Matt ref your earlier. I am at theater and for some unknow reason, can't REPLY and keep this in thread!
Our board does have the two squat - looks like 1.0 F supercaps. Darn. Was hoping for battery. So what can we do? Although you said you can service/upgrade our EXP3 the thought of shipping this heavy beast is horrendous and we have a show in two weeks. But to get things started can you tell what it would cost to service/upgrade the board?
1 If I can get supercaps it looks like a board removal and cap replacement job (these caps lasted 20 years so that might be the least cost approach).
2. Or maybe you have complete CPU/PCB I could install.
Any/all ideas, and that quote appreciated.
Well, I do have a couple options.
If you'd like to replace the supercaps yourself, it looks like the supercaps we use are available on Mouser and Digikey. Eaton KR-5R5C105-R or Elna DBN-5R5D105T would be what you'd be searching for. You will need to remove the CPU tray from the console and I/O board to get the CPU board out of the tray to get access to the bottom of the board for soldering. There should be 6 nuts holding the tray in the console, and a bunch of wires. I'd recommend taking a picture of where all the wires go prior to unplugging anything. There are two supercaps you'd need to replace, so keep that in mind if you choose this option.
It's also possible to just send in the CPU tray with the CPU board inside, rather than sending in the entire console. It's not standard, but would be a lot easier than sending the entire thing. Write the serial number of the console, found on the back of the console, on the tray, along with the RMA number when you get that so we can keep track of what console the CPU tray belongs to. I'd be looking over the entire console and doing some general cleaning, should you choose to send in the entire console, though. Whatever you choose, I'd be replacing the supercaps with a battery.
A new CPU PCB would be a bit pricey, much more than the cost of sending the console in for repair, so I'm going to assume this wouldn't be an acceptable option.
If you'd like us to do the repair, we do have loaners we can send while your console is being repaired. I'd recommend calling ETC Tech Services for an approximate repair cost and get the RMA and loaner stuff going. We generally say any products sent in for repair we will proceed with any repairs up to $450 USD. Anything beyond that we will send an estimate prior to making any repairs. As long as it's just a couple bad supercaps, I'd say the cost to repair will be less than that.
We have the supercaps and removed the CPU/IF tray. Question; Is there a way to remove the PCU board without removing the I/F board? If not, does that mean we'll have to unbolt/unscrew every socket / plug etc.on the I/F board? Thanks
Unfortunately, yes, you will probably need to remove the I/O board, including all the screws from the sockets on the I/O board and CPU board on the back panel. In the picture, near the right circle, the I/O board will have a hole in the board that can access a screw on the CPU board. There should also be a screw on the CPU board next to the left circle in the image that may or may not be blocked by the I/O board. If you can get to it, then you may not need to remove the I/O board.
There will be a screw and nut near each end of the board (approximate location circled in red in the image) that will also need to be removed, should you need to remove the I/O board.
The CPU board in the picture is one of the rare CPU boards that can be removed without removing the I/O board.
Ok, got very lucky there. I found our I/O board had a couple of screw access holes and was able to remove the CPU board and successfully replace the caps without removing the I/O board. Loaded some subs and turned the board off and back on a couple of times and things seem fine. Though I think an overnight turned off will be the real test. Strange thing though; the setup could not find the disk drive! Tried format etc but it came back no disk in drive. I made sure the power cable and signal ribbon were connected so this may be totally unrelated, I may have to raise another thread if I can't get it running tomorrow.
Hmm. If you haven't been able to get the disk drive to work yet, I would suggest trying a couple different disks. I've had disks that I just used read as bad the next time I used it. I don't know how many diagnostic disks I've had to recreate over the past few years.
The disk drive should make some audible sounds when trying to access it, whether when the console is powered up, or when trying to load/save/format a disk. All that would do is confirm that power would be OK, but doesn't rule out ribbon cable or drive problems.
I do have another suggestion, though it's a bit of a pain. Reseat both the ribbon cable and the power cable a few times on both the disk drive end and the CPU board end. Considering the age of the console, there may be some oxidation on the pin headers. Reseating a few times will scrape the pins a little each time and may help make better contact.
If all else fails, the drive may have failed as coincidence. If you have a spare disk drive, try that out. Or you may be able to find some online somewhere. Though ETC doesn't officially support it, I've worked on some consoles with a USB Floppy emulator, and have played with an emulator in an Expression 3. If you wanted to go that route, I'd suggest also having a working floppy disk drive as a backup before your show.
1st off the EXP3 passed its overnight off test and came up shining this am. Phew! As to the disk drive I was under the covers a lot changing the supercaps so familiar with the power and ribbon connectors and have reseated them several times. Actually it a USB / 3.5" emulator which worked well. So once the weekend shows are out the way I'm going to slap the 3.5" back in and have a 'listen'. The console is circa 25 years old so I guess hiccups are to be expected.