Last updated: August 8, 2001: Page created

Omega Race Boardset

Mmm acid damage

    Does your Omega Race board look like the above?? If so, you definitely have a problem! In the following section I'll show pictures of what appears to be a "typical" Omega Race board after the on-board battery has spent a couple decades corroding the thing.

    The boardset that came with my Omega Race mini was in good condition, and did not appear to have much at all in the way of battery acid damage. I found a listing on the Internet for a boardset that WAS the victim of acid damage, and decided I'd give board repair a try. I received two boards - the motherboard, shown above, and a daughterboard, not shown. The daughterboard works GREAT in my mini, and in fact a couple of sound problems I was having cleared up after I installed it. The motherboard however, is badly damaged. Here's a few more pictures detailing the damage:

    This is a pair of pictures showing the original battery.


    Here's where the battery originally was. I disconnected it as soon as I opened the package. See where the A1 is? That would have been directly beneath the battery when it was installed. It extended from yellow mark to yellow mark, horizontally. The acid took a couple of paths down, then eventually started across the board in another direction. You can see the chips and sockets that took the brunt of the damage.

Battery at A1

    I tried to use a solder-sucker to remove the solder and free the pins of the sockets and chips, but had no success. The pads on the back of the board are very corroded as well, and it is quite difficult to extract the solder. Once the solder is removed, more corrosion is causing the pins to stick to the board, so about every 10th pin so far won't come out at all. I had to cut the chips and sockets off the board, and attempt to heat and remove the remaining pins. Below is the first part of the carnage I caused by doing this. You can see where the acid pooled under the chip in the socket, and how corroded the pins are.


    Here is a later picture, showing more of the damage, and what things looked like after I got some cleaning done. The traces beneath the non-socketed chips (right) are pretty much blown away. At this point, I think cutting away this corner of the board and creating a new daughterboard to rest on top may be the best bet for getting this thing running again.


    Below is an example of the Omega Race board corrosion damage as shown from the back. This is why I had a devil of a time removing the solder and freeing the pins. Both pictures are of the same area, but the one on the right was taken while being held to the light. Pay special attention to the holes - some have daylight, some don't. You can also see the many traces that go through this section of board, complicating the rebuilding process.

    Finally, below is an example of a corroded socket, taken close-up with a digicam that has no macro lens. I am going to have to buy one, I keep needing to take close-up pics with it and cannot. Anyway, I cut most of this socket out. It's pretty messed up, most of the pins looked like they were FLAKING apart, and would not have lasted long in a strong wind. After seeing the damage caused by the acid, I have decided that it is not cost-effective to perform repairs on this board. A working, "like-new" Omega Race boardset can be had for as low as $130. Just one of the chips I cut off the front of the board was $14 if bought new today, and there are about a dozen more that have to go before I get past the damaged sections. Add to that the cost in time and materials to build on a daughterboard or replace each trace, and you're talking about real money, much more than the purchase price of a working board.

Busted UP!

    I will keep the daughterboard to replace the one that originally came with my machine, and attempt to use the rest of the main board for parts, in case I need them someday. Unless, of course, anyone out there reading this thinks THEY can do better, in which case I would be happy to sell you this board.

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