VOGONS


First post, by johnvosh

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Got myself a third retro computer. Was given a Dell Dimension 9200 system, no monitor. Has a Core 2 Duo E6700, 3GB ram, 500GB HDD, BTX motherboard and case, GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB video card. Had a look at the motherboard and it looks like 4 of the bigger, brown capacitors have a tiny bit of a bulge to their tops, but seems to run just fine for now. It was password protected, so I plugged the HDD into my Win10 system, just so I can see approx when it was last used and looks like it was last used sometime around 2014.

It had Windows Vista Ultimate on it, but I completely removed that and split the HDD into 2 partitions. I loaded Win XP on the first, then I might load Vista or 7 onto the second one. Updated the BIOS to the latest one.

I do seem to have one problem though and can't out how to fix it. It came with the USB Dell keyboard. When it boots it will say keyboard failure and to use the keyboard I have to unplug it then reconnect it and it works fine. Any ideas on how to fix this? It also doesn't matter which USB port I plug into. I would use my PS/2 keyboard, but no PS/2 ports.

Sys1: A64 X2 4400+, 2GB DDR400, 150GB WD Velociraptor, Radeon HD 3650 512MG AGP, MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, XP Home
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Reply 1 of 15, by gerry

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sounds like a nice system, about the USB keyboard - are there PS2 connectors? i find occasional problems with USB input devices on boot in some systems and if i can use PS2 I will. otherwise if you have another USB keyboard does it work then?

Reply 3 of 15, by johnvosh

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2021-05-20, 14:16:

Have you tried a different keyboard with it to rule out an issue with they keyboard itself?

I managed to find another USB keyboard and no issues with it, so looks like it was the Keyboard after all

Sys1: A64 X2 4400+, 2GB DDR400, 150GB WD Velociraptor, Radeon HD 3650 512MG AGP, MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, XP Home
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Reply 4 of 15, by johnvosh

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Some pics of the system. I actually don't mind the looks of it.

Took and ran Crystal disk Info on it and it came up with Caution and it looks like it probably isn't going to last much longer. Luckily I have a brand NOS 250GB HDD I'm going to stick into it.

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Sys1: A64 X2 4400+, 2GB DDR400, 150GB WD Velociraptor, Radeon HD 3650 512MG AGP, MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, XP Home
Sys2:
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Reply 5 of 15, by johnvosh

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It's hard to see in the pic, but you can see an ever so slight bulge from the brown caps. Going to run this as long as I can, then maybe replace the caps when they go.

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Sys1: A64 X2 4400+, 2GB DDR400, 150GB WD Velociraptor, Radeon HD 3650 512MG AGP, MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, XP Home
Sys2:
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Reply 6 of 15, by Errius

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Yes, watch the capacitors with these. I have a Dimension 9150 which is dead because multiple capacitors burst and spilled gunk all over the board.

“I like to dissect PCs. Don't you know I'm utterly insane?"

Reply 7 of 15, by johnvosh

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Ran some benchmarks on the system and here are the results 😀 These are 3DMark03, 05, 06. I ran the tests are my monitors resolution of 1280x1024.

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Sys1: A64 X2 4400+, 2GB DDR400, 150GB WD Velociraptor, Radeon HD 3650 512MG AGP, MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, XP Home
Sys2:
Sys3:

Reply 8 of 15, by johnvosh

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Here are a couple more benchmarks.

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Reply 9 of 15, by johnvosh

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So decided to upgrade the video card in this PC and will upgrade the PSU as well. Getting a Radeon HD 4870 1GB card. Order it on eBay, should be here by end of next week probably.

Sys1: A64 X2 4400+, 2GB DDR400, 150GB WD Velociraptor, Radeon HD 3650 512MG AGP, MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, XP Home
Sys2:
Sys3:

Reply 10 of 15, by cyclone3d

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Back when I was doing onsite warranty repair for Dell, there was at least one instance where they refused to replace the motherboard under warranty because there weren't enough bulging capacitors. The board had at least 4 or 5 that were bulging.

The original ticket was for the power supply and I noticed the capacitors when I replaced the power supply.

The 4-pin plug on the motherboard for the CPU power was brown and partially melted... and they still refused to replace the motherboard.

That was the weirdest refusal from Dell to replace parts I ever had.

I would replace those bulging caps and any that are the same brand on that motherboard. Just because it is running ok as-is doesn't mean it is ok. The power not being filtered properly will lead to other parts running hotter as well.

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Reply 11 of 15, by johnvosh

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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-05-25, 01:40:
Back when I was doing onsite warranty repair for Dell, there was at least one instance where they refused to replace the motherb […]
Show full quote

Back when I was doing onsite warranty repair for Dell, there was at least one instance where they refused to replace the motherboard under warranty because there weren't enough bulging capacitors. The board had at least 4 or 5 that were bulging.

The original ticket was for the power supply and I noticed the capacitors when I replaced the power supply.

The 4-pin plug on the motherboard for the CPU power was brown and partially melted... and they still refused to replace the motherboard.

That was the weirdest refusal from Dell to replace parts I ever had.

I would replace those bulging caps and any that are the same brand on that motherboard. Just because it is running ok as-is doesn't mean it is ok. The power not being filtered properly will lead to other parts running hotter as well.

Can you recommend a cheap but good soldering iron. I've never done any kind of soldering before. I had a look around for the 4 trouble caps and it appears they are hard to find. I did find a set on eBay from a US seller for CAD$10, but for some reason he has to charge CAD$15 in shipping even though they would fit in an envelope.

Sys1: A64 X2 4400+, 2GB DDR400, 150GB WD Velociraptor, Radeon HD 3650 512MG AGP, MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum, XP Home
Sys2:
Sys3:

Reply 12 of 15, by bZbZbZ

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Hey John,

I replaced a few capacitors on a motherboard as my first soldering project. It wasn't extremely easy but it went okay - I have no hesitation encouraging you to try it out. I just found the cheapest soldering kit on Amazon... it came with the iron, a holding stand, a spool of lead-free solder, some copper wick, a little sponge, and a desoldering pump. Low end stuff, but it got the job done. Maybe something like this:
https://www.amazon.ca/Soldering-Adjustable-Te … /dp/B07S81JFDG/

As for the capacitors, I'd suggest Digikey. Just try to match your existing capacitor's capacitance, voltage, and lead spacing. It's acceptable to use higher voltage, but I'd recommend matching the capacitance (micro farads). The lead spacing is quite important, as it's kind of a nightmare if your capacitor's wires don't fit through the existing holes in the motherboard. Also try to match the overall dimensions (if the replacement is too wide it might clash with neighboring components). Nichicon, Rubycon, and Panasonic are well respected manufacturers. I'd recommend buying more capacitors than you need, in case you accidentally wreck one or two as you learn (you'll also find that shipping cost is relatively high compared to the cost of the components).

Reply 13 of 15, by BitWrangler

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Heh, I have core2/w7 machines I think of as "modern" systems still... though I'm starting to get nervous about windows 7 security online.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 14 of 15, by chrismeyer6

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As long as you have a good virus/malware program and practice safe browsing you'll be fine. I still use windows 7 ultimate daily. I have windows 10 installed in a dual boot setup but it just sucks to use.

Reply 15 of 15, by canthearu

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bZbZbZ wrote on 2021-05-29, 17:43:

Hey John,

I replaced a few capacitors on a motherboard as my first soldering project. It wasn't extremely easy but it went okay - I have no hesitation encouraging you to try it out. I just found the cheapest soldering kit on Amazon... it came with the iron, a holding stand, a spool of lead-free solder, some copper wick, a little sponge, and a desoldering pump. Low end stuff, but it got the job done. Maybe something like this:
https://www.amazon.ca/Soldering-Adjustable-Te … /dp/B07S81JFDG/

I recommend tossing the lead free stuff (maybe save it for an easier project) and getting some 40-60 leaded solder. Leaded solder melts at a lot lower temperature and is easier to work with.

When recapping motherboards, you want to stack as many advantages on your side as possible 😀