Daddy Clanger (imc) wrote,
Daddy Clanger

Blimmin' computers!

At a random point during the early evening last Tuesday, my laptop decided to spontaneously switch itself off. (I say "switch off", but it didn't shut down the PC cards and the power light was still on, though it seemed pretty dead otherwise).

I switched it back on and it ran for a couple of minutes before doing the same thing; after that I got half an hour out of it, and after an hour's rest it stayed on for about 90 minutes before I put it to sleep and went to bed. But when I woke it up next morning it died again.

Am now wondering whether I can pick a broken one up off ebay and make a working one out of the pieces, but most people who advertise faulty laptops don't specify the nature of the fault so there's obviously quite a big gamble involved. What I really need is someone who's cracked their screen and written it off with the lower half intact (do we know anyone who's done that? <g>). I was a couple of quid off getting a working T22 for about £90 last night, but then if I do that I still have the broken one to contend with (although having a supply of working parts does mean that I might be able to isolate the fault). There's a T23 for sale with a non-working backlight (and also no RAM, and as luck wouldn't have it it takes a different kind from the T22 — PC133 vs PC100), and it appears the LCD panels are sufficiently similar that they could be switched over. There's also a batch of five working T22s up for grabs. Hmm, now could I get into the laptop refurbishing business? :-)

But I'm afraid I did also end up accidentally winning an auction for a new laptop…

I downloaded IBM's "PC doctor" yesterday (which comes in three self-extracting floppy-disk images that only self-extract on Windows). First time I ran it, the machine shut down half way through running the tests (from what I could tell, all the tests passed too). According to the hardware maintenance manual, if the PC doctor won't run or doesn't find the fault, I should remove:
  • non-IBM devices [none],
  • all external devices [none],
  • battery,
  • hard disk drive,
  • DIMM,
  • any Ultrabay device, and
  • PC cards [none]
and see if the symptoms changed. Of course the machine won't boot at all with no memory, so I fetched a stick from elsewhere and installed it; and I can't boot the PC doctor without the floppy drive in the Ultrabay, so I didn't remove it.

I ran the test for the fan and thermal sensors several times. They passed. I put the battery back in (but it didn't seem to want to test that, possibly because it hadn't been installed when it booted up and checked for installed devices). Then I ran all diagnostic tests, and they passed. Then I ran a five minute system load test, and it passed. I reinstalled the hard disk drive, switched memory sticks, rebooted and started tests again. They still passed, though half way through the (extremely long) memory test I decided to switch it off and go to bed as it was quite late.

Apparently, while I was in bed it spontaneously decided to switch itself on at 01:36, booted up and ran for a bit over an hour before detecting a low battery and successfully entering sleep mode.

I woke it up this morning and within ten minutes it was dead again. Since then it's got progressively worse and won't even boot now. :-(

Meanwhile, I couldn't use my Solaris machine this morning as the computing manager is switching all the NFS servers around. I have a Linux machine which unaccountably seems to go completely dead if I use the keyboard too much, and even my mobile phone joined in by switching itself off at some time after I plugged it into the charger.

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