Monday 21 August 2023

£1.20 Faulty Untested iMac - Will It Work?

Nobody was bidding on this Apple iMac on eBay and it had a starting bid of a random £1.20 so I had a cheeky bid and I only went and won it!!

It was listed as Untested and Faulty - how can it be both?  If it's untested, how do they know it's faulty?

Even if it doesn't work, it's well worth it for spare parts, in this video I unbox it and try to power it on...

Monday 14 August 2023

Fault Finding A Dead Dell Inspiron 1501 Laptop

After removing all the screws from the bottom of the laptop I removed the keyboard and could immediately see signs of what the issue might be..

..water damage!

Depending on what damage has been done it may be fixable so lets take a look...

No obvious signs here and after having a good look around I cannot see any more signs of liquid damage.

Using my Digital Multimeter I checked the power supplies on the motherboard and was able to find the 19.5V, 3.3V, 1.2V and 5V supplies at all the coils I could see so everything seems OK.

Time to remove the heatsink to see if there's any signs of damage under that.

And there we have it - water damage around the CPU and GPU.  As the laptop is not powering on (not getting the power good signal to start the CPU etc) it's likely that the GPU is what is at fault.

Time to get my thermal camera out and take a look to see if anything is getting hot/shorted out when it shouldn't be.

The CPU is on the left (nice and cool as the laptop has not been turned on) and the GPU on the right is glowing like the sun!  As the laptop is powered off this shouldn't be happening so it is my belief that the GPU is faulty/short-circuited.

Time to get out my USB microscope to take a closer look at the GPU:

As you can see there's a sticky, hairy mess all over the ATI GPU so 100% certain that this is the problem area.

I don't have the skills (or a spare GPU chip for that matter) to remove/replace this IC and as the water damage goes towards the CPU socket as well the CPU may also be faulty/shorted so it's not worth the time/effort to repair.

I will keep the motherboard for spares and repairs in case I need any of the other components to repair any other laptops in the future.

You can't win them all!

Wednesday 9 August 2023

How To Easily Make Your Own Rosin Liquid Flux

Liquid flux can be quite expensive to buy - so why not make your own?!  All you need is some rosin flux and some IPA (isopropyl alcohol) and in this video I will show you how to make it and what quantities of flux/IPA to use.

Saturday 5 August 2023

Dropped My Hard Disk Drive 😒 - On Purpose! 😀

Sometimes old hard disk drives get a little seized up and need a little nudge to get them going...

Friday 4 August 2023

'UNTESTED' Laptops From eBay - Genuine or Faulty??

You never know if an eBay seller is being 100% truly honest or not so will the job lot of 'untested' laptops work or are they all faulty?

Tuesday 1 August 2023

Faulty eMachines E570 - What's Causing This?

If you know what might be causing this problem then please let me know by commenting below - thanks!

Monday 20 March 2023

Refurbishing An ESCOM Minitower P100 i Desktop PC

I can't believe that after many years of trying to find one of these on eBay I have finally not only managed to find one, but win the auction and I now own one!

The first PC that I ever purchased was an ESCOM PC, I started with a Cyrix based system (as that was their cheapest model) but within just a matter of hours it was crashing and was simply unusable so I had to take it back.  I was offered a full refund or if I wanted to pay £100 more and get an Intel based system that would definitely not crash - needless to say I paid the extra and went home with a Pentium 75Mhz based system instead of the silly Cyrix one...

Two months after owning my Escom PC instead of just being a customer, I became an Escom (UK) Ltd Employee working in the former Rumbelows retail shop in Kettering, Northamptonshire which Escom got rent free for around 18 months as part of a deal that they had to takeover all of the shops that Rumbelows left behind when it went bust.

Before working for Escom (UK) Limited I was working for a company called Stationery Box on £2.25 hour but Escom was paying £4.50 an hour so I literally doubled my pay as well as getting to work for what was at the time, the UK's Largest Specialist PC Retailer.

Let the refurbishment begin...

The seller mentioned in the listing that the Aztech CDA 468-03ISE wasn't working so that's the first thing I'm going to take a look at:

I've never refurbished a CD-ROM Drive before so I'm not sure if I need to lubricate the gears etc. or if the old saying "if it aint broke, don't fix it" comes in to play?!

Optical Disk Drives have come a long way over the last 28 years, as well as getting faster they also got quieter so I am unsure if this drive is noisy (and in need of some lube) or if it's perfectly fine - please listen to the YouTube video below and let me know what you think.

I'm off to see what the Vogons have to say as there is bound to be someone on there who has serviced/refurbished a CD-ROM Drive this old before...

TO BE CONTINUED...  so bookmark this page now and check pack periodically as I will be updating/editing this page as I go...

Saturday 4 March 2023

Compaq Presario 700 (Rare) Laptop

This laptop is soooo rare I now have 3 of them...  It always makes me smile when I see the word 'rare' in an eBay listing as 1) just because something is rare, doesn't mean it's valuable and 2) it's probably not rare at all...

I made a cheeky offer on this and after a bit of negotiating got it for a steal and I picked it up from Argos (eBay Click and Collect service) so now it's time to unbox it and see if it works.

Packed with nothing more than newspaper :( I hope it hasn't damaged in transit.

It looks in really good condition for a laptop that was first release in 2001!

More importantly, will it work OK?  Time to grab my trusty 2-Power Universal Power Adapter and find out...

We have life!  Unsurprisingly the CMOS battery will need replacing as it's not keeping the time.  Does the hard disk drive work and will it load an Operating System?

The laptop was making some very strange noises whilst it was loading Windows XP, I was starting to think the hard disk drive might need replacing but then I checked the optical drive and found this:

A quick look in Windows Explorer revealed there wasn't anything of interest on the CD-R disc, just a couple of drivers someone has used to install the Windows XP operating system on the laptop (probably before they listed it for sale on eBay).

It doesn't look like they had the original discs to restore the OS as it looks like some sort of cracked version made by 'Gamerman' - whoever that is?!

Needless to say I wont be leaving the laptop like this so it's time to put my investigative cap on and see if I can locate and restore discs for this Compaq Presario 700 laptop or if I can find the Drivers and Utilities CD/DVD disc so I could install the OEM version of Windows XP Home Edition as that's what's on the COA on the bottom of the laptop...

Tuesday 28 February 2023

How To Factory Reset a Fujitsu Siemens AH530 Laptop


Step 1 - Install Windows 7 Home Premium

Step 2 - Activate Windows using the Certificate of Authenticity stuck on the bottom of the laptop, at the time of writing this is still possible, but only over the phone (I tried to do it online but that did not work)

Step 3 - Install the Drivers and Fujitsu Utilities

Step 4 - Install the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 update

Step 5 - Install Windows Updates - I'm using WSUSoffline to install the Windows 7 updates that I have downloaded previously

That's it!

Monday 27 February 2023

How To Replace The CMOS Battery on a Compaq Presario 700 Laptop

Step 1 - On the bottom of the laptop, remove the two torx headed screws holding the bezel in place that gives you access to remove the keyboard

Step 2 - Turn the laptop back over and use plastic spudger (or carefully use a flat blade (slot) screwdriver) to remove the plastic bezel holding the keyboard in place

Step 3 - Carefully remove the keyboard and then unscrew all the screws as indicated in the photo below

Step 4 - Carefully remove the metal cover to reveal the motherboard, CPU and optical drive

If you look closely you can see the CMOS battery hiding above the optical drive:

Step 5 - Disconnect the CPU fan and place the metal housing to one side and then carefully flip over the laptop and remove the 2 screws holding the optical drive in place

Step 6 - Turn the laptop back over to gain easy access to the CMOS battery!  If (like my laptop) there is a cable in the way of the battery, unplug it!

Step 7 - The button cell/battery that you need is a CR1220 - luckily I have a wide selection of button cell batteries so I was lucky to already have one ready to use...

Insert the new replacement CMOS battery in to its holder

Step 8 - Plug back in any leads you unplugged, insert the optical drive (and screw it in to place), reconnect the CPU fan and screw the metal cover back in to place, connect the keyboard, clip the bezel back in to place, flip the laptop over and screw in the remaining screws

Step 9 - TIME TO TEST (pun intended) - turn on the laptop and press F10 to enter the BIOS

Step 10 - Set the time and date and then Exit and Save from the BIOS

Step 11 - Power on the laptop and boot in to Windows!

BINGO!  It now boots without any CMOS battery errors :)

Saturday 25 February 2023

Replacing The CMOS Battery on a Dell Latitude D630/D620

Step 1 - Unplug from the mains and remove the battery

Step 2 - Remove the hinge cover (make sure the screen is flat when you do this)

Step 3 - Use a plastic spudger (or carefully use a flat blade screwdriver) in the notch on the right-hand-side of the hinge cover to gently remove it

Step 4 - With the hinge cover removed you can now unscrew the keyboard:

Step 5 - Carefully remove the keyboard and the CMOS battery should be revealed.

Step 6 - Once you have replaced the CMOS battery (it's basically a CR2032 by the way) all you have to do is reverse the above steps and you'll be good to go!

Make sure you press F2 to enter the BIOS and check/set the date and time after replacing the CMOS battery as it's this battery that keeps the RTC (Real Time Clock) going when the laptop is powered off.

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