Recently there has been several Hades machines that have experienced failiures. These machines are irreplaceable by their vey nature & when such a machine fails the owners get very upset.
Mine is one such machine & I know of at least seven others that are experiencing similar catastophic failure.
Obviously, I for one am absolutely gutted at this prospect & am reluctant to allow this to happen.
So after spending many a long session with Lonny & looking into a few possibilities, It has come to the point where there is little that can be done to halt the trend.
Being sure that this machine has many years of life left in it. I refused to give up with it. Despite unsurmountable odds against me & with little or no help from those I would have expected to offer any, I have been dissapointed to say the least.
So I set about trying to diagnose the collection of faults.
Here is what I have found out so far.
The hades is over 20 years old, Its construction relied upon the tech of the day.
The components are really rare to obtain but are still viable & given that the possibility of any updates are long forgotten & that any access to engineers who would be willing & knowledgeable enough to undertake a repair venture, are as rare as the Valve sets of the early 50's, it's not likely that any good outcome is foreseeable.
In order to diagnose a fault of any kind on this architecture, one must first look at the construction & its methods of that era.
The componets that are passive can be replaced. But as with anything this precious, a skilled hand is required.
None passive and exclusive items need extra special care.
Age is a major factor in this repair.
The research I have done leads me to the following.
The fiberglass construction of the pcb will over time absorb moisture, apparently this is genuinely so. Removal of same is paramount.
To do this specialised equipment is required.
Solder joints become corroded & suffer stress which lead to microfractures & oxidisation.
This is sometimes hardly noticeable to the naked eye but nevertheless has a significant detriment to the continued function of the circuit as a whole.
Generically this will ultimately lead to failure over time.
Solution, & yes there is one.
Is to bake the board in a controlled environment to extracate any moisture to start with. "Baking" in an oven is highly NOT reccomended.
The uneven and inconsistent heat can and often does turn the board and components into something like the blob from which there is only one place the board will end up.
Solder can and does degrade over time also, it by its nature will oxidise which further reduces its efficiency, sometimes the effect of combining the degredation with stress and moisture the only long term outcome is catastrophic failure. This is not to say the failure could not be reversable, just that physical failure to an unrecoverable function is inevetable.
The sensible and correct procedure to recover the degredation and failure is to "re-work" the board and components. This involves exposing the board to controlled heating over a long period of time, starting at a low temperature and then increasing that temperature in stages until the board becomes able to dissapate the moisture. Allowing the oxidisation and polutants to be removed.
Taking the board through this process is delicate work. As the process will inevitably heat up sensative components, some to their heat tollerance threashold & beyond.This is delicate and risky work.
After the board has undergone the moisture removal, it then becomes ready to re-flow, this means to make the old solder melt and become a liquid once again...Again under strict temperature control and conditions.
This is undertaken on a Rework station which is specifically designed to do the task.
It takes a skilled engineer to work one of these stations and is not the kind of thing just anybody should think they can do right out of the box.
The rework station procedure is a long and complicated procedure that will warm the board to up to 200 degrees over a period of time. At this temperature, soldered components that are attached to the board will loosen and can with a specialised tool be removed safely. Not by using fingers, by using a tool for the job. Fingers become a permenant part of the pcb if used..
After a rework, the board temperature is decreased under controlled conditions to prevent joint errors and crack dammage.
When cooled and this can take some time, the board can then be tested for functionallity.
There are no guarrantees this method will work on faulty individual componet connections to the extent that a miracle cure is found. But faced with the alternative, one has to give this fix a go.
There are risks to doing this.
The possibility that in reflowing the board will make the board & components suffer irretrevable dammage.
Whist speaking to people about this idea My son came forward to discuss the issue, offering his advice & insight.
It turns out that for a while now he has been fixing PS3's with graphic issues using the reheat reflow method.
He told me that most boards can be "cleaned up" as such, however, it is not a simple nor straightforward task.
In most cases, PS3's have a 99% success rate. But after a period of time the gpu will fault once again. He pointed out that the constant increase/decrease in temperature caused by periods of operation and dormancy; leads to the fault reoccuring.
Whilst he was refering to the PS3, there are some similarities with other pcb architecture and it would not be uncommon for aged motherboards which are prone to a wide temperature change during times of use; to eventually secumb to similar issues.
I for one am looking to him to offer a solution of sorts to my Hades problem. To this end he has told me he will seriously look at the problem and offer any tech support within his ability and equipment capabilities.
If any other Hades owner would like to go this route, I will endeavour to assist with all possible means. As and when the work is undertaken on mine. I intend to post about the progress. Pic's and all.
Last edited by TTowner
on Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hades060 & 2 TT030 machines.Nova & Spektrum Graphics cards,1 Reibel network cards,1 Netusb,Slm Lazer printer, Epson GT600 flatbed, 2 SCSi to IDE interface + UltraSatan.Nakamachi 7 & 5 CD disk changers.Mega STE .[url]http://www.llill.co/5j