VOGONS


First post, by jackmtech

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The reason I'm asking this question is because I only have 1 486 mobo, and I'm trying to make sure it lasts nearly forever (as in a few years to a few decades from 2021).
I have already put a small heatsink on the chipset and the onboard ET4000W32, and have also put a small fan inside the case.
What other things can be done to increase the lifespan of old components?

Reply 2 of 17, by mothergoose729

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Gopher666 wrote on 2021-03-19, 18:59:

Don't use it 🤣.

Very high quality post. Glad you are here mate.

Watch the capacitors and change them out before they start leaking, be careful about ESD, and make sure your power supply is outputting clean power. If you are going to store the computer, put it in a closet in your house instead of your garage. Over time the solder joints can become brittle and break, but that is less likely to happen on 486 class machines because they don't use that much power and the solder back then had lead in it.

Reply 4 of 17, by DosFreak

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Agree with Gopher666.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXyPvhISkRQ

Also grounding and a surge protector

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Reply 5 of 17, by jackmtech

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mothergoose729 wrote on 2021-03-19, 19:05:
Gopher666 wrote on 2021-03-19, 18:59:

Don't use it 🤣.

Very high quality post. Glad you are here mate.

Watch the capacitors and change them out before they start leaking, be careful about ESD, and make sure your power supply is outputting clean power. If you are going to store the computer, put it in a closet in your house instead of your garage. Over time the solder joints can become brittle and break, but that is less likely to happen on 486 class machines because they don't use that much power and the solder back then had lead in it.

Thanks alot! Luckily none of the capacitors have started leaking (yet). They are all SMD tantalums, and the voltage from the PSU is completely fine. 11.7V on the 12V rail, 5.1V on the 5V rail -5.1 on the -5V.
Before I got the 486 it was stored in a basement type of thing I believe. Yeah it's always gonna be in my room.

Reply 6 of 17, by jackmtech

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DosFreak wrote on 2021-03-19, 19:46:

Agree with Gopher666.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXyPvhISkRQ

Also grounding and a surge protector

Here in the Netherlands I believe every socket in the house is grounded, and once I save up some cash I might get a surge protector.

Reply 7 of 17, by darry

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Use a high quality PSU with low ripple . It will help keep your capacitors healthy longer.

See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(electrical)

https://www.google.com/amp/s/passive-componen … capacitors/amp/

Reply 9 of 17, by jackmtech

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mr.cat wrote on 2021-03-19, 19:56:

Since this is 486, isn't the battery going to be the number one thing to take care of?

Already took care of that as soon as I got it, luckily the battery hadn't leaked yet.

Reply 10 of 17, by weedeewee

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tantalums do not leak, they do however tend to go 'bang', but as long as the voltage supply remains stable, they tend to do their job just fine. 😁

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Reply 11 of 17, by pentiumspeed

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Cooling, cooling and cooling and clean. Keep the chips, capacitors, and hard drives cool, say that three times. This will extend the life longer than anything else. That means no overclocking.

Cheers,

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Reply 12 of 17, by darry

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pentiumspeed wrote on 2021-03-19, 20:31:

Cooling, cooling and cooling and clean. Keep the chips, capacitors, and hard drives cool, say that three times. This will extend the life longer than anything else. That means no overclocking.

Cheers,

Cooling and clean power, the human equivalents would be exercising and eating healthy .

Not smoking is a bonus in both cases (nicotine sticks to surfaces and acts as a glue for dust particles both which traps heat and makes cleaning more difficult).

If not smoking is not an option, an air purification system might be an option .

Just my 2 cents .

EDIT: Overclocking = using performance enhancing drugs, if we really want to push the analogy that far .😉

Last edited by darry on 2021-03-19, 20:40. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 13 of 17, by Jo22

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"How to increase the lifespan of old hardware"
Use it *gently* in a while. If it's not running, there's no livefspan at all. It's dead, anyway.

"How to increase the lifespan of hardware"
Let it run, day and night. Don't use power savings, keep the temperature constant.
Edit: An exception to the rule may be halting the CPU if it is idling, anyway.
Systems like DOS, Windows 3.1/9x do keep the CPU usage high, even there's literally nothing to do.
This may cause CPU fans to spin at the max and causing unnecessary heath generation in the CPU..

The worst someone can do to hardware is powering it down if it's not needed
and powering it up if needed (over and over again).

The concept of power saving may reduce the costs and lower the burden to power plants, but it' s not good for the environment.

From my point of view, this only accelerates the aging procesd of hardware. :

Power surges on power up do stress power supplies and the motors of HDDs and fans.

Power down causes overvoltage

Changes in temperature will make metal structures in chips and other components brittle.
That's like bending a piece of wire back and forth until it breaks.

Wayback in the 80s/90s office PCs were left running in the night. The CRT monitors were left powered on.
Instead of power savings mechanism, they ran screensavers.

This also prevented power surges in power plants.
After work, the power consumption did not change as dramatically as it does in modern times.

From my point of view, a lot of things go wrong these days.
Gratefully, these ugly power savings lamps are no more.
LED bulbs are still of ugly quality (no caps inside) and are vulnerable to power peaks,
but at least they don't contain environment unfriendly mercury. 😀

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Reply 14 of 17, by Mut

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Gopher666 wrote on 2021-03-19, 18:59:

Don't use it 🤣.

Sadly no, old tantalum caps love to explode after long periods of hibernation, I have some very old hard drive that failed like fireworks .

Platters magnetic coat deteriorate.

Internal mechanics degrades.

Spin motor lub fails and so on.

A video showing a failed internal mechanics of a very old quantum hard drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLpkNURdf3Q

There are nothing you can do, all hard drive will fail now or later.

Reply 15 of 17, by jackmtech

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Mut wrote on 2021-03-19, 22:34:
Sadly no, old tantalum caps love to explode after long periods of hibernation, I have some very old hard drive that failed l […]
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Gopher666 wrote on 2021-03-19, 18:59:

Don't use it 🤣.

Sadly no, old tantalum caps love to explode after long periods of hibernation, I have some very old hard drive that failed like fireworks .

Platters magnetic coat deteriorate.

Internal mechanics degrades.

Spin motor lub fails and so on.

A video showing a failed internal mechanics of a very old quantum hard drive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLpkNURdf3Q

There are nothing you can do, all hard drive will fail now or later.

The tantalums in mine didn't explode because the person who had it before turned it on periodically I think.

Reply 16 of 17, by cyclone3d

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Keep the hardware cool and provide it clean power.

When possible, I only use newer ATX power supplies that are rated at least 80+ bronze and have activ PFC. My brand of choice is Seasonic.

An ATX to AT adapter is all that is needed.... plus a -5v circuit if the PSU doesn't have -5v and you specifically need it for a card that requires it.

The newer, much cleaner output power supplies make the hardware run a lot cooler just by itself. Stuff that I remember running really hot back in the day barely even gets warm now.

On top of that, noisy soundcards magically have cleaner output.

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Reply 17 of 17, by Jo22

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Mut wrote on 2021-03-19, 22:34:

There are nothing you can do, all hard drive will fail now or later.

Well, I imagine with the right working environment and some patience, an old HDD can be refurbished.

If the room is very clean without air flow, it's possible to open the HDD chassis and lubricate the mechanics, for example.

There's a certain tolerance when it comes to dust corns also, if I remember correctly.
So a clean room is not essentially necessary.

Old HDDs weren't hermetically sealed, they contained filters that prevented dust from coming in. They also had stuff (piece of foam?) that catched dust inside of the HDD which was circulating.

I'm speaking under correction, though. It's been so long since I read about this topic. 😅

Also, what caused most HDD deaths - headcrashs.
They can also happen if the environment is not adequate.
For example, HDDs in astronomy observatories located at the mountain tops.
The air pressure was too low there, so the actuator was not floating on an air bag.
That caused the heads to grind on the platters.. Ouch. 😢

Edit : That reminds me of that rubber-like "bubble" or tape-covered dent on some HDDs.
That's for compensation of air pressure, so the pressure inside is fine. Well, ideally.
Modern HDDs use helium now and are sealed - or so I heard.

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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