Forum Rules and Etiquette

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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
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Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

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Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

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New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

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Other suggestions
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PC AT 5170 - smells bad when I run it...

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    PC AT 5170 - smells bad when I run it...

    Any tips on how to improve this issue? If it sits it isn't bad, but when I turn it on, it has sort of a bad musty smell. I'm sure I blew it out with compressed air when I first got it last year. Could it be something in the power supply? Is it easy to open up? Any tips of removing bad smell from it?

    Well, if you are sure there are no ventilation issues and nothing is overheating, you might just leave it running for a while somewhere where it can air out.

    Just blowing things out does not always get all the nasty stuff. Personally, I like to disassemble stuff and give all the parts a good bath with a tad bit of whitening peroxide toothpaste. Makes sure all the dirt is out and anything like fine metal filings. Just be sure to blow out any excess water and let things dry in front of a fan for a few days before powering it on.

    Sometimes plastics can absorb smells, in which case might just have to leave things running for a while. I have a CGA video card like that. I thoroughly cleaned it multiple times but when running, it put off an odd oder.


      There's also the possibility of something dead rotting away in the PSU. Open it up and have a look.
      Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.


        I wondered that Chuck - I'm going to pull it apart this weekend and find out.


          Do those PSUs have RIFA safety caps? They smell horrendous when they give out and start to cook


            I moved the PC to my garage and started it up and also started up the monitor in my office, but neither one seems to be smelling so bad now so who knows. Going to warm them both up for an hour. I turned down the brightness on the monitor since it isn't plugged in and had the white screen - surely it will be okay with no signal for an hour turned down, right?


              Originally posted by alank2 View Post
              I moved the PC to my garage and started it up and also started up the monitor in my office, but neither one seems to be smelling so bad now so who knows. Going to warm them both up for an hour. I turned down the brightness on the monitor since it isn't plugged in and had the white screen - surely it will be okay with no signal for an hour turned down, right?
              I donít see any issue here.


                I'm going to run it all weekend and see if it smells better. Got the Norton Commander running on it with a screen saver that changes the display constantly.


                  I'd really look inside that power supply before you do that...


                    Ok, you talked me into it. After finding a T10 security torx bit:



                      nothing looks obviously damaged there - can we have a look at that little PCB that is mounted upside-down under the main one?


                        If its that bad id remove the fan and run the psu boards through the dishwasherr. I love washing boards.


                          I've thought about washing my own 5170 board, but I don't really know the do's and don'ts. For instance, besides obviously the expansion cards, what needs to be removed from the board? I don't have a good soldering kit right now, so I'd be afraid to remove and replace caps until I get around to buying a good kit. Also, I'm a bit worried that washing it might do more harm than good? Mine was inside a hotel somewhere that a lot of smoking happened, which I know from the history and because the board has this weird grainy black layer of grime covering it. When I first tried removing it to read the label, it even scratched the PCB slightly.


                            Originally posted by SunSpotter View Post
                            Also, I'm a bit worried that washing it might do more harm than good? .
                            Washing boards is a common practice in the manufacturing and repair industry. You just have to know what can't be washed. Obviously anything that retains water (unsealed relays, coils, etc) should be removed before washing. Almost any mild detergent will work (cheap dish soap is ideal), just make sure you scrub gently and remove all traces of water after rinsing (an air gun is recommended, as long as it doesn't generate too much static). We wash boards all the time where I work, and have a specialized cleaner, but it seldom gets used if there's any Dawn Professional anywhere close by.


                              I dont wash fans.. Or coils like on a crt yolk or direct drive floppy mechanism. And obviously no batteries.