There’s no worse feeling than knowing something you rely on is broken but not knowing how to fix it. Throwing money at someone is the only solution. That’s an expensive solution. There’s a few things in life that we use on a daily basis.. electricity, food, transport… being able to manufacture or fix all of them is something we should all be taught in school from an early age…
Fixing stuff without blowing it up or killing anyone
Unfortunately we’re not all blessed with the power to remember everything we’re taught and we get lazy. But that’s ok, it’s normal. Knowing the basics is good enough. If you know the difference between positive and negative and disconnect stuff before you start playing with it, generally you can’t do much damage, but you can learn a lot.
Take a light bulb. If it needs to be replaced, you’ve established it’s broken. It won’t turn on. Maybe it’s not the lightbulb though, may it’s the fuse box. Is anything else that requires electricity working? The problem solving (or problem eliminating) begins… a combination of experience, knowledge & analytical thought process. It’s pretty easy to fix stuff, provided you have the time and cash. Use the following technique and you’ll eventually get it working again;
Disconnect power, see how stuff fits together, remove the stuff then replace it with the same (but new) stuff. Start small, finish big.
If you replace every single wire & component, sooner or later you’ll fix the problem. But we don’t all have unlimited time and cash so we employ other people to fix stuff for us rather than try to figure it out ourselves. Wise move a lot of the time. If, however, the thing you’re trying to fix is what you use on a day to day basis, then maybe it’s worth understanding or trying to understand. For me, the thing i want to use & work with on a daily basis is a computer and that’s the main reason why i chose to do a degree in computing… so i could open up a PC and replace stuff without blowing anything up, or discover a virus and be able to destroy it… to look at code & understand it. All very basic stuff but it’s important to take a bottom / up approach to learning. By bottom up i mean answering questions like “how is electricity made?”, “How does binary code work?”. Stuff at the top is the cool stuff like social media or playing games. In between you have hardware & code etc…
If you’re working at the ‘top’ without an understanding of what’s underneath it, you’re not gonna understand the whole evolution process so you’re at a huge disadvantage when stuff goes wrong, which it inevitably will. It’s like not learning basic world history or geography. Hitler who? Jesus who? Hungary – isn’t that a feeling, not a country?
I’ll have a Graphics card and some RAM, please
Last weekend my PC died on me. I couldn’t get past the boot menu and in the BIOS screen were some ‘artifacts’ (blocks of colours that shouldn’t be there and signify a memory / power / graphics fault). Although i didn’t have a spare graphics card on hand, i was pretty sure (after a bit of googling), the graphics card was the culprit. I ordered a replacement and it arrived today (about time too – it was ordered exactly one week ago).
I also ordered RAM 12 hours after i ordered the graphics card and it came within 3 days. As soon as the RAM arrived i swapped it out with the old stuff and tried to see if it installed ok / was working. From my now blurry BIOS screen, i was able to decipher that it was in fact readable and working in the sense that it didn’t blow anything up 🙂
I swapped out the old graphics card for the new one today and whalla… everything is as good as new (in fact better than new because i now have double the RAM the computer came with and a better graphics card) 🙂
My first ever hardware failure
This graphics card has been the first piece of hardware that has ever failed on me. The cheek of it… why did it fail? That’s a good question. It had plenty of breathing space, it was never pushed to it’s limits or working within an over-clocked system or anything like that. It’s time had probably just come. The exact model of card (Nvidia 8800gGT) fails regularly after 1/2/3 years so it was obviously built to live fast and die young. Perhaps tactical self-destruction by Nvidia or just simply poor stamina. Either way, i don’t want that happening again for a very long time…
Here’s how my PC now stacks up;