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Quadra 950 restoration procedure questions and thoughts.


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I acquired this Quadra 950 from a guy on reddit who cleans out warehouses and he posted on reddit, I made an offer to ship it after some preliminary photos.  It was a good deal so I got it.  Its quite clean considering it was stored for many years in what I believe was non climate controlled.  Some spider webs (a couple spiders, dead) inside.  Has the residue all over which indicates its been in humidity for a while.  But other than that, good condition.  You may have seen my other thread about when I fired it up, a cap blew and I'm in the process if information and part finding to fix that.  I have it totally apart now so Im going to give it a shot to retrobrite it and clean the rest.  

 

The Case:

The case is in good shape, minimal dings and such.  A couple parts have yellowed but not too badly, the main part of the case isn't that bad.  One of these days I'm going to use 8-bit guys method to bring the color back.  But before I do that I'd like to clean it up good.  I was thinking dishwasher for the plastic parts but I'm afraid the heat could melt the plastic.  Does anyone have any experience or recommendation on cleaning the case and case alone in the dishwasher or otherwise?  

 

The Boards:

I have some photos for specific questions related to the boards.  I started trying to clean it with alcohol and toothbrush but its really hard to get in all the nooks.  A lot of components are really tight on this board.  I searched but found a lot of conflicting evidence on putting the boards in the dishwasher.  

 

I don't know how much risk I want to take with this board.  I feel like I got a great computer for a good price and I really want to get it working.  I cut my teeth on a Quadra 950 video editing and some (very basic) 3d modeling in middle school.  It really felt like we were coming in to the future and I want this computer to be my throw back to that.

 

Attached are some close up pictures of the dirtiest spots on the board for reference.  Pics of the case are not needed.  Worst case I'm gonna hit those with the hose if the dish washer isn't recommended. 

 

Thanks in advance for any direction.

 

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The board should be cleaned. This is what I do first, preferably with an ultrasonic cleaner. Once cleaned I would move on with a more in-depth visual inspection. Do you have or know someone or a business who can clean the board. I have a 950, big board, it's going to take a large ultrasonic cleaner …

How would a cap blow, there are no electrolytic, only tantalums. I don't recall seeing any electrolytic caps  although it is possible that a short might have blow a tantalum cap.

 

Personally, I would never wash a board in a regular dish washer. Never. The water itself is not up to the task. You may introduce the board to corrosion, especially hidden parts. I can tell you that other people here say they would do it - I would never dream of it. Much preferable to do it as you are now, with alcohol and a brush, of course an ultrasonic cleaner is the way to go. Find a service that can clean the board for you. These are old rare boards, don't mess it up with your dish washer.

 

If possible don't blast water on the plastics, especially delicate parts. Some warm water and dishwashing detergent, an old tooth brush for hard to reach areas and a sponge and you should be good. A rinse and you have a clean case. The 950 has some of the best plastics I've seen on a Mac, fairly strong but of course it does have a few weak spots and a few small parts that require some careful handling.

 

Not sure what else I can add but these things come to mind.

 

Ah, to clean try submerging the board in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes, then use a soft brush to scrub lightly. Then let the board stand to rinse. That could be another approach as well. You will need a large container and a fair amount of isopropyl alcohol though, the latter might be more expensive now due to the COVID2019 pandemic, not entirely sure though on price but usually it is not terribly expensive.

 

Does your machine have the signatures inside the case? Maybe all 950s do?

Edited by Alex
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42 minutes ago, Alex said:

The board should be cleaned. This is what I do first, preferably with an ultrasonic cleaner. Once cleaned I would move on with a more in-depth visual inspection. Do you have or know someone or a business who can clean the board. I have one and it's very large so …

How would a cap blow, there are no electrolytic, only tantalums. I don't recall seeing any electrolytic although one might have shorted causing it to blow.

 

Personally, I would never wash a board in a regular dish washer. The water in them are not up to the task. You may introduce the board to corrosion, especially hidden parts. I can tell you that other people here say they would do it - I would never dream of it. Much preferable to do it as you are now, with alcohol and a brush, of course an ultrasonic cleaner is the way to go. Find a service that can clean the board for you. These are old rare boards, don't mess it up with your dish washer.

 

If possible don't blast water on the plastics, especially delicate parts. Some warm water, an old tooth brush for hard to reach areas and a sponge and you should be good. A rinse and you have a clean case. The 950 has some of the best plastics I've seen on a Mac, fairly strong but of course it does have a few weak spots and a few small parts that require some careful handling.

 

Not sure what else I can add but these things come to mind.

 

Ah, to clean try submerging the board in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes, then use a soft brush to scrub lightly. Then let the board stand to rinse. That could be another approach as well. You will need a large container and a fair amount of isopropyl alcohol though, the latter might be more expensive now due to the COVID2019 pandemic, not entirely sure though on price but usually it is not terribly expensive.

I don't want to buy an ultrasonic cleaner.  Is there a certain type of business that has these, even if for cleaning other things that I could see if there is any in my town.  Do you provide a cleaning service? :) This is a big board, I just looked up the cleaners and I don't want to spend that for one board.  I do have a pm6500 and pm8600 that power on but no chime.  They need to be cleaned too but Id rather pay someone to do these than buy the machine and shelve it after these few are done.

Edited by olliec420
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The boards were cleaned with water in the factory, I believe, so it is hard to see what damage water is going to do now. Heck, I've run water through the power supplies of some machines (and dried for some weeks) to good effect in a couple of cases -- one IIfx that had been owned by a heavy smoker was covered in tar inside its ps, with dust bunnies to a depth of about 1/8 inch. Ran just fine afterwards.

 

No doubt untrasonic would do better, but ghetto methods work too.

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6 minutes ago, beachycove said:

The boards were cleaned with water in the factory, I believe, so it is hard to see what damage water is going to do now. Heck, I've run water through the power supplies of some machines (and dried for some weeks) to good effect in a couple of cases -- one IIfx that had been owned by a heavy smoker was covered in tar inside its ps, with dust bunnies to a depth of about 1/8 inch. Ran just fine afterwards.

 

No doubt untrasonic would do better, but ghetto methods work too.

Electronics are cleaned with ultra-pure DI (de-ionized) water. At the very least any board cleaning should done with distilled water.

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Ok, I'll see about getting some distilled water to do it.  Now the other part, what to clean it with.  I have a medium toothbrushes I could use.  The cloth like paper towels will rip.  Cloth will get caught on stuff and I don't want to pull anything off or otherwise put strain on it.  Some of the components are hard to get in-between.  Im guessing the toothbrush is the best bet?  Then dry for 48 hours.  

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On 4/3/2020 at 9:15 PM, olliec420 said:

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Wonderful, my 950 had a cap blown in the exact same location, got it that way second hand.

 

Replace the cap and you should be ok.

 

Do have details on the cap you need or should I open up my machine to check for you?

 

 

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4 hours ago, olliec420 said:

Ok, I'll see about getting some distilled water to do it.  Now the other part, what to clean it with.  I have a medium toothbrushes I could use.  The cloth like paper towels will rip.  Cloth will get caught on stuff and I don't want to pull anything off or otherwise put strain on it.  Some of the components are hard to get in-between.  Im guessing the toothbrush is the best bet?  Then dry for 48 hours.  

toothbrush, run isopropyl alcohol over the board after you do your brushing and it will push water out and isopropyl alcohol dries pretty fast, still let it sit because if ANY water isn't dry after the alcohol wash you might not be happy.

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7 minutes ago, Alex said:

 

 

Wonderful, my 950 had a cap blown in the exact same location, got it that way second hand.

 

Replace the cap and you should be ok.

 

Do have details on the cap you need or should I open up my machine to check for you?

 

 

Oh wow.  Thanks for that.  Glad to know theres someone who's been there before.  

 

So you replaced the cap and thats all?  Several folks have told me to take off that voltage regulator right above it and test it as it may be the cause.  I understand why they would suggest that but I want to do the least amount of work possible here, not (only) because I'm lazy but I don't want to mess anything up.  Im no expert with the soldiering iron and I don't want to do more harm than good.  The cap being surface mount, I think I can handle that.  

 

As far as the cap goes, I believe C26 is a 10μ 16V F2.  If you can confirm that, that would be great but it is behind the PSU so I don't expect you to disassemble the whole thing unless you want to! haha

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I was tempted to suggest you replace the voltage regulator as well. I haven't on mine but I may very well do it even though the machine hasn't exhibited any issue with only a cap replacement.

See https://www.electronicspoint.com/forums/threads/help-needed-quadra-950-tantalum-capacitor-identification-needed.287007/ and 

Two places where I taught help and found it. Everything you need should be there.

This is what I was told and I went by it but never measure the voltage regulator because I hadn't yet learned how to do that.

 

Q: Is C26 a 10uF, 16V cap,

A: yes it is

go to mouser, Farnell as 2 examples

 

Q: Should I replace the voltage regulator as well?
A: If there is +5V coming out of it .... no

 

CAUTION: When removing the old cap be extra careful, the caps catastrophic failure, essentially an explosion may have put the pads under some serious pressure causing them to potentially come loose or be damaged. So very carefully remove the damaged cap, thoroughly clean the pads being careful not use anything that might pry them off. When a pad has unseated from the logic board it can be very fragile as it is ultra thin copper. If the pad(s) is beyond repair you may have to use jumper cables or find an appropriate alternative to seat any new cap. That's one of the drawbacks with tantalums, when they go, they are like a mini bomb and can tear things around it somewhat. As long as you are careful and methodical, prefix the job by reading the area of the board, taking mental notes on what you can see is wrong and create a strategy to go in and remove the old cap for eventual replacement you will be grand!

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23 hours ago, Alex said:

 

CAUTION: When removing the old cap be extra careful, the caps catastrophic failure, essentially an explosion may have put the pads under some serious pressure causing them to potentially come loose or be damaged. So very carefully remove the damaged cap, thoroughly clean the pads being careful not use anything that might pry them off. When a pad has unseated from the logic board it can be very fragile as it is ultra thin copper. If the pad(s) is beyond repair you may have to use jumper cables or find an appropriate alternative to seat any new cap. That's one of the drawbacks with tantalums, when they go, they are like a mini bomb and can tear things around it somewhat. As long as you are careful and methodical, prefix the job by reading the area of the board, taking mental notes on what you can see is wrong and create a strategy to go in and remove the old cap for eventual replacement you will be grand!

Thanks Alex.  All this has been very helpful.  I think I'm on the right track... now I just learned I need to watch for two things, the pads and the size of the new cap!  I will get on it! 

 

Now the only remaining question I have which you may not know the answer too is, I want to clean the case while its apart and retr0brite it but its dirty.  I want to stick the case in the dishwasher to clean but I don't want the hot water to melt or warp it.  I don't think it will as I've done it with many keyboards but I also cant risk my rare baby like I can a keyboard.

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A Q950 case is pretty large to put in a dishwasher. I just stip the case and wash it with hot water, dish soap, and use a scrubber. You could just do that outside on the driveway depending on the weather or in the bathtub. If you have hard water rinse with distilled water.

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1 minute ago, Unknown_K said:

A Q950 case is pretty large to put in a dishwasher. I just stip the case and wash it with hot water, dish soap, and use a scrubber. You could just do that outside on the driveway depending on the weather or in the bathtub. If you have hard water rinse with distilled water.

 

Yes good call.  Will do.  This thing may just come together after all.  Thanks.

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I should add that quite a bit of yellowing could just be dirt or smoke residue and a fine layer of old plastic that will come off with  a soft scrubber like you use to wash dishes. I have cleaned up quite a few cases  that looked a few shades lighter after a simple wash. Magic Erase will get rid of surface marks and goo-gone will remove sticker residue.

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3 minutes ago, Unknown_K said:

I should add that quite a bit of yellowing could just be dirt or smoke residue and a fine layer of old plastic that will come off with  a soft scrubber like you use to wash dishes. I have cleaned up quite a few cases  that looked a few shades lighter after a simple wash. Magic Erase will get rid of surface marks and goo-gone will remove sticker residue.

Oh great tip on the magic eraser.  There is a big black scuff down the front, I'll try to remove it with that.

 

I don't think I mentioned before, this 950 has a Metroworks inventory sticker on it.  Im really anxious to see whats on the hard drive.  Maybe theres some cool code from some product on there.  Long shot but even it was marketing there could be something neat.  

Edited by olliec420
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As for cleaning and retrobrite. Believe it or not isopropyl can get rid of stubborn spots BUT it will also add a shine to the area if you over work any particular section so you might want to dilute the isopropyl alcohol. Of course first use detergent and a soft brush. Scrubbing with anything abrasive will leave a permanent mark.

 

You will only need to retrobrite the front panel and removable side panel because the main case, at least on my machine doesn't appear to be made of the same material and doesn't yellow.

 

Ahh, the Apple logo should (can't remember the 950 specifically) pop off, but just look on the reverse side of the logo and if you see a pin hole behind the logo you can insert some dull but pointed tool to press it out and then it can be reinserted back in without issue. This will help you prevent any damage to the colors of the logo.

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