A computer components & hardware forum. HardwareBanter

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Go Back   Home » HardwareBanter forum » Processors » Overclocking AMD Processors
Site Map Home Register Authors List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Web Partners

How to Fix Your Computer



 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old November 11th 03, 09:39 AM
Ben Dellar
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default How to Fix Your Computer

Many computer users perform their own hardware upgrades, and a

distressing number of these result in insufficient damage to the


system. Destroying your own computer is every user's right and is


the pattern of behaviour expected by the manufacturers and,


especially, repair personnel, whose very livelihood is put in peril


by those users who perversely persist in correctly upgrading their


equipment.




This article will explain to you, the user, the most common ways by


which you can cause your computer to cease to function. Follow the


instructions carefully and you will shortly find yourself making


appropriate contributions to the all-important service sector.




First, it is essential to be incorrectly prepared.




When opening the case of your computer, you will probably be


presented with a number of hexagonal head Phillips-slotted screws.


These can be easily removed with a Phillips screwdriver or 6mm nut


driver, but using a flathead screwdriver, especially one that is


slightly too big, maximises the chance of the screwdriver slipping


from the screw head and smashing into one or another of the


computer's connectors. Personal injury is also possible, especially


if excessive force is used when turning a screw the wrong way, but


the object is to damage the computer, not yourself.




If any components of your computer are held in place with Pozidriv


screws (superficially similar to Phillips head screws, but


recognisable by the cross scored on the screw-head at 45 degrees to


the slots), use of a Phillips head driver instead of the squarer


tipped Pozidriv gives the maximum chance of reaming out the screw


head and, with luck, damaging the driver as well.




When removing screws from the back of an ordinary clone case, ensure


that you extract every screw in sight, not just the ones around the


edge that actually hold the case on. This will, with any luck, cause


the computer's power supply to fall off inside the case and cause


serious damage, before you even have to take off the lid.




Leaving one fastening screw still done up in the corner and then


attempting to wrench off the case may cause significant damage to


the metalwork, but this is generally easily bent back into shape and


not very expensive to replace. You can do better.




Fortunately, there are a plethora of computer case designs, and a


gratifying number are fiendishly difficult to take apart and,


especially, reassemble. To maximise the chance of damage, ignore any


locking tabs and slots, don't worry about pinching cables in the


case, and make sure you push really hard.




When replacing screws, remember to tighten everything as if the


computer were a major structural component of the Sydney Harbour


Bridge. Overtightening screws increases the chance of reaming the


heads, and the extra frustration involved in removing super-tight


screws increases the chance that someone will give up and turn the


machine over to a professional. Use of an electric screwdriver makes


screw destruction easy for anyone.


Use of computer cases as furniture is an excellent way to obey your


entropic imperatives. Many PC cases are in fact very strong, and so


it's necessary to balance large monitors, tabletops, grand pianos


and twelve foot fireproof safes upon them to ensure rapid


destruction. Fortunately, the pop-riveted construction of most cases


and their poor endurance under lateral loads means that even


relatively small stresses can, over time, cause sufficient


structural creep to snap a solidly attached motherboard. Patience,


and not buying enough chairs, can be a virtue.




Static Is Your Friend


It is possible to destroy computer components just by touching them,


thanks to electrostatic discharge (ESD). Static electricity


accumulates best on humans when the air is dry and both the carpet


and the soles of the shoes are made of synthetic materials.




Unfortunately, static discharge damage is actually a fairly rare


cause of computer problems. On the bright side, however, a discharge


as low as 200 volts is sufficient to destroy a chip, and this level


of charge can easily be accumulated in just a few steps on carpet.


Static discharge can only be felt when the charge gets up around the


2000 volt mark, so it's possible for a truly adept user to


unknowingly destroy several components in one session.




If the user employs an anti-static discharge strap connected to an


earthed object or simply leaves the computer plugged in (thus


maintaining the chassis earth connection) and takes care to touch


some exposed metal on the power supply before handling


static-sensitive components (and periodically during the job), the


chance of static damage becomes depressingly low.




Old-fashioned belt-drive vacuum cleaners are quite efficient static


electricity generators, so cleaning computer componentry with one is


an excellent way to bolster the income of a service engineer. Newer


cleaners are still good at accumulating static, and are also quite


powerful enough to seriously damage fragile components with sheer


suction.




Air force


Electronics stores stock canned "air duster", which is actually


compressed difluoroethane gas, and can be used to clean various


devices. Air duster is quite useful for cleaning more robust items,


but can also be usefully employed in computer destruction, where it


is more than capable of blowing chips out of sockets, spinning fans


to prodigious speeds and destroying their tiny brushless motor


assemblies, and, of course, redistributing dust from relatively


accessible locations to far more exciting ones, like deep inside


expansion card connectors and CD-ROM drives.




For truly powerful air-blasting, though, the discerning user will


have to employ the services of an air compressor. These can be


rented cheaply from many equipment hire shops, and as well as their


greater power (which can snap a RAM module and its socket right off


the board) offer the added bonus of high-speed water delivery,


provided of course that the user makes sure not to use the


condensation drain valve provided for less focussed operators.




Get it wet!


Contact with plain water is surprisingly unlikely to destroy


computer componentry, unless the device in question is left wet for


a while. Beverages like coffee, tea and (especially) cola are much


more effective, and so it is important to have a tall, unstable


container of one or more of these within elbowing distance of the


work area. Crumbs of food can foul connectors and floppy drive


moving parts, but intensive open-mouthed chewing over the computer


is required for a reliable kill.




Killing chips


If the job involves inserting or removing socketed chips, the


options for destruction of expensive devices open up enormously.




Inserting and removing Pin Grid Array (PGA) processor chips in Zero


Insertion Force (ZIF) sockets is unlikely to break anything, unless


the user somehow manages not to operate the locking lever and forces


the issue. PGA chips in old-style sockets are easier to damage; PGA


pins are annoyingly hard to bend, but the forest of pins under the


processor gives many chances to bend just one and make the chip


uninsertable.




If the computer is an 80486-based system, the Central Processing


Unit (CPU) can be plugged into its socket in more than one way. One


corner of the processor is bevelled and the matching corner of the


socket will also be marked, but if these markings are disregarded -


or if the user decides instead to line up the printing on the CPU


with that on the motherboard - then the processor can be inserted in


one of the three other alignments. This makes the chip's


destruction, possibly with the emission of smoke, quite likely.


Intel regrettably made processor misalignment impossible with the


introduction of the Pentium series, unless of course the


enterprising user is equipped with a mallet.




Conventional Dual Inline Package (DIP) chips, with a rowof pins


along either side, are much more gratifyingly susceptible to damage.




The very best tool for bending and breaking pins on DIP chips is the


inexpensive springy "chip extractor" available at various


electronics stores. U-shaped, the steel tool has an inward bent lip


on the end of each leg, and is designed to hook both ends of a chip


at once, and give the user the impression that it will in fact


extract both ends at once.




This never happens.




When one end of the (usually very firmly inserted) chip comes out of


the socket, the considerable pull being exerted by the user


immediately causes that end to be lifted well clear of the board


while the last few ranks of pins are still plugged in, resulting in


badly bent or broken pins which are difficult to bend back and very,


very difficult to repair.




Truly adept users can also hook a DIP chip extractor under the


socket, not the chip, and bodily rip it from its soldered-in


location. This can lift tracks from the board and render it


practically irreparable, if done with sufficient gusto.




Chips are much less likely to be damaged if a small screwdriver is


used to lever each end in turn up a little at a time, until the


whole chip comes free at once. Those who have purchased stock in


chip makers recommend against this strategy.




The other common kind of chip package is Plastic Leadless Chip


Carrier (PLCC), which is square with a row of contacts on each side


and which fits into a socket somewhat reminiscent of an above-ground


swimming pool. It is difficult to insert these chips incorrectly,


since one corner is bevelled so they can only fit into the socket


one way, and firm pressure snaps them into place annoyingly


reliably.




It is also hard to break PLCC chips when removing them; a


purpose-built PLCC extractor does it in a snap and has none of the


redeeming danger of the DIP extracting tools, and removing PLCCs by


prying under the corners with a very small screwdriver is annoying,


but not very hazardous. Fortunately, users seldom have to work with


PLCC chips, and the other types are satisfyingly easy to break.




Inserting Single Inline Memory Modules (SIMMs) should be relatively


simple, since SIMM sockets require one only to insert the module at


an angle, then swing it upright until the locking clips click into


place. Fortunately, many PCs are cramped inside and have at least


one SIMM socket fouled by the power supply or other metalwork,


making it more difficult to insert a memory module in that socket


without damaging it or the socket. Inserting modules backwards (even


though they are designed not to fit that way), jamming them straight


in vertically and, of course, using plenty of force, increase the


chance of a misadventure.





Bugger the BIOS!



The ceaseless march of progress has made it possible to wreak



functionally unfixable harm upon essential computer components



without inflicting any physical trauma at all. Modern "flash"



BIOSes, which allow the Basic Input/Output System software of a PC



motherboard to be upgraded by the user, afford considerable



potential for harm.






If a flash BIOS is "flashed" with the wrong data - preferably a BIOS



for a completely different motherboard, or, if the flashing software



will accept it, even some randomly selected file; an MP3 of William



Shatner's "Mr Tambourine Man" is ideal - the motherboard will, upon



restarting, utterly fail to do anything useful until its BIOS chip



is physically removed and re-burned with correct data. Interrupting



the flashing procedure will produce the same results.






If the BIOS is socketed, exchanging it for a working one is



disturbingly easy. Fortunately, many current BIOS chips are soldered



to the motherboard, and cannot be economically replaced. The



iniquitous invasion of motherboards with built-in BIOS backups must



be stopped at all costs, lest their terrible reliability paralyse



the industry.






Cables, connectors and calamity



Ribbon cables are often difficult to plug in incorrectly, because



the connectors they go into are "keyed" to match the cable in only



one orientation. If a ribbon cable plugs into a bare pin header with



no surround, though, damage can result if the user takes note of the



tiny "1" often printed on the circuit board by the connector to



indicate pin one, and also takes note of the stripe on the cable



which indicates which side is should connect to pin one, and



reverses the connector. Incompetently made cables with one end



backwards make this much simpler. Note that reversing a cable at



BOTH ends is likely to result in perfect operation of the hardware,



which is not the aim of this exercise.






If the pin header on the motherboard isn't "shrouded" - surrounded



by a plastic box to correctly align the plug - the intrepid user can



quite easily connect the plug in such a way as to miss one row or



column of pins. This can very excitingly change the details of the



connection being made.






When connecting an older style, "AT" power supply to a motherboard,



the two-part power connector offers a marvellous opportunity for



destruction. Make sure at all costs to avoid the plug configuration



shown below.












This configuration, with the black wires towards the centre, will



cause the computer to work perfectly. Reversing the two plugs so



that the red wires are towards the centre will, gratifyingly,



destroy the motherboard. Some manufacturers appear to have



temporarily abandoned their sanity and made AT power supplies that



will not work when connected incorrectly. Such supplies are, of



course, to be avoided if at all possible.






Fortunately, modern motherboards have introduced a new way to blast



tracks clean off the board. On-board fan connectors have three pins,



and two adjacent ones are the positive and ground supply. Mistaking



one of these connectors for a motherboard configuration jumper



allows the adept user to slip a jumper block onto the fan connector



and short the positive pin to ground, which can and will burn out



traces on the motherboard and render it useful only as a wall



decoration. Motherboard manufacturers are clearly aware of this



possibility, and some assist by labelling, say, a three pin CMOS



clearing jumper block "JP2", and marking the CPU fan connector "J2".



The use of the normal motherboard annotation font (one point



Flyspeck Sans Serif) makes misidentification simple even for those



with perfect vision.






Plugging and unplugging peripherals that attach to computer ports



while the machine is turned on is unlikely to damage the peripherals



and not much more likely to damage the computer - plugging and



unplugging cards inside the computer when it's on is a much better



way to damage things.






If, in the course of diagnosing a problem, you have a hard drive out



of its assigned bay and resting on top of the open machine, remember



that the logic board under the drive can generally be shorted out



easily by chassis metalwork and position the device accordingly.






PSU pulverisation



Power supplies can be obliterated in a number of ways. The simplest



is provided by the ubiquitous voltage selector switch on the back.



If the user is lucky enough to reside in a country where the mains



supply is 220V or higher, switching a computer PSU to the 110V



setting will result in a satisfyingly exploded supply, and possible



considerable secondary damage.






In comparison, the more pedestrian sport of dropping screws into the



PSU fan in hopes that they will cause a dramatic short circuit is



scarcely necessary. Particularly in view of the fact that the fan



often spits them back out.






Remember - slapdash, ill-informed, incompetent work is what's



expected of you. Don't let the industry down.



  #2  
Old November 11th 03, 09:41 PM
BoB
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Ben Dellar" wrote in message
u...

You left out dropping the hard drive(s) on a concrete floor!
And leaving the plastic tape over the thermal pad on the heat sink.
And neglecting to plug in the cpu fan!


  #3  
Old November 11th 03, 09:41 PM
BoB
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Ben Dellar" wrote in message
u...

You left out dropping the hard drive(s) on a concrete floor!
And leaving the plastic tape over the thermal pad on the heat sink.
And neglecting to plug in the cpu fan!


  #4  
Old November 12th 03, 01:39 AM
stacey
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ben Dellar wrote:



or simply leaves the computer plugged in (thus


maintaining the chassis earth connection)


LOL...
--

Stacey
  #5  
Old November 12th 03, 01:39 AM
stacey
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ben Dellar wrote:



or simply leaves the computer plugged in (thus


maintaining the chassis earth connection)


LOL...
--

Stacey
 




Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Off Topic - Lou Costello buys a computer :J:W:B: General 0 September 1st 04 03:37 PM
Hewlett-Packard & Circuit City Richard E Sgrignoli General 2 March 17th 04 09:42 AM
Major Computer Problems Toronto Garage Door Company General 20 November 13th 03 09:41 PM
how to trace a stolen computer ? General 3 October 9th 03 03:14 AM
Silent Computer - Advice David Taylor General 49 October 7th 03 11:26 AM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004-2022 HardwareBanter.
The comments are property of their posters.