General hardware help for all, how the hell are we gonna do it all?

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As vintage computers age, there will be growing checklist of things to do on a newly acquired system 30 years old which is ailing.

We could begin with learning to identify parts.
Know when they have burned up. Note the smell, the color, the temperature.
Look, listen, smell, touch, know when something isn't right. Know when it is.

Understand keyboards, cleaning, resoldering, exercising them.
Reseating cables 10 times to ensure cleaner connections.
Measuring power supplies and voltages and ripple.
Buffing chips and reseating them in sockets.
Making sure the system has the right chips in the first place.
Checking all screws and hardware for secure-ness.
Removing metal whiskers, my old II+ grows them like hair on hippie! I kid not!
Ensuring the all the basic components and accessories are present.
Doing adjustments in accordance with the manuals.
Know programmable chips from non-programmable ones.
Testing cables.
Setting dipswitches.
Basic soldering and reflowing. Know what good solder connections look like, and bad ones.

Learn how to intelligently swap chips, so that you may solve the issue with 2 or 3 swaps absolute tops. Ram excluded of course!

Understand how to use a DMM for basic problems, and a scope for more involved issues.

Basic troubleshooting techniques (this means reading manuals and thinking a problem through too). It also means things like replacing/removing cards and bringing a system to its most basic configuration and testing as you build it up again. Things like that.

And finally, everybody that works on vintage computers should have basic electronics knowledge, know volts & amps & ohms & watts. Know Megahertz and Gigahertz, and in the case of really old systems, kilohertz. Know how contacts behave, know transistors, resistors, capacitors, diodes, switches.. I'm not saying calculate beta for an NPN, but just know the parts and their functions. Know how to identify them. Do you know what analog is? What digital is? How about AC/DC/RF/Composite - are these the same or what?

A lot of this stuff has varying degrees of intensity to it too, and requires good judgment stemming from some technical experience. You won't use a dremel sander on a 40-pin dip that goes in a socket, but you could use it to buff a screw ground-point or something.
How much do you buff a gold edge connector? Till it turns light? Silver? Almost no change?
When do you use contact cleaner? How much? Spray? Brush-on?

What types of lubes on moving mechanisms like drive motors and doors and heads.

Understand basic physics, that will help a lot.

And finally, everybody needs to learn to use the reference material at hand. OR EVEN BETTER, learn how to find it. The internet is just stuffed with information. Learn how to present a problem to the forums, learn precision communication that is concise.

Fire and Brimstone everyone! Have at it!

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speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2407
Re: General hardware help for all, how the hell are we gonna ...

hello to all AFs...

my first proposal would hit at the playground of Tom Owad:

within the forums and topics it would make sense to get structure in the topics by using the ability to reproduce some kind of topic tree within a directory structure.

something similar to the one used now - but more delibarate... for example:
...........................................................apple II
...............................................................|
caseissues ----------------- powersource --------------------------- mainboard ------------------------------------------------ interface cards
.....|......................................|.....................................................|............................................................................|
Damages - cleaning.......220 V branch -- low voltage............osc- RAM - ROM-- Video - slots - keyboard..............serial cards--parallel cards

and similar to the other models (i.e. Apple IIe, Apple IIGS, and also in the mac-branch ....

and expanding down that structure to smaller topic areas....
this would result in the ability to avoid that same topic or similar topics are repeated within few weeks again with nearly identic content.....

but that part of the thread would require a lot of work and revisions, because the "doubles" (identic threads ) would need to be revised, pushed together, some stuff to be deleted if it is just repeating previously published taxt and so on....

thats also a question of politics - because this would cause a change within the published standards and rules here at applefritter - for example some might think of this idea to be an entering of a kind of censorship...
though this is realy not the idea of the "revision" - the one or other would probably feel attacked when his or her entry is deleted from a topic and another entry from another user remains in there....

at the other hand it would surely be an advantage to the site itself - because it would remove redundant information an compress knowledgebase to a better viewable and searchable knowledgebase and save huge amount of diskspace within the site itself..... this surely would also cause an advantage in the speed of the system....

so this is as explained first of all a thing within the decession of Tom himself and the second point would be for
sure the question of time....

as Tom explained in his own postings.... he surely wants to limit the time-effort used for the care of the site...
so this change would need the assistance of other co-admins....
probably splitting up their tasks to smaller specific topic areas....

and those admins have to be selected carefully - not only dependent to availiable time but also to the ability to behave diplomatic with the members here within - by for example giving a short note if deletion of posts are executed to show that affected user that the topic has allready been covered in earlier posts so that that user doesnt feel this to be an act of censorship but only a requirement to keep structure and avoid redundant repeatings - and that the only target is - to keep the topic compact and searchable....

so there are probably good arguments for the change of rules at least within such "knowledge-base-topics" - without affecting those areas of topics with private issues and opinions which should remain without "specific revision of structure and redundancy" and where rules should be kept as they are now......

just as example to the problem of redundancy ...: how many threads have been opened here in apple related to "keyboard" ... and how many posts within these threads contain information published in earlier threads or content not related to the topic "keyboard"....

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gsmcten's picture
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Posts: 2616
Re: General hardware help for all, how the hell are we gonna ...

Keatah and All,

Well, I am totally confused after reading this.
Comment 1 seems to be a manifesto of how to work on vintage computers.
Comment 2 seems to be a hit on everything that supposedly is wrong with the Applefritter Forums.

I think that I have been doing what Comment 1 is expounding for over 27 years (and going). I know the differences and the similarities. I have the references.
You are preaching to the chior.

As for Speedy's part. Yes. Sometimes there might be overlap of threads and some folks bring up things again and again without reading or searching first. I feel your pain. That is not a reason for a complete redesign of the website. The site is fine.

Give Tom and all the other folks who run Fritter some credit for setting this site up in the first place. Its a place where we can all come and share our experiences, likes, dislikes, etc. no matter what our experience level.

Just maybe everyone needs to fade back 10 yards and punt? Smile

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speedyG's picture
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Joined: Nov 16 2011
Posts: 2407
Re: General hardware help for all, how the hell are we gonna ...

hello steven,
i won´t argue against your post, because i respect the fact that this is the best availiable platform to appleusers yet...
it´s just another view to the topic...
i felt the first post not to be a claim for better suppport or a start for blowing a march....

more i reflected that post to the idea of initiating a brainstorm how to tune the support to a better and superior step ahead - and to think about what in such a case would bring the community a step ahead....

so my post was just a thought about the structure... i did not want to yell about the repeating threads covering same topics again and again - me thought targeted more to think about the reason why that happens....

my first guess is that any user haunting for support for a spacific problem and entering Applefritter probably is in hurry to solve his issue... you don´t want to wait for hours with a broken leg till the doctor gives you a relief from the pain....
so i guess those users also don´t want to search some 50 or 60 different threads related to keyboard issues to find to one that dated 2 years ago to the specific topic he has to solve now.... he´ll probably stop after 15 or 20 threads and instead publish again that topic and not recognizing that the stuff has been treated several times in the past....
the reason for that is the stucture at the moment...
- its not hierarchical...
- there is not really a topic sorting...
- if for example you look for keyboard ... that topic is mixed up with keyboards of apple I, Apple II, Apple IIe
- and its not allways clear at the header of the topic which keyboard is treated in the specific post....

so the result is a long painfull search through posts that probably are not even related to the problem you want to solve ( or to say better : not all posts within a thread are really related to the topic of the thread itself ... )- and the result will be the next redundant thread...
a sorted and hierarchical structure would avoid redundancy and it would help to perform less painfull search....

and to come back to the root of the initial post of the thread - its targeted to publish ideas and brainstorming specialy to the topic of repair - not to other topics like sale or hints on software etc.
if you think about the core of the first post - it leeds to thoughts of how to create something like a knowledge-base ... searchable and structured and probably the needs how to keep such a knowledgebase painless...

so the target is not a redesign of the entire platform ! its more something like thinking loud how a knowledgebase could be created and what would probably be needed for such a knowledge-base...

Tom and the other admins that rum AF have any credit from me that they might like to get....
thats also the very reason that i treated that aspect ( the freedom of decession - the right for own time of privacy and other aspects like the hurddle of such an Knowledgebase and the relation to the backwork of such a thing ) with very much respect to Tom Owad....
it´s his site - so he is the only one to decide if probably in the future such an attempt will be made....
my thought in the post just targeted to "is - status" and the possible reasons for the "is - status"
and to think loud about how what kind of attempt could be needed if a change will be made sometime in future if a knowledgebase is targeted...
just take it for a look in the glasball of a futureteller....

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gsmcten's picture
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Joined: Oct 4 2005
Posts: 2616
Re: General hardware help for all, how the hell are we gonna ...

Speedy,

I can't argue with your reasoning. I understand exactly what you are trying to say.
I just could not put it in the context of what Keatah was saying.
They are two separate subjects.
They should have been separate posts.
That is the point I was trying to get across. Smile

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"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

speedyG's picture
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Re: General hardware help for all, how the hell are we gonna ...

hello steve,
your opinion can´t just be denied... at the first view it realy looks like 2 different topics.....
but at second sight ?
if i would understand the first to be a sort of documentation to technical basics and basic electronic knowledge
and
the second to be related to the solution of hardware problems and a related knowledge-base
- well then finaly i end up in both cases with a hierarchical knowledge-base....

adding as addition to my thoughts above the similar point to the first aspect
it would split in something like:

...............basics on components....................................basics to tools and their usage.......................................................basics to circuitplans
.......................|....................................................................................|.......................................................................................|
passiv elements -- active elements...........handcraft tools -- soldering tools -- electronic equipment..... symbols of components-building logical knots-reading datasheets

and that can be continued as hierarchical path down to single points....
in fact the topic would end up in a similar hierarchical structure....

to tell the truth it would also cover a third topic mentioned few weeks ago ....
the topic of the apple documentation
with fotos and description of keymarks how to recognize different series of the different revisions of hardware....

but in fact such a change to implement a hierarchical structure within parts of the AF to realize a knowledge-base would cause a deep impact to the software of AF itself ....
thats the reason i also mentioned the tons of backwork and other parts related to the oganisation of the software...
and it was exactly the point i spotted out that such decessions for the future could only be made by Tom Owad himself...

never the less i think it to be a good idea that the brainstorming was tossed in the round....
it could turn out to be a valuable collection of thoughts and ideas that Tom probably could view if he decides in the future some altering or modification of the software....

and just a reason for my opinions given here... its result that several years ago i worked professional as freelancer for large enterprise companies like banks and insurances that bought other companies and had the need to integrate different platforms of hardware and software together to get access to the data of both conglomerats ... i made the paperwork of the analysis how to join the platforms and how to avoid loss of data and how to join large databases and link oracle, informix or ms-databaseservers together and join them to a new "entire database" of all companies and subsidaries... and besides i sometimes also joined web-platforms.... so its resulting from practical experience....

__________________

In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....