Amiga 2000 Emergency Repair

Big companies spend small fortunes on making sure their computers stay running and that they can be repaired quickly in an emergency. You wouldn’t expect an emergency repair on an Amiga 2000, though. [RETR-O-MAT] bought an Amiga 2000 that did boot, but was known to have a leaky battery on the motherboard. He wanted to rush to replace the battery before the leakage caused serious damage. You can see all this in the video below.

The computer looked lightly used over its 32-year lifespan, even when the case came off. The battery corrosion was evident, though. Even the bolt holding down the motherboard was clearly corroded from the leaking battery, causing it to be very difficult to remove.

The battery leakage also made unsoldering the battery a challenge. Several chips and sockets — including the CPU — were affected, so they had to come out. You can see a nice demonstration of the “old screwdriver trick” which might be eye-opening if you’ve only worked with SMD chips.

Even if you don’t care much about the Amiga 2000, it is interesting to see inside an old computer like this and note the differences — and similarities — to modern designs. The video is as much a tear down as it is a repair story. It also might be useful if you ever face having to tear out a leaky battery on any piece of gear.

The audio is a bit difficult to understand when [RETR-O-MAT] mentions the liquid he uses to neutralize the battery corrosive. It is vinegar. He refers to the corrosive as “battery acid” but, in fact, from that kind of battery it is a base. According to Duracell:

Follow these tips to clean up after a battery has leaked: Work in a well-ventilated area. Wear household gloves and glasses. Using a toothbrush or cotton swab, remove battery leakage from the electrical contacts. Make sure the electronic device is completely dry before trying a new battery.

To clean any leakage of the following battery types, Alkaline, NiCAD and NiMH batteries, use either one tablespoon of boric acid in one gallon of water or a mixture of equal amounts of diluted vinegar or lemon juice with water (50/50 ratio).

Although Duracell doesn’t mention it, [RETR-O-MAT] washed with water followed by an alcohol wash (you should use 90% or higher for this). We would have done the same but used deionized water, if we had any or maybe distilled water.

Turns out the video is only part 1 because he hasn’t done the PCB rework of replacing sockets and the like yet. However, at least he’s stopped most of the damage from continuing and we got a good look inside a very clean Amiga 2000.

We have to tip our hats at the Amiga designers and fabricators. These little boxes have had quite the service life. We suppose that’s why people are still building new cards for them.z

14 thoughts on “Amiga 2000 Emergency Repair

  1. One of the biggest regrets of my life is throwing away my A2000 which had suffered the same damage well before I learnt about electronics and figured out it would’ve been a relatively simple repair :,(

  2. “Big companies spend small fortunes on making sure their computers stay running and that they can be repaired quickly in an emergency.”

    Ha! Tell that to my old laptop with the batteries epoxied into the case with the trackpad cable routed underneath, totally exposed silicon dies interfacing directly with the bottom plate, and an SSD that’s completely soldered to the motherboard.

    1. Yeah, I found the same.
      Pony up for top of the line laptops like HP Probooks or Dell Precisions and they practically bend over backwards for you (Dell freely provide service manuals for the Precision line for example, a joy to work on).

      Buy low-end consumer laptops, it may as well be an impenetrable black box.
      Want to repair your cheap laptop? NO SOUP FOR YOU!

      Replacing the keyboard on my friends X240s Thinkpad was an adventure in carefully peeling up double sided tape, half the stuff in there is taped in place!

      1. Dells tend to be easy to work on and even Acers were not too bad but HP’s consumer level stuff not so much but you can at least fix it if you’re patient.
        Apple’s used to be easy to repair but after the G4 era they started to getting harder to fix after each generation and after Cook took over they became throw away garbage.

    2. Actually, I was thinking about business continuity in server farms. Meaning companies with lots of computers in data centers, not computer makers. But I see how you could read that either way in retrospect.

    3. Wow that’s a whole new level of terrible design on multiple levels not only unrepairable it can’t even be easily recycled.
      The people designed that thing did a terrible job and should feel bad.

      1. The funny thing is, the first A2000 Mainboard produced in germany had a Boxed battery. Nothing to leak there. This all started when they started producing them in the US.

  3. I use metho to neutralize the acid and then specialist cleaning solvents designed for PCBs. I’m a bit dubious about vinigar as it will absorbs environmental salts.

    And OH! that soldering iron, it’s looks like it’s older than the Amega!

      1. IANAC (I am not a chemist) but the battery appears to be a Varta V3/60R which is NiMH. The electrolyte is alkaline, usually potassium hydroxide. Vinegar should work. I assume that the 30 odd year old battery is the same as modern day ones.

          1. Ah yes, you did, I never got that far. “The old screwdriver trick” had me clicking on the video without waiting to read all the article.
            Yup, it was the old screwdriver trick – but done well, no careful re-straightening of half the pins hoping that none of them would break off.

  4. I replaced the battery in my 2000 (both of them) with a 1.4 F supercap a couple of decades ago. I tested that the charge was sufficient to run the real time clock for at least two weeks, (I wasn’t willing to go without using my Amiga any longer). Simple to mount upside down with adhesive and use wire to connect to the motherboard. Works great. Yay technological progress!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.