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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:22 am 
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Hi,
To start with i thought about getting an X60, but for around half the price i think i can get an X31. It'll be a third laptop, i want it for office and the internet and for using away from home. It will be my first venture into the world of smaller laptops so it has to be good enough to do the job, but i dont want to spend too much in case i dont get on with it.
The standard prices on Ebay tend to be £70 for the 1.4GHZ, £90 for the 1.7GHZ and £120 for models which include the docking station and dvd drive. Which would you go for. Secondly reading this forum cracks on the case seem to be common, is this something i should look for.
Battery life is important, otherwise why get a smaller laptop.


£70 = $120
£100 = $170.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:51 am 
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If your requirements are fairly low, 1.4 will do, although 1.7 would be my personal preference.

These machines have a tendency of dying from overheating occasionally, try to obtain one from a reliable source instead of getting it on fleabay, even if it means spending a few quid more.

With 1GB RAM and any 5400rpm drive, they'll run XP fine. They will also take most of IBM (Atheros) and Intel wireless cards, and work well in wireless mode. Battery life with a new battery is excellent.

Good thing about having an ultrabase is that you can stick another battery in there.

That's it for now...hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 1:52 pm 
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Cracks in the case is common in X30. X31/X32 seems to be improved. The most common is the keyboard bezel right front corner around the case screw post. The other common place is the upper corner of the PCMCIA slot. Some can be repaired with superglue successfully. In any case, avoid tightening the front corner screws too much.

If you are patient, the X3 Ultrabase can be found for very low cost, so are the Ultrabay2000 DVDRW drives.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:50 pm 
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ajkula66 wrote:
If your requirements are fairly low, 1.4 will do, although 1.7 would be my personal preference.

These machines have a tendency of dying from overheating occasionally, try to obtain one from a reliable source instead of getting it on fleabay, even if it means spending a few quid more.

With 1GB RAM and any 5400rpm drive, they'll run XP fine. They will also take most of IBM (Atheros) and Intel wireless cards, and work well in wireless mode. Battery life with a new battery is excellent.

Good thing about having an ultrabase is that you can stick another battery in there.

That's it for now...hope this helps.


RE overheating, will the 1.4 run cooler than the 1.7, or is there no difference.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:02 pm 
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sjthinkpader wrote:
If you are patient, the X3 Ultrabase can be found for very low cost, so are the Ultrabay2000 DVDRW drives.


X3 ultrabase is basically a docking station for the x3 series. I also guess the dvd drive is detacheable, will any standard laptop cd/ dvd drive fit in.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:08 pm 
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You need a specific drive type. It takes either Ultrabay 2000 or Ultrabay Plus CDROMs, DVDs, CDRW/DVDROMs, or Multiburners. Ultrabay is an IBM proprietary bay/connector.
http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Ultrabay


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:19 pm 
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paul*robertson wrote:
...

X3 ultrabase is basically a docking station for the x3 series. I also guess the dvd drive is detacheable, will any standard laptop cd/ dvd drive fit in.


X3x are the last series that will fit on the standard port-replicator/mini-dock/full-docks. After that, X4x, X6x all lack compatibility with T/R series docks.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:53 am 
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Indeed a very cool feature.

Which reminds me - does DVI-out through the dock work with X3x? I don't think I ever tried.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:08 am 
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You can actually install a good amount of normal laptop cd units given that :
1) have the right height
2) you put on them an adapter - kit

there are some models that "could", according to shops, not be able to boot once installed this way, that's all.

I have a 3rd party dvdrw in my X3x ultrabase, with a conversion kit put on it by the shop. Works normally and cost a lot less than an ibm rebranded one.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:22 am 
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dr_st wrote:
Indeed a very cool feature.

Which reminds me - does DVI-out through the dock work with X3x? I don't think I ever tried.


No, X3x series don't support DVI. This is one of the reasons I don't use X series for work.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:35 am 
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paul*robertson wrote:
RE overheating, will the 1.4 run cooler than the 1.7, or is there no difference.


I have recently bought X31 off eBay and I dediced to go for 1.4 GHz CPU since both 1.4 and 1.7 are Banias models which means lot of heat power for higher frequencies.

Anyway I strongly recommend to undervolt the CPU. You can easily lower the voltage by 0.25V (!) and decrease the temperature by ca. 10 deg. Celsius. (18 deg. Fahrenheit). :D

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:39 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:00 pm 
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A little OT but responding to an earlier statement:
mazzinia wrote:
there are some models that "could", according to shops, not be able to boot once installed this way, that's all.

I can definitely confirm that. I've installed non-IBM branded drives from several makers (Panasonic/M a t s u s h i t a, Pioneer, Hitachi-LG [HLDS]) and I've found a couple that will not boot the system using a known good disk. They also appear to slow down the boot process by about 15-20 seconds; remove the drive and boot time increases substantially. And this is with no disk in the drive.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:07 pm 
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paul*robertson wrote:
RE overheating, will the 1.4 run cooler than the 1.7, or is there no difference.


marYn wrote:
I have recently bought X31 off eBay and I dediced to go for 1.4 GHz CPU since both 1.4 and 1.7 are Banias models which means lot of heat power for higher frequencies.

Anyway I strongly recommend to undervolt the CPU. You can easily lower the voltage by 0.25V (!) and decrease the temperature by ca. 10 deg. Celsius. (18 deg. Fahrenheit). :D

Sorry to resurrect old threads but my current infatuation is X31s (and hopefully I'll find an X32 or two locally one day) so I'm reading right through this forum.

I have owned lots of Banias CPUs and, if I have a choice, will always go for the fastest. The reason is that initially all CPUs were 'binned' by Intel when they came off the production-line according to the fastest speed they'd reliably run at. (Later in the production they'd improved it so that most all would run at 1.7GHz, that's why generally later machines are faster.) They were then set to run at their highest speed at 1.484V.

I use Notebook Hardware Control to undervolt my CPUs and usually underclock them too. Most of my X31s (I have six now) are set to go no faster than 1.2GHz to minimise heat production and hopefully avoid or delay any future problems with capacitor failure. I find very little difference in computing power between 1.2 and 1.7GHz for the tasks that I use these machines for.

I'm looking at my notes where I've spent hours undervolting and then Prime95 stress-testing each speed-step to find the lowest stable voltage. On consecutive pages I have a 1.4 X31 and a 1.7. The 1.4 requires 1.052V to run at 1.2GHz stably (down from 1.436) while the 1.7 will run at 1.2GHz using only 0.956V (down from 1.228). Needless to say that the latter runs considerably cooler. 1.052V or 0.956V to do the same thing? The latter is going to be cooler every time.

Also, keeping in mind the capacitor failure issue with X31s, I reckon that the faster CPUs have likely spent more of their lives running at lower speed-steps and therefore much lower voltage and lower heat. Ergo it's my contention that they'll likely last longer. So, to answer Paul Robertson (if you're still reading Paul) the 1.7 will likely run cooler than the 1.4. I know that it sounds counter-intuitive that a faster notebook would run cooler but there you have it. Speed-Steps' a wonderful thing, the CPU only runs as fast as is needed to do what's asked of it and the higher speed CPUs run at the lower Speed-steps at lower voltages than the slower CPUs do.

Short version; Get a fast one and undervolt and underclock it and you'll have the best chance of having a machine that will last a good long time. :D

Hope that helps.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:23 am 
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This "capacitor failure" you mention - is this a common issue with X31/X32? Or any Banias CPU? I haven't heard anything about it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:48 am 
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dr_st wrote:
This "capacitor failure" you mention - is this a common issue with X31/X32? Or any Banias CPU? I haven't heard anything about it.

Hi there. I'm just going by what I've read on this forum and links that I've followed to other sites, especially German and Chinese ones. (Thank goodness for Google translate.) They claim that the 'dead mobo' syndrome that X31/2s sometimes suffer from is largely due to the degradation of (some of) eight large SMD tantalum capacitors, often exacerbated by the fact that the default BIOS / Embedded Controller programming lets the notebook get quite hot before starting the fan.

It's not just the capacitors apparently but often just replacing those will do the trick. In fact two in particular, one on each side of the board near the power input to the planar can often be replaced and bring a formerly dead X31/2 back to life. Here are a couple of links that you might want to put through your favourite translation engine:
http://chs.mobile01.com/topicdetail.php ... st=7124852
http://blog.163.com/bugoo_cat/blog/stat ... 133855472/

There are more threads and pages out there about this subject. However for some reason Firefox decided to corrupt my bookmarks. Perhaps it doesn't like it when you have around a thousand?

Enjoy. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:57 am 
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Thanks for your post. Mine is dead except for the power and cap and num lock lights on boot up. Is it just a matter of looking for capacitors with bulging tops?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:38 am 
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moviedude wrote:
Thanks for your post. Mine is dead except for the power and cap and num lock lights on boot up. Is it just a matter of looking for capacitors with bulging tops?

Hi Moviedude.
The type of capacitors that we are talking about aren't the aluminium can electrolytic things found on desktop computer motherboards that it sounds like you are familiar with. These little devils are surface-mount device (SMD) tantalum capacitors which are much more reliable than the ali cans and don't suffer from the swelling / leaking issues that plagued ali cans since about 1999.

SMD 'tants' are small rectangular 'chips' on the circuit board and can be seen in some pics linked in the thread "X31- no signs of life. Need help debugging" just a bit down the page. Check out "Reagle's' posts in that thread. I have just taken delivery of the capacitors required to try to resurrect two of my X31s but, alas, I'm *really* busy with other things at the moment, trying to pay the bills.

However, when I get a chance to strip one of my non-starting X31s down to the bare bones I'll have a shot at replacing the SMD tantalum capacitors that Reagle mentions and report back in that thread. I only have a $10 Radio-Shack soldering iron so will be crossing my fingers and hoping that the component swap goes without a hitch.

Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks..... I'm having to dust off and sell some of my treasured possessions just to pay the bills right now and it's taking up rather more time than I'd expected.

If you are patient keep your eyes on that thread as I will report back. Honestly, I can't wait to give it a crack but I need to make sure I can pay the rent first. :(

Cheers,

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:45 am 
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Hi misfit,

Thank you and you are correct I was mistaking these caps for the desktop variety that plagued my dual-cpu motherboards back in the day way before dual core became fashionable.

I'll keep a watch on that thread in anticipation of learning more. Good luck with the fire sale.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:37 pm 
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moviedude wrote:
Hi misfit,

Thank you and you are correct I was mistaking these caps for the desktop variety that plagued my dual-cpu motherboards back in the day way before dual core became fashionable.

Yeah mate, I spent a good part of last decade replacing 'blown' ali can electros on desktop mobos. Now, especially on smaller stuff like ADSL modems etcetera, when I need to replace caps I try to use tants if possible. It's easy if you're replacing surface-mount ali cans but can still be done with solder-through type. However tants are expensive and don't go up to the high capacitance that ali cans do.

It's worth a Google (or Wiki) to read a bit about tants. They're used in mission-critical or space-constrained electronic gear as, not only are they smaller than ali cans, they're much more reliable. Of course, along with that they're quite a bit more expensive.

moviedude wrote:
I'll keep a watch on that thread in anticipation of learning more. Good luck with the fire sale.

Cool. As I said, I've got the tants already, just need the time. It takes a fairly long time (and a decent clear work area) to strip a ThinkPad down to the planar, do the surgery, then re-assemble.

Handy tip: I use a couple of those little plastic containers with separate compartments designed for organising daily medication for the screws from each step. You can pick them up really cheaply from $2 shops (I don't know if you have those in Aus.) Of course I also have the IBM Hardware Maintenance Manual open on another ThinkPad to work from while I do the job.

I didn't realise that you were in Aus in my first reply or I would have said "$10 Jaycar soldering iron". :wink: I was writing for an international, largely American audience. :D

I see that you're quite new here. Welcome aboard! Thanks for the good wishes for the fund-raising and I'll see you in the other thread when I get a spare day to try the fix, then post the result......

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T60 2007-72U [T7400, UXGA FV]
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R51 1829-E5C [FV]
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R40 2723-26M
X32 x 2 2672-CM5/W58
X31's x 8 Four working.
X30 2672-4HM
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Etc.


Last edited by misfit on Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:25 am 
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Sorry to intrude, but just to ask for tips...

I've a couple of electrolytic condensers, small standards but with a plastic encasing to mount them as surface mounting on the pcb of a dat drive, that are half detached and in need of resoldering.
Plus a 3rd gone missing, that I've to substitute totally, maybe with a tantalium model.
(10uF , 16V ... a low pass filter)

Given the small dimensions, and the fact that it's ages since I soldered something (and in any case all were more big as dimensions)... is there any trick I should use to apply just the small amount of soldering material required and not risk to do a mess?

I'm using a 9W soldering iron, if this can be of any help

thanks in advance

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:51 am 
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mazzinia wrote:
Sorry to intrude, but just to ask for tips...

I've a couple of electrolytic condensers, small standards but with a plastic encasing to mount them as surface mounting on the pcb of a dat drive, that are half detached and in need of resoldering.
Plus a 3rd gone missing, that I've to substitute totally, maybe with a tantalium model.
(10uF , 16V ... a low pass filter)

Given the small dimensions, and the fact that it's ages since I soldered something (and in any case all were more big as dimensions)... is there any trick I should use to apply just the small amount of soldering material required and not risk to do a mess?

I'm using a 9W soldering iron, if this can be of any help

thanks in advance

Hi mazzinia.

I'm no expert on soldering at all, I'm self-taught and it doesn't always work....

For those small ali cans that have partially come away, the type that have a plastic base or pedestal and flat 'tabs' to solder to the PCB; I find it's best to hold them back in position and apply the tip of the soldering iron to the end of the tab until they stick. There's usually not much tab showing but if you're careful it can be done. There shouldn't be any need to add any more solder.

You could even replace them all with tants (I would be inclined to if I were attached to the drive). If you were to do it that way then you'd want to remove the ali cans and clean the pads up with solder wick. Then I find a very small piece of solder (a quarter of a grain of rice size) snipped off my roll placed under each tab*, then heated until it's melted*. It should only take a couple of seconds and you wouldn't want to heat it up for much longer if you can help it. I find that a finger on top of the SMD tant works to both apply pressure and also to warn you if you're over-heating the device. You should be able to do small ones with that 9W iron although I find that 15W or so are better as they heat the solder up more quickly without transferring the heat into the component.

Hopefully someone else will come along with better instructions for you but you can do what I did; Just try it and see. You might destroy a few components in the process but, if you're careful, you shouldn't destroy the PCB. :wink:

*I snip off a small piece from my thinnest flux-cored solder roll and then flatten it with pliers.

**Usually when assembling SMD devices /they/ have a small amount of solder and flux 'paste' applied between each end or tab and the pad on the PCB and are then glued in place (in the middle) then baked to melt the solder.

Best of luck!

_________________
Shaun.
T60 2007-72U [T7400, UXGA FV]
T43p 2668-H2M [FV]
T43 2668-84M [FV]
R52 1847-A18
T42p 2373-KXM [FV]
T42 2374-M97 [SXGA+]
R51 1829-E5C [FV]
R40 2723-BAM [SXGA+]
R40 2723-26M
X32 x 2 2672-CM5/W58
X31's x 8 Four working.
X30 2672-4HM
X24 2662-FMT
Etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:59 am 
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Thanks for the tips

I have another soldering iron, but that one is too strong ( 40W ) for this kind of job :P

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:45 pm 
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mazzinia wrote:
Thanks for the tips

You're welcome. It was hardly a master-class, just what I've picked up from my trail-and-error soldering. :wink:

mazzinia wrote:
I have another soldering iron, but that one is too strong ( 40W ) for this kind of job :P

Actually the 40W might be better if it has a fine enough tip. The secret is to heat the connections up quickly without heating the components up too much. You might be able to solder an SMD's tag down with the 40W in one or two seconds where the 9W might take 10 seconds and the heat could migrate into the components more than with the 40W.

Just a thought.

Perhaps experiment with some junk PCBs? Often an iron that isn't powerful enough will (paradoxically) heat up more stuff that you don't want hot as it has to be applied for a lot longer.

Good luck. The best way to learn IMO is to experiment with 'junk' (and perhaps Google / search youtube a bit). :D

_________________
Shaun.
T60 2007-72U [T7400, UXGA FV]
T43p 2668-H2M [FV]
T43 2668-84M [FV]
R52 1847-A18
T42p 2373-KXM [FV]
T42 2374-M97 [SXGA+]
R51 1829-E5C [FV]
R40 2723-BAM [SXGA+]
R40 2723-26M
X32 x 2 2672-CM5/W58
X31's x 8 Four working.
X30 2672-4HM
X24 2662-FMT
Etc.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:19 pm 
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Location: Gropello Cairoli (PV), Italy
Hardly possible, to use the 40w.. the point is fix, and is huge

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X31 2672-C6J
IBM 9401-P03 (As/400 "portable")
A crowd of assembled desktops, a jungle of cables... and a Palm m515


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:10 am 
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Posts: 15
Location: Perth, Australia
misfit wrote:
Cool. As I said, I've got the tants already, just need the time. It takes a fairly long time (and a decent clear work area) to strip a ThinkPad down to the planar, do the surgery, then re-assemble.

Handy tip: I use a couple of those little plastic containers with separate compartments designed for organising daily medication for the screws from each step. You can pick them up really cheaply from $2 shops (I don't know if you have those in Aus.) Of course I also have the IBM Hardware Maintenance Manual open on another ThinkPad to work from while I do the job.

I didn't realise that you were in Aus in my first reply or I would have said "$10 Jaycar soldering iron". :wink: I was writing for an international, largely American audience. :D

I see that you're quite new here. Welcome aboard! Thanks for the good wishes for the fund-raising and I'll see you in the other thread when I get a spare day to try the fix, then post the result......

I'm keen on doing this now. I've already taken the X31 apart once. I have recently fixed up my desktop pc which had bulging aluminium capacitors with my el-cheapo soldering iron. I'll take it apart again today but just wanted to check with you whether you agree that the rogue smd tantalum capacitors the same ones as in that other thread?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:46 am 
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Location: Pukekohe, New Zealand.
moviedude wrote:
I'm keen on doing this now. I've already taken the X31 apart once. I have recently fixed up my desktop pc which had bulging aluminium capacitors with my el-cheapo soldering iron. I'll take it apart again today but just wanted to check with you whether you agree that the rogue smd tantalum capacitors the same ones as in that other thread?

Yes. So far I've fixed one X31 that I bought as DOA by replacing those two tants. I have a couple more X31s to do when I get around to it (I bought 10x each of the tants, it was cheaper than buying one or two) and hopefully they'll be the same. <fingers crossed>

I say "<fingers crossed>" because, IMO there's an 80% likeliness that replacing those two tants will bring your X31 back to life. However there's the other 20% chance to consider. :roll:

I would suggest doing what I did; remove the old tants by unsoldering each side separately as you prise it up. Then, when you've removed it clean the solder pads up with some good quality solder wick. Try to not get too much heat into the board, just enough to do the job (which *does* require quite a powerful iron). Once the pads are clean apply a small amount of solder paste to each pad and sit the new tant in place. (You can clean the pads with some flux and a cotton-bud if you want to, if you chose to I would suggest 'Duzall' [I think that's the name of it] but it's not really necessary as the solder paste has flux in it.)

The, while gently pushing down on the tant (I used a wooden chopstick) apply the iron to one end where the solder contact folds under the tant. You should see and feel it 'settle' when the solder melts. Again, try to do it quickly without letting the heat sink into either the tant or the board too much - a chisel-tip and a fairly grunty iron works best. Then 'settle' the other end of the tant the same way, by melting the solder paste. (If you don't have solder paste and can't easily get some you may be able to snip a little bit of flux-core solder off your roll, squeeze it flat with some pliers and use it instead of the paste.)

Repeat for the second tant, genuflect and flagellate yourself for 30 minutes :bow: then re-asemble.

Best of luck. :)

_________________
Shaun.
T60 2007-72U [T7400, UXGA FV]
T43p 2668-H2M [FV]
T43 2668-84M [FV]
R52 1847-A18
T42p 2373-KXM [FV]
T42 2374-M97 [SXGA+]
R51 1829-E5C [FV]
R40 2723-BAM [SXGA+]
R40 2723-26M
X32 x 2 2672-CM5/W58
X31's x 8 Four working.
X30 2672-4HM
X24 2662-FMT
Etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:19 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:56 am
Posts: 15
Location: Perth, Australia
Looking at my X31 problem again it might not be the same as yours. On power up:
the battery/ac light comes on
the caps lock light flashes
the num lock light flashes
the fan starts up
there no beep
there is no display
I can power off by touching the power button momentarily (suggesting that post has been unsuccessful?)

Last month I pulled out the HDD and could access the contents in another computer.
I've reseated and switched the two sticks of RAM.
Today I replaced the CMOS battery.

Would you say that the tantalum capacitors are at fault?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:47 am
Posts: 201
Location: Pukekohe, New Zealand.
moviedude wrote:
Looking at my X31 problem again it might not be the same as yours. On power up:
the battery/ac light comes on
the caps lock light flashes
the num lock light flashes
the fan starts up
there no beep
there is no display
I can power off by touching the power button momentarily (suggesting that post has been unsuccessful?)

Last month I pulled out the HDD and could access the contents in another computer.
I've reseated and switched the two sticks of RAM.
Today I replaced the CMOS battery.

Would you say that the tantalum capacitors are at fault?

I would say possibly. Sorry, not definitive I know. However as they're known world-wide as the main point of failure for X31s it could be that yours are on their way out rather than completely gone.

You might be best to ask 'Reagle' in this thread viewtopic.php?f=3&t=94160 He knows far more than I do and has been an inspiration to me. If it weren't for his troubleshooting and locating the issues in the first place I wouldn't have known where to start. I didn't feel like replacing all eight capacitors that the foreign language sites mentioned. However two isn't such a big deal.

(I wish I'd saved the foreign sites, they're disappearing fast!)

Best of luck,

_________________
Shaun.
T60 2007-72U [T7400, UXGA FV]
T43p 2668-H2M [FV]
T43 2668-84M [FV]
R52 1847-A18
T42p 2373-KXM [FV]
T42 2374-M97 [SXGA+]
R51 1829-E5C [FV]
R40 2723-BAM [SXGA+]
R40 2723-26M
X32 x 2 2672-CM5/W58
X31's x 8 Four working.
X30 2672-4HM
X24 2662-FMT
Etc.


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