Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-14 @ 22:44

So my recently aquired KA7 turns out to be worse then I though.
Not only are almost all caps bulging and/or leaking, I also found other damage that could possibly stop my little project altogether.

When I removed the chipset heatsink, I found this nasty thing:

Image

I can't really see if its deep enough to damage the traces.
There seems to be atleast 1mm or so before guaranteed damage.
Could use some input on this.

Regardless I spent some time documenting what caps it uses (really paranoid about putting the correct caps where they should be =).
Leaving it here in case someone else wants to do a similar operation.
Or if someone wants a high res pic of the KA7, wich is lacking ATM according to img search.

Image Image

Bask in my paint skills puny mortals !

So the project is halted until I decide if I want to spend the time (and money) putting new components on a possibly fatally damaged motherboard.
And I really wanted a pristine KA7 =/
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby SSTV2 » 2019-5-15 @ 00:41

That dent looks nasty, but if vias and traces leading to them are unaffected, then it should be good to go. What kind of monster would salvage an ATX connector?

*For quick MB test, you don't have to populate all of the caps at CPU VRM, 2 caps per phase will be more than enough.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-15 @ 01:24

I found a middle ground solution.
Since I dont mind soldering (I need the practise anyways) I'll just leave fairly long legs on the caps so I can desolder and reuse them if it doesn't work.
In fact I've already done this now, but I realized that the board is incompatible with my T-Bird Slot A CPU.....gah !
Well no biggie really, since I needed a few more caps (the 2200uF kind) and a battery holder.

Still, wish me luck.
I really want to save another Abit board !
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bregolin » 2019-5-15 @ 01:41

Cheering for you, as I'd love to see a K7 project here. My elder brother had bought an Athlon 550 back in the day, which I've borrowed, but the mobo had died as it had been in the attic, not properly stored. I have been looking for a mobo to bring it back to life but can't seem to find one here in Brazil. Such a shame.

Good luck!
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby SPBHM » 2019-5-15 @ 05:23

good luck!
and I think the old Abits deserve to be saved, they are becoming hard to find, and I think with some love and new caps they are still great boards.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby Half-Saint » 2019-5-15 @ 07:01

If you don't mind soldering a bunch of caps, go for it. If it wasn't a Slot A board, I personally would not bother.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-15 @ 16:37

It works !*

Oh my, one of the BIOS chip pins was folded in on itself, nerve wrecking to fold it back !
And my BIOS programmer gives an error when I flash anything but the included BIOS.


Pretty board !:

Image

Test setup with expendable hardware:

Image

Post !.
And yes, thats my Slot A T-Bird 700MHz, apparently working just fine (!):

Image

*have not tried anything besides POST at this moment.


Cautiously happy retro nerd !
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby SSTV2 » 2019-5-15 @ 17:18

Congrats mate! The top MB side looks pretty, but how does the bottom side look like? :lol:

*Forgot to mention, that motherboard CPU VRM uses +5V rail to generate power, make sure that your PSU has a strong +5V rail.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-15 @ 17:48

SSTV2 wrote:Congrats mate! The top MB side looks pretty, but how does the bottom side look like? :lol:

*Forgot to mention, that motherboard CPU VRM uses +5V rail to generate power, make sure that your PSU has a strong +5V rail.


The underside looks just fine thankyouverymuch ;)
Tho I'll be doing a final clean once all the testing is done.
Looking good tho, all memslots work as do both IDE channels.
CPU manages a Prime test just fine.

And my PSU keeps an Atlon 1400 happy, so I think its fine with a 700MHz =)

ATM WinME is installing, no crashes so far !

Remaining work, tests and quirks:
Test all PCI slots.
Figure out why I can't flash a newer BIOS with my TL866.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-17 @ 22:06

Testing is more or less complete.
It's stable with 4 different memorysticks running at 133MHz, tight timings and CAS2.
All PCI slots work fine.
All IDE channels work.
It's even stable with a Matrox G550 AGP 4x with 4.35v VIA drivers (Win2k).

I'm calling this a success.
Whats really left to test is a more demanding CPU, but I really dont want to pay what peeps want for their GHz Slot A CPU's...

Saving a KA7 and a KG7 in the same month, not bad !
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby Cyrix200+ » 2019-5-17 @ 22:37

bofh.fromhell wrote:<snip>

Test setup with expendable hardware:

Image
<snip>


Great work! What kind of test bench are you using?
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-17 @ 22:41

Cyrix200+ wrote:
bofh.fromhell wrote:<snip>

Test setup with expendable hardware:

Image
<snip>


Great work! What kind of test bench are you using?

It's the Streacom variant of the "Open Benchtable", "Streacom ST-BC1".
Expensive, yet worth every penny !
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby canthearu » 2019-5-18 @ 04:16

Great result.

What capacitors did you end up installing. Very pretty result in any case.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-18 @ 11:18

canthearu wrote:Great result.

What capacitors did you end up installing. Very pretty result in any case.


Mostly Panasonic "FS" series where I could fit them.
It's got 8mm dia variants with the appropriate heights (≤15mm) and capacities.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby canthearu » 2019-5-18 @ 11:47

bofh.fromhell wrote:
canthearu wrote:Great result.

What capacitors did you end up installing. Very pretty result in any case.


Mostly Panasonic "FS" series where I could fit them.
It's got 8mm dia variants with the appropriate heights (≤15mm) and capacities.


Good caps, I used some of these on a Antec PSU repair. PSU is now awesome.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby bofh.fromhell » 2019-5-18 @ 23:10

And thats the BIOS update issue sorted.
Bad BIOS chip !
Lastest BIOS (TY) had some neat stuff added.

Some soldering pics to make ya all feel a bit superior ;)
Its working, wich is good enough for me !

Image
Image
Image


And a final pic of everything (apart from the BIOS chip swap) sorted.
Even found a nice CPU bracket, a Slot 1 model that fits after some slight modding (Slot A is flipped 180 degrees compared to Slot 1):

Image


And what a fantastic motherboard it turned out to be.
I'm calling this 100% sorted, and better then new !
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby canthearu » 2019-5-19 @ 11:09

Your soldering is pretty good if you ask me.

I've done much worse jobs that have turned out just fine. Multi-layer board soldering is tough.
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Re: Project KA7, yay or nay ?

Postby quicknick » 2019-5-19 @ 21:18

Congrats for your work, always a pleasure to see a nice Slot A board resurrected and put to good use. I have a Gigabyte 7VX that awaits the same kind of treatment (full re-cap and fitting the AGP, AMR and one of the PCI slots that were broken/ripped off), hope to find some time for it in the next few days.
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