I like to keep my eye on Craigslist and eBay for good deals on old computers. I get pretty excited when I see something that says, "not tested, AS-IS" or even if it's just straight up broken - because that gives me an opportunity to fix something! So last week when I saw a Macintosh SE/30 with "no video" for cheap just a few blocks from my office in Chicago, you bet I ran to get it
So after I got it home and opened it up, I noticed the video board was not plugged into the back of the CRT. This would obviously account for the "no video" ... but would it be the only problem? I plugged it back in and tried turning it on (for the first time) ... lo' and behold! It booted right up with a floppy disk in the drive.
But wait a minute, there's no audio! Or maybe there is... (I flipped the switch on and off a few times) there is a faint chime, but something is wrong. We're going to need a closer look.
Ok, first of all - I'm lucky that battery hasn't leaked or worse. It is the original, nearly 30-year-old, PRAM battery. So that's going to come out and be replaced, I keep a few spares on hand. Secondly, every SMD capacitor on this board is leaking... there is corrosion on the legs of several ICs, so this is going to need emergency treatment.
I replaced just these three caps with tantalum caps from Newark and the sound is loud and proud again. I've also installed (temporarily) a BMWOW ROM-inator II so I can quickly test RAM and copy an OS over to a new hard drive. This really a great tool for testing old Mac II and SE/30 computers. You can boot from it and there are even a few games pre-installed on the ROM/RAM disk!
Stay tuned for part 2 as I replace the rest of the capacitors and install a SCSI hard drive!