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Worklog: Hard-modding the X-Fi for better sound


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#25 hardnrg

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 02:27 PM

the op-amp is small enough to do, it's just that the thing is so light that I couldn't touch it without moving it out of position, I only needed the tape for the first corner leg, then it was quite easy :)

It is quite fiddly.. the pictures are somewhat misleading I guess... the op-amps really are quite small

Yeah yeah I know... I could have got the cap nearer the board :bah: Close enough :P

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#26 markiemrboo

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 02:43 PM

the op-amp is small enough to do, it's just that the thing is so light that I couldn't touch it without moving it out of position, I only needed the tape for the first corner leg, then it was quite easy :)

It is quite fiddly.. the pictures are somewhat misleading I guess... the op-amps really are quite small


I know what you mean about not being able to touch the things without them flying about the place. I had that problem with the 0805 package resistors. I just don't want to chop off the current op-amp and not be able to get a replacement on there is all.

I will have to look again at the size of them, hopefully tomorrow when and if the new iron arrives. I'm also not sure on what kind of tip this new iron comes with, just that [for now] Maplin sell a pack of 5 different tips for it. Or something. It had better be "suitable"!

Yeah yeah I know... I could have got the cap nearer the board :bah: Close enough :P


Heh :D



I also found LM4562's on ebay in the UK. The prices seem a tad steep though. The joys of not really having any other source for them in the UK :)

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SOIC - http://cgi.ebay.co.u...VQQcmdZViewItem
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#27 markiemrboo

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 06:13 AM

Oh dear, oh dear...

I got the new iron today. Attempted to clean up a bit and just made things worse really :) dang thing is impossible to clean up now! So, uh, hm. I unsoldered the cap, and put on a UCC LXJ 470uF 10v I found. That cap is actually for the tps54352 switching regulator right near it. I guess this would be the power supply for the EMU DSP chip? The cap should only have 1.2v across it, so you can easily get away with a 6.3v type there, or even less. From reading the datasheet I don't think it is actually wise to increase the capacitance that much here, but I fully admit I don't quite understand most of what it's saying :)

The mess that I have made of it is quite annoying me still :blush:
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#28 hardnrg

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 08:27 AM

You only have to pay ~$20 (£10) for three samples from National Semiconductor you know markie... and pay nothing if you can blag it... so worst case is they are ~£3.34 each delivered... not bad I say!

Let's see pics of yer mess then :D

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#29 markiemrboo

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 08:35 AM

You only have to pay ~$20 (£10) for three samples from National Semiconductor you know markie... and pay nothing if you can blag it... so worst case is they are ~£3.34 each delivered... not bad I say!

Let's see pics of yer mess then :D


I don't want to abuse the sample system by not paying at all, but I would be OK paying £3.34 each for them :-O I will look in to that.

Haha. Well. I just had another go, feeling brave. I managed to at least get the dang cap inside the holes this time. The lead length is no better than before though :lol: To be honest I was just happy it was through the hole now, so I left it. The card still works too. Phew. I am going to listen to music for a bit, then I will shut down again and take a couple of pics of my ultimate mess :D It is far worse than yours!!! If only the first try had worked and my iron hadn't have b0rken.

Edit: Surprisingly my cheapo solder sucker did manage to get the solder out of the +ve side hole well easily. The ground hole, however....... well..... that just wasn't happening.

Edited by markiemrboo, 22 May 2007 - 08:36 AM.

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#30 markiemrboo

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 09:37 AM

Pictures as promised.

Apparently I have somehow taken away the lacquer / black paint a tad near the ground side of the cap, which you can see as an extended blob of solder. No harm as it is a ground plane apparently. It just looks a bit ugly.

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A bit on the wonk, but the leads are through the holes at least. Bit of a bad shot, there's a tiny cap in the way obscuring the view of the leads. You can clearly see it is not flush against the PCB as I would have liked though :P

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Cheapo solder station thinger :D

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#31 hardnrg

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 09:53 AM

ner ner, mine's closer to the pcb :P

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#32 markiemrboo

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 10:02 AM

ner ner, mine's closer to the pcb :P


:lol: Yes, yes it is! I am not brave enough to abuse it any more either, at least with the current iron tip that I have. You are the winner! :D
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#33 markiemrboo

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 07:34 AM

A little tip for anyone trying the op amp. It's actually fairly easy to get off the board without snipping pins or anything. Use a needle and wedge the head of it inbetween the pins, heat the pin and push down [quite gently] on the needle, so it's using the pin next to the one you are trying to life as a sort of lever. The pin will bend slightly upwards and come away from the board. Repeat for all pins.

Demo of what I mean:

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Edited by markiemrboo, 05 June 2007 - 10:27 AM.

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#34 hardnrg

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 07:22 PM

I just finished modding Silverfox's X-Fi... it was a lot easier doing this with previous experience... the op-amp, a doddle, the output capacitor bridging (a mod I did since the photo journal) using a silver conductive pen, easier than writing the letter "i", and then the power filter capacitor...

STILL hard work... but at least this time I wasn't getting frustrated for an hour or so...

what I did was:
  • turn my soldering iron up to about 90% (50W variable)
  • heat up the solder joints from the underside whilst pulling on alternate sides of the old capacitor until it came out
  • sip beer while iron regains heat
  • hold a sewing needle in some snipe-nose pliers and put the sharp end in one of the holes and heat up the needle and the hole contacts with the iron, pushing down on the needle until it goes down, then wiggle the needle around and pull it out
  • sip beer while iron regains heat
  • repeat action with the needle for each solder hole until there is about 50% visible hole inside
  • sip beer while iron regains heat
  • pre-trim the new capacitor down to about 7 or 8mm lead length
  • use one of the offcut leads as a thicker poking device and repeat the action as previously done with the needle, until both holes are completely clear
  • sip beer while iron regains heat
  • push new capacitor leads through the holes and solder in place (you'll need a LOT of heat to do this, probably pausing with beer and heating between leads)
I cannot stress hard enough how important the sips of beer, and heat recovery of the iron is... beer was the answer here, a LOT easier than last time :)

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#35 Silverfox

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 07:32 PM

Beer is the answer to everything. Including life. I will prove this tomorrow when I drown my sorrows :lol:

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#36 Verran

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 04:22 AM

Beer is the answer to everything. Including life. I will prove this tomorrow when I drown my sorrows :lol:

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