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Hardware Hacking The hammer and tongs school of Overclocking. (NOT for the beginner and you assume all risks)


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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 1st July, 2005, 05:44 PM
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np gizmo

I would also need some help with measuring the capacitors, since i have never done this before... What must I do?
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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 1st July, 2005, 05:59 PM
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As I mentioned previously, you would need at least a meter that can measure capacitance and leakage current, and a meter that can measure ESR/ESL in order to be certain. Typically, the capacitance/leakage test will be sufficient, but not always. Meters that measure capacitance can be had for as little as $50, with leakage testers costing a bit more. The last meter I priced for doing ESR was about $1000.

If you are into build-it-yourself type projects and you have an oscilloscope, it is possible to build yourself a square-wave signal generator and test harness and evaluate the capacitors by looking at the signal waveform on the 'scope, but you have to know what you are looking for.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 2nd July, 2005, 12:42 AM
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I have a friend who said he will try to get me into the university he studies in, because he has all the equipment needed right there... I will do the measurements and, after that, replace what needs to be replaced... lol i sure hope it's that easy...

i think i will need your help once more on something: as far as i know, there is a pin on the back of the CPU socket that indicates the CPU voltage... The only problem is, i don't know which one it is... can you please give me a helpfull link? I wouldn't want a fried CPU, so measuring the voltage pin should keep me on the right track.....
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 2nd July, 2005, 03:09 AM
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What are you trying to do that you need the pin? There are actually 4 pins that the CPU uses to tell the mobo what voltage it needs.
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  #25 (permalink)  
Old 2nd July, 2005, 08:21 AM
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Well, what am I trying to do is measuring the voltage on the CPU socket without having a CPU in... At the last test, i have noticed that the NorthBridge, SouthBridge and some capacitors get warm, but the CPU remains cold as ice... I figured out that this is because the CPU doesn't get any voltage, but i didn't know how to measure this...
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 2nd July, 2005, 05:33 PM
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There are three large coils next to the cpu socket and the capacitors. You can measure the CPU voltage there, by putting your meter probe on the point where one of the wires goes through the PC board. You will probably want to contact the side that is closest to the CPU. That's a guess, because I don't own that board myself.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old 6th July, 2005, 01:52 AM
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I'd like to repair my board but I only have a "Five-Piece Soldering Tool Set" I bought last month from RadioShack. My skills are not impressive. I'm wondering if there is someone in Phoenix who can do this for me.
Also, considering how cheap boards are now for the Athlon XP, I wonder if I should do like my friend who also has this board and just buy a replacement.
So, soon I will have 2 of these boards that still work fine but just show bad caps.
I hate to throw away things that still work.
Where do you think I should look to find someone with the needed skills?
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 6th July, 2005, 02:34 AM
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The guy at badcaps.com does board repairs, I believe. This is by no means an endorsement of him, however. I have no idea if he does good work or not.
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old 12th July, 2005, 11:57 PM
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I did it! I've replaced a bad capacitor on my mainboard (it was a little swollen so i suspected it) and now it works flawlessly... Thank you Gizmo !!
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old 13th July, 2005, 01:24 AM
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Well done Tavy!
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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 13th July, 2005, 02:51 AM
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I'm exceedingly pleased that my little article was of use to you. Well done.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 15th July, 2005, 12:16 AM
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Honestly, i don't think i could've done it without you ... I think it wouldn't ever crossed my mind that the caps could be the problem... Anyway, the main problem right now is 8rda3i or a7n8x-e deluxe? overclockability or features?
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 9th August, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Now it's my turn.

http://img335.imageshack.us/img335/7...mnit1dc.th.jpg

I'm a 3rd year electronics engineer, so I have access to all the equipment I need. However, I'm still thinking that I will buy a new board to use for the momment. Just looking into getting the parts now.

Should I stop running the board now? Will I damage the rest of the board?
I don't want to hurt my baby.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 9th August, 2005, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluepixie
Now it's my turn.

http://img335.imageshack.us/img335/7...mnit1dc.th.jpg

I'm a 3rd year electronics engineer, so I have access to all the equipment I need. However, I'm still thinking that I will buy a new board to use for the momment. Just looking into getting the parts now.

Should I stop running the board now? Will I damage the rest of the board?
I don't want to hurt my baby.
You could theoretically damage the CPU and/or the regulator section. Remember, the whole premise of this type of switching regulator, whether operating as a forward-mode or flyback-mode, is to generate an EM field in an inductor and then allow that field to collapse, thus charging the storage capacitors. The magnitude of the voltage generated by the collapsing field is a function of the amount of current flowing in the coil and the core material being used, as well as the magnitude and phase of the reactance of the charge storage circuit, which means that as the caps dry out, they lose the ability to store charge and the voltage pulse will increase until something gives.

Long and short; I wouldn't advise continuing to run your board 'till you fix the caps. It is rather unlikely that the board would continue running in anything resembling a stable fashion long enough for damage to be done, but why take the chance?
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 9th August, 2005, 07:43 PM
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Yeah, Im using my mum's new machine that I built now.

However, I've been running it like this for about 2 or 3 weeks now I think......checked a picture I took of my machine at the end of July, and it was like this.

Hasen't got any worse I think. How would I know if the CPU was damaged?
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 9th August, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Err..........when it stops working?

Unfortunately, damage to electronics can range from subtle to devastating, depending on how severe it is. Damage to your CPU could be evidenced by something as simple as reduced stability in your system or an inability to hit the overclocks that you were used to seeing, or by something as obvious (and catastrophic) as letting all the blue smoke out.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 9th August, 2005, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmo
Err..........when it stops working?

Unfortunately, damage to electronics can range from subtle to devastating, depending on how severe it is. Damage to your CPU could be evidenced by something as simple as reduced stability in your system or an inability to hit the overclocks that you were used to seeing, or by something as obvious (and catastrophic) as letting all the blue smoke out.
LOL I figured that! Ok, I reckon it's fine then seeing as my machine runs v.well apart from the random re-starts. I'll be getting a new MB tomorrow, then will repair the 8RDA+ because it'll be fun. Shall let you know how I get on when I repair it.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 15th August, 2005, 06:30 PM
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I got one 8RDA+ from my friend, it's rev. 1.1 and has many leaking caps.. the board progressively went unstable up to the point where it refused to boot at all.. I've came across this thread when googling around.. I just want to point out one thing - on my board, only capacitors from one manufacturer are leaking, while the others look just ok! in your guide you are suggesting to replace all of them, good or bad.. I think this is not necessary - only those low ESR caps comming from GSC are faulty, while the ones from TEAPO are ok as far as I can see.. I've also googled up this article talking about bad electrolyte material that appeared on Taiwan somewhere back in '02.. they say most every Taiwaneese cap manufacturer was affected, unlike TEAPO, which use Japaneese electrolyte instead.. that clearly corresponds with my observations.. I bet those GSC are from Taiwan anyway, I've just ordered some Panasonic FM (from digikey) to replace them.. I don't see any problem getting suitable caps, the sizes are standard 8mm and 10mm.. maybe there's a problem getting those near the socket and regulator, but at least on my sample, these are from different manufacturer altogether and doesn't show any signes of 'wear'.. I just hope the bloody thing is going to work like in the old days after the replacement.. I need that board, because somehow my 8KRAl is acting like it's going to die soon I'm not that keen on nForce2 chipset, but since this particular board has been so much raved about I think I'll give it a try..
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 15th August, 2005, 07:59 PM
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Those boards that had the defective caps suffered from a high infant-mortality rate, and the failure was apparent pretty quickly. The failures we are seeing now have to do with the normal aging of components in almost all cases. That is why I recommend changing all of the caps mentioned in the article. However, the caps around the VCore regulator are going to be more likely to fail than elsewhere. Why? Heat! The area around the VCore regulator gets HOT! I didn't have a fan on my VCore reg for my mobo, and I was using water cooling, so I also didn't have the HSF sitting there to blow air across that part of the mobo either, and I was pushing the VCore HARD (2.2v). I took an IR thermometer reading one day and almost crapped my pants; the VCore FETs were pushing 100C! Now, if you didn't know to look for that, you wouldn't think too much about it, probably. But I can guarantee you that those caps wouldn't have put up with that for more than a few months. At the end of that time, I'd have had bulging caps, and I'd have been blaming the crap capacitors on my mobo, when in fact everything had been working not only at spec, but ABOVE SPEC.

My point is that it is easy to say "Look! I've got those crap GSC caps in my mobo, and it died!". However, at this point in time it is far more likely that the caps actually reached the end of their design life for the conditions they were operating under than that you had bad caps to start with. Without a detailed failure analysis, you aren't going to be able to answer that question for sure.

BTW, let me know how you make out with those Panasonic FM series caps. I suspect you'll find they are too large, but I gather there are at least two different layouts of that board, so you may not have problems.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 26th September, 2006, 04:39 PM
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Epox 8K7A+ motherboard capacitors

Thanks for the great walkthrough. My motherboard started to act weird, everything would freeze up if I would work on 133Mhz of FSB frequency, and if I would decrease the frequency to say 110Mhz it worked for a week and then would do same thing. Only after it stopped working at 100Mhz I started looking on my motherboard and noticed that all power caps were "bloated" and also they were hot, which indicated that they dried up. So after finding this article and forum I decided to replace capacitors.

I replaced capacitors on my EP-8K7A+ motherboard and everything works great for about a week already.


I ordered capacitors from Digikey and for this motherboard I needed,
13pcs- 2200uF 10V
2pcs - 1500uF 6.3V
5pcs-1200uF 6.3V
6pcs-1000uF 6.3 V.

Whole replacement including shipping was under 16$, and took total 1.5hrs of removing and installing capacitors. In comparison to how long it would take to find a compatible motherboard, and then reinstall windows and all the apps I am very glad I replaced the capacitors. If needed I can post exact numbers of the capacitors that I ordered from Digikey, however as long they fit the specs and can fit into your motherboard it doesn't really matter what company they are.
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