Tag Archives: PC repair

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to startx

I got up bright and early on Wednesday last in anticipation of performing some computer projects that I had set aside to do.

I sat here at the computer desk with my hot cup of coffee steaming on the desk next to me. I reached out and clicked that ON button on the face of my tower. The buzzing and whirring began just as it always does. My Slackware boots in a relatively short time, so I scratched at myself and picked my nose while waiting. When I glanced up, the monitor was black. Hmm… that’s not good.

To make a long nightmare more enjoyable to read about, it turned out that I had some sort of dirty contact issue with my PCIe graphics card socket. Ain’t that a bitch? Well, I tried a little brush with alcohol. Nope. That didn’t work. I tried some compressed air. Nope. That didn’t fix it either. OK. I disassembled the system and removed my mobo completely. I took it outside to my shop (that’s when you know something’s serious).

I re-soldered all the pins on the socket, in case there was a cold/cracked solder joint. Not to worry, folks. I’m a professional. I spent the better part of my life servicing electronic products to component level. I have the tools and the skills. I don’t recommend you try this at home, though. Those boards are machine soldered (by Chinese machines that run on rice) and can easily be boogered up, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So, while I had the mobo on the bench, I got a piece of emery paper and folded it and inserted it into the slot on the socket. I ran it back and forth, cleaning those little metal contacts as I went. I sprayed tuner cleaner in healthy amounts and blew the socket out with compressed air again. I took it back inside the house.

I reassembled the system and booted. YAY! It worked! Let’s hope it continues to do so because I have some more good stuff to tell you about in the next few days. I had a mini-installfest again. I installed Arch Linux (again) and installed Foresight Linux (also, again). I’ll post a bit about my adventures with that project and why it happened in a couple days.