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Old 01-28-2017, 10:51 PM   #341
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

I found a Pentium III slot processor (500 MHz Katmai, SL35E) without a heatsink at my new job. It was going to get thrown out with this month's cleaning, so I took it.

As usual, I decided to put an Xbox 360 GPU heatsink (revision 2) on it as I have an abundance of those. The result wasn't so pretty...



... but it worked!

Yes, the mod does look like crap. But for only 30 minutes worth of my time, it could have been worse.

Really, the main problem was finding thin bolts that were long enough to attach to the heatsink, and of course, drilling holes in the heatsink with the right spacing. The only bolts I had on hand that met the requirements had stripped heads. So I ended up dremeling the heads of those bolts and using them.

Despite the numerous encounters I found online that said that older Pentium III CPUs like this wouldn't work on a Dell Dimension XPS R400 motherboard, I decided to try it on mine anyways. To my surprise, everything worked absolutely fine. The board POSTed and successfully booted into Windows XP. Heatsink didn't get even warm during my brief tests (nor the CPU for that matter).

Of course, when I get time, I will put a better heatsink on there - perhaps an Xbox 360 CPU heatsink. Then the CPU could be nearly passively cooled.

Lol, that is surely one way to make computer work for future techs and IT folks "energizing" and "exciting".

Last edited by momaka; 01-28-2017 at 11:01 PM..
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:51 PM   #342
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

Not exactly a MOD but i had a 450W "infrared" ceramic heating element that i ordered for china (about 7€) but it doesn't emit IR radiation at all, just acts as a resistor and it was collecting dust so i decided to make something usefull with it, maybe a low cost preheater for boards with large ground planes , i connected a 1€ ebay dimmer (2Kw unit but likely 700w is more realistic) a PSU case + a cd drive case and i got this:








Quite useful to remove components like coils or caps on large ground planes, just be careful with the heating time as it doesn't have any temperature control.

Even it has a nice cover!

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Old 02-05-2017, 03:25 PM   #343
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

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Originally Posted by cpt.charlie View Post
Not exactly a MOD but i had a 450W "infrared" ceramic heating element...

Quite useful to remove components like coils or caps on large ground planes, just be careful with the heating time as it doesn't have any temperature control.
Yeah, cool gadget indeed. You can also use it to make your own chipset heatsinks if you find a space CPU/GPU copper heat spreader and copper fins. Then put the copper heat spreader directly on the ceramic element and let it heat up. Then solder the fins to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by =cpt.charlie
i connected a 1€ ebay dimmer (2Kw unit but likely 700w is more realistic)
Actually, those dimmers are not that bad. Their only downside is that they produce a lot of EMI/RFI noise, because they don't turn ON and OFF synchronously with the line's AC waveform.

You can use them both at 120 V AC and 240 V AC, as long as the little blue trimmer is adjusted properly (the blue trimmer can also be used to set where the minimum turn ON point is for the dimmer).

I have 2 of these myself. (Got them free from a technician who had no idea what he was doing and blew them up. I think he was trying to power PS3 fans from the wall with that. Not sure, but either way, I also got two fried PS3 fans from him, and their electronics were well-done - definitely looked like they were plugged in the wall! However, I was able to fix them! - if anyone is interested, I got pictures of those, too.)
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Old 05-05-2017, 09:44 PM   #344
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

This... is my new computer setup.

Points of interest:
  • Power supply held in by putting screws through a PCI slot cover into the fan grille
  • Power switch works, but only because the (proprietary) connector is on sideways
  • Case from a Gateway E-1600 XL
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File Type: png comp_inside.png (1.09 MB, 39 views)
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Old 05-10-2017, 09:14 PM   #345
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

^That's a pretty cool build, though. Looks completely stock on the outside.
Total sleeper!
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Old 06-25-2017, 10:16 PM   #346
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

It's me again.

We had a pretty big thunderstorm in May, and a lightning struck a tree 15 feet (5 meters) away from the house of a co-worker of mine. He said he had many electronic devices dead. One of them was his roommate's desktop computer - a custom build in an older Dell XPS case. So he asked me if I could take a look at it.

Upon plugging the PC in, it appeared to have no power at all. LED on the motherboard was dead. So I tested with another known-good PSU of mine, and same problem happened. I checked the 5VSB on the PSU that was in the XPS PC, and it was there and fine under load. So indeed something was wrong with the motherboard.

With the PSU plugged in and connected to the motherboard, I noticed both the LAN chip and the LPC super IO were extremely hot. Measuring resistance on the motherboard's 3.3V Standby rail (generated by 5VSB) showed about 4 Ohms with the PSU disconnected - that's not right! So I removed the LAN chip and the resistance raised to about 10-11 Ohms - still no good! But then I decided to plug power to the motherboard anyways... and guess what? - The standby power LED on the motherboard came ON!

So then I tried pressing the power button... and I saw the num lock LED on my test keyboard light up - now that's a good sign!
Thus, I connected a monitor, and sure enough the PC was posting.

However, the LPC Super IO chip was still scorching-hot. Also, I was not able to make the computer turn OFF at all, so looks like the Super IO and/or southbrdige had taken some damage. But other than that, the PC appeared to POST and I could even boot into Windows. Nonetheless, I felt uneasy regarding the hot Super IO chop, so I decided to make a custom heatsink for it. And the result:

... not very pretty.
The heatsink blocks the PCI-E 1x, PCI-E 16x, and PCI slots right next to it. However, its size was needed, as that partially-shorted SuperIO chip is dissipating close to 1 Watts of power. Without the heatsink, it would burn my fingers within a few seconds. With the neatsink, the bottom of the heatsink right over the Super IO never went over 55C. So that heatsink is making a big difference.

FYI, the SuperIO chips is the one on the right side of the heatsink in the picture above. The chip on the left is the USB 3.0/3.1 controller, and it wasn't affected at all. Luckily, this layout allowed me to place a much bigger heatsink on top of the SuperIO, without worrying how to balance it on it. The heatsink is held down by a bent paper clip.

Anyways, that is all for now. Also, the motherboard's model is P8Z77-V, in case anyone wonders.
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Last edited by momaka; 06-25-2017 at 10:21 PM..
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:00 AM   #347
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

I'd change that SIO chip and replace the LAN controller.

Just my $0.02.
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Old 06-26-2017, 04:00 PM   #348
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

Nice heatsink job, but I have to agree with TechGeek...

Partially shorted ICs don't usually last very long, and I'd be worried also about overloads on the 3.3v standby regulator for the SIO chip.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:53 PM   #349
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

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Originally Posted by TechGeek View Post
I'd change that SIO chip and replace the LAN controller.
LAN controller was some QFN-thingy, so I didn't feel like bothering to look for a replacement.

As for the SIO... I found a dead motherboard (power, no POST) at work with the same one (just for extra info: the SIO was a Nuvoton NCT6779D). But being a 128-pin chip, I just didn't feel like removing that and then finding out the new one from the dead mobo might be dead too. I also found some new ones on eBay, but they were from overseas IIRC, so that was a no-go with the wait time.

And eventually, the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" got the better part of me. Well, technically the PC wasn't working quite right still, but working enough to be usable. For example, Windows appeared to work fine (sans the network). It's only when I tried to shut the PC down, the HDD turns off, but all of the fans stay ON and the CPU fan goes to max speed. Press the power button, and the PC boots up again normally ... as if it was shut down. So the only way to shut it down after the Windows "shut down" sequence is to unplug the PC. My co-worker joked we should put XP on that PC and turn of APM, so that every time the PC is shut down, it would display that classic "IT IS NOW SAFE TO TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER" message

Another thing I forgot to mention is that the CMOS battery got used up very quickly after my "repair". It was at 3.2V when I placed it back in the mobo (measured in circuit). Within 1 hour, it was already at 2.75V. I measured the current, and the motherboard was drawing close to 1 mA from the CMOS battery with the PSU disconnected. On a normal working motherboard, the current draw from CMOS battery is typically 1-2 uA, or 1000 times less. So clearly there was something wrong in that circuit too. Thus, I ended up not installing a CMOS battery at all (which unfortunately means that if the PC is shut down and unplugged, the CMOS settings will be reset every time).

So I told my co-worker it is probably best to keep the PC on all of the time... which is what my co-worker's roommate was doing anyways (and judging by the amount of dust in the machine, I don't doubt it one single bit ). Hence why it got damaged during the thunderstorm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent24
Partially shorted ICs don't usually last very long, and I'd be worried also about overloads on the 3.3v standby regulator for the SIO chip.
That was the first thing I checked when I saw the motherboard's standby LED came on after removing the LAN. I fed the 3.3V Standby supply directly with a 3.3V source to check the power draw. It wasn't too bad: somewhere around 330 mA at 3.3V... which is close to 1 Watt of power.
I was also actively checking the temperature of the 3.3V standby regulator while testing the board, and it wasn't hot at all.

But really, the main thing is that my co-worker's roommate was already half-way ready to buy a new PC and didn't actually care much to fix this one (most of my co-workers think that even a 6th gen i5/i7 is too old). As such, my "repair" was more or less just for fun. Had my co-worker's roommate given me this motherboard, I would have actually gone to the trouble or replacing the SIO. But that wasn't the case, so it is what it is.

Last edited by momaka; 06-26-2017 at 08:58 PM..
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:50 PM   #350
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

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Originally Posted by Agent24 View Post
Partially shorted ICs don't usually last very long, and I'd be worried also about overloads on the 3.3v standby regulator for the SIO chip.
And what happens if you remove the regulator for the Super I/O CHio?
That should fix the 'things gettin hot' issue. And if it still boots...

And I don't see a reason why you would want/need a Super I/O Chip these days...
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:12 PM   #351
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

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And I don't see a reason why you would want/need a Super I/O Chip these days...
Well, these days the SIO chip provides quite a bit of 'glue logic' between the southbridge and other components, sometimes also BIOS as well, and incorporates many low-level system functions, like power button control, /PS_ON signal to PSU, keyboard controller, ACPI\sleep functions, fan control, voltage monitoring\overvoltage or overtemp protection etc.

I'd say from the point of view of a modern computer system, there's many reasons why you'd want one, even if you never used the serial or parallel ports...
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:02 PM   #352
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent24 View Post
Well, these days the SIO chip provides quite a bit of 'glue logic' between the southbridge and other components, sometimes also BIOS as well, and incorporates many low-level system functions, like power button control, /PS_ON signal to PSU, keyboard controller, ACPI\sleep functions, fan control, voltage monitoring\overvoltage or overtemp protection etc.
Exactly.
If there is a Super IO chip on the board, it handles BIOS/CMOS settings, power control, and also voltage, fan, and temperature monitoring. So it is needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent24 View Post
I'd say from the point of view of a modern computer system, there's many reasons why you'd want one, even if you never used the serial or parallel ports...
Well, I've seen a few new boards nowadays that perhaps have the Super IO built-in the Southbridge, because I couldn't locate one anywhere on the board.
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:43 PM   #353
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
Yeah, cool gadget indeed. You can also use it to make your own chipset heatsinks if you find a space CPU/GPU copper heat spreader and copper fins. Then put the copper heat spreader directly on the ceramic element and let it heat up. Then solder the fins to it.


Actually, those dimmers are not that bad. Their only downside is that they produce a lot of EMI/RFI noise, because they don't turn ON and OFF synchronously with the line's AC waveform.

You can use them both at 120 V AC and 240 V AC, as long as the little blue trimmer is adjusted properly (the blue trimmer can also be used to set where the minimum turn ON point is for the dimmer).

I have 2 of these myself. (Got them free from a technician who had no idea what he was doing and blew them up. I think he was trying to power PS3 fans from the wall with that. Not sure, but either way, I also got two fried PS3 fans from him, and their electronics were well-done - definitely looked like they were plugged in the wall! However, I was able to fix them! - if anyone is interested, I got pictures of those, too.)
I'm interested in those fan pics.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:11 PM   #354
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

^ Alright, will do.

Just give me a day or two to type up the posts and get the pictures. They are on my main PC, but I haven't been using it due to the summer heat here. 86F is fine by me, but not by my computers.
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Old 07-18-2017, 09:47 PM   #355
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

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Originally Posted by momaka View Post
^ Alright, will do.

Just give me a day or two to type up the posts and get the pictures. They are on my main PC, but I haven't been using it due to the summer heat here. 86F is fine by me, but not by my computers.
Try 120mm front intake and rear exhaust fans, with wire grilles, especially for the front intake fan.

The following was stable @ 85 degree entering air. Maybe I missed your config, but with enough heatsink & airflow, it may be possible for you to run stock speeds up to 90 deg entering air.

I recently "torture tested" one of my systems, taking a C2D E8400 to 3.8GHz. The stock Intel/Nidec half-height pushpin heatsink took it okay, surprisingly. Have a CNB-R1 with 40mm fan on the P45 NB and a similar square sink on the SB. With "flow through" airflow, it runs cooler overall OC'd than stock.

4GHz is no problem with an upgraded CPU sink.

The RAM was good-quality Kingston DDR3 1333. It will run at DDR3 1700 @1.6V and MCH @1.2V vs 1.1V default.
Never volt-bump the P45 til you give it more heatsink, BGAs you know...

That RAM on that MCH will run 1333/7-7-7-21 @ 1.5V. Stock timings are 1333/9-9-9-24 @ 1.5V. OC'd @ 1680-1700 I can run 9-9-9-24 @1.6V.


Mobo is a GA-P45T-ES3G, love it so much I recently got a spare off fleebay- the only mobo I've ever had two of.


Quote:
Originally Posted by momaka View Post
(pix of modded PSU)
Lol, that is surely one way to make computer work for future techs and IT folks "energizing" and "exciting".
lol, I thought "IT people" were terrified of "scary" power supplies.

The blown LAN chip is typical with cable services not bonded per NEC 250.94 & 820.100. The CATV shield and poco service neutral become different potentials during nearby strikes and other "step" events. Long story short, you can have either the required bonding jumper(s) and the current caused by the difference of potentials with equalize thru that, or the voltage difference will force current through an alternate "jumper" consisting of:
the cable modem->LAN cable->ethernet chip on mobo->chassis->PSU->up the EGC in the computer line cord->GEC/GES at service/panel.

This is made worse with LAN adapters having no isolation transformer.


So those step potentials will force current while attempting to equalize; the choice you have is to use a #6 or larger jumper, or a chain of electronics to provide this current path.

And with a direct strike, fuh-ghetta-bout-it.
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Old 07-19-2017, 07:08 AM   #356
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

Yeah, reminding me of cable bonding - replaced mainboard in a LG Plasma 2nd time in as many years for the same customer - these new STBs used by one of Romania's largest cable providers have a wallwart type PSU with no earth, so the only ground for that box is the earth connection of the TV, thru the HDMI port. Great.

This time i added a connection from the outside jacket of the coax cable to mains earth. Hopefully this prevents it from blowing up again. Been about 2.5 months since i fixed it.
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Old Yesterday, 05:57 PM   #357
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Default Re: The ghetto mod thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
Try 120mm front intake and rear exhaust fans, with wire grilles, especially for the front intake fan.

The following was stable @ 85 degree entering air. Maybe I missed your config, but with enough heatsink & airflow, it may be possible for you to run stock speeds up to 90 deg entering air.
No need.

I've actually ran these computers before many-a-summer in 86F weather. No overheating issues or anything. It's just that they get very loud. So when it gets to that point, I prefer to sit on my trusty old Latitude laptop downstairs in the cool and just browse BCN (as that is pretty much all I can do with it).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaboom View Post
So those step potentials will force current while attempting to equalize; the choice you have is to use a #6 or larger jumper, or a chain of electronics to provide this current path.

And with a direct strike, fuh-ghetta-bout-it.
Yes, it could be that his CATV was not grounded properly. But he had a bunch of other stuff die too (already forgot what he had on the list), though they weren't necessarily connected to the Ethernet. One was a UPS. Not sure how that got hit. Either way, the strike was literally less than 15 yards away from his house and shred one of their trees to pulp. At this close range, any unshielded wire that is long enough can develop considerable potential.

Lan adapters without isolation are outright dangerous for hardware and I try to avoid them whenever possible.
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