Thursday, January 27, 2011

Computer Guts

I was a bit daunted when I started this mini project, but so glad I tried. I don't absolutely need this machine, but it makes life easier having old Burninator thereat the ready (yes Burninator is the machine's name). So if this makes a reader less afraid to fix their computer (or anything else) I feel this post did a service!

I have a very nice gaming machine upstairs and an older PC downstairs that is for my studio - the shipping and photo editing machine. About a week ago, my studio machine started making an obnoxious "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" noise, even when I hadn't turned it on, but it was just plugged in. I sorta figured the machine was old but then yesterday I could no longer turn the machine on but the "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" was still happening and I could see the LED on the mother board, but nothing else was happening, not even fans. After some diagnostics and talking with my more hardware savvy friend Mina, it was figured out that the power supply was dying.

Right after I pulled the power supply out. Canned air, sharpie, tape, screwdriver and a swiffer duster were my tools.

So, I opened up the machine and pulled it out. I was not prepared, since I had read how 'simple and straight forward' changing a PSU is (for hardware nerds apparently). I understand that this how a computer gets its power but WTH! It's like techno-cthulu or something...lots of wires. I used a sharpie and tape to label the bits, so when I got the new PSU, I could maybe figure it out. Of course, I opened up the old PSU because I am curious. Hey! More wires! Dirt! Bulging, sick transistors! Oooo, I want that little fan for an art project (no Karen, you will not keep garbage).

The old power supply and fan - I've labelled all the wires that were connected.

So after I pulled that out, plus some crazy exhaust pipe thing - which the case doesn't need according to Mina's tests, it was only too apparent how filthy my case is - 5 years of dirt. It stank too and I instantly snotted up. I got my hepa filter out and turned it on as I blasted away with canned air. The worst dirty part was the face plate between the front and frame. Bleh, disgusting. Now mind you, I had cleaned this machine in the past - but apparently to get really clean, the case needs to be taken apart.

Horrible and dirty. It's better now.

I purchased the cheapest power supply - no wine and caviar for a 5yo machine, plus the guy at the computer store assured me the PSU I got is perfectly trustworthy. It was $32 with tax, not bad considering the cost of replacing a whole computer.

Everything wired up!

Wiring it wasn't that bad, glad that I labeled stuff - except I forgot to label one of the hard drive inputs so I kept wondering why when I tested the box I could not get the HD running. I also had a few loose connections that I slowly corrected as I plugged and unplugged the PSU in (the big 20 prong connector to the motherboard is REALLY stubborn, I was afraid I would break it), and then, suddenly, my machine was running. It was quieter than it has been in weeks! Turns out that the problem with the PSU had probably been going on for a long time, it just happened so gradually.

Sweet! It works. The label on the new power supply says NIFT, I think it's just nifty!

So that was my first experience delving into the guts of a PC. It was pretty fun and I didn't kill my PC, so successful!

1 comment:

Jean Ann said...

Congrats! (I'm impressed)