Many modern computers don’t require any tools to work on. But that’s not always the case, especially with vintage computers, or less-expensive DIY cases. A nut driver, also known as a hex driver or hex nut driver, makes things easier. So what is the right size nut driver for computers? Or do you need more than one?
Retro computer enthusiasts and computer technicians either love or hate Deoxit D5. There’s no middle ground with it. But I think the hate comes from people misusing it. Used sparingly, Deoxit D5 seems like a miracle cure. Here’s how to use Deoxit D5, and when.
My wife has a phone that has a nice screen and doesn’t lag. It’s an older model but it’s still a nice phone. Well, except when it’s cold. It turns out it’s not super unheard of when a phone turns off in cold weather. So if your phone dies in cold weather, or shuts off when cold, here’s how we fixed it. It makes sense, once you think about it.
We usually only think about thermal paste during new system builds. But you may not know that thermal paste dries out over time and needs to be replaced. So how often should you replace thermal paste? And why do you need to?
How long thermal paste lasts depends on how hard you use your computer. It’s best to replace it every 3-5 years or so, if you keep your system that long, but there are other times it’s a good idea to replace it too.
Years ago, my monitor broke. Back then we had repair shops for such things. I called one and described the symptoms I was having. “Sounds like it could be a cold solder joint. Bring it in,” he said. But what is a cold solder joint? Isn’t solder hot?
A cold solder joint doesn’t refer to temperature, but rather, lack of electrical conductivity. A cold solder joint is a solder connection that isn’t conducting electricity the way it should.
If you’re messing around with routers, you’re going to come across the phrase 30-30-30 reset. Often without explanation. Here’s what this reset is and why it works.
A 30-30-30 reset is the technique of holding the reset button on a router for 30 seconds, unplugging the power at the 30 second mark while continuing to hold the button down, then plugging the power back in while holding the button an additional 30 seconds before releasing. It’s helpful on older routers, but on AC routers and newer, it’s not recommended.
Rebuilding old Dell Optiplexes for home use is common, because Dell Optiplexes are so easy to get and cheap. But there’s a problem if you want to put an Optiplex board in a standard ATX case, whether it’s to make the computer look less corporate, or because you got the board cheap and don’t have a Dell case. Dell uses proprietary connectors. Not only that, the connectors aren’t even consistent across different models, even in the same generation. Here’s how to deal with that so you can do a Dell Optiplex case swap, and put a Dell motherboard in a new ATX case.
While Dell uses the standard ATX mounting holes in its minitowers and even its desktops, the front panel connectors are completely nonstandard, and sometimes the power supply connectors are too. Fortunately you can get adapters.
If you’re Gen X, you know the F-14. You may have even known about it before the movie Top Gun. The story of its flight computer, and the man who designed the hardware, Ray Holt, is intense. I don’t share a ton of links, but this is one you’ve gotta read. It’s the best piece of tech journalism I’ve read in years. Every possible box they taught me to check in journalism school, this story checks. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a technology piece do that.
I’ve heard of Ray Holt before. He’s almost the Gary Kildall of computer chips. This story tells the story of his triumph, tragedy, and how he carried on, reinvented himself, and is still helping people today. It makes him human.
Does baking computer chips fix them when they’re broken? Can you fix computer chips in an oven? The answer is sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know when it will help, and when it does, we may not know why. But, when faced with a broken chip, we don’t exactly have anything to lose, either.
Baking computer chips does seem to fix them, at least sometimes. Whether it works depends entirely on why the chip failed in the first place, which isn’t always possible to know.
In the early days of USB, the majority of hubs had power. Today, the market is flooded with cheap hubs that don’t have power. That raises a legitimate question. Does a USB hub need power? Why or why not?