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Thread: Original Xbox clock capacitor meltdown - remove 'em before it's too late

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    Default Original Xbox clock capacitor meltdown - remove 'em before it's too late

    Maybe this is common knowledge I was igorant of, but I figured I'd mention it so others can hopefully avoid it.

    So my original modchipped Xbox I've had since about 2002 started having all these weird power issues; the power button wouldn't turn the system on and you had to use the eject button, it wouldn't turn it off unless you held it in for 60 seconds or so, disc drive might eject a half inch then the console power off, and weirdest of all if you unplugged it from the wall it would power on as soon as you plugged it in. I immediately thought it was a power supply issue since I had another one with random shut off problems last year and that was the culprit. Switched the boards out and it made no difference.

    Got online and apparently this problem is extremely common. There's a 2.5v capacitor mounted in the lower left corner of the board (toward the P1 controller port) that decides to commit suicide and shoot its load all over that section of the motherboard. That in turn drips down to the underside of the board, which has a bunch of tiny traces that all run parallel to each other in that area and the traces get corroded. In the event just cleaning the mess up doesn't fix it you have to solder in a half dozen jumper wires on some extremely, extremely tiny pads on opposite ends of the board.

    Somehow over the years I've wound up with about 8 Xboxes total in various states of disrepair down in my basement (long story). I started cracking these open and, no shit, every single one so far that has this capacitor has leaked all over the board. I think I've went through 6 and of them only 1 was a newer model without that cap. The other 5 had already started oozing out all over that section of the motherboard. None of them were enough to damage anything (yet) but unfortunately the same can't be said for my main machine. One filthy machine that came from a thrift had a nice pattern of yellowish-brown dust bunnies around the cap where they had sucked up most of the liquid as it discharged over time.

    All that POS does is keep a charge for the internal clock for a few hours after the electric is unhooked to the console. You don't have to do any soldering to remove it, you can grab it with pliers and just yank it straight out. If you've still got an original Xbox, take it from me, it's worth 5 minutes of your time to jerk that thing out before it ruins your machine. This will inevitably happen unless you remove it.

    And on a side note.... do I just have extremely bad luck or are Xbox DVD drives just dogshit? I have 8 machines and only 2 have working drives, and even those are on their last legs. I attempted to use a regular PC drive in one modded box but didn't realize until I had already had spent an hour fooling with the case that you won't be able to read original discs, only stuff on -R's or -RW's. Similar to PS1's, replacement drives are a fool's errand being they cost more than entire used machine.
    Last edited by Az; 09-01-2015 at 01:36 AM.

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    any chance of a picture? I am not very tech savvy and I don't
    want to pull out the wrong thing

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    Cherry (Level 1) T's Avatar
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    Never mind.

    I just watched the video here...

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=...57059C0C2C4B02

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    The drives are crap. When they were more plentiful I replaced mine three times until I got a good Samsung drive. Then IT got flaky. After that I was afraid to play it as I didn't want the drive to croak. Even doing a soft mod didn't help alleviate my fears, especially since the cooling fans kicked into overdrive after the mod.

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    Although the clock caps often leaked, they're not always the cause of wonky power and drive behavior. Sometimes you can have multiple bad traces on the motherboard nowhere near that capacity. This happened to mine. Clock cap was perfectly clean.
    The Paunch Stevenson Show free Internet podcast - www.paunchstevenson.com - DP FEEDBACK

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    I don't have an Xbox and I've avoided owning one because of the reliability issues, that and they're as big and bulky as an old VCR from the early 80's. Any I've purchased I've sold off pretty quick, most were working though except for the ones people tried to mod and failed to finish properly.

    Really, most good games on this are on the PS2, Gamecube, or PC so there's little reason to own one. For the actual good games that are exclusive to this system, I will find a way to live without those 5-10 games.

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    I believe those are two unrelated problems. Some boards have those traces go bad, but it's not battery leakage that causes it- it's some kind of manufacturing defect.

    The cap leaking does in fact cause other problems, though.

    There is no better machine for emulating other retro systems. Even modern things like the RPi and RetroPie don't come close to it after 12 years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    I don't have an Xbox and I've avoided owning one because of the reliability issues, that and they're as big and bulky as an old VCR from the early 80's. Any I've purchased I've sold off pretty quick, most were working though except for the ones people tried to mod and failed to finish properly.

    Really, most good games on this are on the PS2, Gamecube, or PC so there's little reason to own one. For the actual good games that are exclusive to this system, I will find a way to live without those 5-10 games.
    I can't agree with that. The Xbox versions of multiplatform games almost always look considerably better than their PS2/GameCube counterparts, and more importantly, nearly everything supports 480p as a minimum standard, with many games also offering widescreen and a few even going up to 720p. Add to that the enormous potential of homebrew with CoinOps running everything through 720p component natively and the Xbox is something that sits nice and comfortably near my modern consoles.

    Progressive scan makes a huge difference compared to the interlaced standard of almost all PS2 and GameCube games. Plus there are the exclusives and ability to copy game discs you own right to the harddrive, enabling much faster load times. The Xbox is a great system to have. The only real advantage the PS2 has over it are the exclusives, but because nearly everything runs in 480i max, I see "PS2 only" as more of a bad thing than a good thing.
    check out my classic gaming review site: http://satoshimatrix.wordpress.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Rittwage View Post
    I believe those are two unrelated problems. Some boards have those traces go bad, but it's not battery leakage that causes it- it's some kind of manufacturing defect.
    Oh I agree completely; having a leaking capacitor doesn't necessarily mean the traces will corrode and due to poor quality manufacturing the traces can corrode without anything leaking on them.

    However if the traces are so poor/fragile that they have the potential to corrode simply by the elapsing of time and with normal or little/no use then having a capacitor leak it's contents all over them surely isn't going to do them any favors. If the traces are that low quality to begin with certainly no one should press their luck in making the situation worse.

    I was really shocked at how consistent this leakage was. The only other console I know offhand that commonly has capacitor issues is the Game Gear, and none I've seen had a cap in this bad of shape.

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    You also have to remember, consumer electronics are not designed to last more than a few years, and not when stored that long. We are getting pretty far past the expected life of an XBOX.

    The capacitor I am sure was one of those decisions to save a buck on a battery and battery holder, although this could have been worse and been a battery leak instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    I can't agree with that. The Xbox versions of multiplatform games almost always look considerably better than their PS2/GameCube counterparts, and more importantly, nearly everything supports 480p as a minimum standard, with many games also offering widescreen and a few even going up to 720p. Add to that the enormous potential of homebrew with CoinOps running everything through 720p component natively and the Xbox is something that sits nice and comfortably near my modern consoles.

    Progressive scan makes a huge difference compared to the interlaced standard of almost all PS2 and GameCube games. Plus there are the exclusives and ability to copy game discs you own right to the harddrive, enabling much faster load times. The Xbox is a great system to have. The only real advantage the PS2 has over it are the exclusives, but because nearly everything runs in 480i max, I see "PS2 only" as more of a bad thing than a good thing.
    I don't have an HD TV so having slightly better graphics isn't that important to me, same with the interlacing thing. Having widescreen shouldn't really matter that much unless the framing was designed that way originally, if a game was designed for full screen then that's perfectly fine with me. Having a hard drive is just something else that will fail on it at some point, they went with cheap hard drives and CD drives to save as much money as they could with manufacturing.

    So far nobody has been mentioning any of these worthwhile exclusive games. If valuing a console by it's technical abilities is what matters most, the CDi or 3DO would have outsold the SNES and Genesis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Az View Post
    I was really shocked at how consistent this leakage was. The only other console I know offhand that commonly has capacitor issues is the Game Gear, and none I've seen had a cap in this bad of shape.
    There was also the TurboDuo and TurboExpress consoles, it's pretty much expected that the capacitors need to be replaced for the consoles to be working properly. The main issue is that all these consoles used surface mounted capacitors to save on cost and space, only most of those capacitors produced back then had a higher failure rate because the technology for them was still new at the time. It wasn't just the companies not caring about durability, they didn't expect them to fail so constantly. Even high end Walkmans and CD players produced around that time period used the same type of surface capacitors to save on space, and they're all going bad now. It's ironic but the more high end and compact the units are, the more likely there aren't working now.

    The Xbox came out around a decade past all that, by that point there should be no issues like that unless they just used cheap defective parts. The Xbox didn't even use surface mounted caps. With normal caps, 20-30 years should be a normal lifespan. I still find plenty of stereo gear from the 70's still working fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Rittwage View Post
    You also have to remember, consumer electronics are not designed to last more than a few years, and not when stored that long. We are getting pretty far past the expected life of an XBOX.
    It's sad how modern electronics are just meant to be disposable. If you're buying anything from a game console to a microwave to a refrigerator, you're expecting to just throw them away after a few years of use.

    I expect the same with modern consoles as they all use battery rechargeable controllers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Az View Post
    All that POS does is keep a charge for the internal clock for a few hours after the electric is unhooked to the console.
    Mine never even did that. From the moment I bought the thing (launch era) disconnecting the power for even a second reset the clock. My 360 (falcon mobo) is the same way. I thought it was just an MS thing.

    Ripping that capacitor off a couple years back didn't change a damn thing, though apparently 1.6 version mobos won't run without it. Good thing I have a 1.0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlastProcessing402 View Post
    Mine never even did that. From the moment I bought the thing (launch era) disconnecting the power for even a second reset the clock. My 360 (falcon mobo) is the same way. I thought it was just an MS thing.

    Ripping that capacitor off a couple years back didn't change a damn thing, though apparently 1.6 version mobos won't run without it. Good thing I have a 1.0.
    No need to remove the 1.6 capacitor. They aren't prone to this issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    So far nobody has been mentioning any of these worthwhile exclusive games.
    I sure can't think of many anymore. Especially since HALO games are available on later XBOX systems. Looking through my games all I can come up with are:

    Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
    Jet Set Radio Future
    Otogi: Myth of Demons
    Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors
    Panzer Dragoon Orta
    Xyanide

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