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Serviceman's Log

It only takes a couple of minor blunders to turn what should be a quick job into a real time-waster. Unfortunately, in this business, it goes with the territory.

Items Covered This Month

• Troubleshooting an ADSL connection

• Cleaning malware off a laptop computer

• Fixing a faulty iPod

Things have been very quiet in the TV repair game since Christmas. Everyone, it seems, now has a new widescreen LCD or plasma set and few people want to spend money getting a faulty CRT set repaired.

Of course, the so-called global economic crisis isn’t helping matters but I have this incurable disease called eating and besides, I’m much too poor (and young) to consider retiring! So lately I have been servicing a slowly increasing stream of computers.

As well as computers, I’m also prepared to take on related problems and that includes looking at Internet connection problems.

Click for larger image

Recently, I was called out by Barbara to take a look at an ADSL2+ connection that had ceased working. Apparently, the DSL LED on the modem was constantly blinking on and off (instead of remaining on), indicating that it was not correctly acquiring the DSL line.

When I got there, I found that the symptoms were pretty much as described. However, I also noticed that the modem was sometimes acquiring the DSL line for a brief period, only to quickly lose it again. Usually, it would only hold the line for no more than 5-10 seconds but occasionally it would acquire it for several minutes before losing it and repeating its hissy fits all over again.

Barbara’s Toshiba laptop was connected to the modem via an ethernet cable and I tried browsing the net during the brief periods that the DSL LED remained lit. It worked but was painfully slow, indicating a noisy connection.

This was going to be a snack I thought. It just had to be a faulty telephone cable between the modem and the ADSL filter. Other possibilities included a fault between the filter and the telephone wall socket, corroded contacts in the wall socket and a faulty ADSL filter.

Initially, I tried swapping the telephone cable to the modem over but it made no difference. I then swapped the ADSL filter but this made no difference either so I checked out the wall socket. It too was OK so I tried disconnecting the telephones and bypassing the ADSL filter, again without result.

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