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What's the Hardiest Hardware You've Seen?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the survivor:-hardware dept.

Editorial 247

mrsev asks: "I work in a lab and so have lots of strange equipment around me. Recently I found an old 256Mb USB Flash Disk, that I had been looking for 6 months. This would not be amazing but for the fact that it was frozen in a block of ice in one of our -80C freezers (-112F). It must have fallen from my top pocket when I was reaching in. After chiping it out and a quick thaw and dry ... it worked!! All my data was intact and there were no problems. I am now looking for a victim to test in our liquid nitrogen storage facility. My question is what is the strangest hardware survival you have seen."

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Microsoft survival (2, Funny)

amcnabb (682951) | more than 10 years ago | (#7622925)

I saw a machine once that had Windows running on it for 5 years, and it survived it! After I installed Linux on it it worked like a charm.

Tough CPU (5, Interesting)

WavyGravy-R5 (665896) | more than 10 years ago | (#7622934)

I recently had an AMD 1400 Mhz chip that was used for my schools Journalism department. It has been dropped easily a few dozen times, left behind a VERY dirty, dusty desk for about a month, AND has been submerged in photo developing chemicals. Out of sheer curiosity, I put it on one of the boards the other day, and in amazement it still worked.

Re:Tough CPU (1)

TwistedGreen (80055) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623260)

Those things are hard to affect with force. So I'd like to see it survive after going through a clothes dryer. :)

Re:Tough CPU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7623976)

I think I speak for everyone when I say we would all love to hear how in the world it came to pass that a CPU fell in photo developing chemicals. Do please reply!

The shack (5, Funny)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 10 years ago | (#7622951)

I once bought something at RadioShack, and two weeks later, it still worked!

That was one for the record books.

Re:The shack (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7623904)

whoa, it worked when you bought it?

Panasonic Toughbook CF-28 (2, Interesting)

crass751 (682736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7622963)

I know these things are designed to take a beating, but it's definately the toughest piece of hardware I've ever had.

I used one of these things while out in the field for a utility company doing GPS mapping. I threw the thing on the floor of my truck, accidentally dropped it a few times, and accidentally left it on top of my truck in the rain.

Everytime I pushed the power button the thing ran perfectly, regardless of the fact it was running 98SE. I wish I could buy one of those things on the open market, I love the damn things.

Re:Panasonic Toughbook CF-28 (2, Informative)

platipusrc (595850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623331)

You might be able to find what you're looking for on this pages's semi-rugged laptops [discountlaptops.com] . There are laptops from the Panasonic ToughBook CF sereis on there.

Get a Toughbook off Ebay (1, Troll)

Wee (17189) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623348)

I wish I could buy one of those things on the open market, I love the damn things.

You can get them on ebay for around $2,000 [ebay.com] . You can also buy them new [google.com] in the $3K - $4K range.

I'd probably go for one of the lower-powered CF-25s [ebay.com] for a couple hundred. Actually, I'd buy three of them and use two for parts. If you're really in the market for a portable that does duty in hazardous conditions, you're probably not going to be doing video editing and such on it anyway, and might be able to get by with a P166 CPU.

-B

Re:Panasonic Toughbook CF-28 (2, Informative)

drix (4602) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623372)

You can [discountlaptops.com] buy them retail. The markup isn't really even that hefty compared to an "untough" system. Best of all, that particular reseller will bundle Linux/no-OS with their systems.

My roomate's XBOX (5, Funny)

satanami69 (209636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623006)

See here [slashdot.org]

G3 Wallstreet (2, Interesting)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623037)

I once aquired a G3 wallstreet. It'd been left in the trunk for several months. There was no carpet, it was diurty, and the guy lived in an area with lots of pot holes.

When I get it it had nearly no paint on the bottom, and the top was scratched all to hell. but, it worked. LCD was in good shape, and it worked for a few months until I had passed it on to someone else.

Re:G3 Wallstreet (1)

chargen (90268) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624118)

Bwaahaaahaaa.... "acquired" Come on... admit it...

-Pete

Classic Marantz ad from the 1970s (2, Informative)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623043)

See it here [classic-audio.com] .

Memory and low temperatures (5, Informative)

Tiersten (58773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623051)

Low temperatures actually improves data retention in SRAM when it's unpowered, I know it's not Flash but they both do rely on storing charge.

The fact crazy people have previously immersed their PC in liquid nitrogen and still had a functional PC at the end shows that it shouldn't damage most electronics.

So assuming the low temperature didn't crack the PCB or chip leads and the moisture didn't short anything then it's not too surprising that it survived.

Re:Memory and low temperatures (2, Interesting)

innerlimit (593217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623156)

Are you thinking of the extreme cooling guys who used liquid nitrogen to cool their system? because if you are (and i might be mistaken) they didn't immerse the system rather than cooling tubes... the system itself was immersed in a non-conductive material.

on topic: my chain smoking brother has an old celeron thingy, the screen and case look yellow and the keyboard is a haggered piece of sh!t. last time i opened the case there was cloud of dust and the whole thing was covered in a thick layer of dust... truly disgusting.

Re:Memory and low temperatures (1)

Tiersten (58773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623226)

Yeah. You could be right. I've seen pictures of where the CPU only was immersed in liquid nitrogen and one of where some guy used Fluorinert (sp?) which was chilled with liquid nitrogen.

Re:Memory and low temperatures (1)

innerlimit (593217) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623970)

Yupz, I remember that one... has to count as hardware under duress!

Re:Memory and low temperatures (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624059)

so assuming we ignore all the dangerous stuff that could of happened, of course its fine. I could have told you that. sheeeesh.

Powerbook dropped down the stairs (5, Interesting)

joelparker (586428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623066)

I accidentally dropped my Powerbook Duo
down a long flight of concrete stairs...
it bounced all the way to the bottom.

It survived with all data intact,
God bless Apple's case designers. :)

Re:Powerbook dropped down the stairs (5, Interesting)

adamjaskie (310474) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623863)

A kid in my dorm has dropped his powerbook g4 several times. One time it fell off his lap, and hit the edge of a table leg on the way down, taking a chunk out of the table leg, and wedging it between two parts of the case. Another time, he dropped it off his desk, and it hit something on the floor right on edge, putting a dent in the side of the keyboard area. Then, it slipped out of his backpack, tumbled down a flight of stairs, and bounced through the railing to fall an entire story. It hit the railing on the way down, denting the edge of the laptop, and finally landed corner first on the concrete floor. He has the bright spots on the screen, two mashed corners, two dented sides, a dent in the side of the screen area, and a slightly bowed screen. And it still works perfectly, other than one of the USB ports being mashed beyond recognition, and some creative application of a 20 pound instrument transformer to bend the metal far enough to insert the charging plug.

IBM Thinkpad laptop (5, Interesting)

Komarosu (538875) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623079)

Now i've got a REAL monster, a Pentium 1 133mhz IBM thinkpad from a long time ago. Its been dropped down about 3 flights of concreate stairs, been hit in the LCD screen by a football a few times, survived the fury of a 6 year old kid, dropped on tarmac from 3-4ft.

The verdict? A nackered case, a flickery LCD, but a perfect, no badcluster HDD and it still works perfectly.

Re:IBM Thinkpad laptop (1)

pediddle (592795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623872)

Exaggerating? Never on Slashdot...

How many flights of concrete stairs was that again?

Re:IBM Thinkpad laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7624001)

I can attest to that...I've seen a thinkpad fall 8 feet, bounce once and land face-down in a puddle (all of this while powered on).

After cleaning/drying it, it powered up just fine.

My SCSI drive (5, Funny)

ivanmarsh (634711) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623113)

I've got a ~12 year old Seagate SCSI drive that still works fine.

You can cook eggs on it while it's running, but it still works.

Here's a pair. (1)

jargonCCNA (531779) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623143)

One: Any Mackie soundboard. Mackie sales reps will smash the boards off the floor as hard as they can, then proceed to perform their sales pitch using the same board. Two: The PSU for an old 486/66 of mine... left it plugged in and running when the electric company's guys had to come by an fix the power... power switch was on both when the power was cut and when it came back. The PSU didn't work for a year and a half, but it's running as well as ever, now!

Wacom Tablet (1)

Frambooz (555784) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623161)

I use my Wacom Intuos2 tablet as a plate for extreme breakfast making while sittingin front of the pc, does that count?

Re:Wacom Tablet (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623991)

You'd get more points if it doubled as a cutting board or frying pan,

Anyone remember the Baked Apple? (0)

AyanamiChan (695112) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623166)

I'm not sure where I found this, maybe it was an old /. article. Either way, a quick google search found it again. http://homepage.mac.com/aaronsteele/Personal8.html Also, my iBook's been dropped a couple times, yanked off the desk by it's power cord, etc. No data loss or anything. My Compaq laptop took one little fall and the LCD screen broke and the hard drive was damaged.

Diamond Viper Z200 (Savage 2000) (3, Interesting)

andrewl6097 (633663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623178)

The card's performance, drivers etc sucked, but one time I put it into the AGP slot and sparks flew, literally ( a bolt of electricity jumped from end to end of the slot ). Smoke rose. Powered the thing up and everything worked fine.

Re:Diamond Viper Z200 (Savage 2000) (2, Interesting)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624262)

This is a prime example of "the cockroach syndrome". The uglier, stupider, and more useless the item is, the longer it will last, making it harder to justify getting rid of it (or harder to get rid of it period).

Take for example, DOS. You can't get much uglier and useless than DOS. Yet because it's so ugly and useless, it's also the most stable OS in the world. No, really! DOS is incredibly simple (there's a (practically) complete open-source clone of it (FreeDOS), and it only took a few years), so there basically is no OS to crash, only applications. And I bet you've seen a computer running DOS within the last week or two.

Re:Diamond Viper Z200 (Savage 2000) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7624366)

I had a Toyota like that. Eventually I had to donate that sucker.

Vintage Macs (3, Interesting)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623186)

The Macs that Apple had out in the 680x0 era have got to be the toughest things I've ever seen. I've got about four of them sitting in my room (I had more, but had to get rid of them to make space for more old comps). I've done pretty much everything imaginable to them, and they're just fine. The very early compact Macs in particular were very tough. The 128K to Plus or so had zero moving parts, except for the floppy drive, and their cases were made out of what seems to be thick steel (judging from their weight). The Apple series computers (e.g. IIGS) were pretty damned tough, too. Unfortunately, with their white plastic shell, the new Macs get scratched up extremely easily, and the cases aren't anywhere near as tough as those of vintage models. Oh yeahl, and their Laserwriters were damned tough, too. I've kicked my Personal Laserwriter 320 by accident a bunch of times, and it's taken numerous other abuses, but still works perfectly. I picked it up for 5 bucks at a flea market, so I have no idea what it took before then.

Re:Vintage Macs (1)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623648)

I've kicked my Personal Laserwriter 320

I know that if I ever kicked my Laserwriter Plus, I'd be the one worse for it. Ouch! That beast was heavy. Nestled among the usual warnings about any use of the device possibly causing injury was a note that the printer was heavy. It was still running fine when I threw it away because I didn't want to ever move it again.

Re:Vintage Macs (1)

kayen_telva (676872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624141)

"I've done pretty much everything imaginable to them..."


and with the cajones to admit these sick despicabe acts in public too. you are truly a man's man.

Old hard drives (3, Funny)

ChaseTec (447725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623198)

I used to work at a tech shop so of course when ever we had the chance we'd take delight in destroying equipment. There were monitor from building tops, screw driver heads on spinning disk platers, blanking plates in slot 1 cpu slots and just about anything else you can think of.

Someone tried to sell us a pretty old computer and when we told them it wasn't worth anything they ask us to trash it. The hard drive in the system was an old MFM 5.5 inch full height drive that had a non-removable cover. We tried to break it open with a hammer and could barely scratch the thing. I swear that you could have thrown the thing out of an airplane and it would surface scan ok.

Another time we had a custom throw their own computer through a wall after Windows locked up on them. The only thing that didn't have any damage was a USR 56k ISA modem. But that was only until we gave the modem back to the customer and he broke it into two piece in the front of our store(I personally think he had issues). It did take him about 5 minutes to crack the thing though....

Re:Old hard drives (1)

yosemite (6592) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623724)

Yeah those old hdd's are pretty tough. I had and old 5.25 drive; I removed the philips screws that held the top on, hooked it up and set it as my swap partition.

I had a lot of fun sitting there, drinking scotch and watching the heads seek.

Re:Old hard drives (2, Funny)

polymath69 (94161) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624376)

Ah, MFM... I remember MFM... my 3rd and 4th computers had those.

To segue this back to topic, system #4 was a 286. After I'd had it a few years, I added a 287 (math coprocessor for the youngsters) that I bought used on Usenet.

That 287 turned out to be one chip with a deathwish; for some reason, it ran at about 300 degrees F. (Yes, it would boil drops of water.) The system would shut down after about 10 minutes.

But after I added a makeshift aluminum heatsink, it was fine. And that systems still works. I'll never know why that chip ran that hot, or how it survived.

But the price was a bargain. :-)

Sorta survived (1)

dalmor (231338) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623209)

I once was working on a computer(mine luckily), and I was trying to get something to work(forgot what), but it involved plugging and unplugging the power supply, just for safety measures. Well, this particular case had a removable 3 1/2 bays, and I put it on one time. Little did I know it wasnt on all the way. So while working on the computer, this bay dropped, connected two connectors on the power switch(this had an AT powersupply, where these where hard power switches, power went directly through it). And well, sparks flew about a foot out of the case. Massive sparks, maybe a little more than thos sparklers you can get during the forth of july. I unplugged it as soon I was out of my deer-in-headlights stage. There was black soot around where it was sparking, and those two wires that went from the powersupply to the switch? They were welded together. But after getting a new power supply, the whole thing worked, minus the cache on the CPU. I had to disable cache in the bios for it to boot, it was incredibly slow. From that day on I learned how important cache is for a CPU, and never be too lazy to unplug the power cord when messing with your computer. This computer sort of survived, but the author of this story didnt mention usability.

I'm in a pirate mood (-1, Offtopic)

EdMack (626543) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623227)

The hardiest har-har-har to you all

Hardy Laptop and USB Memory Drive (1)

MBoffin (259181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623231)

A friend of mine had a Toshiba laptop way back when and it fell of the third floor fire-escape and landed on concrete below. The casing was a bit cracked and the keyboard popped off, but it still worked.

But speaking of "hardy hardware", I bought a 128MB USB memory drive a couple years ago when they first started hitting the market. I bought a DiskOnKey drive [diskonkey.com] and it had quite an interesting spec sheet that said it could withstand shock up to 10 G's and vibrations of 5 G's. Not bad for a little drive like that. Most of the other ones I've seen recently are very fragile and the casing will pop open even when dropped from desk height.

(When I first saw the site name, I thought to myself, "Dis Konkey? What a stupid name.")

Super PileDriver 1000 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7623262)

I'd say that the SuperPileDriver 1000 [goatse.cx] is easily far and away the "hardiest hardware" I have ever personally laid eyes on.

Mind sharing? (2, Insightful)

gabraham (723236) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623269)

Would mrsev mind sharing the brand and model of his Flash disk? I wouldn't knowing what to look for in the store if/when I need a Flash disk later.

Re:Mind sharing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7624337)

Shhh, do not pay any attention to that man behind the curtain. If you ask for too much detail you'll find out the whole thing is fake just to get a slashdot story.

I had sex with... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7623281)

... a girl with the clap. I came out clean. Thats what I call durable hardware....

A Casio Data Bank 50 calculator watch (1)

Exocet (3998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623287)

Many years ago I had the rubber/plastic band on my Casio Data Bank watch break. I decided not to get a new band and, instead, wondered how hardy the watch might be.

The Data Bank line is "water resistant" so I figured I'd try to kill it by putting it in a plastic cup filled with water and left in the freezer portion of a refrigerator over night. I forgot about it and, about a week later, saw it sitting in the little block of ice I'd made.

After busting the watch out the display was dim but still fully functional. All functions of the watch still worked.

Re:A Casio Data Bank 50 calculator watch (1)

JDWTopGuy (209256) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624338)

I had a watch when I was younger that I loved (can't remember brand/model), and I lost it.

Many months later we were having our septic tank emptied, and the workers found my watch in the yard. This thing had spent a good portion of a year (if not more) in our yard in rural Connecticut (I don't live there anymore, thankfully), and had clearly been put through the lawnmower. Half of the watch band was missing. It still worked, and I kept it until the battery died a while ago.

And ironically I now own a Casio Data Bank watch. Hey, is that a black helicopter?

HP Calculators (1)

gristlebud (638970) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623323)

It's an obvious choice, but no discussion of hardware hardiness would be complete without mention of the venerable HP calculators.

I've been dragging a 42S around since college, and I've had it across the country on hazardous waste sites of every description. It's been dropped, used at extreme temperatures, and been exposed to solvents, PCBs, heavy metals, radioactive contamination, explosives, and asbestos, yet it keeps running like a champ. Truth be known, I suspect that it's continued functionality is due more to my ability to hide it from the decontamination Nazis and their scrub brushes and pressure washes.

Re:HP Calculators (2, Informative)

Trbmxfz (728040) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624195)

Good point. I too have a HP that fell from 5-6 feet on concrete on several occasions. The case gets a few scratches every time, but that's it. I saw other people's HP survive some bad treatment too. After all, these are the calculators that engineers take to space (traditionally)!

I hear that newer models (those with the funky colors) are much weaker. There are reports of them falling from two feet on a carpet and having their screen destroyed.

Re:HP Calculators (1)

Laplace (143876) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624197)

I'm not worried about the calculator. But how are you hanging in there?

Floodwaters... (5, Funny)

GR|MLOCK (203716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623326)

The summer after my freshman year, I was working as a technician at a computer shop. We had horrible floods that summer, and a customer brought in an Acer 486DX66. It had been underwater for a week, buried in mud on the first floor of their house. He was only bringing it in to get a quote for the insurance company, and of course after taking one look at it we wrote it off completely.

The next week I had some free time and noticed the box sitting in the corner. I took it out back, turned the hose on it, removed and washed the cpu and memory, took it inside and plugged it in.

They were still using that computer as the fax server when I quit.

Re:Floodwaters... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7623388)

I once had a 486 dx2 that got a liter bottle of some kind of rug cleaner dumped into it(cover wasn't on) while it was running. The system freaked out and stopped working.

For about a week. A week later, the thing ran like nothign ever happened.

Amiga Floppy (3, Interesting)

McCarrum (446375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623335)

Back in the days when Commodore Australia and Commodore US were at war (atleast internally), I worked for a shop in Canberra Australia selling the brand new Amigas. Wonderful things.

Well, we had contacts on both sides of the pond - and when Commodore Australia wouldn't give us the brand new 1.1 release of the boot disk, we contacted the US office and got one sent out to us. It came by courier late in the day, in the middle of winter. Indeed, I was just going home. I grabbed the disk, thinking that I'd take it home and test it out there. So I grabbed my stuff, got into the car, and drove home. Grabbed a drink, and promptly forgot about it.

Next morning, I got up (at a loverly -4C .. the fridge was warm), got to work, parked, got out, and spotted the 3.5" floppy disk on the wall next to the car .. completely iced over. I freaked, calmed down, freaked, calmed down, chipped it out, and put it next to a VERY gentle heat source. Five hours later, I unscrewed the disk (remember when 3.5" disks had screws?) and transplanted the data to a new shell.

Worked. Beutifully. A quick backup or 10 and we were happy. Indeed, that became a mascot disk at the place for a while, and worked for ages.

Ahh memories ... now, back to work.

Old Tektronix o'scopes (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623338)

I've heard of a couple incidences of hapless field service techs backing over them with their cars. Still worked.

Re:Old Tektronix o'scopes (1)

Linux_Bastard (220710) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623573)

I have a GE silly scope on my desk that was new back in 54. It still works fine (once the tubes warm up) but starts to scale off after a few hours. Weighs about 60 lbs.
Almost 50 years old and still going.

USB 256 drive that should have been dead. (5, Interesting)

Neck_of_the_Woods (305788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623353)


I had it in my shorts, I hit the pool. Still did not know it was in my short, threw them in the wash. Then the drier.

Found the damn thing when I was folding my shorts the next day, with water on the inside of it. Set it up on desk at work for about 3 days and pluged it in as it had the only known good copy of some offsite routers. Took a couple seconds and wamo there is my data, pull it off to the desktop. Reach down and find the little bugger all fogged up on the inside. 2 weeks on my desk for a real long term dry out and that damn thing still works like a charm.

Go figre....

Anything Nintendo (5, Funny)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623390)

Nintendo controllers and systems have classically been made of ultra-durable plastic of doom. I remember throwing controllers again brick walls, and dropping gamecubes painfully high distances. Of course, I've never had any of these things break or stop working. I'm sure that when cockroaches rule the earth they will all play SNES games.

XBOX just trumped that today. (-1, Redundant)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623477)

But would you trust your Gamecube as body armor?

Gamespot just reported [gamespot.com] that an irate roommate just shot an XBOX. It ceased to function, however the case was not penetrated. Some parts could surely be salvaged AND anyone wearing under their shirt would be saved.

Re:XBOX just trumped that today. (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624024)

But anybody wearing an xbox under their shirt would not be able to walk or even stand up. And don't even think about lying down, the bugger will crush your rib-cage.

Fire Fire Fire (5, Funny)

g1zmo (315166) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623396)

Just a few days ago I caught a rackmounted server on fire.

Turns out (and I know I've done this many times before without starting any type of fire) I had the ribbon cable in backwards on the floppy drive. When I turned the power on, immediately the power wires started glowing orange and the flames were about a foot high and smoke poured out of the case.

After I pulled the plug, only one segment of the power harness was melted (the part with the small floppy connector), so I cut that out, put the floppy cable in correctly, plugged in the other floppy power lead, and turned it back on.

Shocked the Hell outta me, but the thing still worked, and has been working ever since.

Re:Fire Fire Fire (0, Troll)

MooseGuy529 (578473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623732)

I did that at computer camp once... it was build and repair a PC class, and the instructor had already had us plug everything in. My group had had a hell of a time with the floppy cable since it was in an awkward location and hard to get to, right-side-up or upside-down! So, we jammed it in--backwards (we didn't know yet). He told us to wait for him to check everything out, but I was impatient. I plugged it in, turned it on. It started booting, and suddenly it smelled smoky. I immediately knew what had happened and gave the power cord a quick tug out of the back. The smoke only started pouring out of the case after I unplugged it (I was really quick).

The guy was actually a bit of a jerk--he was like, "you know, I have half a mind to bill you for that!". First, it was a mistake--accidents happen. Second, the stuff was ancient--Pentium 100's, 1GB hard drives, Windows 95, 16 MB RAM or something... Third, the damn drives cost almost nothing. Well, he never did, but he was a bit of a jackass.

Anyway, it adds another trick to the repertoire of pranks (replace heatsink with anchovie, switch PSU to 220V, surgically rotate R, G, and B connectors, install OS/2, Windows 3.1, BeOS, or another OS the user can't figure out) to my bag of tricks. I've never done it to anyone, but it would be pretty fun.

Wait. Why the hell don't floppy drive manufacturers install a coupla diodes so power isn't supplied or shorted if the connection is bad?

Re:Fire Fire Fire (2, Funny)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624317)

Why the hell don't floppy drive manufacturers install a coupla diodes so power isn't supplied or shorted if the connection is bad?

Because then you wouldn't buy their product as often, silly!

Sharp Zaurus (1)

Time Doctor (79352) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623410)

I've dropped my zaurus (5500) onto various surfaces from large heights, scratches on the case, yes. But never does it stop functioning.

Nintendo Products (1)

btornado (612847) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623420)

Back in the days when Nintendo Power was in its prime, readers wrote in all sorts of stories where their Nintendo products got "tortured".

These concisted of their GameBoys getting dropped repeatedly, a GameBoy cartridge getting flushed down the toilet, SuperNES systems being caught up in house fires but still performed perfectly, etc.

I don't know if their products are still that tough as I have never had a bad experience with my stuff, but they are very strong

For me... (1)

Vilim (615798) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623461)

For me that would have to be my trusty Ti-83 calculator. I have dropped that down flights of stairs, off desks coundless times, exposed it to freezing temperatures, boiling temperatures (I live in Canada, at my place in Canada it goes down to minus 35 degrees celcius in the winter and plus 35 degrees celcius in the summer). And pretty well abused it to all hell. It still works great!.

Re:For me... (1)

MooseGuy529 (578473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623758)

I'm split on this one... I have a TI-89, and there are literally dozens of times I dropped it onto hardwood floor, cement, etcetera and was sure the screen was broken. It's never broken--the case is beat up a bit, but it's still working. (The one part that breaks on all my calculators is the link port--it tends to snap off the circuit board. Cybiko also had the same problem with the power plug on their first model. Solder alone is just not strong enough to attach a jack that will receive the full force of a plug coming in.)

But once, I accidentally dropped my brother's TI-83+ off the bed, and the screen had a huge, "fatal" crack across it. I would have maybe expected a dead row, column, or something, but it's a huge diagonal line with blue crap next to it.

AT&T Merlin PBX (2, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623506)

The building I was working in over the summer (a school) was undergoing major rennovations. Completely new electrical system, phone system, new cielings, etc.

The day after the construction started (two days after the students left for the summer), we walked in to the building to find to our horror what looked like a war-zone. The cielings had been removed with a sledgehammer. Bits of drywall everywhere. The network and phone wires were hanging, supporting the old lighting fixtures. We knew then that the network cabling was garbage, and removed it all, but kept the phone system, thinking that if the new system was delayed, the offices would still have their old phones.

The summer passed. Lots of bad stuff happened in the building aside from that first day. Long story short, we were able to tie up the old phone lines. Only one had been broken. It's the day before school opens, and the new phones aren't installed yet - thank God we saved the old system. We go to plug in the controller for the PBX, and are greeted with a sound not unlike a gunshot, as flames lept out of the cabinet and power supply. (My guess is that the noise came from the surge surpressor which recoiled several feet as a result of the large bang, and was smoldering).

Fearing the worst, we replace the surge supressor, grab an extension cord, and try another outlet. Lo and behold, the phones work perfectly (one line had a bit of static on it). School opened without a hitch.

Also during that project, we had our T1 DSUs/CSUs nearly destroyed. We were never told that the concrete wall they were mounted on was having several holes cut in it for HVAC. We arrive to find our equipment buried in bits of concrete and a large hole directly above the board (a sledgehammer was used). Amazingly, after being shaken out, they too worked fine.

DJ's Dropping Laptops (2, Interesting)

szyzyg (7313) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623512)

I once had the good fortune to open for Kid 606 and Matmos (currently Bjork's support act) at a bar. Being a DJ I was using good old fashioned vinyl on Technics sl1200 turntables - now those are tough turntables and take a lot of punishment. but....

Matmos setup their laptops in the DJ both - a pair of Powerbooks they just laid them on top of the turntable platters. Anyway they DJ'd anyway in their own fashion until someone accidently hit the start button on the Turntable and the laptop crashed to the concrete floor.

And it kept playing without a glitch, they picked it up, checked the connections and then continued with their set.

Maybe not the toughest hardware, but a pretty spectacular demonstration of real world survivability.

Moto StarTAC (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623547)

I unwittingly left my cell phone in my pocket when I went to do laundry. Didn't notice until I saw the antenna in the lint trap of the dryer. Got it out and turned it on and it still worked. I was pretty amazed. Makes the $100 I dropped on it seem worth it.

Baked laptop (2, Interesting)

hublan (197388) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623575)

My workmate hid his laptop in the oven when he was going away for a weekender. There had been a bout of burglaries in the neighbourhood and so he was a little bit paranoid.

You know where this is going...

He came back after the trip and thought he'd make himself a pizza. So he pre-heated the oven to 400F. After the smoke cleared, he took the laptop out and threw it out in the snow and left it there for a good while for it to cool down.

The top of the lid was mostly melted away and had fused with the bottom half. He had to crack it open. Surprisingly the LCD worked, the machine booted up. It still works to this date. Unfortunately Compaq didn't think it was good enough to advertise the ruggedness of his machine and so they turned down his offer.

some stuff... (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623583)

I have a portable Napa CD/VCD player that came with a small remote for controlling VCD's. I accidentally left it in a pocket on a pair of pants and it went though the washing machine AND dryer before it was found again. I had to change the battery in it but it works just fine. Lesson of this story? Always check your pockets before washing stuff. My iBook has also taken a beating and still works fine...I used to carry it around in a backpack laptop case with heavy books, it got crushed a few tims, dropped on its' corners multiple times....and it still works like new excep the latch is braken but that's no big deal, rather a small annoyance.

Re:some stuff... (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623630)

I would also like to state the obvious fact that I'm having a very bad day in terms of typing, so keep it to yourself!

More stuff I thought of... (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624026)

Remember MiniDiscs? They always said you could run them over with a car and they'd stoll work fine. I've tried this and it's true! I also have a Mac Plus that runs perfectly fine, it's not necessarily hardy but it sure is lasting forever!

128MB USB drive (1)

harryk (17509) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623679)

My wife recently washed and dryed my drive. Thankfully, and in likeness to the story, the drive was completely in tact, and with a nice new fresh smell.

PNY made the drive, gotta give'em credit!

My Mac (1)

Randy Wang (700248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623691)

I still have my old Mac Classic II running under my desk today, at a spritely 16Mhz, with its original 80Mb hard drive. I use it for MacMoria and the original Civilisation, but damn, do I love my Mac.

Seagate ST-255 HDD (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623703)

back in the '80s, seagate made some 20MB hard drives ('ST-255' and friends) that I've seen hold up like no other fixed disc in memory. not long ago, I pulled a pair of them out of a dead PC-XT -- where they'd been, collecting dust, for 8 years, after 9 years in continuous service -- stuck them in another XT clone box, and fired it up. the drives spun for 9 hours while their contents were delivered out thru the slow XT serial port, without so much as a single failed CRC32 :-)

HP laser printers and servers (2, Interesting)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623727)

Rumer has it that you can prop up the side of a house with an HP laserjet II or III. I've dropped several 5Ms and 4s onto concrete from up to 1 meter and still gotten test pages along with burning smells and grinding noises. Their newer printers are a lot more fragile though. Still, if you want to really abuse something, buy an old rackmount Prolient server. I've never had the privilage of destroying one, but ruined several drillbits on a modding project.

Old PPC Motherboard (2, Interesting)

ShawnD (21638) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623740)

I actually improved a system through abuse!

I have this old Motorola PPC PReP motherboard I use for a fileserver. It had stopped autobooting, but would still boot if I manually typed the boot command on the console.

One day I was playing with it and managed to plug in the power leads wrong (AT power supply :-(). When I turned on the switch and the fans just sort of twitched I instantly realized what I had done.

I plugged them in correctly and turned it on and it still worked!. All of the NVRAM had been erased, but once I re-entered all of the configuration (and guessed at a few values since I don't have a manual) it started auto-booting again.

I have also seen chips meant for 3.3V power run for weeks on 5V power before anyone noticed. Some chips are really tuff.

Apparently it's this ... (0, Redundant)

dustpuppy (5260) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623770)


From this Slashdot article [slashdot.org] , apparently the toughest hardware is an Xbox.

I reckon that the Warthog in Halo must be made from the same stuff as an Xbox ....

Portable CD Player (1)

Johnathon_Dough (719310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623835)

When we got a new phone system here at work my boss attached his $40 portable mp3/cd player (AIWA) as a "temprary measure". It has been running non-stop for close to two years now.

Considering I went through 3 or 4 of these before getting an iPod, I am consistantly impressed with the little thing.

CF Cards and the Spin Cycle (1)

skinfitz (564041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623859)

I have a symbol compact flash 802.11b card. I had a habit of keeping it in my shirt pocket, and one day I remember idly having my hand on my chest, feeling the CF card and thinking "Blimey! I'd forgotten all about that! I might have put my shirt in the wash!" then thinking "heh - as IF! I'm FAR too smart to do something STUPID like that!!!"

Cut to two weeks later and I'm pulling clothes from the washing machine, then I hear a clatter on the floor. Cue guttaral moan that could probably be hard across the street. Yep - I'd washed the CF card complete with spin cycle.

I left it on a radiator for about two weeks, then crossed my fingers and put it in my PDA - it worked fine and has done ever since!

My trusty hammer (4, Funny)

Malfourmed (633699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7623885)

My trusty hammer.

Sure I've had to change the head a couple of times, and also the handle, but aside from that it's as good as new.

Sony Discman (4, Funny)

generationxyu (630468) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624007)

I once dropped a (at the time broken) Sony Discman out my second floor window, it first hit a ledge, and then the ground, landed face up, with the top open. I wasn't too worried about it since it was broken. It then proceeded to get rained on for a week. When I finally got it back inside, the PCB was coated in mud, and it was essentially a mess. I washed it off with water (after all, i might as well use the parts for something). Turn it on, it works. Apparently rain and mud fixes Sony Discmen.

PDP-8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7624013)

At my alma mater the psychology department had a PDP-8 they used for statistical analysis. This machine was kept on the 2nd floor of a rather run-down WW II vintage building.

One day this building caught fire and was completely ruined. During the collapse of the building the PDP-8 fell from the 2nd floor to the basement.

After recovery from the basement it was found to still work, despite the partially melted exterior. In fact some claimed it was less tempermental after the fire than before. Of course DEC used pictures of it in many ads.

My Old Toshiba (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624034)

Way back (late 80s) I had a used Toshiba laptop - you know, blue monochrome LCD, 2 floppy. I slipped running up the front stairs of my apartment (concrete steps, concrete landing) and fell swinging the laptop over my head and smashing it down on the landing. Pieces flew everywhere but I just took out the soldering iron and melted the brass inserts back into the plastic case, carefully figured out where everything went, reassembled it and used it for quite a while thereafter.

Model M (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624071)

I once beat a man to death with a Model M keyboard. Worked just fine before and since.

OK, I didn't really. But I'm sure I could have, those things really are invincible (also big and heavy) - fire, physical shock, water (or beer), nothing hurts them.

Compact Flash is tougher than hell (1)

Ledge (24267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624094)

I've got a 128 meg compact flash card that has been in my right front pocket every work day for the last 9 months. It has a software reflash for a device that my company sells on it. I run in to customers that need the update about once or twice a week. It has now made 3 trips through the washer and dryer and still works.

Trs-80's (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624098)

In 8th grade, Michael torino used to spit in the disk drives every time he used them, todd difosid knoced them off the desk once and it still worked, there were M&Ms in the disk drives, and people generally beat teh crap out of them. They refused to die. My hat is off to the desiginers of these systems, they took the worst crap the 8th grade class from hell could throw at them, and kept on going.

Bernoulli disks, bar none (2, Funny)

jht (5006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624107)

Way back at the beginning of the last decade, I worked for an Apple reseller. The Iomega rep gave me a couple of the then-new Bernoulli 90MB drives, and I wound up using them to shuttle data between home and work. The drives were pretty rugged, but the disks were awesome.

I used to leave them in my car for days on end in mid-winter (and this is New England - it gets pretty danged cold here) and use them with no problem. But one time, I had no better alternative to use as an ice scraper, so I used a Bernoulli 90 disk, figuring the disk would be toast afterwards (but hey, it was free, so why not sacrifice it?). So I chipped the ice off my car with it and didn't think twice about it.

The disk worked with no problems at all for years afterwards.

Needless to say, the later Zip and Jaz drives were nowhere near as rugged, but Zip was the most rugged small media format (the drives were fragile, but the disks were pretty tough) you could get easily until flash drives took off the last couple of years. SyQuest disks, OTOH, would die if you looked at them funny.

A vacuumed SRAM that ended up in a computer (2, Interesting)

WayneConrad (312222) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624111)

Way back in the day, I had a 1k SRAM that I had abused in every which way possible. It ended up in my TRS-80 to give it lowercase. It mostly worked, but the way it mostly worked was really cool:

A funny thing about my TRS-80, something different from any other one you've ever seen, is that when you first turned it on, you would only see funny characters on the screen. I mean things like a circle with a dot in it, or a greek letter... that kind of stuff. Then the characters would slowly start to flicker, and then you could see that they were trying to be regular characters, and then they were mostly regular characters with just a faint image of the funny character, and then finally, a minute later, the regular characters you expected were on the screen, the funny characters having faded to black. It was really a neat effect, but not one I got on purpose. What happened is that I had hacked an extra memory chip into the video memory to get upper and lowercase. To save money, the designers had put only seven bits of memory into the video memory (seven chips, each one having 1024 bits), and what they gave up was lowercase and special characters (they could have kept lowercase and special characters, but instead allowed graphics with some really bit pixels). But the character encoder that turned the video memory bits into bits on the monitor could handle lowercase, and I read an article that showed how to piggyback another memory chip onto the video memory to get lowercase, and so I decided to do that. It just so happened that I had one of these chips around, but it's one I had abused -- I used it for experiments. Among other things, it got sucked through a vacuum cleaner once, but I had unbent the pins and kept it. And that's the chip that went into my TRS-80. But it turns out that it just wouldn't work cold because of the abuse I had given it. Once it got warm then it worked just fine, and that's why my computer needed a minute to warm up before you could see regular characters on the screen.

Fire (1)

gregRowe (173838) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624151)

When I worked repairing windows PCs someone brought in a PC that was recovered from a fire in their house. The case was badly melted and the machine smelled very bad, but the machine would boot just fine. We were able to recover all the data!

compact flash cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7624163)

I've washed a few of these things -- as in clothes washer then dryer -- and have been shocked to find they still worked. Mind you these are cards that I use as a photographer at a 400,000-circ daily newspaper, so any hiccups after the spin cycle treatment would be quickly noticed, but they just churn along. Too bad I can't say as much for the cameras I put them into!

moldy mobo (1)

tamarik (1163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624185)

I used to overclock a couple Celery 300s on an ABIT BP6 mobo. I used peltier plates between the CPU and heatsinks. Once in awhile I'd do something that required me to slow the thing down to see if that was the problem. A couple times I left it slow (actually at normal speed) and it 'grew' unstable and then stopped. Both times I looked inside and saw mold/algea growing around the CPUs!. When I left the plates turned on and the CPUs slow there wasn't enough heat to remove and the dew point was reached. Condensation would form and then mold would grow. I did this twice in 1 1/2 years until I retired the mobo, still serving files.

To clean them, I used toothpaste and an old brush on the CPU. Got the pins nice and shiny. And used a dry toothbrush on the mobo after drying it for ~10mins with a hairdryer.

My Atari 2600... (1)

sailracer6 (262434) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624206)

I have an Atari 2600 that's several years older than me (1978 1st production run, I believe).

About a year ago, while it was sitting in my closet, something overflowed in my attic and flooded the case. Keep in mind that the bottom tray of a 2600 is essentially watertight; it sat there like that for about a week, the hardware immersed in water.

Emptied it out, opened it up. Some corrosion. Powered it up, works fine!

Dell and Fire (1)

KhanAFur (693723) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624218)

I work at a little computer store and had gotten in 3 machines there were in a fire that we were doing data recovery on.

One of them was a dell P4 machine, the case was all melted. The case both inside and out was covered in both ash and water. For my own entertainment I pulled the motherboard, processor and power supply out and washed them really well. After letting them dry for a while i plugged them in and to my suprise it worked.

The video card didn't survive, a couple of the surfice mount components actually cracked in half.

I tried to call Dell afterwards to get a new case for it and ended up being transfered to every department at the place just to be told an hour later that they didn't sell cases. Stupid motherboards that can't be installed in standard cases.

-Mary

Philips Pronto Remote (1)

Nerdy (314261) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624315)

My son who was about 1 1/2 at the time dropped my philips pronto touchscreen remote ( $400 when I bought it ) in the bathtub. When I pulled it out, the screen had soapsuds in it!.

I opened the case and removed the electronics. I soaked the whole package in distilled water a few times to get rid of the soap residue. I then put it into the oven on the lowest setting for a couple of minutes. I did this about an hour to make sure it was completely dry.

I left it overnight and when I reassembled it in the morning, it still works!-- and continues to work to this day, 2 years later.

Heh. (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624324)

My girlfriend is still using my old Compaq Laptop. I figure it must have been bitten by a vampire or something.

Athlon T-Bird 750 (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624330)

MY athlon once caught fire after a catastrophic water cooling failure. The temperature inside the case were hot enough to melt the solder off of my video card and there was electrical arcingfrom an unfused power supply to my peltier junction. Also I'm typing this post on it right now (w/ a different video card) :)

Old HD (1)

kruczkowski (160872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7624348)

At my old job a freind and I found an old 300 MB HD. We decided to take the cover off and look inside. Then we plugged it into a 486 we had around and installed Win 3.11 - All while the cover was off. We let it run for a few days and watched the head move back and forth. Finaly we got board of defrags and decided to kill it. First off with compressed air upside down (so it spits a cold liquid) then with magnets. The damn HD kept on going. Finaly we started throwing shit at it. That killed it slowly.
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