I have an 84 iie PCB that boots fine and passes the onboard test but when I put a known working 80 column memory card in the auxiliary slot the onboard shows RAM errors when I know there are none. It shows RAM 10110001. If I put a plain 80 column card in with no memory and go to 80 columns I get garbage in the screen but I am able to type in 80 columns. The 80 column card without the ram doesn’t effect the passing onboard either, only fails with the memory on the card. I’ve changed the IOU as well as the LS125 and LS374 just because traces from the slot went to these ICs. No improvement. The machine boots disks fine with a controller card, as long as the software doesn’t have to get something from the auxiliary card. I’m trying to upload screenshots but they don’t seem to be attaching to the post.
You can start by removing the MT RAM from the motherboard.
Replace it using Texas Instruments, or Hitachi or any reputable Manufacturer.
Thats just NOT good advice...
I fully agree here. Shotgun replacing all ram chips with no definite proof one or more are bad just provides more opportunity for something else to go wrong, and now you are chasing down two issues.
While the MT brand ram may have a reputation for higher failure rates, it's certainly not all bad. My IIe has a date code of 8502 on the motherboard. It and my 80 col card have all MT ram. Zero issues 37 years later.
I wouldn't agree to having surgery to have a knee replacement from a manufacturer which has a reputation for high failure rates.
Since there is no way to tell which batches are bad and which are good, it's best to rely on statistics because there's no other way to know what you'll get otherwise.
I do not take risks, that's for those who don't care about consequences.
Therefore, my advice is not bad and yet, there are plenty of people who would agree with me.
This is of course about opinions.
If you keep seeing red roses growing in a garden for 10 years, you don't expect yellow roses growing in that garden.
MT RAM has a high failure rate, so let's go with something which has a high success rate.
Exactly. I still have plenty of old computers with MT RAM that still works. When it fails I will swap the INDIVIDUAL chips out. But while they work why would I further deplete an already scarce resource.
Just because folks like Adrians digital basement constantly makes the same remarks about MT ram chips doesnt make it a rule. ITs his opinion. I respect the guy I watch his videos, but RAM chips are RAM chips. Its ridiculous to rip out and throw away good ram. ITs dangerous and pointless to ask folks looking for troubleshooting help to go down that route.
A car has a maintenance schedule. You change the oil and oil filter (even though it's good) you give the car a tuneup or some other part that should be replaced.
Because if these parts are not replaced, then they will soon Fail.
Even parts that still work should be replaced when it's a known fact that the part will probably fail soon.
Everybody has the right to take risks. But following good practice is akin to making sure that something will work for a long time.
Never deal with parts that have a high failure rate even if such such parts are currently good. When they fail, it's because that's what happens.
I prefer TI RAM chips, although I would choose Hitachi because of their other characteristics.
Im thinking... Why replace or remove the RIFA caps on an old Apple II power supply? Even if it's still working?
Because the explosion and the smoke is coming.
I'm tired. I've said what I had to say. Now it's time for choices to be made.
I hope this motherboard gets fixed.
I wish good luck for the poster of this thread.
So your argument is this: All parts invevitably fail as they age. So to be "SAFE"... Replace them! With equally old 40+ year old RAM because its DIFFERENT?! (you know because they dont make these chips anymore, and havent in.... many many years)
You mean AC Supression caps right? RIFA is a brand. And only the paper type ones are prone to fail. Polyester ones etc are just fine so why replace them? Not all Apple II power supplies have paper AC supression caps.
And AC supression caps are just an outdated FCC requirement in the USA from decades past to ensure you werent putting AC line nouse back into the grid to affect your neighbors reception. You dont need to replace Blown supression caps. I do though just because its part of the original circuit and I have plenty of them to use.
As was already mentioned in this thread shotgunning is not a valid troublshooting method. Shotgunning is by definition taking risks.
I'm with the people that say that I'd only replace DRAMs as they actually fail.
Consumable items like oil, filters, belts, etc., are not really comparable to things like RAM... You probably don't just arbitrarily replace the alternator or fuel pump at a certain mailage/age just because. You only replace them if they fail or show significant wear.
RIFA caps are just known to virtually all fail, and sometimes take other things with them when they go. MT 4164 DRAMs, not so much. As others have said, there are still a lot of //e out there with them in them w/o problems... And if they aren't socketed, which all but early //e are not, then it is a lot of work and some risk involved in replacing them. Unsoldering chips and soldering in sockets requires a bit of skill and if not done properly can damage the board. And failed DRAM chips rarely blow anything else out, so there is not much risk in leaving them alone until they actually fail.
We don't even know if his //e actually has MT DRAM in it. It's common but not the only brand Apple used. I have a (c) 1984 //e on my desk and the motherboard DRAM on it are Hitachi. I've seen other brands too. The Platinum //e that I just repaired recently that is sitting under my desk gas Motorola chips in it.
The other two //e motherboards I have within reach here do indeed have MT chips in them... but the RAM in them is still good... Unfortunately one is missing the MMU and the other it is apparently bad.
So, here it is: the simple Apple II guide fixing anything. No analysis/schematics/multimeter/scope required:
If you planned to flip the system on ebay ("Mint condition! Super RARE! Ultra-low serial #9849215!") remember to add a disclaimer ("I am no expert, haven't looked inside the machine, but everything appears to work PERFECTLY !!!1!11")
Sorry guys, I just couldn't resist. I am guilty, I know, I know.. :)
To add something more helpful to the troubleshooting of the original issue:
If there is one thing I learned from my years in the field in telecom, if you don't use test equpiment to locate the problem as precisely as you can, and instead you just start replacing stuff that looks bad, you will waste a massive amount of time and materials more often than not. And a ton of the time it won't fix your problem.
I will admit I generally replace my Apple II power supplies with those from ReActive Micro, but if my system has an actual issue, I generally find the information here needed to track it down.
Good one MacFly... :-)
Anyway, I concur that interaction between motherboard and 80 column card memory is a possibility, as is possibly flaky power supply. A multimeter may help detect power sag on +5V. Check with and w/o the card and see if it goes down below 4.5V or so, or even if it just drops more than about 0.3V.
What I'd recommend is using something like XPS Diagnostics //e to check both the motherboard and 80 column RAM. That does a much more thorough test than the built in self check. I've seen a lot of machines that will report OK from that which will show errors on the diagnostics software, especially if you let the test run a bunch of cycles.
This was the reply I was waiting for.
Anyway, I'm just suggesting only two things.
See MT RAM? Remove them even if they test good. Leaving parts that go bad as often as those is not good practice.
The PSU? If you plan to not install a new PSU then replace or remove the RIFA caps and recap the PSU.
Test the computer's functionality and do this with various cards installed and without.
Test the system several times after it's been on for a few hours to check for stability. If that turns out ok then do whatever other tests you can think of (everybody is different).
For the one who described what I was saying in the extreme sense, don't quit your day job. You're not funny today. Try again tomorrow. If that doesn't work then I suggest that you go to comedy school if you want to be funny.
Anyway, there are other steps that can be taken:
The Apple iie comes with two types of metal on the keyboard frame. Steel or Aluminum. Both can oxidize so I suggest removing that if found and repaint it with a flat black color.
If he's smart he'll hve gone elsewhere for advice, seeing only bad advice and sarcasm in this thread.
Good one Baldrick,
I needed a laugh. Please no need to attack each other. We’re all on the same team. I’ve tested the ram on the motherboard with iie diagnostics software and it shows fine. When I test the 80 column memory card it tells me it’s not present. These are tested working cards. With the auxiliary card out the system runs fine. Haven’t seen a thing wrong with any disk I boot.
I saw a need.
I did bring something to the table.
And I did not purposefully give bad advice. I gave advice according to what I thought needed to be done to help this guy with his iie.
And I became defensive because someone there decided to make fun of my opinion by exaggerating it.
I believe wholeheartedly that the RAM (even though it tests well) has to be replaced.
Sometimes, you have to look at things differently.
RAM problem + MT RAM = Related.
I've seen this kind of thing too many times so I cannot ignore it. I am saying this in general, not specifically this case.
Sometimes you have problems like this in which a part is replaced and it's unrelated to the problem you're trying to diagnose and all of a sudden it's repaired. It's seen as impossible when in fact it's only improbable.
See, some people do not have the capability to simply state that a certain piece of advice is not agreed upon and instead claim it is "bad".
The opinion that one shouldn't replace a part if it's not bad yet is something I would agree with but only if the entire thing is not malfunctioning. Just to let it be known that I understand this reasoning.
About replacing only RAM chips individually, I would agree but only if you replace it with the same RAM. Now, the last thing I just said might open a can of worms, so let's not start something about this ok?
You can't say something like this and then just try and walk away from it. Your advice (again) goes against what is generally accepted and proved to work fine in the real world.
So now you are also advocating throwing away 7 good (for this aguments sake - non MT) RAM chips because 1 went bad and you don't have the exact same chip manufacturer on hand to replace the 1? That is just as wasteful as your blanket replacement of perfectly fine MT RAM. Do you know how many Apples and Commodores out there are happily running with no issues and have one or more manufacturer mismatched 4164 chips? And if you're going to use the "I meant the same DRAM speed" defense, that is also not valid. As long as the replacement is the same speed or faster than the others, no issues. Again, lots of proof of this in the real world.
Next I suppose you're going to say you also throwaway the extended RAM and blanket replace them to make sure all the RAM chips there match the base RAM as well.
Here's what I was going to say:
Oh wait a minute. We've already said it.
The work and risk of unsoldering to replace 8 chips instead of just one is generally just not considered worth it.
Have you (a) got a second card to try?
And (b) have you investigated the possibility that there is an issue with the motherboard slot connection?
Does doing a PR#3 cause the screen to go smoothly into 80 columns? That might shed some light on the situation.
Also, if you want I have a small 4 meg card that could solve your problem (if indeed your card is dead) that plugs into the AUX slot.
Checking the slot itself is a good point baldrick... If it is dirty or something conductive has gotten in there and causing a short when the card is installed it could have all kinds of weird side effects.
I recently got a //e where slot 1 had been torqued over to one side and it caused weird things to happen when a card was installed in other slots. I was able to correct the problem though, but it took me a while to figure out what was going on. The amount the slot was off was subtle.
softwarejanitor, When I work on something, if there is a definite limitation which goes against a procedure I want to perform, I do not proceed if my experience tells me so.
Replacing RAM on a iie motherboard is not one of them.
If you end up breaking a motherboard if you replace RAM then I find myself confused. I've been known to mess up stuff like this and then I repair it afterwards. But not when replacing RAM chips.
It's obvious that I would simply apply a destructive type of chip removal so as to avoid damaging the motherboard.
I would like to repeat something I said before.
I only take certain actions when there's a possibility of one thing being related to the other even if it seems impossible. That's because in reality, it's actually improbable depending on the individual case you're involved with.
If a motherboard is completely dead, I won't generally recommend replacing RAM. If a motherboard has a problem with joystick function, I won't generally recommend replacing RAM.
In this case I would: replace the RAM. If that fails to fix the motherboard, then I'd consider replacing the MMU
(Memory Management Unit) for those who do not know what MMU stands for. There are other things to try but I think I'm not going to list them all since there are others here who can.
You are a broken record you know that? And you make way to many assumptions. Your giving BAD advice. You can repeat a bunch of unrelated dribble all you want. All your doing is telling people to get further into trouble because you have some unsubstantiated BIAS.
As another member has already said PLENTY OF STILL WORKING Apple II systems have MT RAM in them and operate fine.
You have seen MT RAM go bad? SO HAVE I, so have many others. And you know what? I and many others have seen tons of hitachi, TI, Motorola, Samsung, etc. RAM chips fail too. Its old. IT WILL ALL GO BAD EVENTUALLY.
And I think the advice "replace your power supply with a reactive micro power supply" Isnt particularly good either. I mean its not bad advice per se.. Not like Insanitors advice of telling folks to rip out good ram.
But why not show people the schematics and help them fix the psu?
Or better yet ask them to check the voltages (a multi meter is all thats needed) and post back the results. Assuming all power supplies are faulty is on part with insanitors advice.
FIX THE PSU if you have the ability to. Not every apple II owner needs to send reactive micro a check for a psu. Your denying them the satisfaction and learning gained when doing it for themselves.
IF its broken and they cant fix it, well thats another story.
I just sent a check to micron technology for thier apple II psu replacement... Ya know why not Its a good brand as any?!
If I'm a broken record then you are a broken CD. Your response here is combative, aggressive and just plain rude.
I shall not repeat what I said just because you seem to be hell bent on bringing it up.
Obviously, there is nothing you or I can say here which will make us agree with each other.
Ive been in this situation before and on both sides of the coin.
Since the old information won't help, then new information might.
Criticism will not or try to help this guy repair his computer. And it seems that this other stuff is the only thing you are interested in talking about.
I'm all for troubleshooting and fixing vintage boards, but I have no emotional attachment to ancient power supply PCBs. It's the one thing I really don't feel bad just replacing, knowing I have stable and calibrated voltage, and more mA available. If you want to risk your logic board and priceless expansion cards to keep a 40 year old PSU then that is on you. Maybe if you just have a couple disk cards or something, but I have basically irreplaceable cards slotted into my Apple IIs.
In the same stride, if I have issues with a system on known good power it helps me troubleshoot confidently the rest of the way. I say this having just tested every 4116 in my II Plus last week. I'm not saying everyone should just do the ReActive replacement but there is little to no negative side to that option IMHO unless you're attached to the original PSU PCB in the enclosure. I'm not.
What risk? The power supplies are putting out fantastic voltages and are all within spec. How is that risk? there is no excess risk. All electronics can fail. Your board can just fail on its own. Unless you are using a really well rates 1500 series UPS power unit your putting anything you plug into the wall at risk. And do you know how many dozens and dozens of vintage computers I own? Am I expected to buy a reactive micro power supply for each one because you think its a good idea? Thats just nuts. I go over all the power supplies and test them and replace parts as needed. Because its my hobby and its fun.
And there is a negative side to reactive micros PSU.. The price. Dont assume everyone has disposable income.
And am I attached to the orginal psu? Sure its old electronics. I love old electronics and I love repairing them and keeping them working. Now if you just a guy with one or 2 apple IIs and you dont work on electronics all the time.. Sure But for me repairing and working on electronics is most of what this is all about.
Is this a "repair and/or help" forum or a " just go buy a new one forum" ? because if its all about part swapping, shotgunning, and buying new stuff.. Well This forum may need to make some changes and spell that out.
And as an edit: I own alot more machines than just Apple stuff.
I have old 70's equiment that have simple linear Power supplies consiting of large transformers and capacitors and a few rectifiers and regulators. If they break I swap them out. There is no modular psu per se. So thats what I do to other psus, so whats the difference. Should I swap out the PSU box on my Apple LISA with a meanwell psu I cobble together because its newer? IT will look terrible for one.. And Im sorry but when it comes to modern electronics, newwer DOES NOT mean better in most cases. Look at consumer grade stuff today vs 40 or 50 years ago. Do you think anything like a TV or home computer from today will be working in 50 years? It wont, and it will be impossible to repair.
Thats why these Apple II systems we all love so much still work today. They were built well.. And that covers most aspects of them. Including the power supplies. I trust them for the most part. Sure I have seen a couple that just couldnt be repaired.. But that was such a small percentage.
I agree with you on replacing the PSU even though it's just a preference. I wouldn't be opposed to taking an old one and recapping it. I used to have a nice beefy Antec PSU on one of my PC computers and it took a few years, but my PC started acting weird and I replaced the PSU and the problem disappeared. The PSU is always the first thing you check. From what I've heard, this is recommended for old and newer PSU's.
I would also recommend using a UPS due to it's ability to filter line noise. Ever since I've followed this practice, my PSU's have not died or malfunctioned yet.
My compact macs I recap the PSUs generally. Same with my Japanese arcade machines, which are each worth probably 10 pristine Apple IIe machines. I don't mess around with PSUs. But if drop in brand new replacements came out you bet I would buy them in a heartbeat to protect the rest of the machine, which is all far more valuable and harder to replace if it gets fried.
This is a hobby, I know people's disposable income varies. None of us are fixing these for critical applications, I would hope. I'll still recommend people consider a new PSU when possible. Am I using 30 year old wall warts with my Roland synthesizers? Absolutely not! But if the synth has an issue I'm not shotgunning, I'm going to troubleshoot. And for the record I agree that just replace all this one kind of RAM is bad advice. A PSU though... is it worth my time to recap it? If I consider even one to two hours of my own labor rate I already bought a new Reactive PSU price wise. I'll reserve my advanced troubleshooting for stuff that deserves my time, which [Apple II wise] is basically everything but the PSU itself. I'm not retired and still work full time, so "time is money" as they say.
Stable voltage on a multimeter also doesn't mean clean power.
A lot of original Apple II power supplies have very little disposable current for the expansion slots. I am not an average user but when I have a CP/M card, MIDI, Microdrive, and then some in the system, I'm getting a new PSU. End of story. If I just have an 80 col card and disk controller then sure, I wouldn't feel so bad riding the original PSU if replacing it wasn't economical.
Anyway I'll leave this to helping productively troubleshoot OPs issue.
I love my MT-32, recapping was a bit tough because of huge ground planes but other than that it was all good.
Well I dont own a board heater but I have a hot air station I can use to prewarm the board. Thanks for the heads up.
I’ve tried another motherboard using the same cards and they perform properly and pass all tests. I’ve tested the PSU with a voltage card and the results were well within specs. I apologize for not being able to post pictures but I am having trouble resizing them.
I've been fixing foreign and domestic arcades for ages, please, I know damn well what's in the power supplies. I posted the Cap lists for the sega Blast City to the Arcade Otaku Wiki years ago.
Not using ancient PSUs is bad advice? Agree to disagree there, especially when it's powering unobtanium gear. Replace every RAM chip of a certain brand with no testing? That is objectively bad advice and demonstrative probably won't fix OPs issue given the additional information.
I would love to see constructive feedback to OPs issue not more arguments of opinion.
This is insane.
Thank you skate, I would like to see this get back to MY issue not bickering back and forth about personal opinions . This IS getting rediculous.
I am assuming that the memory chips are soldered to the motherboard, which is why you have not tried moving them around (like swapping F3 with F4 and so on) to see if the error moves along with a particular chip.
So the first thing I would do is unsolder them and put them on sockets. This way you can easily swap or replace one or more should the need arise. In case you don't have a proper desoldering station, you can just fashion a custom soldering tip that can make contact and desolder all the pins of one chip at the same time. Just use a 2mm diameter copper wire and wrap it around any cheap soldering iron like so:
Also if the chips are soldered to the motherboard with very small amount of solder, you need to put more first on each solder joint, otherwise you will not be able to make proper contact and melt them all at the same time.
That certainly points to your motherboard as the suspect.
There is so much arguing here about wholesale swapping of RAM chips and recapping power supplies, both of which are irrelevant here. I would check the bus connections to the slot itself and rule that out immediately. Or find some issue with the slot and carry on searching. Your problem is intriguing (and frustrating)!
I agree checking the slot and traces is a logical next step, or at least that is where I would be at this point.
Btw, you mentioned the error you get when you put the card is RAM 10110001. Are you sure it's not *RAM 10110001 (with an asterix in front)? I just wanted to double-check, because the asterix in front indicates the chips on the auxiliary card, not the ones on the motherboard.
Heh, that wire wrapped around your soldering iron is pretty clever.
But it's just as easy with a solder sucker and a syringe of flux. applying flux prior to heating is key, in my opinion, because I find that decades old solder is difficult to cause to flow, especially if the holes are tight.
An update on this issue: I desoldered the MMU from the board and tested it in a known working board. Same PSU same auxiliary cards and it performed properly. Goes into 80 columns and passes the onboard WITH the memory card in. Putting the known good MMU off the working board in the board with issues shows the same issues as before. As I expected. I looked inside the slot under a jewelers lamp and I didn’t see anything bent or foreign items in there. I just have to keep digging I guess. No wonder why they guy got rid of the board. I’ll get it.
Now this is a great "tip". Why have I not thought of this??
It's gotta be something on that board. I would have suspected the MMU more except I've never seen one go bad without just totally going bad, where it caused the machine to just lock up with garbage on the screen. I'm glad your MMU is good and now socketed I assume. Which is a good thing.
I'm wondering if might be something like a capacitor. The //e mobo has relatively few electrolytic caps which are the type that normally fail, but like any it has a ton of ceramic ones.
If you've got enough expertise to successfully desolder a 40 pin chip like the MMU you can probably handle the DRAM. I hate to suggest it at this time, but if it was all socketed it would make testing easier since you could move the chips around to see if memory errors follow one.
According to what you said, you changed the:
IOU, MMU, LS125 and the LS367.
Without extra tools to test your motherboard with, you're stuck with swapping chips and comparing it with a known working board.
Believe it or not, I had a VidHD which destroyed itself, and two of my Apple iie motherboards.
The experience of troubleshooting these boards has taught me a few things.
1: When you swap chips between these motherboards, don't mix them up. There is a slight chance you'll create new problems. Make sure you know which chip belongs to which motherboard.
2: If you buy new chips, try your best to make sure that you get those that look the original chip.
Now, if you performed a different procedure that you have not told us yet, let us know.
Finally, if you're in a situation similar to what mine was, then you've got a problem with the board itself and not the chips on it. There are repair guides out there that can help. I wish I could help you more, but I cannot continue without doing the research necessary to work on this further.
Yes, using the original power supply is what should be done.
If you are familiar with what's inside these things, then you'd know why I said what I did.
And getting rid of MT RAM is good advice. I've explained myself, I've given reasons for why I believe this so let's try something else like actually agreeing to disagree. Even if that sounds weird.
Would you please stop bringing up your incredibly idiotic idea of ripping out perfectly good ram and your pointless and dangerous bias of that brand? Its stupid.. noone agrees with you and it helps noone.
Would you please stop being an asshole?
I don't care who disagrees with me. I said what needs to be done so if you want to insult me again then I've got my boxing gloves on and I'm ready to insult the crap out of you you retard.