Sony HB-F1XD MSX2 restoration

By Grauw

Ascended (10170)

Аватар пользователя Grauw

11-09-2021, 19:37

I recently got a Sony HB-F1XD MSX2 computer from Yahoo Auctions Japan. It’s in good condition with only some minor scratches on the case, but the listing mentioned some issues:

  • Loose A/V connectors
  • Debris in the audio jack
  • Soft sound output

Once received, I started out by fully disassembling and cleaning the machine. There is a lot of shielding in this machine whose clamps needed some prying to remove, but overall I’m impressed with how serviceable Sony made this machine. I gave the case a bath with some lightly soapy water, and brushed out the many dust bunnies that were inside. I reckon it was stored for many years in a dusty cellar without cover.

I cleaned the dust off the board with IPA and a piece of cloth, toothbrush and cue-tips. The underside had a lot of flux residue on it, probably should’ve left that alone since it was not very dirty to begin with and got a bit messy, but it cleaned up in the end. I have to say, this is a very nice looking board!

Next I set out to repair the A/V connectors; a dab of fresh solder on the connector pins put them back solidly in place. I also retouched the RGB connector pins for good measure, although they looked fine. I cleaned the inside of the audio jack with a cue-tip and IPA, no idea what got inside but it’s gone now.

At this point I felt comfortable to connect the machine and try it out. Although the capacitors of the HIC-1 A/V board are known to go bad, they didn’t seem to be leaking, and the replacements were still on order. It worked right away and gave a good picture on the RGB output. The sound output level was indeed very low though.

After trying out the keys on the keyboard, I found that the F1, F2, F3, CTRL, SHIFT, CAPS and GRAPH keys were not functional, but KANA was (on the same matrix row). This wasn’t mentioned in the listing btw. After opening it up there was a spot on the membrane traces above the space bar that was a bit discoloured, probably some liquid was spilled. The trace for the mentioned keys had a particularly dark spot on it.

I repaired it by scratching off the lacquer from the trace and painting a new connection using a pen with conductive silver ink that I ordered, sealing it off with a coating of nail polish. All keys are working great now!

Next I cleaned up the disk drive. It’s a direct drive type, so there was no worn belt that needed replacing. I tried it out and it works great, no issues there.

The new Kemet tantalum SMD capacitors I ordered for the HIC-1 A/V board (2x 10µF 16V, 1x 100µf 6.3V) had arrived, so I took off the old capacitors with flux, some fresh solder on the legs and a pair of tweezers. Once I got the fresh solder to stick they got off quite cleanly after heating and lifting up either side a few times. Used braid to remove the solder from the pads.

To put on the new capacitors, I put a small layer of new solder on one of the pads so I could lock it into place with tweezers and the iron. Then put some more solder on either side and it was done rather quickly. The polarity is clearly indicated on the board. Be aware that on tantalum SMD capacitors the bar indicates the positive side.

Finished up with cleaning the keyboard as good as I could. I didn’t take off the key caps, it didn’t seem necessary and I didn’t want to risk breaking one off.

Put everything back together and voila presto, a nice looking and fully functional Sony HB-F1XD!

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By Grauw

Ascended (10170)

Аватар пользователя Grauw

11-09-2021, 20:23

And the soft sound output was fixed by the HIC-1 recap.

By sdsnatcher73

Prophet (2351)

Аватар пользователя sdsnatcher73

11-09-2021, 21:33

Very beautiful machine, good job on restoring it!

By gdx

Enlighted (4828)

Аватар пользователя gdx

12-09-2021, 01:44

Good idea the coating of nail.
It's always a pleasure to see this kind of restoration.
Thanks for sharing. Good job!

By Zandig Slaytanic

Resident (42)

Аватар пользователя Zandig Slaytanic

13-09-2021, 13:12

Excellent post with detailed info on the repair.
Congrats on the restoration.

By Grauw

Ascended (10170)

Аватар пользователя Grauw

13-09-2021, 18:30

Thanks for the nice comments!

By the way, I have a spare set of new HIC-1 capacitors, since there was a minimum order of 5 on the 10 µF ones. If anyone close to Utrecht needs them replaced I can do it for you.

By S0urceror

Master (194)

Аватар пользователя S0urceror

14-09-2021, 07:46

Great result Grauw! Hope to complete my own F1XD restoration soon. Isn’t she a beauty?

By Meits

Scribe (6462)

Аватар пользователя Meits

14-09-2021, 12:24

That looks mighty fine. Quite a difference as well with the mainboard of the MSX2+ models, which are quite a cable mess.
Why did you choose for tantalum caps? Because they're easier to solder than the electrolytic smd caps, or are there other benefits?

By Grauw

Ascended (10170)

Аватар пользователя Grauw

14-09-2021, 14:42

Because as I understand it tantalum caps use a solid electrolyte instead of a liquid one, so they can't leak (I think). Also they look visually very different so there can't be any confusion about whether it is recapped or not. They are more expensive though.

In terms of ease of soldering it's probably the same...

By moldov31337

Expert (66)

Аватар пользователя moldov31337

15-09-2021, 02:42

Hey, Grawl.

Realy good job! I ordered some tantalum caps to install them on HIC-1 board as well.

BTW

Can I contact you to have the measurements of the cap for battery slot. My Sony is missing it, so I would like to recreate it as 3D model to be able to print it and then share with community.