can I solder empty connectors to motherboard

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by minipower, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    I want to add hardware to the empty motherboard spaces on a Dell optiplex gx520. My motherboard has an empty space for a pci-e x16 connector and two empty sata connectors.
    Would modifying the bios allow the motherboard to see and use the newly soldered connectors
     
  2. Myrrh

    Myrrh MDL Expert

    Nov 26, 2008
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    I quit buying Dell years ago when I found they had sold me systems with memory and PCI slots obviously designed and implemented on the board, but too damn cheap to solder on the 25-cent socket connectors. Interesting to see they still do that. Look closer, I bet there are some little resistors and capacitors and other components missing too.
     
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  3. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    I agree with that Myrrh. I believe it is unethical to design a product with all the bells and whistles and then remove $1.50 worth of plastic connectors, resistors and capacitors, just so they can have a huge markup on the full bells and whistle one.
    I did notice the other missing parts as you mention.
    If I remember right. Company's also have done the same thing with routers and people figured out how to repopulate the missing connectors.

    Maybe I will not have to worry about bios changes, if the bios automatically recognizes the connectors by adding the caps and resistors.
     
  4. Michaela Joy

    Michaela Joy MDL Crazy Lady

    Jul 26, 2012
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    You can add the connectors and the associated bypass caps, but you may need to add code to the BIOS to support them.

    Have you been soldering for a while? It's a bit tedious and a solder splash or a short can really ruin your day. :)

    :MJ
     
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  5. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    Hi Michaela Joy. Ya I'm pretty comfortable with soldering. I remember soldering in mod chips starting with my first game console, PS1 and then the xbox enigma 29 wire. I am no where near a professional, but I get by. lol

    I have been doing some more research on this and have found out that the GX520 and GX620 is the same board. The best way I heard it " The 520 is a lobotomized 620 " haha

    Also I have found some good pics of the GX620 that shows the missing components. So if I need to add code I should be able to steal it from the GX620 bios. Or just make it so I can load the GX620 bios onto the GX520 board.

    I am getting closer
     
  6. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    Well after some leg work to salvage parts from an old motherboard, I am typing this with an PCIe video upgraded motherboard.

    I looked at a lot of pics "as close up as I could find " and at the other motherboards I had lying around and came up with a plan. While I was unsoldering the 32 little caps that connected the PCIe connector to the board, I came to the conclusion that my rinky dink Radio Shack soldering iron was not going to cut it. Like any other madder I mean modder, I hoped perseverance would make up for the lack of tools. After an hour or so, I gave up and put the computer back together.

    Off to google to find out more about these caps. I was looking for information so I could switch from the tiny smd caps to some dip with legs. I knew caps are not a picky bunch. One can put almost any cap so long as the cap that is replacing has the same or more uf and voltage.

    Come to find out these 32 caps are called AC coupling caps used as filters. Better yet I found a webpage about the PCIe specifications and board-level integration. Telling me

    ht tp://w w w.globalspec.com/reference/72716/203279/ac-coupling-capacitors -- Due to post count restriction I added spaces ---

    For add-in cards and ExpressCard modules, the AC coupling capacitors are located on the card for each of the TX pairs originating from the add-in card PCI Express device. You do not need to place any AC capacitors on the system or host board for these signals.

    YES MAMMA. Bridge the open spots for the caps on the motherboard and let the Video card caps do there thing. I double checked on a few PCIe video cards I had to make sure the caps were there. YEP they are.

    I remember reading on a few forums, people asking about the little caps for some reason or another were gone. Most posts ended there. But one the guy replied back with an update. He bridged the spot with some solder and plugged the card back in and it worked. Of course he might not have known that the motherboard and video card, each had a set of these AC coupling caps.

    I am happy to say I did not have to do anything to the bios. The computer booted up and installed new drivers for the video card, restarted and works.

    I also noted the empty SATA connectors are missing 2. What looks like smd resistors on each connector and of course the connector. So soldering in some resistors and connector should activate those SATA Ports.
     
  7. Myrrh

    Myrrh MDL Expert

    Nov 26, 2008
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    Congratulations, that's a great accomplishment. And good knowledge gained.
     
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  8. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    #8 sebus, Aug 8, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
    Amazing... and all this for Dell Optiplex GX520, which is probably worth $10 at most

    Seems that learning does now know boundaries... Good to have so much free time!

    sebus
     
  9. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    Optiplex are business machines. They are sold to do a simple job (mostly office job). They come with 3 years onsite warranty. They work for 10+ years. What else would you want? Nobody in business will be upgrading graphic cards etc.
    After 3 years machines are replaced with new lot.
    So if the old crap had or not extra connectors, it would make no difference to anybody at all.

    sebus
     
  10. Michaela Joy

    Michaela Joy MDL Crazy Lady

    Jul 26, 2012
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  11. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    Thank you Myrrh and Michaela Joy. It was fun to work it out and see that it worked. Michaela Joy, I have always told myself to get one of the rework stations. Just never pulled the trigger to buy one.

    I am more of a mechanical person. From repairing and modifying my minibike when I was a kid, to my cars and trucks now. I have been able to muddle my way through simply obvious electrical repairs like blown fuses or blown components. Troubleshooting and repairing why they blow was more hit and miss.

    I am wanting to learn more about electronics and there circuits. I have read up on the basics and now onto circuit theory's. I am having a hard time with it tho. I get confused when it keeps switching from practical to ideal design. For example I keep coming to explanations like this. This switch mode power supply will ideally work like this, but since we don't live in a ideal world we have to compensate. Then stop there or move on to something else. It drives me crazy that the how it is compensated and why is just passed over. Anyways back on topic.

    It shows Dell could have been profitable with this one design and not need to fleece customers with the 2 options. Showing one of the evils of maximizing profit. In this case they maximized extra profit at the expense of their reputation. Just my unasked for opinion.

    Sebus why did you bring up and say what you said ¿?
     
  12. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    Bacause it is IMO complete obvious truth

    Why complain about something that has no impact on anybody or anything?
     
  13. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    Help me understand. What am I complaining about¿?
     
  14. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    If anyone is interested. The GX520 200MHz Bus Speed is set by the PLL CY28410. Which is not adjustable with the FSB software. It has to be pin modded by lifting pin16. This will select it too a whooping 266MHz.

    So if you come across this chip in another piece of equipment, it will work the same.
     
  15. Myrrh

    Myrrh MDL Expert

    Nov 26, 2008
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    I think sebus doesn't understand why you would want to waste time and energy figuring out how to make that old equipment work a little better, when you could just trash it and get something better for not much money. Maybe you like a challenge, or have no budget for something newer, or it's just one of those "because I can" things.
     
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  16. LatinMcG

    LatinMcG Bios Borker

    Feb 27, 2011
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    frankly.. i didn't think it could work with just bridging solder lol.. im impressed.
     
  17. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    About Dell saving on components. I did explain it well enough. Optiplex are business machines, they are not modders paradise, so do not complain about that fact!
     
  18. sebus

    sebus MDL Guru

    Jul 23, 2008
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    Well, people collect strange things (like isos of old junk OS). Some people play with electronics. None of it I care about.
    As stated above, do not complain about Dell saving something, just because one wants to mod it.
     
  19. minipower

    minipower MDL Novice

    Jul 26, 2015
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    Since this isn't the right forum to explain to Sebus how wrong he is, or for hardware... The video card works and GPU overclocking programs are able to adjust the settings, but the video card does not show up in the Bios. I have a A/V input card on one of the PCI slots that shows up as VIDEO in the Bios.

    I am wondering if the Phoenix Mod Tool will allow me to add and subtract modules from the DELL Bios. Also there is the Dell Client Configuration Utility that provides the ability to configure BIOS settings.

    I read in an old 2005 DELL forum POST of a guy trying to use Phoenix Mod Tool to edit DELL Bioses, but ran into problems. Someone named peterfelgate in the forum says a program called VCOM sourcer allows the bios to be disassembled to source code. He also says this interesting comment in that POST

    Copy/Paste
    Yep, positive Sourcer can be used; I've done it! For example, I have looked at the Optiplex GX1 A08 bios and can even see the code where the "unsupported processor" message is generated when processors faster than 600 MHz are used - it's a timing loop which, if it executes too quickly, is detected and the bios prints the error message out and then encounters a sequential pair of halt op codes; these are jumped round for slower processors. If the halts were replaced by a NO_OP, the bios limitation on bioses higher than 600MHz could be got round... Not that this would be legal......