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Refurbishing/Repurposing Old Machines

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I've decided it's my turn to start one of these tech threads. :P I thought I'd share some of my stories about refurbishing or reusing old machines.We have a small business that we used to run from home, so we set up a small network with a file server. As I mentioned in one of the other threads, our server suddenly went off the network a couple of weeks ago. We thought the network card had failed. This machine is OLD. I built it around 2002 or so. Anyway it turns out that it doesn't have a network card - we were just using the on-board networking and it's working fine. The cable must have come loose somehow. Anyway it did give me the opportunity to crack the case and give it a good cleaning. One of the case fans has failed and I'll be replacing it. It's still running Ubuntu 9.x something or other. :PLast summer, before the flood, I took one of our old machines and started to set it up as a web server. I stuck Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on it and it was running fine. Then the basement got flooded and I had to quickly power everything off and rescue the equipment. This past weekend I finally got around to setting this machine up again so I could use it as a test machine for the site here. I had planned to install all the same software on it as we're running here so I could do testing and try out new configurations without worrying about the site being offline for several days when I screw something up. :PWell the machine booted, but complained about the CPU voltage settings in the CMOS. I went into the BIOS and reset everything to optimized defaults and then powered it down. Now it won't start. Dead. Then I cursed. I had forgotten that the power supply for this machine is an Antec Truepower 550. This was from the gadget days of power supplies and it has a front panel that allows you to tweak the voltages. The dial on the 3.3V rail had been cranked around to full adjustment, which set it to a maximum of 3.47V. Now it's still supposed to be a range and it shouldn't fry the CPU but the machine won't power up now. I must have hit the dial during all the commotion and forgot all about this thing, which is totally useless.Anyway now I'm pulling apart various machines to see if I can drop in another power supply. I'm not sure if it's the PSU or if I fried the CPU. I've got other old machines I can use, but I was hoping to use one of the other oldies for old games. :PMy old machine collection:- AMD K8 Athlon 64 FX (I can't remember which speed). This is the now dead machine. I grabbed some old DIMMs to get the RAM up to a whopping 2 GB. :D- Intel socket 478 Pentium 4. I'll have to crack the case to get the speed and I don't know how much RAM it has - probably 1 GB at most.- IBM Intellistation M Pro. It's a P3. It's the only time we bought a PC and after the frustration of trying to upgrade this beast, I went back to building my own. It's the one I was going to use for old games.Our file server is an Intel Xeon 2.4 GHz dual processor, as in two separate CPU's. No dual core in those days. :D I can't remember how much ram it has. Probably 1GB at most.

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Mystery solved!! No disaster. It was a dead CMOS battery. That's the first time I've ever had to replace one. Now I need to buy more of those 2032 watch batteries.

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Mystery solved!! No disaster. It was a dead CMOS battery. That's the first time I've ever had to replace one. Now I need to buy more of those 2032 watch batteries.

Good for you Anda. Posted Image

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Mystery solved!! No disaster. It was a dead CMOS battery. That's the first time I've ever had to replace one. Now I need to buy more of those 2032 watch batteries.

 

 

We had that happen on a 1998 machine at about the ten year mark.

 

Weird thing was - the second battery went six months later - so keep a beedy eye on it!

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It always seems to work that way. As soon as you start replacing batteries, the new ones never last as long as the old.

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One of our old machines that I didn't list is a Pentium MMX. Yes, you read that right, one step above the original Pentium. It died a year or two ago and I had stripped everything out of it and was going to toss it when I decided to change the power supply and see if I could get it working again. This was the machine I used to play Arena and Daggerfall. I has Windows 98 on it.Well I got it up and running! It needed a new CMOS battery and I was right about the power supply. We had a spare 330W lying around and that was perfect. We have an old Dell 20" CRT monitor that I got from someone who was going to throw it away, so I've got my ancient gaming machine back. The hard drives that I had in this thing were something like a whopping 4GB and 20 GB. They still have some software on them that I'd like to rescue, so I'm pleased to get this old sucker running. I might even have a network card for it...

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I can't believe how small the motherboard is! I also just discovered that the guy that assembled it originally didn't remove the tape from the CPU heatsink! I'm surprised it worked as well as it did. I'll be fixing that later today.

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You know what people are used to say... It was better in the good old days when most stuff were solid and reliable.

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It certainly shows that the CPU's didn't generate as much heat as they do today. The heatsink is tiny. It has a fan but it probably doesn't need one.

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I had an ancient computer running Windows 95. I had planned to turn it into a router but it only had a 28k modem and I couldn't get parts for it. It didn't use PCI at all and the CPU was passively cooled (no fan). I finally got rid of it about five years ago.That thing introduced me to the classics! SkiFree, Hover, MechWarrior, and Rollercoaster Tycoon. I was sad when I got rid of it. :(

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I wonder whether I ever threw away my old P166. I hope I did. My father just took his old P4 PC to the tip.

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I've got a P3 too. I can probably scrap that one now. I doubt even a school would want it!

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My best friend inherit a genuine IBM PS1 PC and the CPU was a Intel 386 - 28 MHz I think it was in a solid metal full tower from his father when he passed away, which he later gave me his father old IBM since he weren't interested in computers like I'm and I still have it.

 

The tower was quite heavy to lift and it weighted 18 kg.  So if you think all weight belongs to a metal full tower then you're mistaken, because that IBM PC had a huge fan inside that chassi and let me tell you one thing.

 

That fan IBM use back then was so effective that my friend got his feet chilly in a hot summer day in his apartment with a window fully open into the backyard.  I had a good laugh when my friend told me what happen.

 

 

That's what I call solid and reliable stuff in the good old days. :D

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That P3 I mentioned is an IBM Intellistation. The thing weighs a ton! It's way heavier than all our other machines - even the ones with larger cases. The side panels have sound insulation and a second metal piece over that, so they are heavy on their own.

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That P3 I mentioned is an IBM Intellistation. The thing weighs a ton! It's way heavier than all our other machines - even the ones with larger cases. The side panels have sound insulation and a second metal piece over that, so they are heavy on their own.

Which has valid specifics for my criteria of being solid and reliable.

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That P3 I mentioned is an IBM Intellistation. The thing weighs a ton! It's way heavier than all our other machines - even the ones with larger cases. The side panels have sound insulation and a second metal piece over that, so they are heavy on their own.

Which has valid specifics for my criteria of being solid and reliable.

 

 

Pft! This is the 21st century! Who wants solid and reliable these days?!

:P

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