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Messages - daveC

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Software / Ubunta, Vista, Windows 7
« on: January 25, 2013, 10:13:42 AM »
I've put all these up on these models and got everything working including the ATI card except in Vista.  Has anyone had any luck gets full resolution in Vista?  I think the 1280 x 800 works, maybe the 1680 x 1050, but not the 1920 x 1200?  Please let me know if you've got a work around.  Thanks, Dave

Technical Issues / General problem areas I've encounted with these models
« on: January 25, 2013, 10:08:34 AM »
I know I'm coming in late on this forum but I thought I post a few things that might help some of you still using these models.  I've sold a few lately to people who just want to port their HD over to a working machine so they can keep using their data without buying into a different model.

Here are a few problem areas that I find quite often -

The dreaded power jack...this is a common problem caused by several things.  It gets loose because the solder doesn't hold it firmly.  I've replaced and destroyed a few main boards because the multilayer construction of the main board won't let the jack come out easily unless it is heated up enough before trying to remove it and that takes a lot of heat to get the power layers hot enough.  If possible, if the jack is just loose, try to reflow it first but if it is broken - plastic, metal pin, etc. it can be replaced.  If you don't use it as a portable all the time and buy a PR1000 docking station, you can charge it when it's docked plus you get a more comfortable typing position and more USB ports just have to get the right power adapter for the docking station 19V at 4.7A with the bullet tip end, not the 18V 3.5A model that you use for the side power jack.  One more thing about this's a swaged connection from the pin to the electrical contact plate that solders to the main board.  This connection gets loose, gets heated up and gets unreliable.  I've found I can repair that connection by scraping the 2 parts down to clean metal and soldering a jumper across them and down to the inductor on the main board.  Just make sure the connection is tight to the jack or you'll short it out to the top when it's reassembled.

If you really want to beef up the capabilities of these models, you can buy the PR1005/6 to add floppies and/or extra DVD drives too.

THE DREADED POWER BUTTON  What good is a machine you can't turn on?  Again, the docking stations have a power button so at least you can use it but I've found the problem to be almost always that the contacts are dirty...environment or flaw?  No way to tell, just use contact cleaner injected into it from the top of the switch to clean them it around for awhile and it should be better.

The boot but no screen  Okay, we know it's normally the video card that becomes intermittent or totally dead because of bad solder ball contacts on the ATI9000/9200 chip.  At least the card is removable for replacement or repair.  I've successfully reflowed alot of them with a standard heat gun, rosin flux, and about 3 minutes of heat up time but it's still an iffy repair.  They tried the red epoxy on the corners of the chip to hold it down but I've still seen failures.  Myself, I've made brass shims, used heat compound, and done nothing but clean the fan/radiator and keep the laptop elevated AND change the CMOS default setting to having the fan run constantly when on AC power...whoever made the default to OFF should have their head examined.

Well that's enough for now unless there are others who want to know more problem areas or have problems not yet covered!

Upgrades and Accessories / BIOS mod needed! F.55
« on: January 25, 2013, 09:39:19 AM »
I'm still buying and refurbishing these models for older folks like me and for parents who want a cheap model for their kids first laptop.  In doing so, I try to upgrade to the last BIOS F.55 but I'm having problems with the whitelisting of WiFi cards.  I know the F.34 BIOS will use any card and I'd be happy doing that but the F.55 BIOS has been changed to allow recharging of the battery when it is almost dead so I definitely want to use that feature with these older models.  So has anyone modded the F.55 BIOS to eliminate the WList checking?  I found a thread and a file but every time to go the published link, it says the file has been deleted!  Anyone know where I can grab a working F.55 BIOS with the WList checking disabled?

I know I'm getting into this late but I still buy and refurbish these laptops for desktop replacement for older people like me! 
It definitely is a master slave problem since the laptop has two IDE buses like the desktops have so the DVD drive has to be set to master for it to boot.  The laptop drives don't generally come with a jumper but most often have a solder bridge just inside the rear cover for making the selection.

As an aside, I've been able to take DVD+&-R/W drives from HP dv2000s and use them in these models as an upgrade without any changes except for the mounting tab on the rear.  The bezel doesn't fit quite right and I haven't found a way to change it to the old one but it does work just fine!

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