R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby alexsydneynsw » 2018-3-17 @ 11:34

I have a similar issue with a a 2.0. There is a topic somewhere on vogons. So far my plan was to use assembler and the SDK docs to try to send some diag bytes to the card but I haven’t got that far yet..

Did you try playing fm music? My fm chip works, it’s just driver detection and digital sound fx that don’t work properly.
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby Pabloz » 2018-3-20 @ 19:01

ok got another idea

i can buy a cheap Ct4500 Isa card
then i have soldering skills, i remove the rom chip from both cards
i insert the rom chip from the Ct4500 Isa to the ct3670

would that even work? would the card even boot thinking its a Ct4500 ?
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-3-21 @ 01:49

I think that would work. No harm in trying.
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby CkRtech » 2018-3-21 @ 01:55

I have been doing a small bit of guesswork with my responses in your thread - but I believe the eeprom just holds configuration information. If flashing the AWE64 information doesn't stick - it could be either a pathway/logic/programming issue independent of the chip - or the chip is just shot.

If the chip is shot, just order another one, replace it, and try the AWE64 firmware flash to see if it takes. Saves you sacrificing another card as well as having to desolder two chips (old and replacement).
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby Pabloz » 2018-5-21 @ 15:40

guys you wont belive this

Now i have TWO broken ct3670 cards
both of them give a ERROR BAD SERIAL ID CHECKSUM ( VENDOR ID 0) error upon boot on different PCs.

what is wrong this this model i can´t belive it.
and again the dell flashing tool does not work with any of these two cards, it doesnt flash.


the only hope then is to take this chip from another card and put it on the ct3670?

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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-5-21 @ 17:41

Weird. I've got one definitely working CT3670 and another that I haven't tested.

Something smells fishy though. I haven't seen any other complaints about dead CT3670 cards on here.
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby dionb » 2018-5-21 @ 22:27

Working CT3670 here too. Agree that one card could be fluke, but two cards showing same error suggest problem isn't in the cards themselves.
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby Pabloz » 2018-8-27 @ 03:30

today i got my third CT3670
and this one finally works, i cant belive it, the first two gave Erros on boot!

But it has issues,I noticed that the volume decreases and Increases by itself after some time.
happens on all games..for example volume can sound fine while playing but after a minute of gameplay it goes way up, and after another minute volume goes down again.
could be that the capacitors are really bad? or voltage regulator? i did notice the big crystal oscillator has a small bent

anyway i still have 2 broken ct3670s
and i want to see if i can recover them fully since i have an eeprom flasher MiniPro TL866 Universal Programmer

then i think i can buy this to read the flash from the good card, and flash the broken card, without desoldering the chips from the Soundblaster.

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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby Tiido » 2018-8-27 @ 04:57

The chip is not in system programmable via external means, connecting such a thing to a non powered card will at best do nothing and at worst kill the card's IO pins connected to the EEPROM or the programmer itself as it tries to partially power the entire card. Connecting it to a powered card will only fight with the IO pins and you still risk damaging them.
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2018-8-27 @ 10:34

I've posted similar problem not long ago.

Symptoms:
BIOS - card is properly recognised as SB 32 PnP.
Windows XP - properly initialised, works.
DOS games from Win 9x - semi-works, no OPL3.
Diagnostic tools - can't find the card.
Win 9x - card is recognised by the OS, but can't allocate any resources.

Seems like CT3670 was a really flawed model.
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby Pabloz » 2018-8-27 @ 19:08

Tiido wrote:The chip is not in system programmable via external means, connecting such a thing to a non powered card will at best do nothing and at worst kill the card's IO pins connected to the EEPROM or the programmer itself as it tries to partially power the entire card. Connecting it to a powered card will only fight with the IO pins and you still risk damaging them.


OK then i will forget my idea

so only hope is to gently remove the chip from the working board
then read it.
then remove the chip from the other card and flash it.

but it is difficult to remove with just soldering iron..it has 8 legs. and i dont want to burn it
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby stamasd » 2018-8-28 @ 12:40

Pabloz wrote:
Tiido wrote:The chip is not in system programmable via external means, connecting such a thing to a non powered card will at best do nothing and at worst kill the card's IO pins connected to the EEPROM or the programmer itself as it tries to partially power the entire card. Connecting it to a powered card will only fight with the IO pins and you still risk damaging them.


OK then i will forget my idea

so only hope is to gently remove the chip from the working board
then read it.
then remove the chip from the other card and flash it.

but it is difficult to remove with just soldering iron..it has 8 legs. and i dont want to burn it


Here are some tips for doing that. I've done it a lot, mostly for routers etc. get some liquid flux (preferably the no-clean type) and desoldering braid. Also get either tweezers or a small screwdriver, the kind that you use for eyeglasses. Make sure the screwdriver is sharpened, you will be using it as a wedge. If you have someone helping you it's easier as you can have the second person use the tweezers; if you're alone and only have your 2 hands you will have to use the screwdriver instead.

Apply a generous amount (but not excessive) of flux over the pin/pad solder connections on both sides of the chip. Heat your soldering iron just enough to melt the solder. Place a length of the desoldering braid over the pins on one side in such a manner to cover all of them, then press it down with the side of your soldering iron tip. Hold the tip there until the solder melts and starts wicking into the desoldering braid (you can tell as the braid changes color from copper to silverish). Lift the tip and the desoldering braid, cut the length of the braid that is now saturated with solder, place the braid back over the pins, repeat until you don't get any more solder wicking up in the braid. Do the same on the opposite side of the chip.

Now, either have the other person grab the sides of the chip (the ones without pins) with the tweezers and gently pull up, or insert the tip of the screwdriver under the chip between it and the PCB, and apply pressure down so that the tip pushes the chip up from underneath. Put again the tip of the soldering iron over the pins on one side this time without the braid so you heat them up uniformly until all solder is melted on that side. The tip of the screwdriver (or tweezers) should lift all pins on that side at once. Don't lift more than 1mm, or just enough that the pins don't touch the pads anymore. Do the same on the opposite side and the chip should pop free.

(edit) don't be afraid to burn the chip, that won't happen unless you set your soldering iron too hot and take a really long time with it in contact with the pins. Those chips are made to withstand reflow, which heats the whole chip at the temperature that melts solder for 10 seconds or so. They are specifically designed to go through such treatment without harm.
I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby Pabloz » 2018-8-28 @ 18:55

stamasd wrote:
Pabloz wrote:
Tiido wrote:The chip is not in system programmable via external means, connecting such a thing to a non powered card will at best do nothing and at worst kill the card's IO pins connected to the EEPROM or the programmer itself as it tries to partially power the entire card. Connecting it to a powered card will only fight with the IO pins and you still risk damaging them.


OK then i will forget my idea

so only hope is to gently remove the chip from the working board
then read it.
then remove the chip from the other card and flash it.

but it is difficult to remove with just soldering iron..it has 8 legs. and i dont want to burn it


Here are some tips for doing that. I've done it a lot, mostly for routers etc. get some liquid flux (preferably the no-clean type) and desoldering braid. Also get either tweezers or a small screwdriver, the kind that you use for eyeglasses. Make sure the screwdriver is sharpened, you will be using it as a wedge. If you have someone helping you it's easier as you can have the second person use the tweezers; if you're alone and only have your 2 hands you will have to use the screwdriver instead.

Apply a generous amount (but not excessive) of flux over the pin/pad solder connections on both sides of the chip. Heat your soldering iron just enough to melt the solder. Place a length of the desoldering braid over the pins on one side in such a manner to cover all of them, then press it down with the side of your soldering iron tip. Hold the tip there until the solder melts and starts wicking into the desoldering braid (you can tell as the braid changes color from copper to silverish). Lift the tip and the desoldering braid, cut the length of the braid that is now saturated with solder, place the braid back over the pins, repeat until you don't get any more solder wicking up in the braid. Do the same on the opposite side of the chip.

Now, either have the other person grab the sides of the chip (the ones without pins) with the tweezers and gently pull up, or insert the tip of the screwdriver under the chip between it and the PCB, and apply pressure down so that the tip pushes the chip up from underneath. Put again the tip of the soldering iron over the pins on one side this time without the braid so you heat them up uniformly until all solder is melted on that side. The tip of the screwdriver (or tweezers) should lift all pins on that side at once. Don't lift more than 1mm, or just enough that the pins don't touch the pads anymore. Do the same on the opposite side and the chip should pop free.

(edit) don't be afraid to burn the chip, that won't happen unless you set your soldering iron too hot and take a really long time with it in contact with the pins. Those chips are made to withstand reflow, which heats the whole chip at the temperature that melts solder for 10 seconds or so. They are specifically designed to go through such treatment without harm.


good explanation!
at what temperature should the soldering iron be? i have a soldering iron that has a meter and i can choose the temparature in degrees Celcius
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Re: R.I.P. SoundBlaster AWE32

Postby stamasd » 2018-8-28 @ 19:59

Try starting at 180C/350F and work up from there. The markings on these soldering irons aren't very reliable and could be +/- 10% of what is marked. Eutectic 63/37 solder nominally melts at 183C/361F. The cheaper 60/40 melts approx at 188C/370F. Do some dry tests i.e. with small pieces of solder and find the setting where it melts the solder in 3-5 seconds or so.
I/O, I/O,
It's off to disk I go,
With a bit and a byte
And a read and a write,
I/O, I/O
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