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Commodore PC 30-III Repair

The Commodore PC 30-III is a AT-class 286 clone PC running at 12MHz with 1MB of RAM. My first and initial problem was the battery failure upon booting:

Commodore PC 30-III Battery Failure


For some reason, It was not possible to get past this error and continue booting anyway, so a replacement was needed. I got hold of a Glitch Works GW-12887-1 which can replace the original Dallas 1287 RTC in this machine:

Commodore PC 30-III Dallas DS1287 RTC


This is unfortunately soldered directly to the motherboard. But I cut a socket and soldered that one on instead:

Commodore PC 30-III U201 Socket Replacement


In which the replacement fits nicely:

Commodore PC 30-III GW-12887-1


This got the machine booting properly. But after a while of playing around with Compact Flash disk replacements, magic smoke suddenly appeared. Which became my second problem. I located the source; a burned ceramic capacitor:

Commodore PC 30-III Burned Ceramic Capacitor


From what I could find out online, these capacitors can fail if cracks appear in them, and moisture gets in over time. So that's most likely what happened to this 30 year old component. I got a replacement and removed the bad one, which disintegrated almost by itself:

Commodore PC 30-III Capacitor Replacement


The brand new ceramic capacitor in place:

Commodore PC 30-III New Capacitor


The machine is now up and running again:

Commodore PC 30-III Front


Topic: Repair, by Kjetil @ 08/12-2019, Article Link

Commodore 1541-II Floppy Drive Repair

I was able to repair my Commodore 1541-II floppy drive, which is typically used together with the Commodore 64.

The first problem was that I do not have the original (external) power supply, but fortunately it uses fairly standard +5V and +12V voltages, which are also used by most PC hardware. So I made an adapter from a 4-pin molex to a 4-pin DIN connector:

Commodore 1541-II Power Adapter

The pinout of the DIN connector can be found here among other places.

When powering up the drive for the first time, it would keep the drive motor running constantly, which is apparently a known problem. Some other people online said this could be caused by a faulty PSU or bad ROM chip...

When I attempted to continue troubleshooting the next day, the situation had worsened. Now the power LED on the drive would flash a little on power on and slowly fade away. Symptoms of a short circuit or something perhaps...

With no idea on what to do about this, I decided to try to replace the electrolytic capacitors, which people often do on restoration/repair projects.

There are only three of them on the main board, all 10uF and 25V, located here:

Commodore 1541-II Capacitor Locations


Old and new replacements:

Commodore 1541-II Capacitor Replacement


To my surprise, this actually worked, and the drive is now working:

Commodore 1541-II Working


I have a theory: Two of those capacitors I changed are between the incoming 12V/5V and ground, acting as "decouping/bypass" to filter out noise. If there happened to be a short circuit or weakened resistance in the capacitors, that would explain parts of the symptoms at least.

Topic: Repair, by Kjetil @ 26/10-2019, Article Link