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Pascalg

Recapping : if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?

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I read everywhere that you should preventively recap all old Macs. This process is complex and takes time and expertise that I don’t have. There is also the question about what to recap, analog board? Motherboard? PSU ? All of them ?

 

I the perspective of finding the sweet spot between effort/cost and risk of damage to the computer would it make sense to recap only components that, if they explode, may cause great damage and leave the others alone and change them only when they break down? 
if yes what would be the elements that definitely needs to be recapped?

Edited by Pascalg

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It depends on the machine. 

 

Anything SE/30, Mac II series, etc need fully recapped. Same with the Classic, Classic 2. 

 

There is just no getting around it. and you riding on bald tires if you do. 

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Capacitors don't live in a bubble .. they are connected to other components, some that are not cheap/impossible to replace.  Why take the chance of a dying capacitor (which is cheap to replace) destroy a component that is not.

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If the capacitors are bad (machine doesn't run or has issues) or they are leaking replace them. Some systems the capacitors are in areas that will kill important traces or chips, others not so much.

 

Just be careful because you can turn a working system into junk by reworking it and not having a clue what you are doing.

 

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Following off of what Unknown_K is saying - practicing on a junk board is highly recommended before touching something valuable and vintage. I was able to dig up an ancient cable modem that had a handful of SMD caps inside prior to attempting my first recap. Soldered a bunch of good new caps on to replicate the experience (it's worth the money). At the very least, this could help give you an idea of how things will go for you. 

 

Also, beware of diving into using hot air. That's where things can go south rather quickly. 

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Thanks for your advices. As I don’t know how to solder and it’s difficult to find people that are recapping as a service in Europe, I was hoping that I could send for recap only one of the board of each system that I have ( I have 7 classic and a Lisa 2). 
Given all the messages above, I think I will have to take some soldering lessons and try to do it myself.

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9 hours ago, Pascalg said:

Thanks for your advices. As I don’t know how to solder and it’s difficult to find people that are recapping as a service in Europe, I was hoping that I could send for recap only one of the board of each system that I have ( I have 7 classic and a Lisa 2). 
Given all the messages above, I think I will have to take some soldering lessons and try to do it myself.

For what it's worth, this guy is in Ireland and appears to be active and receiving positive reviews: 

https://vintagerecapeurope.wixsite.com/vintagerecapeurope/recapping

 

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17 hours ago, techknight said:

We also have a resident evil genius @Bolle in here as well, He is in Germany and may be your best bet.  

Thanks, I have been already advised to contact him and I already tried but with no success. I will try again. 

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Electrolytic capacitors leak a corrosive goo.   Even if you don't immediately replace the old capacitors, thoroughly clean the logic board to remove the corrosive residue.   It doesn't leak quickly, so you'll be okay for a while with a cleaned board.  Okay, in the sense that things aren't actively corroding.   Whether it will work with leaking caps or not, depends...

 

These days I don't generally have or make time to replace caps, but if I see a logic board I just can't resist, as soon as I get it home, I remove the old caps and clean the board, then usually into storage without any caps, until....someday.

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On 5/22/2020 at 10:54 AM, dzog said:

For what it's worth, this guy is in Ireland and appears to be active and receiving positive reviews: 

https://vintagerecapeurope.wixsite.com/vintagerecapeurope/recapping

 

I believe that's @falen5 here on the 68kMLA forums. I recall seeing his massive Mac collection and being instantly jealous. :cheesy:

 

I'd recommend just going ahead and replacing the capacitors, at least the logic board. But I highly recommend paying someone else to do it if you're like me and inexperienced (and/or horrible) at soldering. As others have mentioned, these caps leak. While not nearly as immediately destructive as the battery bombs, the electrolyte will eventually eat through the traces on the board causing all sorts of crazy issues and shorts.

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On 5/24/2020 at 11:44 AM, Garrett said:

 

I'd recommend just going ahead and replacing the capacitors, at least the logic board. But I highly recommend paying someone else to do it if you're like me and inexperienced (and/or horrible) at soldering. As others have mentioned, these caps leak. While not nearly as immediately destructive as the battery bombs, the electrolyte will eventually eat through the traces on the board causing all sorts of crazy issues and shorts.

Thanks fo the tip ! With the help of this group I now have 2-3 adresses in Europe To work with.

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On 5/22/2020 at 1:54 AM, Pascalg said:

Thanks for your advices. As I don’t know how to solder and it’s difficult to find people that are recapping as a service in Europe, I was hoping that I could send for recap only one of the board of each system that I have ( I have 7 classic and a Lisa 2). 
Given all the messages above, I think I will have to take some soldering lessons and try to do it myself.

Just thought I'd jump in here.  I had no clue how to solder until a month ago.  I bought myself a soldering iron with a temperature control, some good flux syringes, IPA99, some good rosin core 60/40 lead/tin solder, and caps from LCSC.  I went to it.

 

I practiced on a through-hole grid project board.  I started by just figuring out how much heat was required to melt solder and apply it to holes to make nice shapes.  I then started soldering on some caps that I had bought, to see how the process worked.

 

3 weeks ago, I removed the motherboard on my first Mac to recap, a IIsi with significant leakage.  I cleaned the board off with IPA99, applied flux to the cap contacts, and heated them, then carefully pressed down with a pliar and twisted off.  Cleaned everything off again with IPA, and carefully soldered on new caps.  The IIsi would not boot prior to me attempting this (which is why I chose to 'practice' on it).  It worked perfectly the first time I powered it up!

 

You may think that soldering is a skill you would find hard to master.  It's not.  I have bad eyesight, issues with my arm, and I can have shaky hands.  Have a look at this picture, of a LC II that I recapped last week.  It was something like my 10th recap.  Yes, there's a surplus of solder, but it still works fine.  It's not that messy.  If I can do it, trust me, anyone with some ability to follow instructions from a video can do it, too.

fn09nt4iby251.jpg

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I might add one more guy, who did a pretty decent and affordable job, recapping both my SE/30’s logic boards (90 EUR incl. caps and delivery):

http://www.i-beyer.de/

Should I send analog boards and or psu boards there, too, as a preventive measure?

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I personally think recapping is pretty fun, so recap my Macs, even if they don’t urgently need it, although I do have to take breaks, as it makes my neck and back hurt from looking down for so long at times. And I know I’m not going to ruin them, as I have been doing it for a little bit now.

 

Seeing @techknight’s Mac restoration videos is what really inspired me to get a decent iron and learn.

 

I have since recapped two SE/30s, a non-backlit Portable, LC, LC II, Performa 410 and a IIsi, all successfully, and not a single lifted solder pad. I have also done the analog board on one of my regular SEs. 


But yes, any vintage Mac with SMD caps MUST be recapped. Period.

Edited by PB145B

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On 6/9/2020 at 9:39 AM, MrFahrenheit said:

You may think that soldering is a skill you would find hard to master.  It's not.  I have bad eyesight, issues with my arm, and I can have shaky hands.  Have a look at this picture, of a LC II that I recapped last week.  It was something like my 10th recap.  Yes, there's a surplus of solder, but it still works fine.  It's not that messy.  If I can do it, trust me, anyone with some ability to follow instructions from a video can do it, too.

Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m not ready for the big jump yet but I may try once.

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On 6/29/2020 at 7:29 AM, Pascalg said:

Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m not ready for the big jump yet but I may try once.

All I can say is time kills these machines.  I've seen it myself.  I've bought numerous machines that were demonstrated as working on eBay, and arrived non-functional.  A simple recap resolved the issue most of the time.  Other times I've bought a non-working machine in an attempt to fix it, and a recap doesn't solve the problem, it's too far gone.  It doesn't take long after it starts to leak to cause significant damage and sometimes irreparable and permanent damage.  

 

I can honestly say it's not that hard.  The hardest part is actually trying to get caps off without damaging traces and pads.  I have a good method that is successful about 95-98% of the time (I've lost one pad in about 10 machines).  If you only have one or two to do, and you don't have any of the equipment, then maybe better to just send them to someone else to recap.  But it is inevitable and a day will come where only a handful of machines still exist in working condition because owners failed to heed the warning and the caps leaked beyond repair.  That and explosive batteries will likely take out 80% of the surviving machines since 2010.  75% of the remaining surviving machines will be tossed in e-waste and recycled because people don't know any better.  I predict less than 5% of surviving machines since 2010 will actually be saved, be usable, and function completely, in the next 10 years.  Let's revisit in 2030 and see if I'm right.

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