Question: adding heatsinks

I see that some people who restore aging computers are attaching heatsinks to the chips on the board to reduce heat buildup. Curious if this is something worth doing with our aging synths? I know Ensoniq’s tend to have problems overheating. I don’t know how hot the chips themselves get, but I’m about to open my ESQ-1 to replace the battery and wondering if this is good preventative maintenance to keep it running for many more years?

I think this would be very contextual and honestly I’m not sure how effective it would be at increasing longevity. Some of the EEPROM ICS have windows on the top covered by stickers or labels for programming and rewriting. That said, I don’t believe the ICs themselves run particularly hot. It’s usually the power supplies that seem to cause the most issues.

EEPROMS don’t normally run hot. However, the microprocessors and DSP chips in some older equipment do get quite warm. Yes, these could be cooled better with a proper heatsink and permanent thermal adhesive but ONLY IF THERE IS GOOD AIRFLOW! Heatsinks are almost useless if there is nowhere to transfer the heat to. Your air-conditioning unit uses fans to transfer energy through your evaporator and condenser coils to the outside air. Same principal.

Be careful adding heatsinks. Some components like TO-3 regulator/transistor packages can have voltage on their mounting tabs. Adding a heatsink could allow for a short if not properly isolated from other components. Also take care to properly affix the heatsink. If it comes loose it can easily damage the circuit or even cause a fire!

Many older pieces of gear are also thermally compromised by the heat being generated in their power supplies. The only real solution here is to improve airflow and get the heat out of the box.