Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Blood Sacrifice

That's a hell of a dark title isn't it ?

I've been rummaging inside PCs again ... A mate from work and the gaming world is having issues with his main desktop. It's keeping him out of Eve, which is a game he adores. So instead of it going to a PC repair man who'd rip him off, I'm taking a peek.

Symptoms :

Give it power, nothing happens (except for case LEDs coming on). This is after a period where it was rebooting and shutting down. If a PC reboots without warning, there's 3 main reasons :

It's a work machine and some offensive scumbag has instigated an update that forces a without-warning reboot, losing you the work you've been doing. Or
It's overheating
The power supply can't supply enough Smoke

Our gadgets don't work on electricity. This is a myth propagated by the energy companies to make you buy what they're selling. No. They run on Smoke. Because as everybody knows, if the Smoke escapes from electronics, it will never work again.

It's tough to work on unresponsive PCs. You need clues to be able to fix the problem and no clue = no ideas. The biggest idea that I have on Luth's PC is that a case fan is jammed almost solid, so it will be asking for more from the power supply than it should.

Techie note - when playing with the insides of PCs, remember :

Never, ever take an old telly or monitor apart. The new LCD ones, fine. But not a Cathode Ray Tube display. They work by using massive voltages and have energy storage to help out there. Those two together lead to potentially lethal voltages. Don't mess with that. It can kill you.

Always have the kit earthed. For me, this means disobeying one common rule by having the kit plugged in. (But switched off). 3 pin plugs come with an Earth and using that lead is the most efficient way of earthing equipment. This lets that stored energy drain away safely.

Don't open power supplies unless you really know what you're doing ... They also have high capacity energy storage to make the output cleaner. This is why I can't use the power supply in my 2nd newest machine, as I've modified that unit ... (fan broke)

It's ok to try and turn fans but don't get carried away and spin them hard. The same physics that mean magnets in energised coils become motors also means that turning magnets in coils will generate energy in those coils. Without power, there's nothing keeping the generated charge in check and things can get damaged.

Ok - enough things to remember (am running out of fingers)

I've got something for Luth. Instead of trying to isolate the exact problem (it's going to need a case transplant and a spare power supply to check it out properly), I've put his hard disc in my last PC. It's close to the same power : slightly less cpu, slightly more graphics. And after the usual issues, it seemed happy when I closed it down last night.

Fingers crossed.

Hey ! Where's this blood sacrifice thing come from ?

It seems like every time I play with the inside of PCs, blood is spilled. The insides tend to have unfriendly sharp edges which get sharper over time. It's usually a slice to a finger.

This time ? I'm picking up the box to put in the car this morning and OUCH ! Cut the middle finger on my left hand at the tip. You know - the place that goes on a keyboard. It's ok, the bleeding stopped by the time I got to work. It pretty much stopped before I started driving. It doesn't arf sting though.

However - it did satisfy one of the tenets of PC maintenance. It can truly be a Black Art.

PS The Skylon spaceplane is touching the news again ... Must try one of those in Kerbal Space Programme. Hopefully it will go better than the XK-Wing / ZK-95 Headhunter prototype ... that was truly too horrible to post here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

So much for anonymous commenting ... If you would like to leave a message and don't have a suitable account, there's an email address in my profile.