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I've started using my Soviet Mikrolab KR580IK80 (a clone of the Hewlett Packard 5036A) again, and I've noticed some behaviour which it used to exhibit but now it seems more frequent. Basically after switching on, it lights up as expected, but the keypad oftentimes does not work immediately, except for "RESET" (СБРОС), which does briefly reset the 8-segment display. After a while the keypad begins to work, and it is possible to navigate addresses, store code and run programs. Then after an unpredictable amount of time the keypad stops working again and the machine is unresponsive, until after another period of time (from seconds to minutes), after which it all starts working again. One thing I have noticed is that the contents of memory addresses are not affected by this, that is to say after it unfreezes, any data I had previously entered is still there.

So my question is, why does the microtrainer freeze and then unfreeze like this, and what might I be able to do to reduce how often or how long it freezes? If the answer is not trivial, what could I do to further diagnose the problem?

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    Could it be dickiness in the cable between the keypad and the circuit board? Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 8:02
  • Could be - worth looking into!
    – harlandski
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 0:30

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I've got no experience with this particular system, but sometimes these kind of issues in old electronics stem from old capacitors that need to be replaced. Either in the unit itself or in its power supply.

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    Thank you, as I remember, I had the capcitors on the board changed last time I used it, but I was also wondering if it was something to do with the power supply. It does take 5V externally, so I might experiment with using that instead of its built in power and see if that helps.
    – harlandski
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 0:19

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