[sdiy] socket question

Chris Stecker cstecker at umich.edu
Tue Jun 25 22:01:21 CEST 2002


Hey,

While we're on the topic of socket woes, lemme pick some brains.  

Some of you know that I'm the proud/frustrated owner of a unique 2-part 
Buchla 400 ("by Kimball") with an intermittent boot failure / warmup 
problem. The thing will almost never boot straight out of the gate, but if I 
turn it on and let it run for 20-30 minutes, then go to (re)boot it, it will 
work, almost as if it had to "warm up."  Generally, once it boots correctly, 
it's A-OK for the rest of the session, rebooting into alternate operating 
systems with no difficulty.  More recently it's been not wanting to boot at 
all, regardless of how long it "warms up" or whether I've been using it.  
Witness the all-afternoon struggle and 20 minutes of actual operation we 
milked out of it at AHMW.

I've been led to suspect a socket problem.  Given that the beast is composed 
of several (6-7?) S100 boards each COVERED with IC's (mainly digital and 
memory IC's), that they are all socketed (dual-wipe?), and that one of the 
big problems I faced in refurbishing these things was replacing memory 
sockets destroyed by leaking RAM-backup batteries, it sounds like a very 
reasonable possibility.  

Now, I am not interested (except as a very final resort long down the road) 
in soldering all these chips directly, and given the sheer number of joints, 
and I'm really not excited about replacing all the sockets.  (Though on some 
of the more likely boards -- the one with the battery -- this might be a good 
decision).  

My question:  is the problem with socketed IC's likely to be caused by 
oxidation, such that I could use some "de-oxit"  to restore the effectiveness 
of the socket connection, or not?  Is there some reason that pulling the 
chips and trying a blast of de-oxit on each connection would be a 
bad/dangerous idea?

-Chris



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