Mar 132022

The other victims of the Brisbane 2022 flood at my workplace are a pile of Leader SN4PROv3 “NUC” clones, like the ruggedised Intel NUCs, were purchased as cheap “PLC”s. Out of the box, they run Windows 10, which seems insane given they, like the Intel NUCs, only have 4GB RAM and sport dual-core Celerons running at a whopping 1.1GHz. (Wow, let’s see that play Crysis!)

Most of these actually survived pretty well, with all but one booting. I had visually inspected each by opening the case and having a look inside, but obviously on this one specimen, I missed something. So let’s crack it open and have a look.

Leader SN4PROv3

First step is to move the rubber feet out of the way and remove the 4 case screws hiding beneath.

The four case screws hide beneath the rubber feet (which I have moved)

The Leader website claims these machines run eMMC. In all the units I have here, it appears all of them are not eMMC, but rather, are M.2 SATA SSDs. I’d consider that an upgrade. My guess is maybe the first of this model had eMMC, but then the chip shortage bit and so they endowed these ones with SATA. The footprint for the eMMC looks to be just near the battery.

In any case, that SSD is in the way making the screws to the left of it hard to reach, so let’s get it out of the way.

Removing the SSD to access board screws

The SSD here is a “Kston”-brand SSD… Not Kingston, don’t be fooled by the lettering…

The SSD… not pretending to be a “Kingston”, honest!!!

Anyway, having done that, the screws that hold the board down are now more accessible, so let’s get them out.

PCB screws

Finally, to actually get the board out, we’ll need to pop the rear cover out. There are four little plastic catches that we’ll need to push down and out to release the rear panel. A flat-blade screwdriver works for this.

Removing the rear panel

Having done this, you’ll note the board now rattles back and forth. Use the new opening to push the board out of its resting place.

Removing the board, pull it up in the direction shown.

As you do this, you’ll note the case will still interfere, but now at least you should be able to bend the plastic out of the way.

Bending the case to get the connectors past

Now, at this point you’ll note there’s some coax feeds connecting two stick-on antennas to the case. The mainboard end is socketed but the case end are just soldered on with no strain-relief!

The stick-on WiFi/Bluetooth antennas

The heatsink/fan assembly can now be seen, and it too is held on by four screws.

Heatsink/Fan screws

Undo these, and we should be staring at the CPU.

Ohh, so that’s what was causing your POST issue?

We can see the culprit here that caused the failed POST… there’s a tiny 8-pin chip in amongst that rust residue, and of course I’m fresh out of the isopropyl alcohol spray… so we’ll try some circuit board cleaner on this and see if she goes afterwards.