VOGONS


First post, by Zipvoid

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Hello everyone. I need advice on how to go about troubleshooting and hopefully fixing this seemingly dead sound card that I have. It's an ESS Audiodrive 1869f.

I found it in an old machine that I bought. The case was rusted very badly. The psu, cdrom, hdd were dead but the slot 1 motherboard, ram, gpu were fine. Sadly,
this card would not be detected by DOS or Windows 98 no matter what I tried.

How can I tell that the card is definitely dead? It looks to be in good condition but it shows no sign of life. Which component on the card is likely to be dead and
preventing the card from being detected? In fact, which component on a sound card sends a signal to the OS to tell it "I am here!"?

Should I replace all the capacitors? The amplifier chip which is a TEA2025B or the resistors? If the main ESS chip is broken, how did it break and how might it be
fixed?

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

Here are pics of the computer it came out of- amazing that the motherboard (a Soyo SY-6KE) still works. Terrible how people treat these old computers.

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Last edited by Zipvoid on 2021-07-13, 14:39. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2 of 12, by Namrok

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It's kind of blurry, but are two of the pins in the 2x3 array at JP1 bent to the point of shorting? Also, I think below that is a diagram showing that the pins need to be configured with jumpers for either Line Out or Speaker Out?

Also, yeah, plastic parts in the upper right corner look melty.

Edit: Also, just try running UNISOUND in dos to see what you see?

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Reply 3 of 12, by Ydee

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Zipvoid wrote on 2021-07-13, 14:24:

It looks to be in good condition ...

Sadly, the card remembers better times. CP2 looks corroded and open circuit (left leg torn off?) - maybe even other smd are corroded?

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Reply 4 of 12, by Zipvoid

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This is what the computer looks like now after some retrobrighting and clean up. It would be nice to save the ISA soundcard.

Thanks for your replies. The card looks a bit corroded. If I replaced all of the components that can be replaced I wonder if that would fix it.

But which part is most likely to prevent the card from being detected by Windows or DOS at first. Unisound doesn't detect the card either, in DOS 6.22.

I can't find any tutorials on troubleshooting and fixing sound cards- no YouTube videos- people seem to steer clear of these topics.

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Reply 6 of 12, by dank0

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for the rust use paper napkins soaked in white vinegar and apply it on corroded parts for some time. it will take off the rust. After take the card and clean it in the water with soap and tooth brush. Let it dry for 2 days minimum. the caps looks so so. clean the ISA connector. and try again. also try to take the card and bake it in the oven. It re flows the old soldering connections. There are few YouTube videos with how to.

the case is nice and clean -cool.

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Reply 7 of 12, by BitWrangler

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dank0 wrote on 2021-07-13, 15:29:

also try to take the card and bake it in the oven. It re flows the old soldering connections. There are few YouTube videos with how to.

First, it will pop all the electrolytics, (Which might need replacement anyhoo, but don't destroy them first and wonder about the values later, document.) and second, that technique is mainly useful for BGA parts where the solder connections cannot be accessed or verified, this doesn't have any.

Zipvoid wrote on 2021-07-13, 14:24:

How can I tell that the card is definitely dead?

Wall voltage to any of the jack ports should do the trick, should definitely be dead after that. 🤣 ... (Inspired by the joke... Hunter: Hi 911? I accidentally shot my hunting buddy, I think he's dead. Operator: Okay sir, don't panic, first I'm going to need you to make sure he is dead... *BANG* Hunter: "Okay, now what?" )

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Reply 8 of 12, by cyclone3d

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Honestly, unless you absolutely want the spend a bunch of time trying to replace a bunch of components on that card it really doesn't look worth trying to fix to me.

It is an inexpensive sound card so you just have to make a decision whether it is worth your time and money to try to fix a card that can most likely be replaced for $10-$20.

Btw, the "capacitor" in the lower right hand corner that looks like the Peggie broken is not a capacitor. Looks like ferrite bead to me. The labeling for components on that board is strange.

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Reply 9 of 12, by Tiido

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This card looks like it will need nearly all of its surface mounted passives replaced, almost all are corroded and are unlikely to function anymore. Chances are there are many vias that no longer conduct either, it will be an unworthwhile to fix since as said before it is a cheap card.

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Reply 10 of 12, by kixs

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@Zipvoid:
any special reason you want to fix this card? It seems pretty basic and you should get a working one for like a few bucks/euros/pounds...

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Reply 11 of 12, by Ydee

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@Zipvoid: Perfect work on the case, I wouldn't recognize her! But it's really not worth it with a card, I see some scratches on PCB, broken pin for line out setting, molten plastics and a lot of corrosion. It's an ordinary card, that you can buy very cheaply and in impeccable condition on Ebay or elsewhere.

Reply 12 of 12, by BitWrangler

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However, if he had something good we'd be like "Practice on something worthless first" 🤣

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