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Old 23 January 2022, 16:42   #1
stairmand
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Help with my poorly A4000

Hopefully someone can help out with who best to send this too.

The last year or so my A4000 was getting very temperamental starting up often requring two or three attempts to boot. (sometimes not giving a display at all, other times failing to load WB)

Once up and running it was mostly fine, I had it recapped last summer hoping it would fix the issue (mainboard and power supply) it seemed better but after a couple of months started doing the same and recently started requiring 6 or 7 attempts to get it to boot correctly.

Using PC-Task the other day it locked up and wouldnt restart at all, I left it over night and still nothing. (PSU fan comes on and monitor switched on but no display at all)

Eventually it came on, crashed and that was it so I got some Diagroms.

It came on OK and I thought I'd test the RAM ( it has 16MB fast ram on the board and 64MB on the Apollo 060 card) it detected it OK so I thought i'd remove the CPU card RAM and test the board RAM first.

Now nothing again.

I'm at the end of my ability, who is BEST to send this too (I'm in Cornwall). I really just want it working perfectly and it's really getting me down testing it now.

(during all testing all hard drives, Picasso board etc were removed)
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Old 23 January 2022, 17:33   #2
thomas
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Quote:
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I thought i'd remove the CPU card RAM
What kind of CPU card is it? Some don't work without RAM.
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Old 23 January 2022, 18:18   #3
Jpor
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I take it the battery on the mainboard was removed before it spewed up its acid?
Only reason for asking is that you may have corrosion somewhere still.
Have you tried contact cleaner on the RAM slots, CPU slots? You might have dirt build up.
Also maybe a bad solder joint or 2.
Out of a matter of interest. Who recapped your board and PSU?
Was it Retropassion?
PM me, as I might be able to give you a reputable repairer I use, who currently is fixing up my A4000 Desktop with Cyberstorm.
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Old 23 January 2022, 18:57   #4
stairmand
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What kind of CPU card is it? Some don't work without RAM.
It's an Apollo 4060. It did boot to Diagrom once with no RAM in it. According to the manual it will work but at "reduced performance"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jpor View Post
I take it the battery on the mainboard was removed before it spewed up its acid?
Only reason for asking is that you may have corrosion somewhere still.
Was removed years ago by a previous owner. No visible damage.
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Old 23 January 2022, 19:04   #5
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Exclamation

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It's an Apollo 4060. It did boot to Diagrom once with no RAM in it. According to the manual it will work but at "reduced performance"



Was removed years ago by a previous owner. No visible damage.
With respect, this computer is to valuable for forum solution.
I would suggest you send the board to expert for serious refurbishment while you still can buy chipset.
Hese or Retropassion in no particular order. If you live in UK Passion and if EU Hese. Hese also builds 4000TX boards so he is an expert.
You really need to do this. There is no easy way.
This board will serve you well after this.
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Old 23 January 2022, 21:22   #6
stairmand
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I actually had them recap it, the work was OK but it took 4 months! I'd like it turned around a bit quicker TBH.
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Old 23 January 2022, 21:33   #7
Jpor
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I actually had them recap it, the work was OK but it took 4 months! I'd like it turned around a bit quicker TBH.
Worth giving Ian a shout at Mutant as he does this full-time. Based in North Wales.


https://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/shop/

Or if you can wait the details I gave you in the PM earlier who is based in Coventry
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Old 23 January 2022, 22:06   #8
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Worth giving Ian a shout at Mutant as he does this full-time. Based in North Wales.


https://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/shop/

Or if you can wait the details I gave you in the PM earlier who is based in Coventry
Actually I used https://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/shop/. He did an amazing job on my Specy 128K Toast. and even gave me chocolate in the package--my kids ate it when I was dumb to show them
Also refurbished 2 of my floppies for Amiga.

As for Passion I have used them on 3 of my Amiga 1200 boards and yes it took a while but I also had a delay on https://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/shop/ since during this weird times people like to use old computers and need service on them.
As for recap - it was Ok and no problems on Passion.

Only problem is that after Brexit using this services became more expensive for me.

Last edited by Orionis5; 23 January 2022 at 22:40.
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Old 23 January 2022, 23:05   #9
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Actually I used https://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/shop/. He did an amazing job on my Specy 128K Toast. and even gave me chocolate in the package--my kids ate it when I was dumb to show them
Also refurbished 2 of my floppies for Amiga.

As for Passion I have used them on 3 of my Amiga 1200 boards and yes it took a while but I also had a delay on https://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/shop/ since during this weird times people like to use old computers and need service on them.
As for recap - it was Ok and no problems on Passion.

Only problem is that after Brexit using this services became more expensive for me.
Always worth looking about in your own area first

If in Europe then try one of the local countries. As for Brexit, it’s a pain both ways nowadays. I had a major issue trying to get some Blizzard 603e boards off to Stanchu in Poland, only for them to be stuck in a holding area in Poland for a month before being sent back
Stanchu being the only person I know who can upgrade and fix Blizzard 603 and 604 cards. No one I know in the U.K
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Old 24 January 2022, 16:00   #10
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Putting discussion about who said what where and when to one side, maybe get in touch with SWAG. Still a stretch from Cornwall but manageable. They sometimes have people doing repairs at their events. Next one is in early Feb so you might be able to go up to Bristol for the day and get your Amiga brought back to life. At the very least they should have an idea of any local-ish repair specialists.

If you search through EAB you'll find various vendors, scope them out, call them up and get a feel for them. Ask about their current load, possible timescales and whether or not they have experience with your particular Apollo.

Yes RP have a reputation for poor comms and slow turnarounds, but I'm sure if you spoke to Steve he'd tell you if he was already booked solid. The only people I wouldn't trust are AmigaKit, because they've they've been involved in enough shenanigans to put me off for life but YMMV.
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Old 24 January 2022, 16:07   #11
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Putting discussion about who said what where and when to one side, maybe get in touch with SWAG. Still a stretch from Cornwall but manageable. They sometimes have people doing repairs at their events. Next one is in early Feb so you might be able to go up to Bristol for the day and get your Amiga brought back to life. At the very least they should have an idea of any local-ish repair specialists.

If you search through EAB you'll find various vendors, scope them out, call them up and get a feel for them. Ask about their current load, possible timescales and whether or not they have experience with your particular Apollo.

Yes RP have a reputation for poor comms and slow turnarounds, but I'm sure if you spoke to Steve he'd tell you if he was already booked solid. The only people I wouldn't trust are AmigaKit, because they've they've been involved in enough shenanigans to put me off for life but YMMV.
Fair comment SteveLord. Everyone will have their own experience. Amigakit for recapping I wouldn’t use again myself. Luckily I’ve found a good repairer in the U.K now.
But I am now using Amigakit to buy parts and stuff. But only on EBay at the moment which have been very quick to be dispatched and delivered. So there is promise at least with one of the bad experienced resellers I’ve dealt with
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Old 24 January 2022, 16:33   #12
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@ stairmand

If you'd like me to look at your A4K casually, drop it round my place sometime.

Unfortunately, I won't be wielding Oscilloscopes & burning soldering irons, but will try to ascertain where the fault stems from.

I need to know the exact spec too as I don't have any A4KD original PSU's etc, kicking around.

Drop me a PM if you're interested.
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Old 24 January 2022, 18:22   #13
stairmand
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An update to keep this sort of on-topic.

I've been in touch with Ian from mutant-caterpillar (who has been spectacularly helpful and replied quickly) . He's trying to sort a spare CPU card for me to try, hopefully this will at least narrow the the problem down from either board or CPU card. (I do suspect it's the CPU card)

I know the Apollo 4060 doesn't have a great reputation for reliability but when working I've found it to be excellent (except the SCSI port is very slow on my SCSI2SD).
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Old 24 January 2022, 20:13   #14
Jpor
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An update to keep this sort of on-topic.

I've been in touch with Ian from mutant-caterpillar (who has been spectacularly helpful and replied quickly) . He's trying to sort a spare CPU card for me to try, hopefully this will at least narrow the the problem down from either board or CPU card. (I do suspect it's the CPU card)

I know the Apollo 4060 doesn't have a great reputation for reliability but when working I've found it to be excellent (except the SCSI port is very slow on my SCSI2SD).
Good stuff. Glad to be of help
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Old 25 January 2022, 12:31   #15
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An update to keep this sort of on-topic.

I've been in touch with Ian from mutant-caterpillar (who has been spectacularly helpful and replied quickly) . He's trying to sort a spare CPU card for me to try, hopefully this will at least narrow the the problem down from either board or CPU card. (I do suspect it's the CPU card)

I know the Apollo 4060 doesn't have a great reputation for reliability but when working I've found it to be excellent (except the SCSI port is very slow on my SCSI2SD).
Hello, great to hear that. Just remember the board is precious and overall refurbish would be recommended. I understand you that it is very precious and you are protective to it for sending it out. Also been there but I am glad I refurbished my 1200's. I still stand by that Retropassion is great and also Ian is great, since you are in UK. You can still get chipset but is getting more expensive and rarer.

I checked Retropassion(besides my own great experience with them) on forums and I can only find personal arguments between them and Jpor. This is not objective anymore and looks more personal and should be ignored.
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Old 26 January 2022, 03:30   #16
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Something I say repeatedly in A4000 fixing threads is clean your A4000 PSU connector. Take a paper q-tip shaft (after removing the cotton) and peel it down until it fits in the connector or a very narrow pipe cleaner and spray it down with Isopropyl alcohol and clean the inside of the female connector until it's shiny. If you use a the Q-tip method when it doesn't come out grey after swabbing the inside of the pin give it a try. The connector on the PSU cable is much more difficult to clean.

Basic test is spray it down with alcohol, both surfaces and reseat it a few times. Unplug and let it dry and try to boot the system up. If the stability of the system is suddenly better or worse, you have an avenue of exploring.

Of the A4000 boards I've returned to life I always replace the A4000 PSU connector with a recap and use a gold plated connector, because GOLD JERRY, GOLD. The PSU connector is somewhat more difficult to replace but worth doing.
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Old 26 January 2022, 11:25   #17
stairmand
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Thanks for the tip, Ian from Mutant Caterpillar has sent a replacement CPU card so I'll clean the connectors and test with the new card and let you know how I get on.
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Old 27 January 2022, 10:54   #18
stairmand
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OK, with Ians CPU card (which he very kindly let me borrow) it works perfectly so seems my Apollo 4060 card is the culprit. Unfortunately he's not entirely keen on having a go at the Apollo card.

I have dropped Hese an email, I appreciate it's likely going to be time consuming/expensive. Is there anyone else familiar with the Apollo cards that can take a look?

Last edited by stairmand; 27 January 2022 at 11:10.
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Old 28 January 2022, 10:34   #19
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OK, with Ians CPU card (which he very kindly let me borrow) it works perfectly so seems my Apollo 4060 card is the culprit. Unfortunately he's not entirely keen on having a go at the Apollo card.

I have dropped Hese an email, I appreciate it's likely going to be time consuming/expensive. Is there anyone else familiar with the Apollo cards that can take a look?
Light pressure on the CPU when powering on might let it boot. This is indicative of BGA Socket failure due to age & could be your issue.
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Old 28 January 2022, 11:17   #20
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OK, with Ians CPU card (which he very kindly let me borrow) it works perfectly so seems my Apollo 4060 card is the culprit. Unfortunately he's not entirely keen on having a go at the Apollo card.

I have dropped Hese an email, I appreciate it's likely going to be time consuming/expensive. Is there anyone else familiar with the Apollo cards that can take a look?
The issue is that the time and effort in repairing these types of cards is becoming uneconomical, this includes the 3640 cards, as we now have brand new PCB's being created that you simply strip the old board off what you need and build a new one rather than wasting time diagnosing a faulty one (of course basic things a checked first).

Maybe someone is already re-creating a 4060 PCB, if your out there let yourself be known!
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