[NTLK] Off Topic: Macintosh SE/30 - to buy or not to buy?

James Fraser wheresthatistanbul-newtontalk at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 10 04:05:36 EDT 2012


--- On Sat, 9/8/12, Hauke Fath <hauke at Espresso.Rhein-Neckar.DE> wrote:

> Note that Macintoshes of the 1990 era like to develop the
> SimasiMac sickness <http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~shamada/fullmac/repairEng.html>,
> caused by leaking capacitors on the logic board. For someone
> knowledgable, replacement takes an hour and a few USD for the SMT
> capacitors.

Thank you for pointing that out.  I'm sorry to say that I suffered such an attack of minutiae/nostalgia in my last post in this thread [cringes] that cautioning the OP against leaking capacitors completely slipped my mind.  Thankfully, it didn't slip Mr. Fath's. :)

I was playing catch-up on my email and came across the below exchange on the LEM Vintage Macs list .  The SE/30 referred to in the first paragraph was a (purportedly) still-in-the-box unit that (purportedly) sold for quite a bit of money (all this solely according to the seller, hence my use of the word "purportedly").  The problem is that, as Dylan points out in the opening paragraph, even if such a machine has never even been powered up, the capacitors are still aging, regardless (and very probably leaking by now in a machine Apple stopped making in 1990).

Jeff Walther is a long-time (and much-valued) member of the Vintage Macs list (http://lowendmac.com/lists/vintagemacs.shtml).  What he has to say on the subject of SE/30s (and other compact Macs) that have been stored for a long time is well worth reading, so I've cut and pasted it below:

On Aug 29, 12:22 am, Dylan McDermond wrote:

>> In my opinion, you guys who are thinking these things are all a little >>crazy. That SE/30 is going to need repair regardless of whether or not >>it's ever been plugged in and the hard drive is the least of the worries. >>If you leave it as is, the electrolyte from leaking capacitors will eat >>through the logic board or the battery will explode both of which will >>leave the machine completely destroyed. Just because it's "new" doesn't >>mean it's perfect by any measure. Not opening it up is a death sentence. >>No way would I ever be willing to pay $500 for that.

Jeff replied:

>I second this opinion.  I had a number of Macs stored.   Later, I opened >one of them, only to find that the battery had started leaking.  Doofus >me.   I removed all the batteries from all my stored Macs several years >ago.

>I bought a couple of beautiful SE/30s with near perfect (no
>perceptible yellowing) cases from a nice fellow.  I opened them up to
>remove the batteries and every single surface mount electrolytic
>capacitor had clear fluid on top which had leaked from the
>capacitors.   Any longer, and that fluid would have been all over the
>logic board, and the stuff is corrosive.

>Now days, I remove the batteries **and** the SM electrolytic caps
>before storing an old Mac.   If  you do it any other way, you have a
>substantial probability of having a corroded mess on your hands when
>you revisit the machine.

>Ideally, I'd replace the caps with tantalums, but often I just don't
>have time, but there's no point in storing them with the electrolytics
>in place, so I make the time to remove them.

End of email

Where I'm trying to go with this is: it might be a good idea for the OP to show up with a Torx screwdriver in hand before he takes the plunge (assuming he hasn't already, seeing as how it's now Monday and the thread was started on Friday).  Investing in a ~$7 long-handle Torx could help prevent a $25 mistake from happening.


James Fraser

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