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Once again, a fortnight has elapsed, and I am beset with new computer problems. :-)

Thanks to all who have helped with previous ones, which I posted on:

Here's a wee bit of an update:


Bad blocks, bad blocks, whatcha gonna do

To make a long story short, I have a surplussed P5-120 notebook, sans CD-ROM drive (the PC-MCIA external drive is about 8 years old and a little quirky to say the least). I have two HDs: one 50Mb (yes, megabytes; not gigabytes, megs) and one 810Mb. Needless to say, I am going to try the 810Mb one first. The problem is that I bought it "as-is" and DOS CHKDSK marks about 2Mb of bad clusters on it.

Using 14 TinyLinux install floppies that I painstakingly imaged from the archive, I partitioned the drive, installed a tight subset of Slackware, and laid down LILO on the master boot record (MBR). At this point, LILO gives an error 0x10 when booting, I get tons of drive seek errors when installing, booting, writing files, or pretty much doing anything. Most of the applications seem to straddle corrupt blocks.

I tried formatting it as "Linux native" (does that mean ext2?). Before I write the whole thing off as a loss, is there any Linux utility I can use during or after formatting to mark blocks as bad? Also, is there an equivalent to ScanDisk and Norton's old FAT utilities that will let me see the inodes as they lie on the HD, to decide whether the marked partition is hopelessly riddled with cluster faults?

Trasked is filmed on location with the Men and Hobbits of systems administration.

Do-it-yourself destruction

Does anyone have any idea how I would go about fixing LCD panels on a ThinkPad?

I now have two ThinkPads with display problems:

  • Vingilot, a 600E (Pentium II-366, 288Mb RAM, 6Gb HD replaced with Earrame's 20Gb HD at the moment): the LCD panel flickers and then goes dim about 95% of the time. When this problem first began, I was able to get the screen to come on brightly and steadily by cycling the video mode 4-5 times until it "warmed up". Now, it stays in its bad state, and so I have had to put it on a KVM and keep it essentially "docked" for good, even though it is using 802.11b wireless. I suspect, though, that there is just a bad connector inside the LCD casing. Does anyone know how I might be able to check this?

  • Earrame, a T21 (Pentium III-800, 384Mb RAM now scavenged down to 64Mb, 20Gb HD now swapped with Vingilot's 6Gb): the LCD panel is, to put it mildly, damaged. Actually, it is an ex-LCD. It's pining for the fnords. I done set it on top of a newfangled ergonomic keyboard, and when it slipped off, it plummeted from a ghastly, dizzying height of 29 inches and landed face down. The glass is shattered - or, rather, cracked in about a dozen places. I'm not eager to try replacing the LCD panel, but is there any place I can even buy one and put it in myself? I figure that's the only chance that the repair will cost less than the $800 I paid for the computer.


If you can't take the heat

Numerramar, as I previously reported, had sustained some video hardware damage, probably from the CPU overheating, as burkhardt pointed out. The good news was that I was able to phone in a hardware issue and get a repair authorization before the warranty expired on 21 Apr 2005, and after about a week and a half, they sent it back with a new system board. The bad news is that since came back from its third trip to the IBM ThinkPad Repair Centre, Numerramar has been spontaneously restarting. No blue screen; just "poof". I touch the bottom of the ThinkPad and it is hot enough to burn the privates of persons less careful than this hobbit. I suspect, because the fan is suddenly very quiet, that there is now some problem related to the fan - e.g., the replacement system board is drawing too much power for the fan to work. Any ideas?

Edit, 00:25 CDT Wed 18 May 2005: I called IBM and they asked me to first go and download, burn, and boot a utility CD that allegedly can diagnose "any hardware problems". I am generally chary of claims that a CD can work on "any" variant of anything, errors being as diverse as they are, so first: is there anything I can do to reproduce the problem or rule out hardware issues, short of popping in another WinXP drive (my other compatible HD is 20Gb versus the 60Gb I have, and it has Win2K on it)?

--
Banazir

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
chaosinaskirt
May. 18th, 2005 06:07 am (UTC)
i have the overheating problem with my emachines.

i have semi-solved it with the purchase of a cooling mat. it's gone from something that happens about every 20min-4 hours to something that happens every few days. new egg has a this one, which can run at 2600 rpm and give you a net gain of 3 usb ports. they've got another one with more bells n whistles but it only goes up to 2800 rpm so i don't know if that's worth it...

that said, i am sending it into emachine's warranty fixing place next week, citing a malfunctioning fan AND that it's something that was borked when it went in in decemeber. now whether or not it's actually the fan or not, i'm not sure if i even care at this point.
banazir
May. 18th, 2005 07:35 am (UTC)
Cooling mat
Good advice - thanks.

--
Banazir
dashamus
May. 18th, 2005 07:30 am (UTC)
Problems
Have you tried Spinrite 6 for the hard drives?

Also, the thinkpad dimming thing (at least on mine) was caused by a loose connection with the backlight for the screen. WHip out your soldering irona nd get in there :P

S
banazir
May. 18th, 2005 07:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for the reply
Have you tried Spinrite 6 for the hard drives?
Not yet - I used to swear by it in the heyday of FAT16. Isn't FAT-only?

Also, the thinkpad dimming thing (at least on mine) was caused by a loose connection with the backlight for the screen.
I feared it was so.

WHip out your soldering irona nd get in there :P
How come it requires soldering?

--
Banazir
chaosinaskirt
May. 18th, 2005 07:49 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the reply
it depends on the kind of loose connection it is. more than likely, you just need to push the interface back in. could be a bad set of wires, too, in which case you really need to brush up on those mad soldering skillz :D
banazir
May. 18th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
Hrm
It's been a long time, it really has. 16 years and counting...

--
Banazir
dashamus
May. 18th, 2005 09:03 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the reply
How come it requires soldering?

Mine was a dry joint and was only making intermittent contact, so i soldered it ona nd it works fine.

Spinrite 6.0 has support for every file system known to man or hobbit (i think)

http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

S
banazir
May. 18th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
Why thanks
Spinrite 6.0 has support for every file system known to man or hobbit (i think)
That's what I needed to know!
Will give it a try, then.
So, I just make a bootable DOS disk and run it from there? Will a Win98 one work?

--
Banazir
dashamus
May. 18th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Why thanks
Make an ISO and boot srom it, much easier

S
banazir
May. 18th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
No CD-ROM
It's a very old P5 notebook (c. 1996, possibly 1997). The only CD-ROM drive I have is a PC-MCIA one that is very quirky, and which I haven't been able to get driver support for.

--
Banazir
dashamus
May. 18th, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)
Re: No CD-ROM
oh right, boot froma floppy then

S
banazir
May. 18th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC)
Will do
Now if I can just get some PC-MCIA 10/100 NIC drivers for Linux.
IBM Etherjet or Xircom, either will do.

Gah, this had better be worth it. :-/

Thanks for your help,
Banazir
marm
May. 18th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC)
It's so difficult for me to picture you having computer problems.
banazir
May. 18th, 2005 05:02 pm (UTC)
I AM a computer problem
Just think of computer problems as my kids, marm.

1. I helped to generate them.
2. I feed and sustain them.
3. They get bigger with time.
4. They are a challenge to take care of by oneself. (Sometimes it takes a village!)
5. After a time, they produce more problems of their own. (If they are fixed, though, then they won't.)
6. Sometimes they embarrass me and sometimes I am proud of them.
7. They annoy me enough that I am tempted to get rid of them. On occasion, I could kill them.
8. Despite this, I wouldn't give them up for anything.
9. In a way, they help to define me: "Oh, you know that guy with all the broken ThinkPads?" "Who, the one who has a magnification problem in Windows?"
10. I miss them when they go away.

Moi, je suis,
Banazir
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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