So in our last instalment, I had ordered some replacement caps. They have arrived so it was time for me to ReCap the Mac SE/30 (See what I did there?)
Thankfully this was a LOT less effort than I was expecting. My strategy (which worked well) was one I first saw on “Mark Fixes Stuff“. I simply tinned both pads, by putting on solder then removing the solder with solder braid. This leaves nice shiny pads fresh and ready to solder on new SMD components. This also gave me a chance to clean up some of the pads that weren’t so great. A trick a co-worker suggested was to put fresh solder flux on the pads before using the braid, which allowed me to get a much nicer finish on some of the pads that looked a bit… feral.
Anyway now I had tinned pads, I carefully applied fresh solder to one of the pads. Taking the SMD capacitor in a pair of self closing tweezers, double checking for polarity, I then heated the leg of the cap and the blob of solder on the pad. After a few seconds, the capacitor is firmly attached. I then applied solder and the soldering iron to the other leg and pad. This gave me nice level capacitors that were mostly straight on their pads.
To complete, simply repeat 10 more times.
(I also covered up the exposed copper from the tracks that had had their solder mask corroded with lurid pink nail polish)
I also swapped out the non SMD capacitors and I was ready to test.
My first test was simply to check continuity over each capacitor, to make sure I hadn’t accidently shorted them underneath, and thankfully they were all fine.
I reassembled the whole unit and powered it on… “BONG!”. I had a lovely Mac startup tone and a flashing question mark floppy disk. It works!
Time to reassemble. This actually took two goes as the case wasn’t on quite right. I realised that one of the boards (The analog one) wasn’t quite on square in the case. A bit of pressure and it snapped back into place, and I was able to fully assemble the SE/30.
Now I needed an operating system. This is easier said than done. In a classic “Chicken and Egg” problem, the easist way to make boot disks on a Mac is with another Mac of the same era. Not nearly as easy today. I tried many different approaches, and had even dug out an old Windows XP software to allow me to run a legacy app to write disk. Thankfully while researching OS choices, I stumbled over an article on Terry Stewart’s excellent collection site. This gave me a good, reliable Windows 10 compatible solution.
I cracked open a box of slightly used floppy disks, and proceeded to use WinImage (As per Terry’s site) to write out the two floppy disks I needed to boot System 6.
After a bit of fluffing around with a bad disk (Always “slow format” floppy disks, said Future me to Past me) I was able to make the SE/30 boot.
Excitingly a “Mac HDD” was showing! This suggested the internal SCSI drive was working, just not set up.
I used the inbuilt HD Toolbox from the system disk to format then test the disk, and it came back fine. While the System 6 installer failed, I was able to simply drag the System Folder across to the HDD and now it boots to System 6 fine.
I’m currently trying to get Stuffit Expander and PC Exchange over to the system so I can easily move floppy disk images onto the machine, but the tale of that battle is one for another day…
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