Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Mr. Fix-It Update

I now have three of these laptops.  I am not sure why....

Further to my last posting, I went online and found some used and broken Toshiba C655 laptops for about $25 apiece with shipping. I bought two. They had working motherboards and they were actually more powerful than the processors in the two laptops I have.  One had a broken hinge, which is chronic with these laptops - the ferrules are set in thin plastic webbing which cracks over time.  Put a little superglue on it and then add baking soda to build up a mound of faux plastic and we're back in business.  I've done this three times now.

I had an old hard drive from Mr. See's computer that I removed to install a 500MB drive (which was cheap on eBay) and had upgraded the memories of the two laptops I had.  So I had old 2MB sticks laying around.

I put my hard drive and memories in the best of the lot - a 1.6GHZ model - and fixed the broken hinge.  It looks like it was hardly used - the original stickers are on the keyboard and the keys have no signs of wear.  It was filthy, though, and as I took it apart (which you have to do to fix the hinge) I cleaned each piece in isopropyl alcohol.  The unit doesn't have a webcam, which doesn't affect me, as I have used a webcam maybe once in my lifetime.  But it has a virtually unused OEM keyboard which feels very nice compared to the cheap replacements.  And versus the old 1.0 GHz model, it seems a lot faster.

The other used laptop, I put 4MB of ram into and Mark's old 250MB hard drive.  It works fine as well and inexplicably, the hinges are not broken!  It runs at 1.3GHz and seems to run OK.  Mark's old HD has Windows Moviemaker on it, so maybe I will get back into making YouTube Videos - although you really need a more powerful machine for that.  For blogging?  These rock!

The other laptop I was using now has a broken screen (has a line in the display), a working but slow 1.0 GHz motherboard, 4MB of RAM, and a hard drive that won't boot.  I am just using it for parts at this point, cannibalizing screws and such from it as needed for the other three.

There is a third laptop, which is in the camper and we use to watch YouTube in bed, and that works OK, although the 'F" key is broken.  I bought a new keyboard ($12) and will install it shortly.

Of the two junked laptops, one came with a working battery that took a charge!  The other - not.  Still, that isn't a bad deal - two working laptops for $50.

But then I realized that I went through this before back in March - and a year before that - and I wonder if it was worth it.  I mean, I know how to take apart and re-assemble a Toshiba C655 laptop, in my sleep.  Just remove the 27 screws holding it together and...  And a funny thing, I must not be the only one still using these antiques, as they are a plethora of parts available on eBay.  I wonder if maybe they were used in schools or something.  The one I am using right now cleaned up nice, but there was glitter stuck to the outside of the case.

Oh, and I made sure to blow the dust out of the fan and heat exchanger!  But maybe these things have gone around the Weibull curve bend - the incidence of repair has increased from two years, to a year, to every six months.  Maybe it is only $25 and an hour of my time, but eventually, I would end up doing this on a daily basis!

Of course, as this point, I can ride the wave all the way down. I have a "parts" computer and can also cannibalize the other two machines, so I have enough parts to keep at least one of them running for a few years more.

We did buy a chromebook, but that "died" as well and required a "powerwash" to get it to work.  It still does flaky things like not recognizing the Internet (a reboot usually fixes that - it shouldn't have to!) and it really isn't a "ready for prime time" laptop so much as it is just a glorified smart phone.  It isn't of much use unless connected to the Internet as it is a thin client - little more than a dumb terminal for accessing apps that run online.

So, I am all set to create another 5,000 blog postings.  I got some nice messages from folks - thanks!  I do get unhinged messages as well.  Someone accused me of being an apologist for communist slaughter.  I  mean, what the ever-loving fuck?  They never even read my blog!  Maybe it is just a troll-bot.  This is why I don't have comments enabled.

As for the Bissell, I am waiting for the new switch to come from England.  I decided against just screwing a pushbutton onto the side of the thing.  Bissell was of no help - unlike the fellow on Amazon reviews, I was not offered a new powerhead, but offered the opportunity to buy one!  They also directed me to "Al's vacuum cleaner repair" in Jacksonville - at my expense.

I still love the vacuum and I am sure once I replace the switch it will be fine.  Cheap vacuums are great, but they are cheap, I guess.  Still, some of the other Bissell corded models we bought (or were given to us) are still running, even after staggering abuse was heaped upon them.  We actually left one unit at the condo - figuring that since we put in new carpet, we wanted the new tenant to keep it clean.  That machine has seen some shit, let me tell you!

And the two GE canister vacs actually work, one even has a working powerhead, although the plug has been replaced by a cheap replacement plug from Lowes.  Again, when they refuse to sell parts at a reasonable price, you might as well throw the thing away.

So we'll put another switch in the Bissell 1984 and see how it goes.  Maybe another three years?  The guy in the UK has sold over 700 of those switches, which tells me that this is a chronic problem with the design.  I guess I'll be more careful not to "mash" the switch so much with my foot.