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1451 posts

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#272957 27-Jul-2020 14:59
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For a while now I've been enjoying some great Youtube channels about retro computing - Retro Recipes, 8 Bit Guy, Retro Man Cave, etc - particularly stuff about Commodore and Amiga.  My first proper computer was an Amiga 500, and it has a lot of meaning and importance for me.  While I don't have my original A500 (or the A600 that I replaced it with), I did purchase an old A500 from Cash Converters about 15 years ago.  I used it briefly but it's been in storage for most of that time.  That's largely because I don't have a lot of time to play games any more, or because I don't really have the space to keep it out where it can be used (especially with an old 1084s monitor.  But watching the retro computing channels on Youtube has inspired me to do something to preserve this computer, especially as it seems to be getting harder to find one in good working order.  I saw an A500 on Trademe (admittedly in great condition) for about $600.  Mine isn't anything like that tidy, but still it would be a shame if it died altogether.


From what I've learned watching videos, a key restoration/preservation technique is replacing the capacitors on the motherboard (re-capping) to avoid damage from leaky capacitors (along with the Varta battery).  I haven't yet opened up my Amiga to see what condition it's in (I also haven't powered it up for about 5 years so I don't even know if it still works), but I'm considering a re-capping procedure as a first step to preserve it's life.  If that goes well, I could look at retrobrighting to wind back the years, and could even look at some upgrades (maybe something like the Vampire), though I'd be happy enough just to know that it's still in working order.


Has anyone here undertaken a re-capping on an Amiga, who would be happy to be a guide/mentor?  I have no idea what sort of cost it would involve - my skills with a soldering iron are fairly rudimentary, but I'd prefer to do it myself rather than pay someone to do it, if there are some clear instructions to follow.  From what I can see online it looks like it's mostly a question of patience and having the right tools.


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2195 posts

Uber Geek


  #2529695 27-Jul-2020 16:34
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Ive re-capped a few things and replaced leaking batts on motherboards the past.

If the batt was leaking really badly, it may have corroded PC tracks and nearby components. Hope this isnt the case , its then not a simple replacement job.

The hardest thing with replacing caps is unsoldering. The PCB tracks act like a heatsink making it harder to keep the solder melted, so can be difficult. You need a GOOD iron with a big tip
Also be carefull not to rip out PCB tracks when removing old caps , and too much heat for too long can lift tracks off the board

 

Easiest way with home tools: cut the cap in 1/2, removed the can leaving just its 2 wires . Now heat the solder & gently remove wire with pliers (it may just fall out with some heat)
Clean up with a solder sucker or desolder braid

 

Practice on something else first .
I now have a (very) cheap desoldering tool I bought from china. Its just a soldering iron with a hollow tip & a one shot suction vac . Does the job OK.

 

You want to replace with Low ESR caps . RS Components or Farnel/element14
Many cheap seller's LOW ESR caps arnt low ESR (Jaycar etc) , but will probhably still work OK .

 

Plenty of YT vids on replacing caps .
If the caps are bulging or leaking, they are bad , but sometimes makes no difference , having sometimes been like that for many years without causing issues .


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Uber Geek


  #2529707 27-Jul-2020 16:55
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This is the desoldering tool I bought 2 years ago. You can do the same thing with just a cheap solder pump & desoldering  wick , but the tool is a bit easier.
The repair tech I used to work with did everything with just a plastic pump & wick  (as per Jaycar links) .

 

Cheap & nasty , but works  :-)
https://www.banggood.com/30W-220V-Electric-Vacuum-Solder-Sucker-Desoldering-Pump-Iron-G-un-p-989643.html

 

 

 

 

 

or Cheaper option. Takes more practice
https://www.jaycar.co.nz/plastic-desolder-tool/p/TH1860

 

https://www.jaycar.co.nz/2-0mm-goot-desolder-braid/p/NS3027

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  #2529725 27-Jul-2020 17:19
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Love the Amigas, but never went down the recapping route....   be keen to see how you go :)

 

I was given an A1200HD a while back with the plans of tidying it up etc (was in real mess) but didnt have the time/patience.

 

You may find you don't have to do any recapping - but it is advisable to do so if you want long life from it.

 

Once you've done it and need any help with setting up the OS/Workbench, let me know - I know it better than Windows ;)

 

My startup scripts etc are here - https://pastebin.com/u/xpdnz

 

 





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Disclaimer - It wasn't me, the dog ate my keyboard, my account was hacked, I was drunk, ALIENS.


1125 posts

Uber Geek


  #2534878 4-Aug-2020 23:50
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You need to be careful with replacing electronics' capacitors as there are arcane specifications details to them people miss.

 

The quality of most retail caps is not electronics grade, they need good brands like Panasonic and Rubycon. Macro photograph before unsoldering so you don't lose track of polarity or specifications.

 

The leaking cadmium battery problem is common in old Mac and Acorn computers. The poison can destroy PCBs it touches.

 

The last time I looked there was a better than original replacement trap door module upgrade card for the A500 you could buy online. I'd remove the existing battery but buy one of those if serious about running the comp.


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Master Geek


  #2534883 5-Aug-2020 04:21
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Lizard1977:

 

For a while now I've been enjoying some great Youtube channels about retro computing - Retro Recipes, 8 Bit Guy, Retro Man Cave, etc - particularly stuff about Commodore and Amiga.  My first proper computer was an Amiga 500, and it has a lot of meaning and importance for me.  While I don't have my original A500 (or the A600 that I replaced it with), I did purchase an old A500 from Cash Converters about 15 years ago.  I used it briefly but it's been in storage for most of that time.  That's largely because I don't have a lot of time to play games any more, or because I don't really have the space to keep it out where it can be used (especially with an old 1084s monitor.  But watching the retro computing channels on Youtube has inspired me to do something to preserve this computer, especially as it seems to be getting harder to find one in good working order.  I saw an A500 on Trademe (admittedly in great condition) for about $600.  Mine isn't anything like that tidy, but still it would be a shame if it died altogether.

 

 

 

From what I've learned watching videos, a key restoration/preservation technique is replacing the capacitors on the motherboard (re-capping) to avoid damage from leaky capacitors (along with the Varta battery).  I haven't yet opened up my Amiga to see what condition it's in (I also haven't powered it up for about 5 years so I don't even know if it still works), but I'm considering a re-capping procedure as a first step to preserve it's life.  If that goes well, I could look at retrobrighting to wind back the years, and could even look at some upgrades (maybe something like the Vampire), though I'd be happy enough just to know that it's still in working order.

 

 

 

Has anyone here undertaken a re-capping on an Amiga, who would be happy to be a guide/mentor?  I have no idea what sort of cost it would involve - my skills with a soldering iron are fairly rudimentary, but I'd prefer to do it myself rather than pay someone to do it, if there are some clear instructions to follow.  From what I can see online it looks like it's mostly a question of patience and having the right tools.

 

 

Wow blast from the past....:)

 

I remember playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego on our Teacher's A500  in Computing Class '88.  Students had greenscreen C64's his was the only machine with colour..

 

I believe BadCaps is still the goto site for caps advice.....

 

 

 

Good Luck!




1451 posts

Uber Geek


  #2534884 5-Aug-2020 06:29
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Wow, you were lucky in 1988! Back then, our school had only one computer - it was an Amstrad CPC and we were only allowed to use it on Fridays for an hour, 2 people at a time. I only got to use it once. That was probably the first computer I ever used, albeit briefly.

I didn't get my A500 until about 3 years later, second hand for $500. For me, Commodore Amiga is the genesis of my computer history.

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