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From: P2B on 9 Mar 2006 21:41
> In article <gmNPf.40524$x96.28979(a)fe02.news.easynews.com>, no(a)spam.invalid
> (Deigo) wrote:
>>Hi Paul, I desparately want a PCI-e on my goldfish motherboard.
>>I'll take a high resolution picture of my motherboard this weekend.
>>Hopefully you'll be able to tell me what I need to do to add a
>>functionally PCI-e connector to my motherboard. Will it be
>>automatically detected once 'connected'? Thanks in advance.
> How much do you know about soldering ? You are going to have
> to solder surface mount components onto the board. Have you
> done that before ? Have you practiced your soldering on a
> dead motherboard, to see how easy it is ?
> Following your plan is not without risk. First of all, you
> have to take the motherboard out of the computer case. You
> cannot solder to it, while the motherboard is inside the
> case. When you are finished soldering, you have to inspect
> the work with a magnifying glass. You need a steady hand.
> And my experience with motherboards is, the copper layer
> on top is thin, and is easily damaged. (I lifted a pad on
> my P2B-S while soldering to it. I managed to change a Vcore
> regulator on board, but it wasn't easy. And I have plenty
> of experience soldering. The printed circuit boards my
> employers used to make, are much more rugged than cheap
> motherboards. So utmost skill is required.)
> To solder SMT caps and resistors, I use two soldering
> irons. I reflow solder the caps and resistors, by holding
> the soldering irons at either end of the components. It
> is easy for the components to "stick" to the tip of the
> soldering iron. Assuming the AC coupling caps on the PCI
> Express lanes are missing, you have 64 of them to solder,
> and they could be in close proximity to one another.
> You could easily end up with solder bridging.
> The experiment you are attempting, is something a rich
> person could try, who has nothing to lose if the
> experiment goes wrong. And if you have that kind of
> money to throw around, it is easier to just get a
> motherboard with a PCI Express slot, and build a
> gaming computer yourself. At least that only requires
> the skills of using a screwdriver, and is much more
> likely to be a successful project.
> I cannot find an Intel reference design for a PCI Express
> motherboard, so there is no way to verify the values of
> the components required. I have a few ideas, but really
> I prefer a lot more certainty about the details, before
> I would try to duplicate what you plan to do.
> Your computer could be out of action for a number of
> days, while you attempt this surgery. You'll need access
> to a second computer, if there is trouble.
> My P2B-S project cost me about $10 for electronics components,
> and about $100 for tools. If you have never soldered before,
> you will need to pick up some gear. Some anti-static materials,
> like an anti-static mat and wrist strap would be a good idea
> also. The cheapest soldering irons have electrically floating
> tips, which adds the risk of static discharge into the work.
> You need a very fine tip on the soldering irons, and a lot of
> readily available soldering irons (the ones you could get at
> the hardware store), are not suited to your project.
> I hope I have spelled out the risks for you. You need to
> practice your soldering skills on a dead motherboard first,
> before you even start to unscrew the motherboard.
I couldn't agree more. I have considerable experience in motherboard
modification and repair, and excellent equipment, but I'm not sure this
is something I'd be comfortable taking on.
The fact 64 capacitors are required implies there are also (at least) 64
holes to be cleared of solder before the PCI-e connector can be
installed. This step alone carries considerable risk of damage to the PCB.
From: Deigo on 10 Mar 2006 01:33
Oh wow, this is so much more complicated than I thought... Forget it
then >< Can I bring it to an HP authorize dealer and ask them
to solder it for me? :rolleyes:
From: Paul on 13 Mar 2006 15:59
In article <G49Qf.44125$Gh4.15301(a)fe07.news.easynews.com>, no(a)spam.invalid
> Oh wow, this is so much more complicated than I thought...
> Forget itthen >< Can I bring it to an HP authorize dealer
> and ask themto solder it for me? :rolleyes:
One option is to go to the HP parts store, and see if you
can buy a replacement motherboard with the PCI Express
connector on it. You would need to know the model number
of the HP computer that contains that motherboard, in order
to bring up the parts list and check the price. You know
your own HP computer model number, and probably remember
which web page it was advertised on - the Grouper board
here might have been in the next most expensive base
model of the same family of computers.
The parts store is here. I don't know the HP model numbering
system well enough, to guess which computers had a "Grouper"
I'm not saying that you cannot attempt this modification.
What I am saying, is you should be prepared for failure.
You should have a backup plan.
If I only owned one computer, I would not attempt to modify
it. When I modified one of my motherboards, I was fully
prepared to bury a ruined motherboard in a hole in the
back yard. So, if you want to do an experiment like this:
1) Be prepared to lose the ability to use the computer.
2) Have a second computer ready - you might have to move
the hard drive from your HP computer, into the second
computer, if you ruin the HP motherboard.
I would recommend practicing your soldering, especially of
surface mount components, on a dead motherboard. Purchase
two soldering irons with fine tips, and see if you can
remove a small ceramic capacitor, clean up the solder
pads, then put the capacitor back, all without ruining
the capacitor. When you become proficient at it, only
then can you think about your project. Prove you have
the necessary skills first. (And a little warning about
soldering - don't breath the fumes from the "solder
smoke" - professionals who solder for a living, have
their blood tested every three months for lead poisoning,
and that is a risk if you do a _lot_ of soldering.)
Considering the difficulty of determining what components
are needed, you almost need to find someone who owns a
"Grouper" motherboard, and get them to take a high
resolution picture of the motherboard. Comparing
that picture to your own board, would identify whether the
64 0.1uF capacitors, 2 24.9 ohm reference resistors, are
installed on your motherboard or not. There might also
be some larger capacitors used to bypass the +3.3V and
+12V feeding power to the PCI Express slot.
As long as you have a second computer to use, if you
ruin the first one, then you are well prepared for the
experiment. If you ruin your only computer, well...
its been nice talking to you :-)
From: P2B on 13 Mar 2006 18:52
> I would recommend practicing your soldering, especially of
> surface mount components, on a dead motherboard. Purchase
> two soldering irons with fine tips, and see if you can
> remove a small ceramic capacitor, clean up the solder
> pads, then put the capacitor back, all without ruining
> the capacitor.
I use a cheap 25w soldering iron with a modified 4mm chisel tip to
remove surface mount capacitors and resistors. The tip has a 2mm wide by
1mm deep groove filed into the end, like this:
I tin the tip with a tiny drop of solder, place it parallel to the
component, slide the component off it's pads, and pick it up with tweezers.
This technique is very fast, and has never damaged component or board.