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Incredible X-Fi mod *WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY*, 56K WARNING - Page 96

post #951 of 979
Until now, Rollemup has been posting TL: DR posts.
Keep up the good work, kind sir.
post #952 of 979
Commenting on my "true nature" only displays your own. **** if you've got nothing worth saying or I"ll add another sentence and take it beyond your ADHD level.
post #953 of 979
Very well-documented and detailed guide. This gives me new appreciation of the lengths that audiophiles will go to for quality! +Rep

Quote:
Originally Posted by TransfuSe View Post
I didn't really read it, but what does this improve?
Are you serious??
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post #954 of 979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kand View Post
Until now, Rollemup has been posting TL: DR posts.
Keep up the good work, kind sir.
You can edit your post after the fact, yet remain the fool, worm.
post #955 of 979
Guys, sorry for digging up an old thread, but I really need help. Going to paste my issue from another forum.


I have an X-fi music.
I decided to change its ompamp and short the 4 capacitors.
I was self confident, because I have already soldered and dissoldered SMD.
So I dissoldered the old opamp by putting a bid of solder on all the pins and I took it off very fast, to not overheat the board.
I cleaned the excess solder with a copper wick.
Then I took the nice LM4562, glued it with scotch tape, put a drop of homemade flux (rosin in methanol) and soldered the pins fast and gently. I also shorted the caps.

Result: job done very well, very good joints, at least they seem. Everything was clean around the opamp

So then I plugged the card... Oh god, the sound was kind of crispy. I mean, there was some kind of crackling which frequency was 1:1 synchronous with the one of music. I mean, if I want to listen to 50Hz, the crackling is also at the same frequency. But I could also feel the magic sound in same time.

I tried to unshorten the caps... Then one of the channels stopped working.

Then I tried reinstalling the drivers and moving the card to another PCI slot.. Both channes were online again, but the sound were still crispy..

Now I reinstalled the drivers again and only the left channel is working, the right sound very low. Stereo channels just gives a bad crispy sound.

Post 2:

I checked with a multimeter every conductive path to the 1-8 pins of the opamp. They all were OK

I decided to replace the opamp with the same new one. I didn't change a thing

I checked the paths conductivity again, they were ok.

I don't see any component missing. I can't remember being rude, touching or ripping something with my soldering gun.
The solderings are very clean and neat.
I can't understand what is going on.
I shorted the 4 caps again and the crackling noise went down quite much, but I can still hear it a little. But only the left channel works...


To add some things:

I read that some users are complaining from eBay. Well, I bought my opamps from there. Could they be the problem?
I'm currently listening music from another channel.
post #956 of 979
Quote:
Originally Posted by 50AE View Post
Guys, sorry for digging up an old thread, but I really need help. Going to paste my issue from another forum.


I have an X-fi music.
I decided to change its ompamp and short the 4 capacitors.
I was self confident, because I have already soldered and dissoldered SMD.
So I dissoldered the old opamp by putting a bid of solder on all the pins and I took it off very fast, to not overheat the board.
I cleaned the excess solder with a copper wick.
Then I took the nice LM4562, glued it with scotch tape, put a drop of homemade flux (rosin in methanol) and soldered the pins fast and gently. I also shorted the caps.

Result: job done very well, very good joints, at least they seem. Everything was clean around the opamp

So then I plugged the card... Oh god, the sound was kind of crispy. I mean, there was some kind of crackling which frequency was 1:1 synchronous with the one of music. I mean, if I want to listen to 50Hz, the crackling is also at the same frequency. But I could also feel the magic sound in same time.

I tried to unshorten the caps... Then one of the channels stopped working.

Then I tried reinstalling the drivers and moving the card to another PCI slot.. Both channes were online again, but the sound were still crispy..

Now I reinstalled the drivers again and only the left channel is working, the right sound very low. Stereo channels just gives a bad crispy sound.

Post 2:

I checked with a multimeter every conductive path to the 1-8 pins of the opamp. They all were OK

I decided to replace the opamp with the same new one. I didn't change a thing

I checked the paths conductivity again, they were ok.

I don't see any component missing. I can't remember being rude, touching or ripping something with my soldering gun.
The solderings are very clean and neat.
I can't understand what is going on.
I shorted the 4 caps again and the crackling noise went down quite much, but I can still hear it a little. But only the left channel works...


To add some things:

I read that some users are complaining from eBay. Well, I bought my opamps from there. Could they be the problem?
I'm currently listening music from another channel.
Hi,

First of all, you should be using homemade flux. Real flux is a little more involved than throwing some rosin on a thinner. Either get some real flux, or just solder with a flux core and that will be enough to get the job done. A little extra is always useful but you shouldn't actually need it, and actually it's best used to thin out the flux that's on the board to facilitate clean up.

I had a quick look at the beginning of this thread to see what you might have been following. This guide from cotd seems ubiquitous on the forums, which is most unfortunate as it amounts to the blind leading the blind.

Based on your description of the sound and how it crackled with the beat I'd say you likely shorted something out that you should not have. From the "guide":

"Short the 22uF caps near each opamp (there are 4 of them for each one). I definately recommend it as others beside myself also think that shorting improves the detail and realism, with no ill effects on the card. They seem to be decoupling caps, not coupling caps, and make the DAC more stable. Not needed though, it's perfectly stable without them."

That's absolutely idiotic. The only cap you'd ever, very carefully, consider shorting, would be an AC _coupling_ cap, not a "decoupling cap". A decoupling cap filters and holds up your DC voltage supply, amongst other things, like forming the impedance profile of the power distribution network and I can't imagine what kind of an idiot it takes to say a DAC is "stable enough without it", that it would work better with a dirtier and worse regulated, higher impedance voltage source, and that it should be SHORTED OUT?!????! The guy advising that idiocy ought to be shot and pissed on, or pissed on and shot.

So the question becomes exactly what were those caps for? It is possible indeed that there were 4 AC coupling caps per op amp and those could potentially be shorted, especially with the LM4562 op amp. IF any single one of those caps was a decoupling cap however, simply put, you dun ****ed up. You never short the power rails to ground.

I would advise to use your ohmmeter to trace where those caps you shorted connect. Figure out if any one of them were connected to a power rail and ground or from the DAC balanced outputs to differential inputs of the op amp likely througha filter network.

If it happens to be a voltage source, as per a decoupling cap, and you'd know it right away if one of their leads connects to the ground plane, then you'll want to trace it back to the voltage regulator that powers it, and try and test the voltage on it.

You might also remove your op amp and use that alcohole to clean it underneath to ensure no remnance of that homemade flux remains that could possibly short it out.

A quick first check before you do anything though is to check for continuity from the op amp power pins to ground. It really sounds like at least one of them was shorted. If you cleaned up your "shorts" and the op amp sounds dead then it's a matter of figuring out if the op amp died or the voltage regulator died. Driving an op amp with one rail shorted is pretty hard on it and most regulators are overcurrent protected. Swap it out with old crappy op amp again and see if it still works.
post #957 of 979
I'm very grateful for your post rollemup !

Firstly, my English vocabulary is not great, so shame on me, I didn't bother to find out what "decoupling" means.
About these capacitors, I did short them, because I believed in the success of the most of the other modders doing so. Nevertheless, I will trace their connections as you instructed me.

I apologize that I didn't mention I thouroughly cleaned the homemade flux before soldering the second amp, because I suspected it in first place. I measured its solution's conductivity between two copper electrodes and compared it with the one of our local tap water. The resistance was 3x greater, but still enough to do problems.

I hope I haven't involved any other fancy components, but even if I did so, it's fate...

I thank you again for the attention paid! I will check the card these days and keep you in touch soon!

Regards, 50AE
post #958 of 979
In the future keep in mind when it comes to forum audio tweaks not many people know what the hell they're talking about, some far less so than others. That bit I quoted about shorting the caps out, at the same time as saying they're decoupling caps, defies all logic and common sense. If you short out a decoupling cap, you short your power rail to ground, it's that simple. Even dumber still is knowing the improve the "stability" of the DAC but that it's somehow better without them? Seriously idiotic. So yeah it's kind of a heinous bit of advice to give let alone in the form of a guide that seems to be posted on half a dozen different forums, and then it appears there's some consensus formed around that bad advice, just because everyong is appreciate of a "guide", to make others want to follow along with what they think si a sure thing, and you get what we have here.

Probably your quickest test to see what job those caps you shorted had, would be to see if one of their leads goes to the ground plane. Then it is a good chance they should not have been shorted under any circumstances. Also look up the datasheet for the op amp and trace what pins on the op amp the caps connect with. If it's a power pin, big mistake. If it's either one of the inputs, it should be OK, at least then you know you didn't short out a regulator. Do it for each cap, because it could be that not all caps had the same job and maybe you did one that you shouldn't have.

Another tip also, though you checked pin continuity, I'm guessing just from the pin to some part on the trace it's connected to? That would hopefully tell you the solder connection is OK, but it doesn't always. Sometimes what can happen is a solder pad can lift, and it looks OK, especially when you press down on the pin that it's soldered to, but it's actually an intermittend connection, and the loading of the music signals can be enough to have it act as a rectifier that goes with the beat.

When you clean flux you have to clean it exceptionally well. There can't be a trace of it left. This is far more critical with very high speed circuits, and you have to clean the entire area that it flows to while you're cleaning it. Used flux contains conductive salt ions so the impedance of that contaminating the board would be difficult to determine with basic measurements.

One thing you might try is also measuring for voltage at the power pins of the op amp, if you can get to them easily without shorting them out with your probs, perhaps soldering some small insulated wires to them would make that measurement easier.

Another thing you migtht try is applying gentle pressure to the pins of the op amp with something non conductive. That could be a simple test for an intermittent pad.

Good luck anyway .
post #959 of 979
I've been trying to get people to stop doing this mod for some time now. There are now better cards available than the Creative x-fi for gaming and they sound on par to a modded x-fi so there really is no need for the expense and potential ruining of your card.

That said...

Post some pictures so we can see what you're talking about. It is possible that you got a bad batch of op-amps. Did you replace all of them or just the FL/FR? if you are sure nothing else is the root of the issue you can put the old op-amp back in for troubleshooting.

The bottom line is that I have never worked on a cheaper PCB than creative used for these cards. If you are not careful the you can overheat the board and then you have to toss the card.
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post #960 of 979
I only replaced the FR/FL opamp. The other channels work ok.
I guess I'm an idiot, because I threw away the old opamp.

This is what I did today.
First, I measured where the connections of the caps go.
The first two caps, well, go from ground to a pair of outs from the DAC
The second two go from the DAC to the inputs of the opamp, through some caps and resistances.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/828/dac.png/

I did unshort the two that go from the GND to the DAC, but no change. Only the left channel works.
I also did measure the voltage of the V+ and V- on the opamp +5V ; -4,96V. They seem to be alright.

I guess my another try will be measuring with my oscilloscope the outputs of the DAC. I hope I haven't screwed this one.
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