Broken Spigot

While searching for an unrelated piece of hardware, I came across an old video capture board. Alarm bells started going off when I heard something rattling in the anti-static wrap.

Sure enough, one of the large capacitors fell off… because it had started leaking and corroded its own solder points as well as some of the surrounding components. Another capacitor only needed a gentle prod to fall off as well. The bad caps used to be C62 and C64. The third capacitor of the same type (C71) is still attached, but it may be beginning to leak as well and probably needs removing:

Damaged Spigot

So what exactly is this card? Let’s see..

The maker of the board is obvious: SuperMac. The SuperMac logo is hard to miss:

SuperMac Video Spigot for WindowsPhilips SAA7191Bus: ISA 16-bit

But wait… although SuperMac was well known for its Video Spigot board for Mac, that was a NuBus board, not ISA. SuperMac supposedly never sold a Video Spigot for Windows.

However, someone else did… Creative Labs. The product was called Creative Video Spigot for Windows, model CT6030. SuperMac reportedly developed the ISA-based Video Spigot but never marketed it, instead selling the product to Creative in November 1992.

Interestingly, the Creative Video Spigots had a slightly different PCB with a Creative copyright and no mention of SuperMac. My board is from late 1992 which makes it either a prototype or a very early production model made before the re-branding.

Then again, the January 26, 1993 issue of PC Mag includes a review of a $499 SuperMac Video Spigot for Windows with no mention of Creative, and with a photo of a board that’s obviously SuperMac-branded and very similar to mine. Of course the review may have been based on pre-release hardware. Clearly there is some disagreement as to whether SuperMac really sold ISA-based Video Spigots or not.

On the other hand, the prototype theory is supported by the bottom side of the PCB:

Video Spigot PCB

Those patch wires are not something normally found on production boards, at least not unless the production run is very small. Manually fixing PCB design errors is too expensive for mass production.

The real question now is, can the card be fixed? The damage caused by leaking electrolyte doesn’t seem to be fatal, and the capacitors themselves also look like they should be replaceable. For reference, the leaky caps were Nichicon 330uF, 16V.

A secondary question is how to verify that the board actually works, i.e. where to find drivers. Perhaps the original Video for Windows package in combination with this driver might work with the Video Spigot. That remains to be seen.

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3 Responses to Broken Spigot

  1. Joshua Rodd says:

    Fond memories of fighting with these ilk of boards. I used ActionMedia II boards on the job for a while.

    The driver package for that thing sure is interesting – especially the references to “the operating system formerly known as Chicago”.

  2. Michal Necasek says:

    That was presumably the MCA-based IBM card? I recently got a circa 1995 vintage Intel i750-based ISA board, but haven’t yet had a chance to try it out… and somewhere I think I even have an old Video Blaster. All built around Philips digitizers.

    Getting hold of some video source to feed these boards is getting increasingly difficult!

  3. Joshua Rodd says:

    Yeah, the setup was an ActionMedia II Display Adapter/A with the Capture Option. It used Video for Windows to capture .AVI files in Indeo 2.1 mode. The saved files then got written out to 120MB magneto-optical discs.

    The drivers were pretty solid – the OS/2 1.3 drivers worked fine on OS/2 2.0. MMPM/2 did not make much use of them, but didn’t conflict with them either. The Windows 3.0 drivers worked fine on OS/2 as well. The drivers went be an odd name like “Audio Video Kernel”.

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