oh boy... Coke in the MOTU

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

OK, you can take your minds out of the gutter, or your noses off the
table. I'm talking about Coca Cola, spilled into my hard drive.

This actually occurred about three months ago. At the time, my MOTU
outboard gear was in storage (I was between moves). But my soundcard
was in there.

Following standard procedure for these sorts of incidents, I
meticulously cleaned out the hard drive, along with its various cards,
with a toothbrush and clean water. The PC returned to working
condition, with no discernable problems since.

But I just got moved into my new place, and just set up the rest of my
stuff, and I swear I'm hearing degraded audio. Now, I'm willing to
chalk it up to an overactive imagination. I'm also willing to chalk it
up to perhaps not yet having properly set all the options for my
monitors, playback software, etc. Either way, it just doesn't seem to
SOUND like it used to sound.

So, tell me: I know we're dealing with the digital domain here. And
isn't it a basic truism that a digital device either works or doesn't
work? As in, there's no in-between? As in, if my MOTU soundcard were
actually damaged by the Coke spill, it would simply not function at
all?

Now, I know mechanical gear can result in degraded sound. Speakers can
quit vibrating correctly, bad circuits can add noise, etc. But can a
simple digital device -- like my soundcard -- actually go "halfway"
bad?

I'm hoping the answer is, "No, if the soundcard were affected by the
Coke,you wouldn't have sound problems, you just wouldn't have sound at
all." But please give me the hard truth either way.

FYI: I've got the 2408 outboard interface, with the standard PCI-324
card.

Thanks. I'm sure most of you can understand my neurotic worrying about
this.

Chris
17 answers Last reply
More about coke motu
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    It could in fact be the MOTU. There is a bunch of stuff in that break
    out box that could, well,, break. I would think there is an active
    audio circuit or ten in there. along with other stuff related to the
    converters. so I would not rule out the box..

    You didn't really describe the problem with any detail and you seem to
    be wondering your self if it might be in your head. Changing rooms can
    play a lot of tricks on you. Listen to a bunch of files you know well
    through the head phones and see if it's different. Make sure you listen
    through all the analog out's offered to make sure they all sound the
    same.
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    what do you think you hear,
    is it something you can check with tones and an o-scope?

    Mark
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Thanks for responding. You're right -- I was perhaps a little vague in
    my description of what happened.

    The break-out box was safely tucked away in storage at the time. It
    was only my hard drive -- with the PCI card inside -- that got Coke
    spilled into it.

    So the box was untouched. It was the card that got some soda on it.
    Which I cleaned with water, as instructed elsewhere.

    I'm just wondering: Can a "damaged" sound card create the same sort of
    degradation issues that you get with overblown monitors, faulty mixer
    outputs, or other MECHANICAL problems? Again, I've always been under
    the impression that any device that deals with simple binary 1's and
    0's either reads the 1's and 0's, or it doesn't. In other words,
    you're not gonna get "fuzzy" audio from a previously fine soundcard.

    My impression, of course, could be completely offbase. Which is why
    I'm asking the experts here.

    So to clarify again: The outboard unit didn't take the Coke hit. Only
    the soundcard did.

    Chris


    On 31 Mar 2005 18:08:06 -0800, "ivis" <ivan40@comcast.net> wrote:

    >It could in fact be the MOTU. There is a bunch of stuff in that break
    >out box that could, well,, break. I would think there is an active
    >audio circuit or ten in there. along with other stuff related to the
    >converters. so I would not rule out the box..
    >
    >You didn't really describe the problem with any detail and you seem to
    >be wondering your self if it might be in your head. Changing rooms can
    >play a lot of tricks on you. Listen to a bunch of files you know well
    >through the head phones and see if it's different. Make sure you listen
    >through all the analog out's offered to make sure they all sound the
    >same.
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    The bad news: Sound can be degraded even in digital domain. (Think
    shorts in lower bits).

    Even badder news: Standard fix to coked electronics. Spray with Dow
    scrubbing bubbles bathroom cleanser, scrub with soft brush. rinse with
    warm water, rinse with distilled water, blow out any excess water with
    DRY air hose. Did I mention if any ICs are in sockets they must be
    removed first. Let dry overnight. And if any components are
    water-sensitive those must be replaced before you try it.

    Let me now tell you the worst news. I've "coked" a few pieces of gear
    in my time and It's been about 50-50 between the above cleaning working
    or the thing remaining trashed. PCI cards usually end up saved (as
    someone noted , don't forget the connector it plugs into. Every
    keyboard I've "coked" has died in spite of total disassembly etc.

    Coke and it's sugar is VERY nasty on electronics. It creats low
    resistance paths that can cause degratdations for decades.

    Good Luck!

    Benj
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Christopher M wrote:
    > So, tell me: I know we're dealing with the digital domain here. And
    > isn't it a basic truism that a digital device either works or doesn't
    > work? As in, there's no in-between?

    Yes, except that when it doesn't work, that doesn't necessarily
    mean that it fails catastrophically in a way that you notice.

    For instance, a long time ago, I had a particular model Amiga
    computer that had issues with DMA transfers over a certain size.
    Everything would *appear* to work just fine, but when large
    transfers (over like 64K, I think) were done, something would
    go wrong with the clock, and a stream of data like this:

    The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

    would get transformed into something like this:

    The quick brwn fox jumps over the laz#y dog.

    That is, somewhere along the line, a byte was lost, all the
    following bytes for a time were moved over by one, and
    a random (yes, totally random!) byte was inserted at some
    position to make up the difference. As you can imagine, this
    was unpleasant when DMA was being used to write to the hard
    drive.

    This was a design or manufacturing flaw rather than a failure
    that happened in the field. But the point remains that sometimes
    digital gear can be off without totally not working.

    On the other hand, it IS quite rare for that happen...

    - Logan
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:rt23e.15977$1H3.13003@tornado.texas.rr.com...
    > Christopher M wrote:
    >> So, tell me: I know we're dealing with the digital domain here. And
    >> isn't it a basic truism that a digital device either works or doesn't
    >> work? As in, there's no in-between?
    >
    > Yes, except that when it doesn't work, that doesn't necessarily
    > mean that it fails catastrophically in a way that you notice.
    >
    > For instance, a long time ago, I had a particular model Amiga
    > computer that had issues with DMA transfers over a certain size.
    > Everything would *appear* to work just fine, but when large
    > transfers (over like 64K, I think) were done, something would
    > go wrong with the clock, and a stream of data like this:
    >
    > The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
    >
    > would get transformed into something like this:
    >
    > The quick brwn fox jumps over the laz#y dog.
    >
    > That is, somewhere along the line, a byte was lost, all the
    > following bytes for a time were moved over by one, and
    > a random (yes, totally random!) byte was inserted at some
    > position to make up the difference. As you can imagine, this
    > was unpleasant when DMA was being used to write to the hard
    > drive.
    >
    > This was a design or manufacturing flaw rather than a failure
    > that happened in the field. But the point remains that sometimes
    > digital gear can be off without totally not working.
    >
    > On the other hand, it IS quite rare for that happen...
    >
    > - Logan

    Hi Logan,

    Which Amiga? I bought a new A500 around 1989 and then got a used A3000 with
    a Sunrize card around 1996. ( that was really sweet ). Those are the only
    two I really used. I bought an A1000 and A2000 to 'have around' a few years
    ago but never did anything with them. ( no room to set them up ). They've
    all been in storage for many years now unfortunately.
    --
    John L Rice
    Drummer@ImJohn.com
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Christopher M wrote:

    > The break-out box was safely tucked away in storage at the time. It
    > was only my hard drive -- with the PCI card inside -- that got Coke
    > spilled into it.

    You have a hard drive with a PCI card inside it? Amazing! I think you mean
    your Motherboard right? And you spilled your Coca Cola on the PCI card? And
    after doing so you cleaned the PCI card up? Did you clean up all of the PCI
    slots as well? You could very well have some sticky residue sitting on the
    PCI buses, which maybe causing some sort of problem.


    > I'm just wondering: Can a "damaged" sound card create the same sort of
    > degradation issues that you get with overblown monitors, faulty mixer
    > outputs, or other MECHANICAL problems?

    The Cards got electrical pieces on it, caps, resistors and that sort of
    thing...why couldn't it degrade if one or 10 of them were wrecked a little
    bit? If you aren't getting proper resistance on the signal paths, things
    could sound different. You should take your card to another computer and
    check it out.

    PapaNate
  8. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Christopher M wrote:

    > The break-out box was safely tucked away in storage at the time. It
    > was only my hard drive -- with the PCI card inside -- that got Coke
    > spilled into it.

    You have a hard drive with a PCI card inside it? Amazing! I think you mean
    your Motherboard right? And you spilled your Coca Cola on the PCI card? And
    after doing so you cleaned the PCI card up? Did you clean up all of the PCI
    slots as well? You could very well have some sticky residue sitting on the
    PCI buses, which maybe causing some sort of problem.


    > I'm just wondering: Can a "damaged" sound card create the same sort of
    > degradation issues that you get with overblown monitors, faulty mixer
    > outputs, or other MECHANICAL problems?

    The Cards got electrical pieces on it, caps, resistors and that sort of
    thing...why couldn't it degrade if one or 10 of them were wrecked a little
    bit? If you aren't getting proper resistance on the signal paths, things
    could sound different. You should take your card to another computer and
    check it out.

    PapaNate
  9. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Yeah, yeah... the motherboard! Sorry, I'm a bit frazzled at the
    moment. Moving time is bad enough -- top it off with this kind of mess
    and it's that much worse.

    Thanks for the info.


    On Fri, 01 Apr 2005 02:44:42 GMT, PapaNate <nospamagain@nc.rr.com>
    wrote:

    >
    >
    >Christopher M wrote:
    >
    >> The break-out box was safely tucked away in storage at the time. It
    >> was only my hard drive -- with the PCI card inside -- that got Coke
    >> spilled into it.
    >
    >You have a hard drive with a PCI card inside it? Amazing! I think you mean
    >your Motherboard right? And you spilled your Coca Cola on the PCI card? And
    >after doing so you cleaned the PCI card up? Did you clean up all of the PCI
    >slots as well? You could very well have some sticky residue sitting on the
    >PCI buses, which maybe causing some sort of problem.
    >
    >
    >> I'm just wondering: Can a "damaged" sound card create the same sort of
    >> degradation issues that you get with overblown monitors, faulty mixer
    >> outputs, or other MECHANICAL problems?
    >
    >The Cards got electrical pieces on it, caps, resistors and that sort of
    >thing...why couldn't it degrade if one or 10 of them were wrecked a little
    >bit? If you aren't getting proper resistance on the signal paths, things
    >could sound different. You should take your card to another computer and
    >check it out.
    >
    >PapaNate
  10. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "PapaNate" <nospamagain@nc.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:424CB59E.46AF18B2@nc.rr.com...
    >
    >
    > Christopher M wrote:
    >
    > > The break-out box was safely tucked away in storage at the time. It
    > > was only my hard drive -- with the PCI card inside -- that got Coke
    > > spilled into it.
    >
    > You have a hard drive with a PCI card inside it? Amazing! I think you
    mean
    > your Motherboard right? And you spilled your Coca Cola on the PCI card?
    And
    > after doing so you cleaned the PCI card up? Did you clean up all of the
    PCI
    > slots as well? You could very well have some sticky residue sitting on
    the
    > PCI buses, which maybe causing some sort of problem.
    >
    >
    > > I'm just wondering: Can a "damaged" sound card create the same sort of
    > > degradation issues that you get with overblown monitors, faulty mixer
    > > outputs, or other MECHANICAL problems?
    >
    > The Cards got electrical pieces on it, caps, resistors and that sort of
    > thing...why couldn't it degrade if one or 10 of them were wrecked a little
    > bit? If you aren't getting proper resistance on the signal paths, things
    > could sound different. You should take your card to another computer and
    > check it out.

    The MOTU324 card is digital only, it uses a firewire cable to interface to
    the converter box.

    That said, there's a lot of traffic on that cable using MOTU's propriatary
    format, and I have had problems with dropouts depending on the quality and
    length of cable used. I would assume that any Coke in the jacks would cause
    the same kind of problem, which would produce an audible degradation in the
    audio. It's not that much to replace the card though, maybe $100 on Ebay.

    Sean
  11. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    On Thu, 31 Mar 2005 21:52:11 -0500, Christopher M <me@me.com> wrote:

    >Yeah, yeah... the motherboard! Sorry, I'm a bit frazzled at the
    >moment. Moving time is bad enough -- top it off with this kind of mess
    >and it's that much worse.

    The bad news is that CocaCola is acidic and corrosive. The good
    news is that you can wash it off with plain water.

    How long ago was the incident (if you know)? Doesn't really
    matter. Wash the offended party in tap water, for starters,
    blot dry, then hair-dryer dry (light heat), then knock wood.

    Or not. Can you actually see Coke residue?

    Good fortune,

    Chris Hornbeck
    6x9=42
  12. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Sean Conolly wrote:
    > That said, there's a lot of traffic on that cable using MOTU's propriatary
    > format, and I have had problems with dropouts depending on the quality and
    > length of cable used. I would assume that any Coke in the jacks would cause
    > the same kind of problem, which would produce an audible degradation in the
    > audio. It's not that much to replace the card though, maybe $100 on Ebay.

    I hate to be one of those people who thinks some miracle product
    will cure everything[1], but ever since I managed to fix *both*
    an Allen and Heath mixer's flaky insert *and* the flaky digitizer
    on my old PalmPilot[2] with CAIG DeoxIT, I'm becoming one of "those
    people".

    Anyway, it seems like since Coke has sugar and whatnot in it that's
    corrosive and since water (that you cleaned it off with) isn't the
    greatest about not causing corrosion either, it might not be too
    bad an idea to spray and clean all the contacts (including PCI card
    edge and the connector on the back) with something like CAIG DeoxIT.

    - Logan

    [1] like most people think duct tape will fix anything that's
    broken, and like my grandfather believed that Alka Seltzer
    would cure just about any physical illness

    [2] which I had unsuccessfully tried to fix many times prior
    to that, by cleaning contacts with alcohol, and all other
    kinds of tricks
  13. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Christopher M" <me@me.com> wrote in message
    news:p79p41h9vqqqs6ee5e6jngr8i2b3q2rgrb@4ax.com
    > OK, you can take your minds out of the gutter, or your noses off the
    > table. I'm talking about Coca Cola, spilled into my hard drive.

    > But I just got moved into my new place, and just set up the rest of
    my
    > stuff, and I swear I'm hearing degraded audio. Now, I'm willing to
    > chalk it up to an overactive imagination.

    You might be able to get a technical second opinion by running this
    sound card test software for yourself:

    RMAA 5.4

    http://audio.rightmark.org/download.shtml

    > So, tell me: I know we're dealing with the digital domain here. And
    > isn't it a basic truism that a digital device either works or
    doesn't
    > work? As in, there's no in-between? As in, if my MOTU soundcard were
    > actually damaged by the Coke spill, it would simply not function at
    > all?

    First off, sound cards aren't perfectly digital devices. Analog
    buffers make up a lot of their circuitry. Secondly, the basic truism
    that a digital device either works or not is an over-simplifcation.
    In fact vast portions of digital equipment is actually analog
    circuitry, which is capable of being degraded.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    You've got a new place. It isn't GOING to sound the same. Fix up your
    room. Audio won't degrade because of the coke spilt on your electronic
    equipment, but the equipment itself could and might well fail.

    So fix your room, but while you're doing that, get a replacement drive and
    transfer your existing audio. Be prepared to pick up another audio
    interface too. If you have it in you, probably the best thing to do is plan
    on doing at least a bare bones upgrade. Now's probably as good of a time as
    any (for instance bare bone AMD 64 bit system from Tigerdirect is $399 with
    512 MB of PC3200+ memory).

    My guess is that no matter what you do as pertains to your current system,
    you are probably always going to distrust it somewhat, so it's probably
    better to be proactive on this issue.

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    "Christopher M" <me@me.com> wrote in message
    news:p79p41h9vqqqs6ee5e6jngr8i2b3q2rgrb@4ax.com...
    > OK, you can take your minds out of the gutter, or your noses off the
    > table. I'm talking about Coca Cola, spilled into my hard drive.
    >
    > This actually occurred about three months ago. At the time, my MOTU
    > outboard gear was in storage (I was between moves). But my soundcard
    > was in there.
    >
    > Following standard procedure for these sorts of incidents, I
    > meticulously cleaned out the hard drive, along with its various cards,
    > with a toothbrush and clean water. The PC returned to working
    > condition, with no discernable problems since.
    >
    > But I just got moved into my new place, and just set up the rest of my
    > stuff, and I swear I'm hearing degraded audio. Now, I'm willing to
    > chalk it up to an overactive imagination. I'm also willing to chalk it
    > up to perhaps not yet having properly set all the options for my
    > monitors, playback software, etc. Either way, it just doesn't seem to
    > SOUND like it used to sound.
    >
    > So, tell me: I know we're dealing with the digital domain here. And
    > isn't it a basic truism that a digital device either works or doesn't
    > work? As in, there's no in-between? As in, if my MOTU soundcard were
    > actually damaged by the Coke spill, it would simply not function at
    > all?
    >
    > Now, I know mechanical gear can result in degraded sound. Speakers can
    > quit vibrating correctly, bad circuits can add noise, etc. But can a
    > simple digital device -- like my soundcard -- actually go "halfway"
    > bad?
    >
    > I'm hoping the answer is, "No, if the soundcard were affected by the
    > Coke,you wouldn't have sound problems, you just wouldn't have sound at
    > all." But please give me the hard truth either way.
    >
    > FYI: I've got the 2408 outboard interface, with the standard PCI-324
    > card.
    >
    > Thanks. I'm sure most of you can understand my neurotic worrying about
    > this.
    >
    > Chris
    >
    >
  15. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    John L Rice wrote:
    > "Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
    > news:rt23e.15977$1H3.13003@tornado.texas.rr.com...

    >>For instance, a long time ago, I had a particular model Amiga
    >>computer that had issues with DMA transfers over a certain size.
    >>Everything would *appear* to work just fine, but when large
    >>transfers (over like 64K, I think) were done, something would
    >>go wrong with the clock, and a stream of data like this:

    > Which Amiga? I bought a new A500 around 1989 and then got a used A3000 with
    > a Sunrize card around 1996. ( that was really sweet ). Those are the only
    > two I really used. I bought an A1000 and A2000 to 'have around' a few years
    > ago but never did anything with them. ( no room to set them up ). They've
    > all been in storage for many years now unfortunately.

    Amiga 2000. Revision 6.1 of the motherboard, if I recall correctly.
    Revision 6.2 and 6.3 of the motherboard didn't have the DMA problem.

    I talked to the tech guy (who I also happened to attend computer
    science classes with) at the local Amiga store (which store was
    always struggling, but weren't they all?), and he found some info
    in service manuals that indicated it sometimes helped to swap the
    processor. At that time, there were pin-compatible MC68000
    processors made by around 5 manufacturers, including Motorola and
    Signetics, so we tried a Signetics chip, and no improvement over
    the Motorola.

    I think it would've been possible to get a motherboard swap approved,
    but I'd have had to mail off the computer and live without it for
    a month or two, so I decided to just decrease the maximum DMA size
    and live with the minor performance hit.

    Can you believe I remember all that crud nearly 15 years later? :-)

    It was a fun little machine. I finally sold it in 1997 for $300 (!)
    because I was moving cross country. I had stopped using it as
    anything but just a terminal emulator for my modem, but I was in a
    book store one day and on a lark picked up an Amiga magazine and
    started flipping through the back of it, where I found that some
    company was buying A2000s for $300. Which was a great price for
    an 8-year-old computer that ran at 7.14 MHz at a time when 100 MHz
    computers were commonplace...

    - Logan
  16. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
    news:sc83e.10209$ij5.6364@tornado.texas.rr.com...
    > John L Rice wrote:
    >> "Logan Shaw" <lshaw-usenet@austin.rr.com> wrote in message
    >> news:rt23e.15977$1H3.13003@tornado.texas.rr.com...
    >
    >>>For instance, a long time ago, I had a particular model Amiga
    >>>computer that had issues with DMA transfers over a certain size.
    >>>Everything would *appear* to work just fine, but when large
    >>>transfers (over like 64K, I think) were done, something would
    >>>go wrong with the clock, and a stream of data like this:
    >
    >> Which Amiga? I bought a new A500 around 1989 and then got a used A3000
    >> with a Sunrize card around 1996. ( that was really sweet ). Those are
    >> the only two I really used. I bought an A1000 and A2000 to 'have around'
    >> a few years ago but never did anything with them. ( no room to set them
    >> up ). They've all been in storage for many years now unfortunately.
    >
    > Amiga 2000. Revision 6.1 of the motherboard, if I recall correctly.
    > Revision 6.2 and 6.3 of the motherboard didn't have the DMA problem.
    >
    > I talked to the tech guy (who I also happened to attend computer
    > science classes with) at the local Amiga store (which store was
    > always struggling, but weren't they all?), and he found some info
    > in service manuals that indicated it sometimes helped to swap the
    > processor. At that time, there were pin-compatible MC68000
    > processors made by around 5 manufacturers, including Motorola and
    > Signetics, so we tried a Signetics chip, and no improvement over
    > the Motorola.
    >
    > I think it would've been possible to get a motherboard swap approved,
    > but I'd have had to mail off the computer and live without it for
    > a month or two, so I decided to just decrease the maximum DMA size
    > and live with the minor performance hit.
    >
    > Can you believe I remember all that crud nearly 15 years later? :-)
    >
    > It was a fun little machine. I finally sold it in 1997 for $300 (!)
    > because I was moving cross country. I had stopped using it as
    > anything but just a terminal emulator for my modem, but I was in a
    > book store one day and on a lark picked up an Amiga magazine and
    > started flipping through the back of it, where I found that some
    > company was buying A2000s for $300. Which was a great price for
    > an 8-year-old computer that ran at 7.14 MHz at a time when 100 MHz
    > computers were commonplace...
    >
    > - Logan

    Thanks Logan, interesting stuff. I don't think I was ever more excited
    about computers as when I was using Amigas. ;-)


    --
    John L Rice
    Drummer@ImJohn.com
  17. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <i1cp41tcncbo4vf58vmp4v8nlljgcju56t@4ax.com> me@me.com writes:

    > The break-out box was safely tucked away in storage at the time. It
    > was only my hard drive -- with the PCI card inside -- that got Coke
    > spilled into it.

    How did Coke get spilled on your hard drive? They're usually inside a
    computer, or at least a box. And what PCI card inside.

    What's your native langage? Perhaps we have a translation problem
    here.

    > I'm just wondering: Can a "damaged" sound card create the same sort of
    > degradation issues that you get with overblown monitors, faulty mixer
    > outputs, or other MECHANICAL problems?

    Sure. Components can deteriorate. Coke is corrosive to some materials
    so perhaps isulation got damaged, or switch or jumper contacts are no
    longer making good contact.

    > So to clarify again: The outboard unit didn't take the Coke hit. Only
    > the soundcard did.

    A "soundcard" is a circuit card that goes into a computer. Was it out
    in the open? Or was the MOTU host interface card (in the computer)
    protected but the outboard box drenched? And what does the hard drive
    have to do with any of this?

    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
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