Resurrected power supply

A couple years ago, the power supply in my computer went belly up because the power switch had corroded and stopped being a switch.

No idea what caused it to become so badly corroded, but I finally got around to finding a new switch for it. The new switch fit perfectly into the opening, and getting it reconnected was a pretty simple job.

Now I’ve got a couple of power supplies to work with. Plenty of projects out on the web describing how to turn computer power supplies into useful bench power supplies, and I could definitely use a couple of those on the workbench.

Cooked wifi card

The wifi on one of the older laptops in my collection failed quite a while ago. At the time, I figured the wifi card in the laptop had died, and got a USB wifi dongle to get it back online. Didn’t think much else about the problem after that.

This morning while I was looking inside to see what could be upgraded, I decided to pop the wifi card out to have a look. The top didn’t look too unusual, but when I flipped it over, there was a big toasted area on the label. Looks like the wifi chip got a bit hot and burned itself out.

Scorched wifi card
Scorched wifi card

The wifi card bay also showed some evidence of the heat. The area was a bit tacky, so I think it might be adhesive residue from the sticker on the back of the wifi card.

Wifi card area
Wifi card area

I popped the RF shield off the card and saw a bit of browning on the board from the overheating chip.

Scorched wifi card under the shield
Scorched wifi card under the shield

 

Retro gaming: Ultima IV

Ultima IV! On Linux!

One of my favourite games to play on my Apple IIe back in the day was Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar. It’s been a long time since I played it, but thanks to xu4 (on Sourceforge), I can play it again. I’ve known about xu4 for a long time, but never bothered much with it until recently.

Getting it running on Fedora is as simple as installing the package with sudo dnf install xu4.

UltimaIV intro screen
UltimaIV intro screen
Out in the world
Out in the world
Shopping for supplies
Shopping for supplies

Plays just like it did on my Apple IIe. Ahh, memories.

A computer to ressurect

Acquired few things over the weekend that the Daughters of St Paul downtown didn’t need anymore and would otherwise have gone to recycling or trash. Among them were a couple of old IBM ThinkCentre computers over the weekend. One is missing a hard drive and the other needs RAM. I think I’ve got enough other bits lying around to make one computer out of them that might be usable for simple tasks.

IBM ThinkCentre A51
IBM ThinkCentre A51
IBM ThinkCentre A51 innards
IBM ThinkCentre A51 innards

They’re both IBM ThinkCentre A51 computers with Pentium 4 CPUs running at 2.93 GHz.

Intel P4 CPU
Intel P4 CPU

They both have 1 GB RAM (one has 4×256 MB DDR2 sticks, the other has 1x1GB DDR2 stick). I think I might have some 512 GB DDR2 sticks in the junk box, so might be able to get one of them up to 2.5 GB. That might be enough for a very lightweight Linux distro. Just need to scavenge a hard drive from somewhere.

Update: It lives!

two
two

Back to Jelly Bean

While attempting to reinstall an Android 7 ROM (KatKiss) on my tablet, something went kerflooey and the tablet got into a state where it would just stop at the ASUS splash screen during start up. I could get back into recovery mode (TWRP) no problem. Reflashing the KatKiss ROM and OpenGApps seemed to work without any errors, but the boot process just wouldn’t go past the ASUS splash screen.

Finally I decided to see if I could get the stock 4.1.1 ROM back on the tablet.

  • Grab the most recent stock firmware from the ASUS website and extract the blob file out of it.
  • Grab the Kang TWRP recovery image (look for a download link for 3.1.0-1 on page 12 of the thread).
  • Get the tablet into the bootloader (hold the Power+Vol Down down when turning the tablet on).
  • Get into fastboot mode. I had to use the Vol Down button to select the USB icon, then press Vol Up.
  • Confirm the tablet is connected to the computer with fastboot devices -l
  • Flash the stock firmware with fastboot flash system blob
  • Reboot back to the bootloader (fastboot reboot-bootloader) and get back to fastboot mode.
  • Flash the recovery image with fastboot flash recovery¬†twrp-3.1.0-1-tf201t.img
  • Reboot with fastboot reboot

That got my tablet back up and running with Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean). However, attempts to get from there back to Android 7.1 (Nougat) with the KatKiss ROM still resulted in getting stuck at the ASUS splash screen.

I guess I’ll leave it with the stock ROM now. A working tablet is better than a non-working tablet. I just use the tablet for reading ebooks these days, and Android 4.1.1 still does that just fine.

Back to Android 4.1.1
Back to Android 4.1.1