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zaphod7501



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 528
Location: Peoria Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vickyg2003 wrote:

Oh sorry to hear that you are giving up your commercial location.

In trying to understand this post, I have a couple of questions.
What is the "tin whisker" effect, what is BGA

I want to understand why the lifespan of my electronics is going to be so short.

I had a link to a very good article (now gone) but here is a start. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_%28metallurgy%29
Basically, the circuit boards will short themselves out.

BGA is a chip type. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_grid_array
They will eventually pop off the circuit board, cannot be repaired, but are easy to manufacture. They are the chip of choice for digital circuit design, supplied by the (usually American) Intellectual Property owners (who don't build products) to the Manufacturers (who don't own the digital design rights).

Since the offending technologies have been around in camcorders for 20 years, we have a lot of empirical data on the lifespan issue. Given the low use, low temperature case of camcorders, they were good for 7-10 years. TVs are high use, high temperature items, reducing the lifespan to about 5 years (+/-) That's why getting a full 5 year extended warranty is getting harder to find. Ending at 4 years avoids the 5 year failure crunch.

An LCD panel might last 100.000 hours but the circuit boards won't. No one makes new boards for old sets, so once they run out (18-24 months), the set is basically unrepairable. Hence the other common extended warranty period - 2 years.
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underquark
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Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 870
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vickyg2003 wrote:
I'd like to hear more.

I have three Smile.

HP t5730 Compaq "Thin Client"
Various flavours - some with added serial and parallel ports but all are basically fanless machines with Sempron or similar processors, solid-state "Disk-on-Module" drives of 1 or 2GB and 512MB to 1GB or so of RAM. Designed to function as workstations linked into a network and originally running embedded Windows XP but do so much better with a linux OS.

In the 1st machine I installed a 160GB laptop hard drive and booted it from a "Live CD" on a USB stick. Installed ubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" - no special reason to run 10.10 over 10.04 other than the name.
It flies along.

In the 2nd machine I strove for silence and found one with a 2GB DOM and 1GB RAM. I obtained a couple of cheap 4GB USB memory sticks and these reside inside the machine in a little lockable compartment. I downloaded the most basic command-line driven ubuntu I could find and then bit-by-bit added a GUI and other stuff required to make a machine that can be used for school-work, surfing the net etc.

By machine 3 I realised that I liked silent (the laptop-drive-equipped one is barely audible but it could intrude if you were watching TV) and I also figured that there was no need re-invent the wheel by rolling my own OS when there were now so many very good, small linux distro's. I tried Peppermint, Bhodi and others and then settled on Puppy since it lauches from 1GB (either disk or USB stick) and is designed to live and work in 1GB or RAM.

For your "old" machine you can probably run just about any linux variant. You can download the ISO files to burn a CD and most will also run from a USB stick to let you try before installing. There are several browsers including Firefox; mail programs such as Thunderbird or Evolution; excellent media-streaming and viewing applications such as VLC. You could even get a TV card and run Mythbuntu and you have an old machine working as a PVR.

One day (you can already do this, of course) we will have a house computer that serves files, receives TV broadcasts, acts as a telephone answering and call-screening machine, controls our curtains and runs a bath for us. It can be noisy and hot and sit in cupboard somewhere out of sight. Other appliances will either link to it via a small, quiet PC or have built-in connectivity.

If the thought of a small, quiet computer intrigues you, have a look at the Raspberry Pi. There are bound to be similar units pouring out of China pretty soon.
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 6952
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaphod7501 wrote:
An LCD panel might last 100.000 hours but the circuit boards won't. No one makes new boards for old sets, so once they run out (18-24 months), the set is basically unrepairable. Hence the other common extended warranty period - 2 years.

I suppose this is why you are closing your commercial location. I am really sorry to hear that.

Thanks for the information though. I've been trying to explain to my family that replacing 3 TVs in 2011 was going to be very expensive again in in 2017, but nobody believes me. I retired 3 TVs and I'll bet they will still be going long after the current ones fail.
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zaphod7501



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 528
Location: Peoria Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vickyg2003 wrote:
zaphod7501 wrote:
An LCD panel might last 100.000 hours but the circuit boards won't. No one makes new boards for old sets, so once they run out (18-24 months), the set is basically unrepairable. Hence the other common extended warranty period - 2 years.

I suppose this is why you are closing your commercial location. I am really sorry to hear that.

Thanks for the information though. I've been trying to explain to my family that replacing 3 TVs in 2011 was going to be very expensive again in in 2017, but nobody believes me. I retired 3 TVs and I'll bet they will still be going long after the current ones fail.

One of my contacts hosts a local radio program. He couldn't believe it either until his TV failed catastrophically at 4 years, 11 months and some odd days.

The TV manufacturers were hoping that 3D wold take off so people wouldn't be upset when their sets failed, they would look on it as a good time to upgrade. The rest of the world does upgrade when new technologies come along. The USA market hangs on to things that work long after better stuff is available. The Japanese were flabbergasted when the US servicers were ordering parts for 10 year old TVs. They could not believe that anyone would repair a 10 year old electronic device.

I've been in the business for exactly 40 years, self-employed for 33. The field was recession proof but not technology proof as it turns out. There is just nothing left to service. I will not do a major repair on something that I know won't last or do a $400 repair on a 3 year old $1000+ set that can be replaced for $350, even if the customer thinks that it makes sense to him.
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18276
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It makes me really glad that I've hung onto my old tube TVs and not upgraded to any of the new fancy plasma or LCD TVs. In fact, I've even bought a couple more tube TVs, at about $20 a pop, from the thrift store, thanks to others who have upgraded.

Sorry to hear that you're closing your store though Steve.
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underquark
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Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 870
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaphod7501 wrote:
... until his TV failed catastrophically at 4 years, 11 months and some odd days.

Makes me glad that I took out the 5-year warranty on offer for 10% purchase price at local Hi-Fi shop. But I agree, shame that even "quality" makes aren't quality any more and that a whole repair industry has all but gone.

The Robman wrote:
It makes me really glad that I've hung onto my old tube TVs and not upgraded to any of the new fancy plasma or LCD TVs. In fact, I've even bought a couple more tube TVs, at about $20 a pop, from the thrift store, thanks to others who have upgraded.

Absolutely. My kids love the 36" Panasonic for the X-Box (no motion-blur, easy on the eyes close-up and LOUD). And just think of the savings on gym membership carrying the things back home.
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
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Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still remember bringing my 32" Toshiba tube set back from the store and then carrying it from the car, OMG that sucker was heavy. Then, of course, when I had to fix it I had to carry it from it's regular location to another room so I could work on it, so I got a good reminder of how heavy it is.
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 6952
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here it is 6 weeks later.

I replaced the video card and maxed out the memory and the machine has been performing great other than 1 BSOD about 4 weeks ago. Now I went to see a video, and my sound card has gone missing. Can't remember when the last time I listened to a video, although it was working the day the video card died as I was creating a movie on that day. Can't remember if I listened to anything after that, or if it was related to the BSOD for driver error that I received last month.

Wonder what I did. Probably should just have replaced the whole computer! I wouldn't have broken my widget.... Doh!
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 6952
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently the Audio setting in the BIOS wasn't working. Shouldn't have been whining. Switching Audio from Auto to Enabled did the trick. Still don't know what I did.

Opening a computer is way out of my comfort zone. Hard to believe, I know. Embarassed Rolling Eyes
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vickyg2003
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Joined: 20 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well this machine is acting up again. Now I'm getting data corruption.

I have purchased a laptop since I move around so much, but I really still prefer the desktop for getting stuff done.

Now I'm wondering if I should replace the hard drive, but after reading and rereading this thread, it looks like the components are just all going to fail one after the other since this is a post 2006 computer.

I was thinking of installing win8 on it, just so that I could get some more experience in that areana, but if the motherboard is going to die, the license would not be transferrable, and I'd be out even more money.

How difficult is it to transfer an operating system to a new hard drive?
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zaphod7501



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 528
Location: Peoria Illinois

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't done it for years, but if I remember correctly, new drives were shipped with installation software to automatically transfer everything to the new drive.
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