding electrolitic chemicals being spread on the motherboard by capacitors?

If it's easy to do I would swap 1200s once a year. Use one for a year, then use the other for a year. Like I said in the other message, just sitting there things can go bad and do.
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Old 14 January 2008, 07:40   #17
Fred the Fop
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Bit Rot kills eproms and roms in console carts.
Nothing is forever, except for Liberace.

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Old 14 January 2008, 21:01   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred the Duck View Post
Bit Rot kills eproms and roms in console carts.
That's why emulation is so nice, just reflash with new eproms...

With amigas, same thing, a cap kit will save boards
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Old 15 January 2008, 04:19   #19
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Quote:
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Bit Rot kills eproms and roms in console carts.
Nothing is forever, except for Liberace.

Hah. Bit rot. Would be interesting how you described how that works
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Old 15 January 2008, 08:24   #20
Fred the Fop
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Photon, Wikipedia does a better job than I can.
Also, I first heard of it here:

Sadly, the webmaster, Rob Dwyer, passed away last year.

http://my.ais.net/~xtreme/SF/Bit-Rot/

Spiffy, eventually, all we may have left is emulation.
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