Is this totally hopeless?

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Is this totally hopeless?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-9-16 @ 20:09

I saw this in a scrap lot recently and could have cried.

ouch1.jpg


It's an Ensoniq Soundscape S-2000 with the entire ISA connector cut off. I asked the seller about it and he said he bought the boards pre-stripped so he doesn't have the connector.
I've looked at some close up pictures of these cards and it seems fairly easy to trace each pin on the ISA connector to a nearby test point on the board, so theoretically it wouldn't be impossible to wire it up to another connector. Without the original connector though, it would be nearly impossible to get another connector attached at the correct angle for the card to be usable, not to mention getting it to be sturdy enough to not just snap off in the slot (ISA slots can be extremely tight).

I don't desperately need another project, but these cards are quite rare, so I'd tinker with it if it wasn't totally impossible.

I've seen posts about ISA connectors with holes for soldering pins and such, so I wonder if it'd be possible to get some kind of riser card to act as a dummy, just to use its edge connector. Connecting the actual card with a couple short ribbon cables wouldn't be that hard since the pins and the solder points were in order and very accessible. If anyone has any ideas or experience with this kind of thing, let me know!

I frequently see useful cards with their edge connectors ("gold fingers"... :blah: )removed, but never a card as rare as a Soundscape. This is the first one I've seen for sale anywhere that wasn't selling for "collectible" prices, so naturally I'm interested in it. If there's a somewhat reliable method for bypassing demolished edge connectors, I'd try it. I've had pretty good results with vintage hardware repairs lately, so I'll try anything as long as the needed components aren't as expensive as buying a functional card.
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby gryffinwings » 2018-9-16 @ 21:05

I think that if you could find the appropriate ISA connector, figure out how attach it, maybe some kind of adhesive, then just the gap with some precision soldering work, then it could probably be salvaged.

Check this video by the 8-Bit Guy, he has one of his friends help restore a problematic IBM CRT with crack PCB to fully functional state, you could probably use some of this as a guide, maybe start at 5:10:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oW7EszNFmPA&t=896s
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby kaputnik » 2018-9-16 @ 21:57

Would have tried something like this:

Grind the rough edge as straight as possible, to match the new connector. Tape the new connector in position from the underside, this is mostly to keep the glue in place. Fill the joint with epoxy glue, put a piece of tape on the upside too, and let it harden. Once it has hardened somewhat, you can remove the tape and cut/grind away excessive glue. Then let the glue harden completely before doing anything else.

Drill holes as close to the connector traces's upper edges as possible, you don't want the solder blob to collide with the connector once you insert the card. Also drill holes in the traces leading to the edge connector, and remove the protective varnish around the holes with a fibreglass brush or a scalpel. Insert wires in the holes, try to get them as tight as possible, they will also add some stability. You could even do wire loops and twist the ends together on the back side of the card, will be even stronger.

Then cover the wires with solder, and you're done.

Did a quick sketch too:
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby appiah4 » 2018-9-16 @ 22:07

You could simply get a card printed for this purpose that is just an ISA16 connector with a small PCB containing 98-pin headers, one for each ISA connector trace. Then use an appropriate 98 wide ribbon cable to route that to the Sounscape card, and solder the wires to the test connectors on the board. Messy, long, will use up two slots, but you won't have to worry about gluing a connector etc - something that will inevitably end in tears the first time you try to get it out of an ISA slot.
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby gryffinwings » 2018-9-16 @ 22:40

kaputnik wrote:Would have tried something like this:

Grind the rough edge as straight as possible, to match the new connector. Tape the new connector in position from the underside, this is mostly to keep the glue in place. Fill the joint with epoxy glue, put a piece of tape on the upside too, and let it harden. Once it has hardened somewhat, you can remove the tape and cut/grind away excessive glue. Then let the glue harden completely before doing anything else.

Drill holes as close to the connector traces's upper edges as possible, you don't want the solder blob to collide with the connector once you insert the card. Also drill holes in the traces leading to the edge connector, and remove the protective varnish around the holes with a fibreglass brush or a scalpel. Insert wires in the holes, try to get them as tight as possible, they will also add some stability. You could even do wire loops and twist the ends together on the back side of the card, will be even stronger.

Then cover the wires with solder, and you're done.

Did a quick sketch too:


This is basically what I was thinking.
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby wiretap » 2018-9-17 @ 11:12

I would get an ISA extender board or riser board, then basically make a 2-slot sandwich with it, running the ISA data lines to the new board so it could easily be inserted into a slot. Then mount the sound card on on it with standoffs so it could be installed into a case without risking putting pressure on a ghetto modded sound card.
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby dogchainx » 2018-9-17 @ 18:11

I want to see this hacked to run. :cool:
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby dr_st » 2018-9-17 @ 18:19

Just curious: why would somebody cut off the connector?
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby kaputnik » 2018-9-17 @ 18:24

dr_st wrote:Just curious: why would somebody cut off the connector?



For gold recycling. The connector was gold plated.

Wondering how much more than the few measly cents the gold from the plating yielded the card would have been worth with its connector? Guessing at factors of hundreds or thousands at least :P
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby Errius » 2018-9-17 @ 18:39

Is that rust on the RHS or just shadow?
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby KCompRoom2000 » 2018-9-17 @ 20:30

dr_st wrote:Just curious: why would somebody cut off the connector?

So that they could shove it into their brand new AMD Ryzen gaming build without having the PCI-e slots getting in the way. :evil:
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-9-18 @ 01:51

Thanks for the input guys!

I'd be hesitant to actually try to repair the board itself by gluing on a new connector. I have had some ISA cards that literally took both hands and some leverage to remove from a slot. There's simply no way that a hand repaired ISA edge connector would survive multiple tight insertions over the years (or even the first one), especially since PCB repairs like this are sparsely documented and I've certainly never done it before.

Ideally, what I'd have would be a small single-slot right-angle ISA adapter, which I'd just desolder the slot from, and use the solder points from the pins to hook up the needed connections on this card. I wish I could find something like this for cheap. I found a site selling these in lots of 10 for $20, but I really don't need that many. Two or three would be more than I'll probably ever use.

Anyone know where I could find or possibly harvest such a thing?
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby oeuvre » 2018-9-18 @ 13:38

brb cutting off ISA connectors and putting Gravis Ultrasound in a threadripper
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby PcBytes » 2018-9-18 @ 14:04

ditto, gonna kill a Voodoo 3 and a Yamaha YMF719 and shove them in my friend's i3 powered blender

Just kidding, I'd have to be a literal souless monster to do that.
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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby xjas » 2018-9-18 @ 21:44

You can get ISA prototyping boards that might be easier to solder a ton of wires onto. Something like this:

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Re: Is this totally hopeless?

Postby SpectriaForce » 2018-9-18 @ 22:32

Ozzuneoj wrote: This is the first one I've seen for sale anywhere that wasn't selling for "collectible" prices, so naturally I'm interested in it. If there's a somewhat reliable method for bypassing demolished edge connectors, I'd try it. I've had pretty good results with vintage hardware repairs lately, so I'll try anything as long as the needed components aren't as expensive as buying a functional card.


The time that you have to put into buying this item, sourcing parts and repairing it is probably worth more than just buying the thing in good condition.
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