BitFIXit Community Clinic Journals (March 2017)

There were some interesting going-ons with the computer repairs and software jobs at the community clinics during the course of four sessions this month.

Interesting in the sense that we had some gremlins in a couple of the laptops that we had been trying to repair; for example, we had a Packard Bell laptop that we tried to repair with a replacement screen and and a set of replacement cables for the screen, but neither fixed the problem so chances are, the motherboard gave up the ghost. We tried to replace Windows 10 on a Dell Inspiron laptop with Windows 7, which initially went well – that is, until a driver install went awry and fouled up the newly-installed operating system, and so we had to re-install Windows 10 onto the laptop… Then the customer refused to accept windows 10 and we had to put 7 back on again…

It was interesting in the sense that we had a broad range of computers brought into the clinics for various repairs and other jobs; from a HP desktop PC that was brought in for a factory reset, to an Apple Macbook Pro that had sustained damage which caused the audio jack to break off, to a Samsung Chromebook that had sustained some physical damage (the rear panel where the HDMI and USB ports are located had broken off), and a faulty motherboard that was eventually diagnosed when we tried connecting the chromebook to our monitor by HDMI cable.

It was also interesting in the sense that the problem we had with loss of electricity going to one side of the community room we regularly use for the clinics…turned out to be the result of a blown fuse that prevented the wall sockets from being in use for software repairs on various laptops. During one particular session, electricity going into the Burngreave Messenger office was inadvertently cut out as attempts were made to fix the problem (oops!)

Computer hardware repairs may not always be possible, though, particularly if parts for a laptop simply could not be found online and that the laptop in question is no longer supported by the OEM; for example, there was a Novatech-branded laptop brought in for repair, that was actually manufactured by Clevo. We tried to source replacement parts from Novatech for the laptop over the phone, but unfortunately there were no parts available from the company. Also, hardware upgrades may not always work according to plan; in the case of an Acer Aspire laptop with Windows XP, we tried upgrading the RAM installed in the laptop to 2GB, the maximum supported, but the spare 1GB RAM module we had at hand turned out to be faulty, and so we had to re-install the original RAM module that came originally installed in the laptop. You win some, you lose some…

Going into next month’s community clinics, more interesting hardware and software problems and fixes await!

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