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Old 06-15-2020, 04:48 AM   #1
Spider1211
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Question Diagnostic card suggestion?

Hey guys, am fairly new to signal level troubleshooting.What diagnostic card would you recommend for laptop troubleshooting? Any other good piece of equipment I should have to help with troubleshooting PCH, etc?

I have been looking at a few PCI diagnostic card but can't really decide which one would be more appropriate.

This one keeps popping up with most search results:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/3282...archweb201603_

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:04 AM   #2
llonen
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

In my professional work I don't find them particularly useful for diagnosis, but then most of my computer repair work centres around macbooks.
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Old 06-16-2020, 12:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

What kind of components/chips would I need to have in stock (besided having donor boards) if I wanted to start with macbooks?

I guess the diagnostic card would be more helpful with non apple products then?
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Old 06-17-2020, 02:27 AM   #4
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

In general, diagnostic cards are not useful in laptop repair.
At the beginning, only have donor boards. then, you will find out what else do you need.
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Old 06-17-2020, 08:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

I actually would like to learn more about troubleshooting mostly North Bridge, South Bridge, PCH and CPU; hence my interest about getting a diagnostic card.

Is there such a thing about a definite diagnostic for those (especially when it comes to a partially dead PCH, etc) or is it more of an "assumption/likelihood" based on measurement of signals?
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Old 06-18-2020, 12:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

since most signals are not transferred out of CPU/PCH, we have to diagnose based on assumption/likelihood sometimes.
If you want to learn laptop troubleshooting, forget about diagnostic cards and watch a number videos on "laptop voltage measurement".
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Old 06-20-2020, 12:41 AM   #7
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

I did watch those a while back and learned quite a bit. Most PCH videos tend to be more reballing/replacement oriented though.

So I guess am not getting a diagnostic card after all. Thank you for your suggestions!
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Old 06-27-2020, 04:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

You will find a good digital test meter indispensable, perhaps a decent storage scope although most switching frequencies to be found will be outside the range or most test gear. The other thing that will help you a lot is access to service manuals as they will contain information on component layout and test points.
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Old 06-28-2020, 12:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by llonen View Post
You will find a good digital test meter indispensable, perhaps a decent storage scope although most switching frequencies to be found will be outside the range or most test gear. The other thing that will help you a lot is access to service manuals as they will contain information on component layout and test points.
I already have those; DSO, DMM, microscope, etc. Service manual/schematics & boardview is downloaded as and when needed.
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Old 07-07-2020, 11:17 AM   #10
llonen
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

Then I am not really sure why you would need or want a diagnostic card(s) which represent a considerable downgrade over the test gear you already have. But if they are a must have for you then the one you have listed is cheap enough and probably as good as anything else on the market, buy it, play with it and then realise why they are mostly redundant. If there are any specific repair queries you have then post them up on the forum as these places are an invaluable source of information.

The other thing you might want to add is a logic analyser, again many of the data lines operate above the bandwidth of the cheaper logic analysers, that said I find one useful for the work I do with vintage computer equipment, you can of course use am oscilloscope as a partial substitute for an analyser to look at two or four data lines at a time.

Last edited by llonen; 07-07-2020 at 11:23 AM..
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Old 07-07-2020, 12:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by llonen View Post
Then I am not really sure why you would need or want a diagnostic card(s) which represent a considerable downgrade over the test gear you already have. But if they are a must have for you then the one you have listed is cheap enough and probably as good as anything else on the market, buy it, play with it and then realise why they are mostly redundant.
I read somewhere (not sure if it was in this forum or somewhere else) that a diagnostic card would come in handy when troubleshooting PCH, etc. Hence my initial interest in getting one. Current pandemic kinda also make its not worth it getting one at the moment anyway due to shipping restrictions/delays.

Quote:
If there are any specific repair queries you have then post them up on the forum as these places are an invaluable source of information.
Sure is! This thread being one of those quest for information

Quote:
The other thing you might want to add is a logic analyser, again many of the data lines operate above the bandwidth of the cheaper logic analysers, that said I find one useful for the work I do with vintage computer equipment, you can of course use am oscilloscope as a partial substitute for an analyser to look at two or four data lines at a time.
I do have one. A salae logic if I remember right. Haven't used it for a while now, can't properly remember its specs
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Old 07-07-2020, 09:37 PM   #12
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Default Re: Diagnostic card suggestion?

A number of new systems do not have PCI slots but have PCI Express slots; certain systems also output diagnostic codes via the SMBus available on PCI Express (and most PCI Express Mini and M2) slots.
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