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nfefxx

@qwest.net

Is my modem dying?

The last couple days i've had a lot of problems with my connection. My modem is routinely losing dsl signal long enough to drop my connection, I know this because as soon as it drops I look at the modem and the DSL light is blinking. It will blink for a few seconds then re-stablish connection.

I can then restart the connection through my router and it will function normally until it drops again. Sometimes it won't drop for hours, it only did it 3 times all day yesterday. Sometimes it will drop every 2 minutes, it seems to be completely random.

I have a Motorola 2210, bridged mode with a Linksys router making the PPPoE connection. I called AT&T they were no help, of course blaming the router. I ran a new line from the box outside to the modem because that was the only useful suggestion they gave me. At first I thought it was fixed because I didn't get disconnected for a few hours but it started again. After that failed I took the modem out of bridged mode and hooked it directly to a PC and it still dropped connection same as before, so I know it's not the router.

Any help?


peterdmar

join:2001-01-29
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

4 edits
Click for full size
The bottom cover with the obstruction over the holes removed
Click for full size
The modem after reassembly.
Click for full size
The circuit board with the heatsink silicone glued over the chipset.
Those modems are prone to overheat because of the poor ventilation and a lack of a heat sink on the chipset I had this experience with my modem doing the loss sync syndrome before the modification. I had to modify the modem by drilling some ventilation holes on the top cover right above the new heatsink and breaking off the plastic obstruction on the bottom of the cover over the ventilation holes. I've managed to make use of a chipset heatsink off of an old motherboard after trimming it down to size to fit the space under the top cover. Under the top cover, I had to remove the plastic ribs in the way of the new heatsink. I've used silicone caulk to glue the heatsink right on top of the chipset after making sure it will fit with the top cover in place. All you need is a small dab of the stuff and press down in place. Allow it to dry before reassembling.The chipset looks like a computer motherboard's northbridge or southbridge in appearance.

How to disassemble the modem: Remove the two rubber feet and then take out the two screws underneath. Next, carefully pry the two halves apart at the seam line with a small screwdriver. The circuit board is held to the bottom cover by a single screw.

Doing this modification will void the warranty for sure which I do not care personally. After this modification the connection is stable. I have some feeling that those modems can tolerate the elevated temperature for a while and then gradually lose their ability to do so and becomes unstable. With better ventilation and a heat sink over the chipset, it's able to return to normal operation again when operating at normal temperature.

I hope those modification will restore your modem's normal function.


Johkal
Cool Cat
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-13
Happy Valley
kudos:10
Glad it solved the heat issue for you; but gheez, does that cut-out look nasty.
--
In God we trust; all others bring data!


peterdmar

join:2001-01-29
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

1 edit
Click for full size
I decided to take it apart and do a little better job on the cover.
True, it's not much to look at since it doesn't really matter much to me. I'm more for function than looks. The modem is mounted upside down under my computer desk and doesn't shows. I did the modification on the top cover by drilling a series of holes and then using a pair of tin snips to cut away leaving a very rough hole. Next, a sharp utility knife then I use a file to file it smooth. I have to admit, I could have done a much neater job on the top cover. So far so good with the stability of this modem after this modification. Every time when I reboot the modem it connect at the top speed and remain connected so far.


Johkal
Cool Cat
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-13
Happy Valley
kudos:10
It does look neater. I'm a bit spoiled when it comes to resources for machinery for modifications. I'm a retired Tool & Die Maker / Industrial Engraver. I have a modest shop in my garage which I can use for such projects as you did.
--
In God we trust; all others bring data!


peterdmar

join:2001-01-29
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
Regardless of looks, this modification made the modem much more stable and consistent. Before each time when I reboot the modem, it would get a different sync speed and generally a lower one. Take for instance before the modification, I started out with 10.972 mbps which is the top speed, and ended up with 9 mbps or so following a reboot. It may sync lower if the temperature is higher. If I turn off the modem and give it a long cooling period and then turn it back on, it will sync at the top speed. This alone seemed to suggest that heat is the issue with this modem.

To prove my point, I've been restarting the modem almost every morning and each time it consistently synced at the top capped speed. Also, there's no more dropped connections so far after this modification. Instead of being hot right now it feels warm when I put my hand on it. If I have to replace this modem, it will not be another Motorola 2210 one.


jvbro

@sbcglobal.net
Yes, I have the same Motorola DSL modem, which for over a year would lose connection several times every day. I noticed that it was very hot. Through trial and error, I came up with a Heatsink Fix. In my case, I glued (with Artic Silver 5 Thermal glue) a quarter to the chip, stacked then with a dime, quarter, dime and a top quarter. Thus, for three quarters and two dimes, plus $6.50 at Amazon for the Thermal glue - now the connection does not go down, period.

I read that a Thermal Glue is needed as to properly transfer the heat from the chip to the heatsink.

Be sure to unplug the unit and let it cool down and also make certain there is no contact between the bottom quarter and any surrounding, exposed leads. The quarter is a nice fit on the top of the chip and has hardly no protrusion over the side of the chip.

The connection is now very reliable and seems markedly faster too.


jvbro

@sbcglobal.net
Also, the Artic Silver 5 is a Heat conducting compound, not a glue. So in My case, I added some super glue in the mix - and an additional dime and quarter, which still fits in the case, making a total of four quarters and three dimes.