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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Snow and Laptop

Finally getting some snow around here, more then half way through an unseasonably warm winter. There's about an inch on the ground and driving is treacherous.

I re-assembled Geoff's computer today and took it up to the UPS store. The guy there said I had to go back home and call Toshiba. Called Toshiba and was told that I need to take the laptop to a different store in Essington. I don't know when I'll have time to do that (maybe tomorrow, weather permitting). Here's some backstory:

Geoff's laptop was having some occasional problems. They were sparse and intermittant. Every once in a while, the computer would turn off without warning (it may only have happened once or twice, i dont remember specifics at this point). One day, he turned it on and it refused to boot: halfway through the boot process it would power down and reset. Assuming it was a WinXP software issue, we tried the restore CD but there was the same problem: it would reboot shortly after turning the power on.

The A75 has a known hardware problem (for which there was a recall that we didnt take advantage of) with the DC power adaptor. Luckily for us, it's the kind of problem that with a little know-how and the right tools, you can fix it at home. The bug is the result of a lousy solder connection between the DC power jack and the motherboard. According to the online fixes I was seeing, fixing the problem was as easy as removing the power jack and soldering on a replacement.

So I take the laptop on to campus where I assume there is decent equipment to work with. I am wrong. The soldering irons were shitty, the de-soldering irons were worse, and it was impossible to get the old jack off the motherboard. So, after another couple weeks, I bring the motherboard back home in despair.

However, there's another problem. When I disassembled the computer initially, I had all the pieces laying out on a table. Shortly thereafter, the ram chip went missing. So now the computer has no RAM, so even if it did work now there is no way I would be able to test it.

When I do go to drop the computer off, here is what I have to say: the computer was disassembled and reassembled by myself in my home. It has no RAM. There is also an unspecified problem with the boot sequence (which is most likely hardware) but we can't test it because there is no RAM. Also, when I reassembled the computer, there were two screws left over. I know where they are supposed to go, and will probably reinsert them tomorrow.

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