[rescue] Voyager status [was SS Voyager cable info sought]

der Mouse mouse at Rodents.Montreal.QC.CA
Thu Aug 24 21:41:10 CDT 2006

Herewith an update on my Voyager, um, voyage. :-)

I disassembled one of my mains bricks and found that the connector,
while it has 10 pins on it, is connected to the PCB by a (short) wiring
harness with only four wires in it.

Encouraged by that, I disassembled the Voyager itself until I could get
to the I/O board, which is the piece bearing the back-panel power
connector.  (This requires removing almost everything else.)  I then
took it a little further apart (taking *everything* out) until I could
get to the connector at the back end of the power compartment (the one
the battery, or mains brick, slides into).

It turns out that, while the connectors have ten physical contacts, on
every one I've found, the big pins at the ends are connected in pairs,
the two conductors at each end being connected together, so there are
functionally only eight pins.  (For example, the cable from the power
compartment to the I/O board has two heavy wires, connected to those
end contacts, and six light wires, connected to the others.)

I got out my Fluke and set it on continuity-test-beep.  With its aid, I
determined that only four of the pins on the back-panel DC connector go
anywhere (counting the end pairs as single pins).  The two end pairs go
to the same place the end pairs from the power compartment go; the
other two go to where two of the wires from the power compartment go.
I speculate that this design is predicated on the assumption that the
only thing that will ever be connected to the back-panel connector is a
mains brick, never a battery, and it thus doesn't carry some signals
that are relevant only to batteries.

I also noticed that the connector from the power compartment to the I/O
board had one pin rather darkened, as if it had overheated.  On the
solder side of the board, I saw darkening that reinforced this theory.
I tried to clean off the pin; I'll do a bit more on it with emery paper
or some such before I put it back together.

I thought about it a bit, trying to come up with some way to power it
from the outside that wouldn't mean cutting holes in the case or
desoldering one of the connectors.  I realized the serial-port DB25 had
over a dozen unused pins; using the Fluke, I determined that, as far as
I can tell, they are in fact connected nowhere at all.  (All the pins
documented as connected did indeed show as connected to either one of
the two chips next to the connector or to pins on the CPU baord
connector, but none of the "unused" pins did either.)

So now I'm off to solder some patch wires to the I/O board to bring all
eight power-compartment lines out to pins on the serial-port DB25.
Then I'll solder up a suitable Y connector for the serial port.  Then
I'll see about modding one of my power bricks....

This is loads of fun.  In a way I'm glad the Voyager didn't come with
the DC-DC cable. :-)

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