VOGONS


First post, by valnar

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So some 18 years later, it's inevitable some of our favorite peripherals will start dying.

My original Aureal SQ2500 sound card is acting weird. I already purchased a spare on eBay, but those prices just go up.

About 20% of the time when I boot up, it is fine. The other 80% it's not recognized properly. The drivers don't initialize the sound in DOS or WinXP, and in Windows 98 I get a protection error so it never gets to the desktop (it's a triple boot machine. BX chipset). When it works, all three OS's are fine, as is theaudio.

The new SQ2500 I bought works fine all around in the same machine and slot.

So can audio cards or peripherals like this be repaired? Could it be one of the little capacitors? Any ideas?

If the proper and cost effective answer today is to just buy a replacement on eBay (even at $70), that's fine and all, but there will be a time when that won't be an option anymore.

Reply 1 of 11, by Ampera

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It's a dreaded question, and one that few people are willing to put the money down to permanently answer.

Of course there is a way to repair them, but some faults aren't easy to be repaired, and other faults are impractical to repair even for trained engineers.

There is no simple way to go at it for someone not active in the EE field. You can always take it to a repair shop and tell them to repair that card bugger the cost, but they may not be able to do much.

Reply 3 of 11, by cyclone3d

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Kinda sounds like a bad connection to me.

A hot air soldering gun and some no-clean flux should be able to fix that pretty fast if it is an issue with a surface mount component. You can also reflow the through the board connections with a regular soldering iron and flux.

Did you try cleaning the PCI connector with a pencil eraser? The connection can get oxidized/dirty and not get a good of enough connection to work properly all the time.

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Reply 4 of 11, by darry

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I try to stock up on spares while they are cheap/affordable . I do believe in repairing things whenever feasible or donating/selling them to someone who can fix them; one person's hopeless knackered junk is another person's fun weekend project .

My wish is to never end up the subject of a TV show about hoarding . 😈

Reply 5 of 11, by alexsydneynsw

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If you decide to go the DIY route in addition to reflowing maybe some of these points may help:

Sound Blaster 2.0 test program Error 0108

My experience with a similar problem so far
1. No training in EE, still gonna do it because thanks to fine folks here at vogons I at least have options and I like tinkering and I couldn't find anyone who would bother to have a look at it and I don't want to throw the thing away until I at least try to do something.

2. Limited budget for hobbies, so I spend months to actually do something. Right now I'm saving for a desoldering hot air machine which is $100 for an acceptable one to desolder the ICs on my faulty SB2.0. I already spent quite a bit on this project. $25AUD for contact cleaner and tools, $70AUD for Simple Green, canned air and accompanying cleaning supplies, $65AUD for an IC tester.

Reply 6 of 11, by Stojke

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Those old chips are almost indestructible under normal operating conditions. Replacing capacitors, which can wear out, is a pretty simple and straightforward job. One just needs to adjust their work process to the specific temperature and timing required when working on different boards. If done incorrectly it is easy to rip out bridges and rip up contact lines.

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Reply 7 of 11, by Kamerat

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Have you tried to clean the PCI connector of your card? I have experienced that PCI id's sometimes get corrupted because of bad contact.

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Reply 9 of 11, by Jo22

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There are many things that could be potentially causing trouble here. I'd check caps and xtals first. 😉

Ampera wrote:

There is no simple way to go at it for someone not active in the EE field.

Ok. This may sound like a fool's question, but.. What is EE ? It's not an abbreviation for Emperor of the Electron, isn't it ? 😁

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Reply 10 of 11, by Jepael

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Jo22 wrote:

There are many things that could be potentially causing trouble here. I'd check caps and xtals first. 😉

Ampera wrote:

There is no simple way to go at it for someone not active in the EE field.

Ok. This may sound like a fool's question, but.. What is EE ? It's not an abbreviation for Emperor of the Electron, isn't it ? 😁

In this case, Electrical Engineering. And even then it might be impossible to fix if the main IC has a defect due to static discharge or something, you'd need to sacrifice another card to get that chip. Unless the chips are still being sold on some markets... Also flash chips that contain the plug and play information may be at the end of their data retention time. It could be anything.

Reply 11 of 11, by Jo22

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Thank you very much for the explanation. Hopefully PnP data can be restored (refreshed) in the future, maybe by using some *nix tools.
I heard something similar was already possible with USB-Serial adapters (fixing an USB ID),
after that FT/DI gate thing (driver bricked clone chips by zero-ing their ID).

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//