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Serviceman's Log

I try to avoid fixing computers when I can. They can be a right royal pain in the you-know-what and this job was no exception. Still, with CRT TV repairs rapidly going the way of the VCR and the dinosaur, I can't afford to be choosy these days.

Items Covered This Month

  • Resurrecting a computer
  • Sony camera & memory
  • JVC VM/PD-Z50DX4 plasma TV
  • LG 50PX4RA-TA plasma TV set
  • Volvo 940 GLE electronic speedometer
  • This job all started when the boss of a local company brought in a computer that had been handed down to him from one of his employees. Apparently, this employee needs a fairly powerful machine for his work and so his old computer is always inherited by another staff member each time he talks (or should that be cons?) his boss into buying him a new machine.

    This particular PC was a fairly respectable Pentium 3GHz machine with 1GB of memory, a fancy graphics card and Windows XP Home as the operating system. But despite its specifications, it was running like a hairy goat. It was slow to boot up and once up and running, it was still painfully slow.

    It also had a very noisy power supply fan, something not surprising in a machine about four years old. The noise apparently didn’t bother the previous user who’s fairly casual about such things but there was no way his impatient type-A personality boss was going to tolerate it. He wanted the noise fixed and he wanted the operating system restored to full health so that the machine ran properly.

    When I subsequently fired it up, the power supply fan was so noisy that I decided to fix it immediately. How­ever, rather than swap the supply out for a new one, I decided to replace the fan itself with a good-quality ball-bearing unit that I happened to have on hand.

    Click for larger image

    As a result, I removed the power supply from the case, opened it up and blew out the accumulated dust using an air-compressor. It was then just a matter of installing the new fan and remounting the supply. I also spent some time tidying up the supply wiring and securing it with cable ties. This not only looks neater but also allows the air to flow freely through the chassis to keep things cool.

    That completely cured the noisy fan so that was one problem down. Now to clean up the operating system. “This will be a snack”, I thought. Silly me! When it comes to computers, I should have known better – a whole lot better.

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