VOGONS


Reply 20 of 40, by maxtherabbit

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IMO preemptively replacing tantalums (especially on a sound card) is simply a waste of time

Even on the IBM motherboards notorious for blowing them it only happens on the +-12V rails

Reply 21 of 40, by Shponglefan

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cyclone3d wrote on 2022-06-30, 15:29:

On the other hand, if the owner doesn't know how to solder and tries to replace the caps the card could very well end up being damaged or destroyed.

Which is why it's always a good idea to first learn on a practice solder kit or sacrificial board.

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Reply 22 of 40, by imi

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2022-06-30, 16:05:

IMO preemptively replacing tantalums (especially on a sound card) is simply a waste of time

not only that, like I said, the statistical likelyhood of something going wrong is probably higher when preemptively trying to fix something that isn't broken than a tantalum on an adlib card just spontaneously failing.

Reply 23 of 40, by bloodem

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2022-06-30, 16:05:

IMO preemptively replacing tantalums (especially on a sound card) is simply a waste of time

Even on the IBM motherboards notorious for blowing them it only happens on the +-12V rails

Yes, as I mentioned, it's less likely to occur on low current/low voltage components, but it does happen when you least expect it (as I said, it has happened to me with a VLB I/O card - the cap did not actually blow up, but it managed to destroy both my motherboard and the CPU).

Would I replace tantalum caps on a cheap card? Probably not... But if a card is as rare as these early Adlibs, I would not hesitate one bit. This is my approach for all rare/valuable items.
Like, if I ever get my hands on a Voodoo 5 6000, you can be sure that I will completely replace the whole power delivery circuitry (and so should everyone else who is lucky enough to get their hands on such a rare card - no, they don't have to do it themselves if they don't have the skills, there are always local repair shops that need our support). In fact, I already did it for my Voodoo 5 5500 (a card that I very rarely use!).

imi wrote on 2022-06-30, 16:25:

not only that, like I said, the statistical likelyhood of something going wrong is probably higher when preemptively trying to fix something that isn't broken than a tantalum on an adlib card just spontaneously failing.

Man, you must have some pretty lousy repair shops in your neighborhood/town... 🤣
I mean, I don't understand how someone can think that replacing a few capacitors on a board (again, by a person who knows what they're doing!), can be considered dangerous in any way, shape, or form.

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Reply 24 of 40, by imi

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how about instead of trying to constantly interpret something into what I said you just take it for what it is ^^

the likelyhood of something going wrong or damage occuring by soldering on the card it is simply statistically higher than a random tantalum cap on a sound card exploding - and even if it would - damaging the card.
doesn't matter how good your soldering skills or the repair shops are... it's simply unnecessary and a simple risk analysis, it's just beyond me why someone would even suggest that, we're talking about an old soundcard here that looks to be in perfect shape, not some critical power circuity.

Reply 25 of 40, by bloodem

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What can I say? You're right, I'm wrong, so let's just leave it at that. 😀

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Reply 27 of 40, by alienmannequin

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Thanks all - am intermediate at soldering - however translating tantalum values is hard!

Is there a place that lists all the values to be replaced for the card, with either electrolytic or ceramic?

Reply 29 of 40, by Thermalwrong

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imi wrote on 2022-08-06, 00:11:

if you really want to solder, you can get an Adlib Clone PCB for like $10 and populate it with new parts.

Yep, much safer and not modifying / potentially damaging an original item, that's a really nice piece of history - the Adlib cards are fairly rare now!
Their component parts however, really aren't and you can get kits cheaply that sound just the same if not better.

Reply 30 of 40, by Jo22

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Vintage radio enthusiasts do replace original capacitors, too.
And these people are all about authenticity.
I think that means something.

Edit: https://antiqueradio.org/recap.htm

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Reply 31 of 40, by imi

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- vintage radios are usually a lot lot older than this adlib
- the capacitors mentioned are replaced out of necessity, due to drying out or failure
- not a single time does this page mention tantalums
- they do explicitly mention ceramic capacitors though "Do not replace without specific reason."
tantalum capacitors age _even less_ than ceramic capacitors.

what is it with you guys desperately trying to get someone to solder around on their original Adlib card for no reason whatsoever?

Reply 32 of 40, by alienmannequin

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After taking apart the Compaq Portable (detailed in my other thread) and seeing the damage done to the CGA card (and still no concrete path to get the values to fix it), beginning repairs to that was a preventative measure.

Not quite grasping the pros & cons here. Is the main concern that it's better to not use the card for safety than replace the tantalums with non-original parts, or e.g. electrolytics?

Reply 33 of 40, by bloodem

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alienmannequin wrote on 2022-08-08, 05:49:

Not quite grasping the pros & cons here. Is the main concern that it's better to not use the card for safety than replace the tantalums with non-original parts, or e.g. electrolytics?

Yes, basically you should not replace anything, because... reasons.
It's OK to replace capacitors if they are older than 56 years, 4 months, 3 days, 11 hours, 2 minutes, 23 seconds and 62532313 nanoseconds, HOWEVER, if they're newer than that, you should just keep them caps as they are, otherwise there will be a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe!

/bazinga

I NEVER encourage anyone to replace anything if:
1. they don't have the skills to do it
2. they are not willing to pay other people who have the skills to do it.

However, if either 1 or 2 in the above example are true, replacing these caps takes... 30 minutes, and the device will be as good as new. Also, chances are that (in the case of sound cards and electrolytic caps, especially), sound quality will actually be restored to what the manufacturer intended it to be 30 - 40 years ago.

In my daily job, 99.9% of the work revolves around preventing that sh*t ever happens. That involves analytical thinking and quite a bit of attention to detail. So, someone telling me that I should just wait for sh*t to happen because "oh, noes, you will ruin the authenticity of said card", actually makes me smile. So, you guys can keep those cards authentic, I prefer to increase the chances (even if by just a little) of seeing them still running for another half a century (and most of the time, they will still look as authentic as possible, if the right replacement parts are used).

Do keep in mind this, though: in 20 - 30 years, I can assure you that people will stop searching for "authentic cards" that still have all original parts (do they even do that now?), they will simply search for cards that are in a good aesthetic condition and still work.

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Reply 35 of 40, by appiah4

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Plasma wrote on 2022-06-30, 18:12:

Like it or not, part of that Adlib card's value is the originality. If you start replacing parts, it's no longer original. If it's not broken, I wouldn't mess with it.

This is just plain wrong.

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Reply 36 of 40, by Plasma

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appiah4 wrote on 2022-08-08, 08:51:
Plasma wrote on 2022-06-30, 18:12:

Like it or not, part of that Adlib card's value is the originality. If you start replacing parts, it's no longer original. If it's not broken, I wouldn't mess with it.

This is just plain wrong.

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Reply 37 of 40, by imi

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I simply still don't get the point... idk why we're even still discussing this
people are still talking as if we're talking about 50 year old electrolytic caps that are used in some heavy power filtering application.
so far I didn't even have to replace any electrolytic caps on 30+ year old sound cards. (unless they were physically broken, i.e. crushed)

we're talking about tantalums, they don't wear out like electrolytics do.

if you just want OPL2 sound then get any card with an OPL2, it will sound almost exactly like an original Adlib card, or make your own if you wanna try soldering and it's a fun project.

you have an original Adlib card, that I presume works, so why go through all the effort of replacing the caps for no benefit but you're modifying it's original state, I agree with plasma here.
replacing the tantalums with electrolytics will certainly change it's sound characteristics, will it make it sound better? maybe... by what metrics? different certainly, for what purpose?
is it still an original Adlib card? no. it's an original Adlib PCB that someone soldered different components to, might as well just have used a clone PCB, they're functionally exactly the same, it's not some overly complicated design.
what makes the original Adlib card an original Adlib card is it's original state, now if something were broken, sure that'd make sense to restore it to make it work again, simply because it's a good thing to keep things working.

it's just such a pointless endavour in my eyes that does nothing but mess with an original card.

but it's your card, do whatever you like, you don't need validation or respect from anyone on the internet, but I just find it sad.

Reply 38 of 40, by bloodem

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imi wrote on 2022-08-08, 10:42:

[...] replacing the tantalums with electrolytics [...]

Who said anything about replacing tantalums with electrolytics? I surely did NOT say that.
So far I have always found new quality tantalum caps without any issues, and I always choose the ones that look as much as possible like the originals (so much so that I bet you could NOT tell a difference if you were not told that those caps were in fact replaced).

So, just for the record, changing the card's appearance is NOT something I agree with either.

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