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Old 02-14-2011, 08:43 PM   #1
Salamander
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Default 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

I need help recapping this Dell XPS 410/9200 with 2 blown-out caps and some that are soon to be on their way out. Right now I'm not in a hurry because the PC is still running fine (luckily no BSODs, freezes, etc.)...so far. But why is this???

In the event it goes kaput, is it better to replace the board with a Dell-refurbed one (around $190), recap (buy myself a soldering/desoldering station) or just get another PC?

If I go with the recap, do I need a lead-free version soldering station? I heard motherboards nowadays are lead-free compliant or something. If so, I'm interested in this model:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/9750

Since it comes only with a desoldering gun which has a 5-pin connector to the main unit (apart from the tube connector), I was thinking maybe I can purchase a replacement soldering iron from one of their soldering station models and use it with the BK4000. Anyway, all their irons have the same 5-pin connector, this way maybe I can make a "combo" out of this desoldering unit. What do you think, guys? Will this work? It's much cheaper than buying 2 stations.

Your help is much appreciated.
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Old 02-15-2011, 10:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

If the board has blown capacitors, you are running on borrowed time. I've seen many cases where a computer was running fine one day, and completely dead the next. Capacitors clean up the power, and in rare cases dirty power can permanently damage components. If that hasn't happened to you yet, consider yourself lucky.

Certain brands of capacitors are poorly made and prone to failure. Even good brands can fail in particularly hot systems. So, make sure all your fans, vents, and heatsinks are free of dust buildup.

Buying a Dell refurb board is an option - but maybe not the best option. First, it's expensive. The existing board can be repaired for a fraction of the cost. Second, the refurb board may have the same unreliable brand of capacitors on it that may fail again down the road.

Fixing it yourself is one option, but it does require some investment in equipment. Nothing as expensive as what you posted is necessary unless you plan to do this sort of thing often. I do this often, so I got the good equipment. However, there are many people on here who have successfully repaired boards with a decent, inexpensive soldering iron. If you search on the forum, I'm sure you can find many recommendations. If you decide to go the fix it yourself route, post some detailed descriptions of the blown capacitors and some close up photos. This will allow us to recommend some suitable replacement parts. It may also worth be replacing some of the capacitors that haven't failed yet if they are an unreliable failure-prone brand.

A third option is to have someone else fix the board. Topcat, the owner of the site, offers this service.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Yikes!!! Running on borrowed time. Could it be some components on the board or perhaps the processor and the northbridge & southbridge themselves have already been compromised? If so, there's no point of fixing something that is already bound to fail sometime in the not-so-distant future. I ran the Dell 32-bit Diagnostics software comprehensive test and the board passed with flying colors. Is this a promising sign of a not-so-serious case?

Here are some pictures.

The ones marked red are bad caps.

Just let me know if you need more pics.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P1.jpg (177.0 KB, 112 views)
File Type: jpg P2.jpg (232.8 KB, 116 views)
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Oh look KZG - you need to replace ALL of those.

If it's running now, it's fine. It's when it stops running that you have to figure out if it's just bad caps and/or a shorted component.

Stop using it now, buy caps, replace caps, happy salamander.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

What's wrong with a KZG? Is it a bad brand?

More pics of the innards of my Dell motherboard.

In P3, the one circled in blue at bottom center, is that a polymer cap? Can I go for all polys? In P5, the one circled in yellow, is that about to erupt?

BTW, here are the specs of the 410/9200:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86 GHz
3 Gigabyte RAM PC25300 667MHz
DVD +/- ROM Drive
Nvidia GeForce 7300 LE
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P3.jpg (471.1 KB, 75 views)
File Type: jpg P4.jpg (458.1 KB, 69 views)
File Type: jpg P5.jpg (356.8 KB, 62 views)
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

KZG and KZJ are bad, other caps by United Chemi-Con are fine.

P3 - yes it's a polymer.

What does that small cap say? I suspect KMG or KY.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

You got it right, Seanc, it's KMG 470uF 6.3v.

If I do the recap myself:
1. How do I tie the motherboard to ground while working on it?
2. How do I drain all the board's capacitors of their power?
3. Does the coin battery need to be removed from the motherboard as well as the processor?
4. What size and shape of iron tips and size of solder do I need for this particular board?
5. Should I get a 'Lead-Free' solder station?

Also, I can't help but notice people saying to never use soldapult twice or thrice on the same pad. How can it damage the pad or hole?

Advise me.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salamander View Post
If I do the recap myself:
1. How do I tie the motherboard to ground while working on it?
2. How do I drain all the board's capacitors of their power?
3. Does the coin battery need to be removed from the motherboard as well as the processor?
4. What size and shape of iron tips and size of solder do I need for this particular board?
5. Should I get a 'Lead-Free' solder station?

Also, I can't help but notice people saying to never use soldapult twice or thrice on the same pad. How can it damage the pad or hole?

Advise me.
1. Buy an "ESD safe" soldering iron. This will ground the tip of the iron, which will ground the board while you are working on it. Of course, normal ESD precautions apply when handling the board.

2. The capacitors will drain themselves after a few seconds. It is not necessary to do anything special when working on a motherboard. (Other devices are different)

3. Definitely remove the battery, as some parts of the board will have voltage with the battery installed. Usually, I leave the CPU in, but I suppose removing it wouldn't hurt.

4. Personally, I use a 2.4mm chisel tip and 0.021 inch diameter solder. This is a matter of personal preference, there is no right or wrong answer. Contrary to what you might think, really small tips are not easier to work with. They don't hold enough heat to melt the solder on areas of the board with large copper ground planes. When choosing solder, make sure to get solder with flux core.

5. Lead free solder station? I wasn't aware there was a difference in soldering equipment for leaded vs. unleaded solder. You will probably find leaded solder easy to work with, especially if you're a beginner. Unleaded solder requires higher temperatures and doesn't flow as easily. I use the same equipment for both types of solder.

The spring loaded solder pumps can be useful, but can be dangerous if used carelessly. They retract with a lot of force, and its easy to knock off small components nearby. It's also possible to lift pads and traces off the board. My recommendation for through hole motherboard work is to buy a powered vacuum desoldering tool, or to use a stainless steel dental pick to clear any holes.

Edit: No need to replace KMG unless there are issues with it. From the photo, it doesn't look like it. Be sure to replace all the KZG and KZJ capacitors as these types are prone to failure, as others have mentioned.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by yyonline View Post
My recommendation for through hole motherboard work is to buy a powered vacuum desoldering tool, or to use a stainless steel dental pick to clear any holes.
Initially, I was thinking about getting this:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/9750

for $119 which is the only cheapest quality desoldering station I can find out there, but for that price I can get a new LGA775 ASUS board and a case. So it doesn't make sense to go that route unless it's 100% guaranteed that it can clean holes way much better than using solder suckers and wicks as contrary to what others are saying. Also, to skimp on the cost of having 2 stations, is it possible to purchase one of their replacement soldering iron
and use it with the desoldering station since the iron has the same 5-pin connector that can be plugged into the BK4000?

Just curious, if capacitors fail, what other motherboard components are directly affected or negatively impacted? Is it necessary to change those components as well?
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

If you plan on repairing other stuff, which you may not right now, but you may in the future, invest in something decent - can't really comment on the station you're looking at, I don't have experience of it.

Don't buy ASUS. I recommend Gigabyte.

The next failure of your PC would most likely be a mosfet, caused by the capacitor not filtering the power to it. If the machine is still working before you re-cap, leave the mosfets alone, if the machine stops working before you replace the capacitors, suspect the mosfets.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Why not ASUS? They've been around for a while now and why Gigabyte? If you please, no bias opinions.

Does Topcat sell MOSFETs too?

Is Topcat and Chris the same person?
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

ASUS build quality isn't brilliant, they do use bad cap brands/models (like KZG). Some ASUS boards just die for no reason, their RMA service is very difficult to use.

Gigabyte for the most part use solid polymer japanese caps, if you do have an issue, their RMA service is excellent. Where they do use aluminium electrolytic, they're usually Nichion.

I've tried Foxconn, ASUS, Abit, Intel and I always go back to Gigabyte because they're more reliable and just work out of the box. Shipped hundreds of machines and in the last 3 years I can count the failures on my hands.

Last edited by seanc; 02-17-2011 at 05:09 PM..
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Forgot to mention this with regards to the BlackJack D-Soldering Station (BK4000) and their station replacement irons. According to CSI tech support, that even though all their irons (soldering and desoldering) have the same 5-pin connectors, they can't be interchanged or crossmatched unless you want your station going up in smoke.

With that said, I'm foregoing the BK4K and get me either one of these:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/9747
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/7307

On average, how long does a (successfully) recapped motherboard last?
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:35 PM   #14
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

As long as you do a good job, the caps and other components last - it'll keep working for ever.

I have a monstrosity in my SBS 2003 server. Did a quick, sloppy re-cap to get it running - wrong diameter Panasonic FM, good caps, just the wrong size for the application. It was full of KZG, I've ended up replacing them all because they ALL failed. I did it so that I could migrate it (which I did) and left it that way - it's doing fine. If I can find the right diameter caps, I'll fix it up properly.

If it dies I'll just plop another motherboard in it - despite being an IBM, it seems to be a standard ATX layout.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
Gigabyte for the most part use solid polymer japanese caps, if you do have an issue, their RMA service is excellent. Where they do use aluminium electrolytic, they're usually Nichion.

I've tried Foxconn, ASUS, Abit, Intel and I always go back to Gigabyte because they're more reliable and just work out of the box. Shipped hundreds of machines and in the last 3 years I can count the failures on my hands.
I trust your opinion BUT the thing that still perplexes me is that, given Gigabyte's reputation of using quality caps, customers are still reporting DOAs, 'it quit on me,' and one-star reviews among all other things to name a few. I was almost leaning towards building another one instead of recapping, but these complaints always steer me back to it. I just can't allow myself to be the unlucky one receiving a dead board and guinea-pigging my other components.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
As long as you do a good job, the caps and other components last - it'll keep working for ever.
I hope so.
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

i wish abit was still around
*looks over to the Abit IP35P*

i've been using gigabyte boards for years now.. apart from one dodgy one (VERY picky about the RAM.. was in RMA before.. pretty much a lemon) i never had any problems so far.

asus boards of recent on the other hand died for no apparent reason from one day to the other.. wouldnt turn on, wouldn't keep the BIOS settings even with fresh 2032's, dead SATA ports, ... go ahead and try to explain that stuff to your customers while trying to recover the data off their harddrives with trashed filesystems because of the SATA ports failing

i still have an Asus P5K (Socket 775, P35 Chipset) somewhere. it's a brand new RMA replacement for some oooold i975 (or i965?) core2duo board that died in a customer's 'puter..
i've tested it, but never actually used it for anything. oh and the RMA process took a bit over 2 months..

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanc View Post
ASUS build quality isn't brilliant, they do use bad cap brands/models (like KZG). Some ASUS boards just die for no reason, their RMA service is very difficult to use.

Gigabyte for the most part use solid polymer japanese caps, if you do have an issue, their RMA service is excellent. Where they do use aluminium electrolytic, they're usually Nichicon.
ha.. Asus boards with their extensive use of KZG's and those ugly turquoise OST's on the CPU VRM..

lower-end gigabytes usually use polys for the CPU VRM and lytics everywhere else.
the ones i've seen so far had Sanyo's all over the board, with one or two nippon-chemicon's here and there (almost always the 16V 470F ones)
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:13 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

Thanks, guys, for all your advise and opinions I don't know what I would've done without your help.

Yyonline,

All-Spec has this solders (very expensive) I only need a tube but they only have them in spools:

60/40 Rosin Activated Core Size 66

http://www.all-spec.com/products/Sol...0C/KW4495.html

and this

63/37 No-Clean Core Size 50 (also available in 58)

http://www.all-spec.com/products/Sol...C/KW27515.html

Which one should I pick? Both are size .020", and they have .025" but no .021".

I'm also getting this neat tray http://www.all-spec.com/products/Sto...5/1370-38.html j where I can put all the component boards safely without having to worry about ESD.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:42 PM   #19
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

$23 for a 1lb spool is a deal! The price of metals has gone up a lot recently.

I personally use Kester 44 solder, and can recommend it. I actually use the 0.025" stuff, but size is a matter of preference. It's activated flux, so I'd recommend cleaning it afterwards with some isopropyl alcohol - the stuff you buy at the pharmacy - no need to buy it from an electronics place at a much higher price. Even if you don't clean the flux, I'd say corrosion risk is very low. Still, it's good to make an effort to at least clean most of it it off. The no-clean flux isn't corrosive, hence no-clean. The trade off for less work is that it burns up faster, and doesn't clean surfaces as well, and therefore is harder to work with. For a beginner, I'd say go with the rosin core.

If you need smaller quantities, radio shack is okay for buying solder...but don't expect a large selection of diameters, fluxes, etc. Just don't buy capacitors at radio shack for computer use!

I'd say there's no need for fancy board holders...Just don't shuffle your feet while you're working, make sure to discharge any static before you start, etc.
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:21 AM   #20
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Default Re: 2007 Dell XPS 410/9200 with Bad Caps

I just want to make sure -- are the labels "RA-Rosin Activated" and "Rosin Core" the same? If so, I'd follow your preference and go with this Kester 44 http://www.all-spec.com/products/Sol...0C/KW4450.html granting if I can't find one closest to this at Radio Shack.

Switching gears, when putting molten solder into a hole during cap installation, will it flow through the other side of the hole and touch or perhaps melt the plastic base of the capacitor?
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