Sunday, March 25, 2007

The end of an era

Today, I must say goodbye to my good ol' Macintosh Quadra 840av. I bought this computer used in 1998, as a part of Visix Software's going-out-of-business fire sale. It was a few years old at that time. I upgraded it several times since then, adding more memory, replacing the hard drive when it died, upgrading the CD-ROM drive, putting it on the internet, and setting up a tape-backup system for it.

This computer was my main machine at home for several years, until I got my Power Macintosh G4 system, which I'm using today. Running Microsoft Office and Filemaker Pro, this computer held together my personal finances, and kept track of most of the important things in my life.

Today, the G4 fulfills these purposes, but I made a point of powering on the Quadra every few months, just to see if it still works, and to play a few games that don't play well under Mac OS X (like those that demand the old 1-bit color display modes.)

Until two weeks ago, that is. This most recent time, it wouldn't start. The monitor turned on, the hard drive started spinning, but the familiar "bong" sound didn't play. I checked the PRAM battery, and found that it still had plenty of voltage. I went on-line to do some research, and apparently, this is a common fate for Quadra 840av systems. The capacitors get old and start leaking, and the motherboard dies. Some people suggested washing the motherboard (in the dishwasher, no less!) to clean off the leaked electrolyte, and some suggested replacing all the capacitors on the motherboard, but I think there's really little point to attempting either of these procedures for a computer that, admittedly, hasn't served any useful purpose in the last five years. But it's still sad to see formerly-good equipment decide to finally fail.

3 comments:

Andrew said...

washing...it...in...a...dishwasher???

Shamino said...

That's what people say has worked. It removes any electrolyte that is stuck to the board.

They did say to run it without detergent. I would assume the heated drying cycle would also be bad.

And there's no way I'm going to try this approach!

Andrew said...

Well, it doesn't work anyway, give it a shot!