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Abused, But Working Hardware Stories?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the hurt-me-good dept.

Hardware 1352

RPI Geek writes "Everyone's heard the stories about people who, knowingly or unknowingly, abuse their computers. Personally, I've had a faulty power supply literally burn a hole through the motherboard, with the only ill effects being a dead PCI slot and USB ports. I'm curious as to what kind of abuse fellow /.ers have done or seen done to electronics while the hardware still worked afterwards. Soldered a broken keyboard PCB back together so that it worked fine? Taken sticks of RAM out of a running computer to see when it would notice? Overclocked a 386... to 386MHz? I'm interested in hearing any stories about abused-but-working hardware."

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I think now's the time to know . . . (5, Funny)

homeobocks (744469) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828823)

My keyboard has taken years of one-hand typing and bad aim.

Re:I think now's the time to know . . . (5, Funny)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828952)

Do us all a favor and pick up one of these [] , and make sure you wash your hands.

Interesting.. (1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828825)

You mean abused like THIS [] ? I do think however, that said Powerbook no longer works.

My cup-holder stopped working months ago... (5, Funny)

MojoReisen (218327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828829)

But the rest of the box seems to be OK.

So far I have attempted the following: (5, Interesting)

eaglebtc (303754) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828832)

So far I've done the following while my PC was running:

- Removed RAM. Windows died. Reboot. Problem solved.
- Inserted PCI cards. Windows died. Reboot. Problem solved.
- Removed PCI cards. Windows survived.
- Hot-swapped hard drives. Windows survived.
- Hot-swapped CD/DVD drives. Windows survived.

My power supply and mobo must be very fault-tolerant, I suppose, because other systems have not taken a liking to this behavior. I have an Enermax 350W and an Asus P4C800-E. Currently I own two SATA hard drives. According to the standards group, SATA is "hot-swappable." Given my previous activities, I can verify their claims.

Obviously, the system did not enjoy having its RAM removed. And while it did not mind the removal of a PCI card, it froze up solid when I inserted a new one. A quick reboot took care of that.

I've also dropped my iPod about 5-6 times, and it still keeps on ticking!

Re:So far I have attempted the following: (5, Funny)

coirec (781713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828862)

I've also dropped my iPod about 5-6 times, and it still keeps on ticking!
Uh-oh. Sounds like the HD is about to go...

Re:So far I have attempted the following: (2, Funny)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828883)

I'd be more worried about electrocution than breaking my PC in some of these instances.

Re:So far I have attempted the following: (1)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828896)

Yeah man those 1.5-12 volts are killer.

Re:So far I have attempted the following: (3, Informative)

Barny (103770) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828935)

Serial ATA is hot plugable, to have it hot swappable, you must remember to either flush the write cache to disk, or disable it completely (as is done with flash media).

I know floppy drives are hot swappable (tested).

Not sure about cd-roms, of course, testing them through an adapter that has provision for ide detection while the os is running is considered cheating ;)

Re:So far I have attempted the following: (1)

wolssiloa (721045) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828959)

did you do all of the above in Windows XP?

Ran Windows XP (5, Funny)

atlantis191 (750037) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828833)

I put windows XP and my computer and it still runs ;)

Re:Ran Windows XP (1)

JiffyJeff (693994) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828940)

Sure this is slashdot, but really... how lame.

Re:Ran Windows XP (1)

ScribeOfTheNile (694546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828956)

I attempted to install Windows XP on my computer, alongside Gentoo, and it corrupted most of my data on a seperate partition. :(

It blew up (2, Interesting)

ucdoughboy (757337) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828837)

I've connected something running off an ac outlet that wasn't isolated to a programming board. It blew a pretty big hole in the cpu. And it stopped working....

Re:It blew up (5, Interesting)

artakka (114455) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828942)

I have a similar story, but with a happy ending.

In late 80s one of my friends brought a brand new computer from USA and asked me to help him to set it up. I switched the power supply to 220 Volts and plugged it in. There was a loud bang and small cloud of black smoke came out of the case.

The power supply, while worked fine on 120V, had pretty much shorted the 220V to the motherboard. There was a quarter sized hole on the motherboard, with black charred remains of a chip sprinkled around.

Amazingly, the computer came with a circuit diagram, so we figured out that the charred chip was actually a simple 4xNAND or something like that. After we found a replacement chip, just soldered its legs with wires to the closest intact parts of the motherboard, replaced the power supply. And it actually worked. The chip was hanging over the hole supported by the wires, like a little spider. I wish I took a picture.

Needless to say the owner was very happy.

a luggable meets the baggage handlers (5, Interesting)

quinxy (788909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828838)

Back in 1996 I built a dual Pentium Pro computer in an SKB music case (for rackmounted music gear) as a luggable computer. After a few years the thing was pretty antiquated, so when I had to move from Europe back to the US I decided to doom the thing to the fates and have it travel back with me with my luggage, facing the perils of baggage handling. It just wasn't worth taking any extra precautions. I knew the thing wouldn't survive the trip, but I didn't want to throw it out. It had no shock protection at all, and I didn't place any fragile stickers on it or anything. After the trip I opened the case up to find the CPUs and memory sticks had unseated themselves and been knocking around inside the case, many of the CPU pins were bent this way and that. The memory seemed scratched but otherwise ok. some of the chips mounted on the motherboards seem to have suffered the impacts of the CPUs flying about (some bent wires going to the chips). Just to see what would happen I straightened the wires, pins, re-seated the memory, and turned it on. The damn thing worked fine. And went on to live an unexpected few years as a file server. I'm not sure what lesson I learned, I suppose that computers can be far more robust than I expect (but only when I don't expect it).

Unintentional, but... (5, Interesting)

sneakers563 (759525) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828842)

Well, this was unintentional, but I had a 60 Mhz Pentium and after a couple of years decided to replace it. I bought some new components and opened up the case to pull the memory and found the heat sink lying at the bottom of the case. It had completely fallen off at some point in the past. Strangely, there were never any symptoms and it worked fine the whole time.

Re:Unintentional, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828869)

duh pentiums at that speed run fine without a heatsink

Re:Unintentional, but... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828928)

that's because they don't get hot enough to need them!

Well... (5, Funny)

causality (777677) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828844)

Can't say I've ever abused hardware like this, but I must say, reading this article is really making me want to try. Is that wrong?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828923)

I am having the same issues... only at the moment I am sat in a server room full of rack mounted Nas servers :o... time to sit on my hands

Solded off the sound port (4, Interesting)

thomasdn (800430) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828845)

A while ago, I needed some cheap 1U servers... I decided to use some cheap motherboards with "onboard everything"... There was just one problem. The sound port did not fit in a 1U rack cabinet. The solution was to fetch the soldering iron and remove it. It worked!

Re:Solded off the sound port (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828983)

I was in the exact same position... building a cheap 1u machine, got the all in one mobo, sound ports were too high... only difference is I didn't have proper sodering iron so I just push pryed and pulled on it until it was mangled down enough to fit in the case... and to my surprise the thing still worked after I got through with it.

Thermal Paste (0)

kajoob (62237) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828847)

I wonder if this processor [] ran again after thermal paste was lightly applied.

my cd-rom (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828851)

was molested when it was young. It's been a long and hard fight, but with therapy he's slowly allowing other people to get close to him again.

...abused hardware (-1, Redundant)

eples (239989) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828852)

I installed Windows on a machine once..
That was pretty abusive.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828873)

You dumb fucking bracegirdle from hardbottle.

Re:...abused hardware (1)

thomasdn (800430) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828890)

Yes. But did it still work afterwards?


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828903)

Windows jokes aren't funny, and quite frankly your Linux kernel is fucking pathetic in comparison to the NT kernel. The Linux periphery is even more pathetic.

Re:...abused hardware (1)

log2.0 (674840) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828895)

Thats semi-valid. I dual boot my laptop:

In windows, the fan turns on quite a lot (indicating that it gets hotish).

In linux (gentoo), I can do the same activities and the fan will stay off most of the time.

Of course, as soon as I do any CPU intensive stuff in either OS, the fan goes on full. These are only my results though and it could be an anomoly ;)

I've hung (5, Funny)

phita23 (667236) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828853)

every piece of hardware not attached to the motherboard (hard drives, cd drives etc) without a case, on wire all hung on one coat hanger. I was trying to minimize the noise cause by vibrations between the hardware and the case. My CPU fan must of sucked some wire up and tangled up the entire setup. It all crashed onto the table, yuck. Needless to say, I scrapped that hanging setup. I put the hardware back together in its case, and it worked!

replaced a CPU pin on a P4 (5, Interesting)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828858)

How about that! Got a guy who took a trashed P4, solder some 24 guage wire on to create a pin and is using the CPU now. I am quite amazed at the man's skill. I for one can't do crap with a soldering iron except ruin things.

Not plugging in CPU fan (1)

Jesterboy (106813) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828859)

I'm pretty sure this isn't anything new, but while building a computer for my girlfriend, I reseated an Athlon XP heat sink with some high quality thermal paste, and forgot to plug the fan back in.

When I booted it into Window, I let it run long enough to get to ~70C before realizing what I did and yanking out the power cord. It worked fine after plugging the fan back in. Just no one tell her, okay? ^_^

Re:Not plugging in CPU fan (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828906)

I don't believe you - forgetting to put a CPU fan should either result in a series of beeps telling you that a fan is not plugged in. Also without a fan, a CPU will fry if a motherboard does not offer the aforesaid protection. Go away false geek.

Re:Not plugging in CPU fan (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828950)

Uh no, buddy - that would depend on your /motherboard./ See, not everyone uses a Dell these days. My Socket-A mobo, for one, doesn't beep if I unplug the CPU fan header. Geez.

Re:Not plugging in CPU fan (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828979)

Oh and another thing - your CPU won't instantly go nova on you if the fan is off.

But it will if you don't put a heatsink on it.

Re:Not plugging in CPU fan (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828985)

Actually, My last athalon mobo wouldn't beep if the fan was off, unless you set it to do that in the bios. It was turned off by default.

You seem to be the false geek here.

That was the LAST AMD piece of crap I will ever by.

Hotswap (1)

zyche (784345) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828863)

I once saw a guy install an ISA-card in a computer that was turned on. A standard AT-machine (don't remember the exact details).

I casually remarked that "perhaps you should turn the computer off before installing the card?", to which he replied "Ohh, you have to do that?"

BTW, this was in a computer oriented "high-school" education. He should really have known better. :-)

Blown speakers (4, Interesting)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828865)

I plugged an 18 volt AC adapter into 6 volt computer speakers. They made a really high pitched sound before they popped and spewed lots and lots of acidy smoke.

We later found the correct AC adapter, plugged them back in, and to our surprise, both speakers worked just fine. It makes you wonder what useless part broke in the speakers, and why that part was in there to begin with.

Re:Blown speakers (2, Informative)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828911)

It was a filter capacitor.

Re:Blown speakers (5, Informative)

scsirob (246572) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828921)

Most likely what you heard was an electrolytic capacitor. They are used as filter capacitors for your power supply. Without them you may here some humming, but the amplifier will work fine.

Speakers rated 6V will most likely have 10V capacitors, which will explode in the way you describe when applying 18V AC.

Fried egg P200 style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828866)

Cooked an egg on the CPU of a P-200mhz, it lasted until some of the egg found its way into a plug from the PSU and snap fried killing the psu, I couldnt be bothered checking if the board worked with another PSU.

Shorted a running NIC with a dropped screw... (5, Funny)

gkwok (773963) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828868)

I was finishing up a new video card plus NIC upgrade and had them attached to the motherboard while I booted the PC. I thought I was being smart and saving time by not screwing the brackets to the case until this point. I was just getting started with the video card bracket, when the screwdriver slipped and the screw landed on the NIC. There was a big spark and a pop, and the whole system instantly shut down. I powered it back on, and everything was fine. I've also removed RAM from a running 386. It froze, but both system and RAM were fine afterward.

Home Run (5, Funny)

Rylfaeth (138910) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828874)

I took a metal bat to an old computer (and monitor) that got infected with CIH a handful of years ago ... after running tiramisu and many other "recovery" programs I figured why not just fucking ruin the stupid thing and get a little enjoyment out of that? Anyways, despite terribly denting the case and power supply case, and cracking a cheap pci video card in half, the box booted fine. That's when I ripped the hard drive out while it was powered up and threw it down my driveway. A simple reboot fixed the problem, prompting me with the typical "Invalid System Disk" error. I replaced the hard drive and kept the dented behemoth in my closet for a few years afterwards.

Re:Home Run (1)

zyche (784345) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828918)

CIH resets the BIOS ehh?

I've never heard of a virus that is capable of physically destroying a harddrive though... So you throwed a perfectly functional harddrive down your driveway?! :-D

Re:Home Run (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828960)

they used to. Most virus going around to day are really anoying, but not to destructive. Years ago some viruse would wipe you boot sector, delete files, format you disk etc . . .
Don't miss those days much.

Re:Home Run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828946)

What kind of retard destroys working tools because they can't be bothered to reformat. Do you have any idea how many man hours went into the design and creation of that machine you destroyed?

Well... (1)

poofyhairguy82 (635386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828875)

I once got a 1x cd-rom to work without a caddy.

HP48 (3, Informative)

sb_huey (715151) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828877)

I had an hp-48g in 8th grade. I used to play basketball before school with the 48 in my pocket (without the soft-cover, no less) and it would usually fall out of my pocket during play (onto hard asphault) about twice a week. In addition, I once dropped it into a puddle about 6 inches deep when I was getting out of the car (again, without the soft cover).Yet, the calculator still works perfectly, even if it has a few nicks (no majorly visible dents or anything though).

I guess this is a true testament to the quality of pre-Carly HP hardware.

Re:HP48 (4, Interesting)

Bob Cat - NYMPHS (313647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828982)

I have that beat.

An armed robber broke into my house, collected various valuables, put my TI SR-51II calc into his chest pocket, and I shot it with my .45 while trying to end his crime spree.

Bullet went thru the padded case, bounced off the manual, and into his chest. The calculator was not even dented.

I should make a jacket of those old TIs.

Nothing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828878)

I often soap up and hose off old gear and it all works fine. You need to let it dry for a couple of days, though. Never lost a PC that way.

Hey, I just thought of something! You know how toaster ovens say DO NOT IMMERSE? Well, if you DO immerse them, water gets into the heating tubes, which are filled with compressed poweder magnesium oxide. It takes a very long time to dry, more than a few days. If you decide to plug the thing in because it LOOKS dry, the water in the tubes turns to steam, which cannot escape fast enough, and the tubes RIIIPPP open from end to end, blasting powdered MgO all over the place.

That would be a funny prank, huh?

rain cooled motherboards (3, Interesting)

MrRTFM (740877) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828879)

Several years ago I had my PC's setup in a shed. The shed was well setup with power and lights, and one day I was doing a motherboard transplant (swapping a 386dx40 with a 486dx2/66 from memory).

I didnt get it finished so i left both my desktop PC's with the covers off and went to bed.

That night there was rain (as usual) but it was also severely windy - enough to blow the rain at enough of an angle so it went under the eave section and straight onto my desk.

I got up in the morning and found both PCs and motherboards completely soaked and water pooled everywhere. Turned them upside down, dried them as best I could and left them (inside the house this time) for 2 days. When I powered them up they both worked, without a hitch and continued to work for years afterwards.

(one mouse was dead though - a small price to pay)

Re:rain cooled motherboards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828933)

The discussion has been archived. No new replies may be added.

Well, still, the phone does exist, but the plan doesn't. Expect to pay $60-$80/mo.

the poor breakers (1)

L0stm4n (322418) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828884)

I was trying to hook up a fan to my new mobo. I wouldn't reach from where I wanted it mounted to where it needed to plug into the boardso I was playing with rewiring it AND testing my wiring while the machine was running. I accidentally crossed some wires and it shutdown the machine...and threw a breaker. The machine booted fine afterwards though, after I reset the breaker.

I was so scared in that time since it was a brand new board.

The Humanity! (1, Funny)

tomblackwell (6196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828885)

I crossed my eyes at one of my machines (which was running NT), and it immediately gave a BSOD.

Re:The Humanity! (3, Funny)

log2.0 (674840) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828976)

I had just sold a computer to a customer many years ago.
I showed him everything it did etc etc....I had been using it for a good 15 mins.

Why dont you have a go? he sits down and just touches the mouse. instant BSOD...I guess some people have no luck :D

let see (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828886)

I de-solder the legs off of sipps to use the chip in a simm
I solder a simm to get it to work in as a sip.

Replaced the gridge chip.

My forst computer I own had to be put together from scratch. By scratch, I mean soldering compnent to a PCB board.

Replace the board on several hard drives

Used laplink and wrote the data onto the disk I was getting data off of.(instead of the new drive). Deleted everything. Microsoft said the files couldn't be recovered. I recovered them.

I've used gallon milk caps as a mother board stand.

replced several capacitors on motherboards.

Soldered a pin back onto a cpu

and much more.

And yes, everything worked when I was done.

commodore made solid stuff (1)

equex (747231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828887)

1. Lost a cup of coffee in my Amiga 1200 while running. Quickly turned it off, hung up the parts to dry. Worked fine. however, i was getting blue flashes in the bootup sequence after a while (indicates HW failure iirc) and it died eventually.

2. Inserted an AWE32 card into my box while it was on (DUH), burned the AWE32 and the PCI slot, otherwise it worked fine.

3. used my C64 as a fotball. it *STILL* works. (they made good shit in the old days)

Re:commodore made solid stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828978)

During the original Desert Storm, a bunch of people brought their own computers, and the military brought $10,000 wind/sand/static electricity-resistant PCs.

After a week, only the C-64s and Amigas were still working. All of the PCs, even the milspec ones, were fried.

I've seen my Amigas survive a brownout without rebooting, while all the PCs in the house went down.

SCO/Microsoft Announce Intention to Sue BeUnited []

Repaired SIMMs with Soldering Iron and Luck (4, Interesting)

Bapu (26118) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828889)

Back when memory was around $100/megabyte the school I was attending received some donated hardware that included one non-functioning 1 MB SIMM. Rather than toss $100 in the trash, I examined the SIMM and found a broken pin on the side of one of the chips. Using a battered soldering iron and a length of cold solder to replace the pin, I managed to get a good enough connection to restore the SIMM to operation. It functioned perfectly in a 486SX machine for several years afterward. I also managed to upgrade that same machine to a DX (MMU and FPU added) by salvaging a 486DX chip off another dead motherboard installing it in a cleverly included socket on the SX motherboard and disabling the onboard chip via jumper settings. This was before the ZIF socket, so the amount of force and screw driver based prying required to first remove and then install that 486DX chip could easily have killed it.
Luck was definitely required in the days of expensive parts, and $0 technology budgets.
I'd like to say we later installed Linux on that machine and used it to run our first web server, but alas, we used it for playing deathmatch Doom after the computer lab was closed. That's why we needed 4MB of memory and a FPU.

Hostile fire (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828891)

We had two laptops with us in our vehicle traveling in an unnamed country. Hostile fire ensued from the side of the road and penetrated our vehicle in places (not uparmored), missed everyone inside. After the rather quick return to the safehouse, we discovered rounds had hit our water bottles and our laptops. Panasonic toughbook was dead, dead, dead while the Powerbook had a hole right through the top of the case destroying the LCD and penetrating into the optical drive where the round came to rest, but.....I plugged the trusty Powerbook in, hooked up an external monitor and it fired right up whereupon I was able to file my reports.

Serious computer abuse ... (4, Funny)

dougmc (70836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828900)

I know of these guys who launched their computer into space, had it crash on a planet, and found that it didn't quite work right [] . And yet they were ultimately able to fix it -- remotely.

Launching into space, then crashing on Mars with just some air bags for cushions. THAT IS ABUSE! And yet they made it work!

My worst (4, Funny)

carcosa30 (235579) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828904)

On a 486 I pulled the cpu, then I was very curious as to why the screen went blank. Then, somehow uncomprehending the situation, I realized I was holding the chip and thought "Well that's silly of me, I just pulled the CPU" and I just placed it back in the socket.

This is why drugs and hardware support do not mix.

The machine continued to work fine and works to this day.

I haven't done anything extraordinary (1)

bedouin (248624) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828907)

. . . but there's a guy I know who regularly picks his Sony laptop up with one hand, open, and gripping the front of the display.

It seems to survive this abuse.

One time I stripped the plug off some cheap headphones, then put the two wires into an electrical socket. The sparks were amusing; so were the small holes they burnt into my carpet afterward. I think I was 12 or 13 at the time.

As for hot swapping ISA/PCI cards, hard drives, other stuff -- I think everyone's tried that at least once.

Also, everyone's probably removed a cartridge from a c64/Atari/Genesis with it powered on at least once, possibly by accident. It can produce some cool looking screen garbage.

Re:I haven't done anything extraordinary (1)

taylortbb (759869) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828970)

. . . but there's a guy I know who regularly picks his Sony laptop up with one hand, open, and gripping the front of the display.

Sounds hte computer lab at my school, people pick up all the iBooks by the screen, gripping it so they're apply alot of force right into the viewable sie of the LCD. People stick those drink umbrellas into the speakers, everything. Me and the teacher always tell people they could break the computer and they respond in varying forms of:

I always do it, to this computer and every other computer, and I don't remember breaking anything yet so you must be wrong

Luckicly for us none of those iBooks have ever died despite atleast 2 years of going through this.

There is no faster way to destroy technology then to put in a school (These iBooks are used by people 14/15).

Abuse thing (1)

Dark.Nation (323726) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828908)

I stuck a ram stick into my pc, a stick that was not supported. it started to catch on fire. Burned a big red hole threw it.

A while later because i had bent the plug to the power supply in the back of my computer. while fiddling with it, i was showered with sparks from my power supply.

this is all after i had my computer trained to turn off if i hit it anywhere on the case otherwise it would have to take on the abuse of my baseball bat or remote or any other blunt object i could find to beat it with till it did die.

After i replaced the power supply i never put the case back together because if i didnt have a fan blowing into it, the pc would overheat... i loved my pc.

Failing HD (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828909)

for months I had a failing HD and refused to replace it with the usual "I'll wait till it dies" stuff (was getting a new PC.. or so I planned then..).

So months go by, everything runs fine... then folders start crashing the PC, so I go "meh under warranty I'll get it replaced, why not?" so they say "yea we'll be out in a week" and I'm like "..thats fine, see you then."

So I ran it for a week where I couldn't access anything but Mozilla, AIM and winamp... so it was running pretty well considering the HD was so crippled by the damage it was impossible to ghost a clone over when tech support tried (I sat there laughing, I didn't want to go "Oh BTW I know that already" ).

Stairs... (1)

chizu (669687) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828912)

I had a toshiba laptop that met some stairs once... Worked fine after bouncing down a flight of stairs and sliding across the floor. Continued to work fine until I sold it a year and a half later.

My $7500 Amiga 2500/Video Toaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828916)

That I first started putting together in 1990, was picked up over my wife's head and thrown to the ground.

It still works. Try that with your PC.

Is Bush A Shape-Shifting Reptilian Alien? []

Unbelievable... but (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828919)

A friend of mine two years ago, with his roommate, took a liking to dicking around with electricity in their room (with all the hillarious and not-so consequences). Anyway, they rectified the AC from the outlet using a bridge rectifier, and plugged-in various equipment in to see what would happen.
One of the things to be plugged-in was my friend's iMac - it worked, amazingly enough - the colors were screwy on the screen, but it worked. How the hell did it work, might you ask, if the computer obviously used transformers to step-down (for computer-parts) or step-up (for the CRT) voltage? Iono - but obviously their "DC" wasn't clean.
Another thing that he did, that his iMac survived, was connecting the iMac to the mains via a "Power-via-Ethernet" cable. Amazingly, no damage. How the hell? No clue, again.

One tough iBook (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828920)

My old Blueberry iBook (G3 300MHz) is getting old. Her case is fractured in several places, missing in others, (notably the CD drive) her USB port is breaking, her Ethernet port is broken, her speakers blew out, her trackpad was disconnected from her motherboard, her video card is damaged, her screen has 4,000+ void/stuck pixels, her keyboard is falling apart... but strangely enough, though all the years of abuse, no vital components ceased to function. She's still happily running Yellow Dog Linux 2.3.
Oh, and I gave up trying to repair her ages ago. She bit the last repairman.

BEER (1)

brew252 (800715) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828926)

I spilled beer on my keyboard... twice. Nothing a run through the dishwasher and a week drying out didn't solve though. Aside from a squeaky space bar, which went away after a few months.

When I first started experimenting (1)

dj_cel (744926) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828934)

I was about 12 and we had a 386sx. I had a small computer store around the corner with an incredibly smart pc tech who showed me some things. My friend and I decided we were going to try to overclock the pc by crystal replacement as we had been told by our friendly tech. Sadly we were inexperienced with working with electronics at that point and upon turning the machine on watched in horror as a bright flash emanated from the box. He next moment of horror was when my dad got home to find his pc as a pile of useless silicon and metal.

Lightware CRT Projector (1)

W32.Klez.A (656478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828936)

Had one of these at the college I was a work study at. Damn thing would turn on, but no image would come up. So, I cracked it open, and the light reflector (kind of a half sphere) was cracked in half. All the others were checked out and the dean of the college needed it, so I thought quickly, and grabbed some clear tape. Used a liberal (think michael moore, our favorite xbox) amount to make sure the reflector wouldn't come apart, and stuck it back it. Fired it up, and worked fine.

The next day we looked inside and the tape had melted and burned, fusing the reflector back together. We kept using it until we got a new part.

Work related stress (5, Funny)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828939)

Where I work, we have these little (ok they're about the size of a hardcover book) scanner/barcode reader things. One day, someone was upstairs with theirs, "talking to the boss". Couple minutes later, he came out of the office PISSED, and threw the scanner down a full flight of stairs (which we all heard from the floor). Next thing I see, the guy flings open the door from the stairwell, picks up his scanner, and walks over to a steel post/roof support. Two hands on the scanner, he SLAMS the thing into the post, busting the case right open. So now he's got half a scanner in his hand, with the other half dangling by some of its guts. The guy walks out into the parking lot and hurls the thing into the street (which, lucky for it, isn't very busy). It skids for about 30 feet before it hits the curb and comes to rest in a shallow puddle. The dude then got in his truck and peeled out of the lot.

And you know what? The damn thing still worked after it dried off. The LED display was cracked but functional (was replaced later), and it needed a new plastic handle (that, oddly enough, holds the top of the case together). But the fucking thing could still read a bar code. We were all so freaking amazed that everyone burst out laughing.

But the funniest part? The guy who smashed the shit out of the scanner? He still works for us. :)

Dual Pentium 3 Mobo... (1)

Reverant (581129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828941)

I had a dual Pentium 3 motherboard on my desk, all wired up to the power suppy which was still in the (full tower) case, which in turn, was on the floor (this case has wheels on it - think of it like a server case). While I was tinkering with the motherboard, I accidentally triped over the case, and caused it to tilt and eventually fall onto the floor. I closed my eyes as I watched the PSU cable (which was connected to the motherboard) pulling the motherboard down. To my surprise, when I opened my eyes, the motherboard was still on the desk, while the case was down


Because ALL the power pins of the power connector were stripped from the motherboard and left inside the connector of the PSU cable. Ouch.

So I pulled a dead mobo from the recycle closet, carefully de-soldered the required pins, and even more carefully soldered them back to the dual p3 motherboard. With a little twist and turn it worked, so long as you don't push or bend the PSU cable.

12" Powerbooks are tough little bastards... (2)

Ariane 6 (248505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828945)

I took a spill off my bike last week, landed on my back and rolled several times on a concrete sidewalk. The initial impact was directly to the Powerbook in my backpack - I was sure it was a goner. When I got into work, it had a few dents, and part of the casing was slightly deformed.

I fixed the latter with a few gentle taps from a claw hammer. The dents in the back of the screen remain, and give it charachter. The monitor's fine; I'm typing this on it right now.

I love my Powerbook...not sure the 15" or 17" would hold up as well, though.

BeBox loses half its brain and keeps going (4, Interesting)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828947)

The favorite hardware story at my company [] involves a 66MHz BeBox -- we used to sell BeBoxes (remounted in a custom rackmount case) as part of our show control system.

One day the show operators called our tech support to tell us that the BeBox was acting a bit sluggish (BeOS, as you may know, is normally quite snappy). On his next visit, our tech took a look inside the case, and found that the fan responsible for cooling one of the two PowerPC 603 CPUs had stopped turning, causing that CPU to overheat and desolder itself from its socket. The BeBox had survived the self-destruction (and self-extraction) of a CPU and continued to run shows for nearly a week without complaint.

The other story involves a piece of hardware surviving impalement on a forklift fork and continuing to function with no apparent ill effects...

Computer Repair Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828949)

I took Computer Repair in high school just for laughs. We broke more things than we fixed, but made cool discoveries. I personally pulled the processors out of three different machines while they were running, all of which froze (although not instantly). We also built flashlights out of old LEDs and CMOS batteries.

Our greatest achievement was of course making cannons. We removed the plastic off of paper clips to expose the bare metal. Then, we placed one end of the clip into the 5V plug on a power cable, the other end into the 12V plug. Turned on the power. Nothing at first, but after touching the paper clip to a metal object, the paper clip sparked and then fired across the room. Teacher never noticed, and we learned so much.

Pen kills LCD... (5, Funny)

Maavin (598439) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828951)

NEVER put a pen down in the space above a Laptop's Keyboard !
I did it...
It was dark...
I closed the Lid...
rather forcefully...
I can still hear the *CRACK*

ooohh t3h p4!n !!!

MIA server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828963)

While working for a michigan employment agency's IT department a server which had been closed into a cemented in segment of the basement was recovered. It had been enclosed for well over 2 years handleing print jobs and about 500mb of office document storage. Nobody at the branch ever knew it had been missing. Our biggest mistake was powering down the pc, as it never booted up again. I think I can I think I can I think I can....

This is my kind of ask slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828964)

One time I was screwing a case fan in (with the computer on of course) and stabbed out one of the fins. No problem, I can blu-tack it back on. I soon found out that heat + centrifugal force can severly compromise the adhesive performance of blu-tack.

Oh and, in total, I've fried 2 1/2 graphics cards. I fried a GeForce 3, because I didn't have sufficient case ventilation (case fans are noisy, but necessary). I fried it's replacement GeForce 4 as well, but after that a put some case fans in so the next GF4 was fine... Until I decided it was too loud and put Zalman HeatSink on it. I'm not really an expert on the application of thermal paste, so that 1/2 fried. I took the heatsink apart and did it again properly, it's mostly fine now. There can be a bit of texture corruption, sometimes it crashes a game. One time I was playing UT2K3 and there were spears of colour coming out of the centre of the screen. It was like a bad music visualisation.

Please remove any metal objects..... (2, Interesting)

Tehrasha (624164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828965)

I live and work up to my elbows in electronics, so I have long since given up wearing rings and metal watches, and in some cases even static straps!

In this case while connecting the sound cable from the CDROM to the sound card (which I had forgotten to do when I installed the drive) the metal d-ring on my plastic watch band shorted a +5v pin on the sound card to ground resulting in a burnt a trace on the motherboard. I soldered a wire across the burn (after it was OFF) and all was well again. The machine had a long well used life, and is now retired to the position of household fileserver.

I have since gone to using VELCRO watch straps.

A White Christmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9828966)

A couple of years ago, my CPU overheated to about 250 degrees farenheit as I was writing a paper. I was almost done, and I needed to finish the paper (it was due the next day).

I quickly had to find something to cool down my processor and keep it cold long enough to finish the paper. Luckily, it was winter and the snow was falling outside. I took an exension cord, and placed my computer outside in a pile of snow. However, I had forgotten that the side of my case was off, so I unknowingly finished the paper with snow *inside* my computer. And with snow on my motherboard!

I'm not exactly sure how the computer worked without short circuiting, but at least I ended up getting an A on the paper.

Watersports (1)

mbd1475 (18047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828967)

I used to work at at a major electronics retailer - we'll just call it Speaker City - and we had training computers in the back (*old* IBM's or something. They ran Windows 95 or some crap.) Anyways, I got bored and decided to show out - I poured water into the floppy drive while it was running. Funny thing is, that's about the only thing that *didn't* make it blue screen!

Subwoofer with attitude (1)

Aurora NS (784187) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828968)

My left speaker sometimes cuts out. Kicking the subwoofer seems to fix it. If it doesn't, kick harder.

Bad graphics card heat sink (1)

CMU_Ken (574499) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828971)

I'm currently using a GeForce4 Ti 4600 from Asus with no heat sink (it died a couple of months ago, so much for longevity, eh?). Granted, I have to be a little careful about graphics-intensive gaming, since too much playtime (about 5 minutes) will cause a hardware freeze. Other than that, it works like a charm.

Aqua Gateway (1)

Nameis (556253) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828972)

My first PC was a Gateway 166mhz Pentium that my family decided to store on a desk in the basement, directly underneath some water pipes. Two weeks after it arrived, we returned from a weekend outing to discover that it was happily churning away the 3d 'pipes' screensaver while the real world pipes above it were dripping water directly into the case - which had about 4 inches of water in it.

We shut it down, let it dry out for a few days, and it ran no worse for the wear save for some rust on the inside. It gave me quite a scare, but helped to spark my computer career.

Got 3 for ya (1)

fishbot (301821) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828974)

1) I had an original 3DFX card in a machine and, little known to me, the ground lead in the monitor cable was broken. When I opened up the case, one of the transistors on the output of the 3DFX was glowing so bright you could see it through the back of the PCB. Replaced the monitor cable and AFAIK it's still working today (donated it to a friend)

2) 2 dead harddrives; one with controller failure, one with crashed heads. Classic case of PCB swappage made it all work nice. Drives were both Seagate, but different models!?!

3) Bad grounding on PSU caused motherboard to catch fire and electricity to arc across the case. Although technically the machine still worked, I stripped it for parts and disposed of the PSU and case.

I used to work for a firm who built IBM compatible PC parts into industrialised computer units. The conditions of some of those was astounding. e.g. one had a blowtorch dropped in it - charred the graphics card a bit but it still worked. Another had a full 2 inches of black soot-like powder in it but never stopped working. They only returned it to be upgraded!

hardware development (4, Interesting) (463190) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828975)

I work in hardware/firmware development - bringing up new boards and building firmware on hacked-to-all-hell prototypes. I've soldered on stuff while it's running. I've swapped cpu, memory, pcmcia, and other components while the system is running. I'll run my feet across the carpet on purpose to test ESD tolerance... shorting signals on purpose because it's easier than cutting a trace and wiring the input to ground. It is amazing how much of a beating like this a system can take for months or years on end and still run perfectly. It does not surprise me at all when people talk about systems that have caught fire but still mostly work.

Now one of my favorite stories: a friend of mine worked for AlphaSmart [] - they make inexpensive portable word processors - really PC keyboards with memory. He said they got a report of a woman in India who had run her alphasmart through the dishwasher to clean some gummed up keys.

If you think about it it's not surprising... the equipment they use to clean PCBs at the factory is pretty much the same as a home dishwasher - just different solvents I guess.

shotgunned (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828977)

My ex-neighbour back east had a shotgun and got sick of Windows crashing on him everyday. So he put it on the wall in his backyard and blasted it with a 12 gauge.

I helped him drag it back in and it worked. For about 5 minutes. Then it BSOD'd and never came back.

Total POS.


Inside out MIDI interface (4, Funny)

Timbotronic (717458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828980)

Several years back I built a MIDI interface for my trusty Amiga 1000, using a circuit design from a magazine.

I carefully etched the board by hand and manually drilled all the holes, only to discover to my horror that I'd printed the board upside down. So, rather than waste time doing the board over, I bent the pins of all the chips 180 degrees and mounted them upside down! Worked like a charm!

RMS (1)

Brainix (748988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828984)

RMS probably has some good abused but working hardware stories. No longer, but at least as of a couple of years ago, this [] was RMS' laptop [] .

DDR can go backwards (1)

juventasone (517959) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828986)

Some the early DDR mobos had 184-pin DIMM slots that would actually snap in a DDR DIMM backwards (ignoring the tab). It took more force than normal, but it would close just fine. When I turned it on, there was a weird sound, and the RAM wouldn't post in any system anymore. Upon inspection, there were two pins on opposite sides, equal distances from the center, that were badly scorched.

I cut off half an add-in card to make it fit! (2, Interesting)

Craig Ringer (302899) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828988)

I had an Asus MediaBus card that I needed to fit into a small case. Now, MediaBus cards are mixed ISA/PCI cards - "slot saver" types. They're a normal PCI card with an extension for the ISA bits.

The one I had was a SCSI card with an ISA sound card onboard. I needed the SCSI card, but it wouldn't fit. Looking at the card, it became pretty clear that the ISA sound bits were mostly on the end of the card, and if they weren't there the card would fit. It wasn't going to be any use to me if it didn't fit, so out came the tin snips (!!).

After this butchery, it worked fine - despite the somewhat ragged, sheared line across the back of the card and the fact that I'd cut all the ISA-extension connectors off.

My Powerbook G4 (1)

mbd1475 (18047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828989)

About 3 weeks of owning my Powerbook G4, I spilled Diet Dr. Pepper all over the keyboard. The screen went fuzzy and haywire, then black. I tilted it on its edge, and let it dry overnight. The next day, it worked fine. Has worked flawlessly ever since.

Modded hardware.. (1)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828990)

I used to work with a complete F-witt that tried to modify PC's to fit hardware into slots that would NEVER take it..

ie, hacked the PCB of a 32bit PCI card to fit it in a server 64 bit slot 0.o

or hacked the plastic nodual/seperator in the AGP slot to fit an AGP pro card into it...

scary man that guy... kinda like "Wal footrot" ( ) meets the BOfH

Laptop (1)

ScribeOfTheNile (694546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828991)

Over several years, my laptop has encountered many problems. The most interesting would've been when the lid detatched itself from the base, still connected by a single cable. I used it like that for about two weeks until the repair guy returned from holiday. Also received many comments about it, one being "Is that one of those new tablet laptops?". :-)

Not a computer... (1)

g.a.g (16798) | more than 10 years ago | (#9828993)

...though close. One of our technicians had a job to do on the top level of a 125m met tower. Comes one bad move, and the ruggedized Nokia he had is unseated, falls, dangles two times at the mast, and disappears somewhere in the high grass. Well, not much to do there, is it?
He and a colleague spend some time searching it, until the colleague asks: Did you have your mobile turned on?, rings to it, diddeli-diddeli-diddeli, go after the tone, pick it up, and all he had to do was to wipe it off!

I leave the calculation of the impact force as an exercise to the (karma-starved) reader.
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