The $1 Sound Blaster X Sound system

Jan 16, 2023 | Computing

The pickup

Trolling Trademe one night I did my usual filter of ‘faulty’ and this came up in the search results. It was a Sound Blaster X 2.1 Sound System at $1 reserve, I placed a $1 bid on it and woke up in the morning to find that I won it for a whole $1. A bit of postage and it was at my door and as expected, it did not work. Well it did, but it made a horrific popping noise and output no audio at all.

The Repair

Digging into the repair I started with the power supply, making sure that all the voltages were present which they were. Next was the usual checking for shorts on the mainboard, all the caps checked out fine everything had the right voltages. Last test was the temperature test, does anything get unusually hot when powered on. And sure enough I found the issue the SGM4917 Headphone Amplifier Chip was totally shorted. After desoldering it with the hot air station the shorts on the pads all disappeared so it was a fairly good bet the chip was just fried. I ordered some new ones from AliExpress, dumped a huge amount of flux on the board and put the new chip on. And low and behold it works totally fine!

The Result

After buttoning everything back up again I cranked through some HipHop to check everything was working correctly before installing upstairs into the Projector room.


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