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Servicemans Log

They used to say that God invented cricket to teach Englishmen the meaning of eternity. Personally, I think that this could also easily apply to PCs. Certainly, I've had my fair share of problems with them over the years.

At a glance...

  • PowerMac G4 M8570
  • Bosch Capacitor Discharge Ignition Box
  • Conia CLCD1930 DVD LCD TV-DVD Combo
  • 1966 Tandberg Series 6X Reel-to-Reel Tape Recorder
  • Samsung LA32R51B TV set

I have dabbled with PCs using Microsoft Windows for more years than I care to admit. And as time has gone on, I have found hardware and software problems increasingly difficult to resolve but perhaps that’s just me. “Help” is a dirty word in the computer industry and engaging technical support is often a good way to waste a good chunk of your life. It really is quite surprising how often the problem is “a third party issue”.

Many people are now taking their courage in both hands and moving to Linux. It’s not only free but comes with a wide range of applications and provided it’s properly set up, is very secure when it comes to browsing the Internet.

Click for larger image

In my case, I have been moving slowly but inexorably towards Apple Mac which I find works extremely well. Unfortunately, most Macintoshes are expensive if you buy new but there are plenty of good secondhand units on eBay, etc.

The minimum requirements are a G4 motherboard with a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, a decent hard disk drive, a DVD player and Operating System 10 (OSX). This operating software line started in 2001 with OSX 10.0 Cheetah and has progressed through to the current OSX 10.5 Leopard.

The number of Macintosh models can be very confusing but you can find out about your particular machine if you enter its serial number into the Apple Support Website. Alternatively, you can download a program called “MacTracker”.

One of my favourites is the 2002 PowerMac G4 M8570 with Mirror Drive Doors. This model comes well-featured, with plenty of options and accessories available. Some even come with a dual processor and they can also use Bluetooth keyboards and mice (by adding an optional card), as well as WiFi with Airport and Airport Extreme cards.

Recently, I encountered two of these models that wouldn’t boot. When you pressed the power button they would light up momentarily but that was then followed by lots of nothing!

By unplugging everything in sight, I soon deduced that it was the power supply that was at fault. Of course, at this juncture, technical support would tell you to go and get a new one which costs a motza. That’s the main problem with a Mac – if it fails, repairs can be expensive.

In view of this, I decided to give it a go. To remove the power supply, you open the side of the computer with a ring tab and unscrew the Phillips-head screw on the opposite wall inside. Then you unscrew the chrome hex screw on the rear panel. The power supply will then slide forward and then out.

You then have to unplug P1 from the motherboard and the power leads to the DVD player and hard drives.

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