Problems because of a capacitor ?

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Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby Sylspace on Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:59 pm

Hi Guys !
Firstly, let's quickly introduce myself : I'm 15, really crazy about Linux for about 4 months and especially about Linux Mint.
And I'm French (so, please, excuse me if I do mistakes :( ).

So, here's my problem : I collected two computers in a waste disposal last holidays. One of them seems to works perfectly (I installed Xubuntu on it), but it's not so good with the other :shock: . When I try to boot, I can always enter the BIOS, start to boot on a live or alternate cd (I tryed with Live_Xubuntu, Alternate_Xubuntu, Linux Mint 10, Linux Mint 7 and SliTaz 4.0). My RAM is about 512 MBytes and well-recognized, cd players works perfectly and my disks are well-burnt. But with each version I try, some errors occurs, never exactly the same : sometimes, I could only use Mint's console, or I had bugs in graphic appearance, but most of the times, after choosing boot options and loading files like casper.initrz, I have one of these two cases:
-A screen which shows something like "graphics initialization failled error setting up gfxboot", then I have a prompt to reboot :cry:
-A screen saying that some sectors are corrupt, the keyboard isn't responding and I have to reboot manually

After trying several hardware hackings, I saw that a capacitor of the motherboard was quite convex, and I know that's a bad thing :mrgreen: . Its specifications are : 6.3V, 2200µF. So, my question is : could my problems come from this capacitor (in this case, in would only have to replace it), or must I have a look to other components like processor (maybe the only one chipset I didn't check) ?

Thanks, if you have answers ... :wink:
@+
Fetchez la vache !!!
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby turboscrew on Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:57 pm

I don't think that the capacitor is bad - but of course it could be. The symptoms can be strange.
Typically that big capacitors are often found close to the processor, and they tend to go all at about the same time, because a malfunction of one
forwards the "load" to the other ones. Typically bad capacitors cause sudden random "cold starts". The processor is the part that is getting trouble.

Also, you could list the internals of that difficult board. The board make and model, processor, possible add-on cards...

As such, the capacitors are somewhat easy to exchange, but it would be good to first find out if leadfree solder is used.
Leaded and leadfree solder shouldn't be mixed, because they tend to separate from each other making a bad contact.
Leadfree solder needs a bit higher temperature and I recommend a flux pen too.
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby Sylspace on Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:27 pm

OK, so according to you, the processor is probably the reason why my PC doesn't work correctly... I should find an old one easily on the Web (a second-hand one, of course).
I can see that my motherboard is a Matsonic, no add-on cards excepted a vga card which works very well with another computer ; I'll see later for the processor (I only remember that its frequency is about 1GHz, maybe a Celeron D but I'm not sure that it's an Intel one).
In all cases, I should put another capacitor (but, to me, electronics=chinese :mrgreen: ) : I hope I'll be able to weld a simple capacitor !!! :oops:
Thanks a lot and have a good night !
Fetchez la vache !!!
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby dagon on Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:00 pm

turboscrew wrote:As such, the capacitors are somewhat easy to exchange, but it would be good to first find out if leadfree solder is used.
Leaded and leadfree solder shouldn't be mixed, because they tend to separate from each other making a bad contact.
Leadfree solder needs a bit higher temperature and I recommend a flux pen too.

I think the biggest reason for not mixing leaded and lead free solder is because the unit will not comply with the RoHS directive. I've not heard that the two could cause separation (I've been wrong before... :? ) Leaded solder would probably be a good option for repair work on a ~ten year old motherboard.

Sylspace wrote:OK, so according to you, the processor is probably the reason why my PC doesn't work correctly... I should find an old one easily on the Web (a second-hand one, of course)

I think he meant that the symptoms would be a bit different if it would be the cap near the CPU.

In all cases, I should put another capacitor (but, to me, electronics=chinese :mrgreen: )

None of us buy that. If you can visually inspect a PC motherboard and come up with a plausible candidate for repair... :wink:

: I hope I'll be able to weld a simple capacitor !!! :oops:
It's called soldering what we do for electronic repair. :wink:
I'm pretty sure you can pull it off. I suggest you practice the operation on a scrap PC board first.
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby dagon on Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:19 pm

As for the error "error setting up gfxboot" here is one thread about it that could help. I've never come across it myself.
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1594003
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby catweazel on Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:15 pm

Sylspace wrote:I collected two computers in a waste disposal last holidays.

You French people have holidays in strange places :mrgreen:
One of them seems to works perfectly (I installed Xubuntu on it), but it's not so good with the other :shock: . When I try to boot

Put that second machine back where you found it, in the dumpster. That's where it belongs.
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby turboscrew on Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:28 am

dagon wrote:
turboscrew wrote:As such, the capacitors are somewhat easy to exchange, but it would be good to first find out if leadfree solder is used.
Leaded and leadfree solder shouldn't be mixed, because they tend to separate from each other making a bad contact.
Leadfree solder needs a bit higher temperature and I recommend a flux pen too.

I think the biggest reason for not mixing leaded and lead free solder is because the unit will not comply with the RoHS directive. I've not heard that the two could cause separation (I've been wrong before... :? ) Leaded solder would probably be a good option for repair work on a ~ten year old motherboard.
I mean leadfree and leaded solder don't mix. If you used leaded solder, you have to "wash" the tiip, before using the tip for lead free. Otherwise the soldering becomes hard because the different tins
tend to repel each other.
Sylspace wrote:OK, so according to you, the processor is probably the reason why my PC doesn't work correctly... I should find an old one easily on the Web (a second-hand one, of course)

I think he meant that the symptoms would be a bit different if it would be the cap near the CPU.
Exactly.
In all cases, I should put another capacitor (but, to me, electronics=chinese :mrgreen: )

None of us buy that. If you can visually inspect a PC motherboard and come up with a plausible candidate for repair... :wink:

: I hope I'll be able to weld a simple capacitor !!! :oops:
It's called soldering what we do for electronic repair. :wink:
I'm pretty sure you can pull it off. I suggest you practice the operation on a scrap PC board first.


The hardest part is de-soldering the old capacitor in a way that leaves the holes open. Soldering in a new one is much easier.
Also, remember to use Low ESR capacitors.
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby Sylspace on Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:13 pm

Thanks for all your answers :wink:
You French people have holidays in strange places :mrgreen:

We are a strange specie, but that's not the strangest thing that french people can do :mrgreen:
It's called soldering what we do for electronic repair. :wink:

OK, thanks : I can see that Google translate isn't my friend :D
As for the error "error setting up gfxboot" here is one thread about it that could help. I've never come across it myself.

Yeah, I had ever seen this thread after searching ; I tryed and it worked once, but now, when I write "help", the same problem occurs indefinitely. :?

For the solder I have, I verifyed and it contains lead :( : I think I'll try with it, but ...

Thanks once again for all your involvement : I really enjoy this forum ;)
Fetchez la vache !!!
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby turboscrew on Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:15 am

For the solder I have, I verifyed and it contains lead :( : I think I'll try with it, but ...

If you run into problems, the flux-pen probably helps, and remember, the lead free solder melting point is a bit higher than the old standard 60/40 leaded solder.

Some more info:
http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/bespoke/bespoke7.jsp?bespokepage=farnell/en/ed_world/tools/hints_tips/2005/wk9/solder.jsp
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby Sylspace on Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:51 pm

Hello world :)
I think I solved the problem !
When I tryed to boot on the PC which worked pretty good with xubuntu, I had a quite similar error : after verifying all my RAM bars one per one, I discovered that one probably was the cause of this bug. After removing it, Xubuntu worked perfectly (but was quite slow with only 256 Mbytes !).
So, I thinked that it could be the origin of the problem on the other computer : I only put a 128 Mbytes bar and it now seems to work with SliTaz Livecd :)
Actually, all bugs I had may have been made by a simple RAM bar ; that's even more strange because I had already verifyed if the problem didn't come from there :o
So, I only will hve to buy more RAM (it's a bit limited vith 256Mbytes), but I believe that it will be harsh to find SDRAM ... Maybe in the dumpster :mrgreen:
Have a good night ! :D
Fetchez la vache !!!
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby dagon on Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:06 pm

Sylspace wrote:...discovered that one probably was the cause of this bug. After removing it...

Hm... Maybe you could poke it a bit with the soldering iron!? :D

Actually, sometimes you can get a bad connection from oxides and whatnot on the tabs.
You could try this:
http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116237
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby turboscrew on Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:41 am

If you don't find memory, you could maybe try puppy-linux (wary-puppy)?
http://puppylinux.com/

It can run on very old HW.
http://puppylinux.org/wikka/MinimumSystemRequirements

From http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=63547

RAM recommendations

64MB RAM -- Bare minimum

Recommend turning off ROX-Filer, just use JWM, no extra applets,
background apps, use full installation, keep multi-tasking down, no
wallpaper, when using SeaMonkey, keep number of open tabs down. Also
needs a paging (swap) device.

128MB RAM -- Practical Minimum

User should use care with multi-tasking, needs a paging (swap) device.
Full install on fast media would be better install option.

256MB RAM -- Desirable Minimum

User should be happy with 'normal' computing, whatever that means.
Paging device highly recommended.
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby Sylspace on Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:24 am

Hi :)
Yes, I had already seen this version and it would probably work ... But I would prefer a heavier distribution like Mint (maybe an old version), as possible based on Debian (because I usually use APT, it's really convenient), that's why I'll try to find more RAM soon. And Mint's so beautiful ... ;)
More, I already have a light Linux, which is SliTaz (and it works perfectly), but it's really ... light, and I imagine that's the same for puppy.
I tried Mint 10 with only 256 Mio RAM yesterday :D Let's try, its funny ! :mrgreen: It doesn't work at all ! I imagine that 512 is the minimum :(
@dagon : I tried to clean my bar with a eraser, but it does not seem to work ... never mind. :|
(I see that the discussion came far from the original topic :mrgreen:)
Fetchez la vache !!!
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby homerscousin on Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:58 pm

I tried to clean my bar with a eraser, but it does not seem to work ... never mind.


I have not tried an erasor and never will. I use only pure isopropyl alcohol and an ESD appropriate applicator to clean any computer connectors. But, I have that stuff handy. Good for you salvaging dumpster and landfill wannabes. You can build some serious computer equipment if you are lucky with the stuff that uneducated people through out.
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Re: Problems because of a capacitor ?

Postby turboscrew on Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:55 am

homerscousin wrote:You can build some serious computer equipment if you are lucky with the stuff that uneducated people through out.


I second that!
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