February 26, 2008

Cold solder on CRT monitors!

In my years of servicing PC, I often encountered problems on CRT monitors that is cause by a cold sorder(usually from CRT and vertical circuitry).When CRT module or a particular component heats up over time, it will tend to loosen up its solder and later will cause intermittent problem on your monitor display.

You will know if your monitor is experiencing a cold solder condition if you have an intermittent display problem(disappear or re-appear when its external casing is tap or shaken).Discoloration of display can be also cause by a solder joint.

Cold solder joints is easily recognize by carefully looking its individual solder in the circuit board,normally good solder looks smooth and firmly secured on the PCB, while cold solder joints show some cracks and solder is rough.

Once you suspect or identify a cold solder joint(s), try to remove and clean first the existing solder before re-applying a new solder,in this case it will ensure a good solder contact between component and the circuit board. Others just re-heat a particular joints without cleaning its previous solder, find the problem to re-appear later.

Most cold solder cases appears on class B monitors,if you dont want to experience less cold solder problems on your CRT monitor, I suggest buying class A monitors(LG,Viewsonic,Samsung,HP...etc).

Tools needed to repair a cold solder joints:
30 or 40 watts soldering iron
Desoldering Pump
Screw driver(+)
Soldering Lead

February 23, 2008

A power supply that looks okey, but its not!

Sometimes Power Supply is sometimes overlooked when buying a new PC, and may cause headaches later in your PC computing.To give you and example, a year ago I encountered a problem that seems to point to a non-power supply related, but it turns out to be a power supply problem.

Here's the situation:

A customer calls me and complained that his unit is not booting, so I went to his place and troubleshoot the unit,the first thing I did was turn off the PC, resocket the IDE cable and re-test the unit, upon testing everything works fine, so I tell him that maybe its just a matter of loose connection.

The next day he calls me again and said that the problem re-occur, so I went back again and check the unit all over again, I resocket the IDE connector again and re-test the unit, this time the hard drive is detected intermittently, so I suspect that its a harddisk problem.I even tell the customer that maybe your harddrive is ailing already.

I went to troubleshoot further, one thing I noticed during the troubleshooting process is that, there are times that the CPU unit, black's-out once in a while when harddrive is connected,but if you don't connect the harddrive, everything's fine.
Its really a very confusing problem, you can mistakingly point to a defective harddrive.Luckily I have one spare harddrive with me, so I install it on his unit,but problem still exist.

With that I now started to suspect the PS unit, so I disassemble it and check its internal components, and I found out that there are lots of bulging filter capacitors in its circuitry, which convince me that its the one that's causing the whole thing.

I tell the customer that it must be the PS unit that's causing the problem and it should be replaced.After replacing the PS unit, everythings works fine.By the way, the PS unit he is using is the generic one's(normally bundled on a new PC casing).

Generic PS unit are a little cheaper that the branded one's but if you compare its performance its difinetely worth the extra bucks you add in purchasing a branded PS unit.

Happy Weekend!

Useful Freebies (Part 3)

Keep Tube Program

Love watching videos at You Tube and want to keep it in your harddrive or burn in CD's? here's a program that can download FLV files from the net to your PC.

KeepTube is a quirky, somewhat amateurish program. English is fractured throughout, the interface is non-standard, and the startup page of the program is festooned with Google Ads--presumably how the free program supports itself. (The program does not appear to install any adware on your system, however.) You can use the limited built-in browser to navigate to YouTube (no other sites are supported yet, but the home page promises that KeepTube will support other "famerous" sic Web sites soon), find a video, and click the "Download" button. KeepTube then saves it, with speeds depending on your Internet connection. It supports multiple concurrent downloads, so you can keep selecting videos and saving them.


February 22, 2008

Keyboard Lock-up at Windows log-in or installation!

Day after day, I encounter unusual problem on the field, such as this one:

The OS: Windows XP

Problem Found: Keyboard lock-up when you you reach at log-in window(Cant type anything), but mouse is functional

Troubleshooting Done: Check keyboard on DOS mode, its working fine. Try to replace a USB keyboard, problem still exist. Try to fresh install OS without reformatting,still the same problem.

Solution: Reformat the hard drive, problem disappear,the problem was cause by a problematic OS.

February 4, 2008

No Video May Point to Wrong Bios Setting

Just a couple days ago, I encountered a desktop PC that beeps which point to a no video situation. But the problem is that the video adapter is onboard and I did not brought a separate AGP card, so I cant confirm if its the onboard video adapter that is the causing the problem.

I try to trouble shoot to best of my knowledge and use my technician's instinct,when I reset the BIOS setting on the mainboard, the display was restored. I suspect that the primary vga display in the BIOS, was wrongfully set to a different device(let say PCI or AGP, when it suppose to be set on its onboard video) causing the blackout.

Next time when you encounter such a problem, try resetting its BIOS to make sure that its not a case of wrong BIOS settings.

February 1, 2008

Major Benefits of the INTERNET!

Have you ever thought, what would it be if the Internet does not exist? In this post I will discuss the major benefits the Internet brings to mankind,to remind us of how lucky we are to enjoy such a wonderful technology.

Here's some of them:

1. EMAIL - In the early days you have to wait days or even weeks before you can read someone's letter. Now it will only take minutes to reach its destination.

2. Telephone/FAX Services - Before individuals/companies spent huge amount in their long distance communications using the standard telephone line. Now, everyone with Internet can use VOIP phone or online phone service to call anywhere in the world for a fraction of cost.Also companies can utilize the Internet to cater its FAX services,today's FAX technology offers wide variety of services from simple Fax Over IP and VOIP Fax to more complex FAX Server and FAX Blast technology.

3. Video Conferencing - Before your have to converge on one place to meet and discuss something. Now, you can discuss everything face to face even if you are from different lacations.

4. On Research - Instead of digging lots of books in the library to find something.Now, individuals will just type the topic you are researching in any search engine and voila! related articles will be available in minutes.

5. Finance and Banking - Instead of calling or going to the bank to check your account balance or transfer funds, now you can just log in online and do the work in front of your PC.

6. Conduct Business - With the introduction of the Internet, businessmen can now market there products worldwide on the net. It also brings opportunity to
individuals to earn on there spare time.

These are just some of the benefits that Internet brings to our life and there are still tens or perhaps hundreds of them, that makes our life easier and we have to thank the US government that started it all.

Now, What would it be if the INTERNET does not exist?