Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

To go with the Jack Reacher school of life

Hope for the Best, but Plan for the Worst.

The Problem Stated
In an early Christmas present to myself Marcus has been testing out a new second  (3 gram weight!) Hard disk in his usually trusty Lenovo U430 Touch.   I previously reviewed this machine here

But after a period of intense testing and OS reconfiguration I was surprise to find after a controlled shutdown, the computer:

Dead as a Dodo


- Pressing power on Button  > Nothing
- Pressing Reset/BIOS button > Nothing

Lean Times
Recently, in an effort to cut living costs Marcus and Agata have been thru a life optimisation process focusing on just keeping exactly what we need.

I soon found out that life without a computer that I rely on every day was quite uncomfortable.   I immediately began to regret for example giving away my last Portable HP computer

Since for now we still live in Switzerland I must remember that here

- The computers and components that I want are not always readily available or available at all

- Any failures might require importing and finding stuff globally, and that could take weeks

- Returning goods even under warranty in Switzerland we have found problematic

[Sometimes I have the feeling, well the blanket iPhone 6 coverage at home in Lausanne is just one example, that local Swiss have so much money they are just itching for something to break down or any other excuse to rush and by the latest model without it seems great regard for its cost]

How was it fixed then?

I will not cover the many steps that did not work.  Instead here is what did:

First the back cover was removed.   It has regular cross headed (Philips) screws.  No fancy tools are required.

Removed:  Battery,  SSD Disk, M2 disk, Wireless&Bluetooth card, Memory
Disconnected: CMOS battery, Main, Power and reset button ribbons (connector hinges upwards by the way)
Shorted: CMOS connectors

Even if you have 20/20 vision you are going to need at least some specialist magnifying glasses to see clearly

After all components removed,  I waited 30 minutes, then reconnected Power / reset ribbons.  Plugged in Power, prayed to Silicon Heaven, then Pressed the Power button

Power button light comes on!


Power off.  Reassemble everything.

Turn over and power on:

At last it is back up.   I've never been so happy to see a BIOS screen!

Learning Points

- Lean living is all well and good.  By all means don't keep clutter, but sometimes it is useful to have a backup [portable computer].  Watch this space.

- In this instance perseverance worked.   I was lucky. But the outage had me mildly panicking and cursing a lot.

- Buying this laptop from the US meant I only got a 1 year warranty.  EC consumer law  (which is honoured in Switzerland) would have given me 2 years.  I forgot that in my enthusiasm to grab an eBay bargain

- Buying a laptop that has modular replaceable components like the Lenovo U430 touch  is useful.  Not just for component upgrading but also for fault finding.  Most other modern laptops  (not just Apple in fact, although they set this trend)  have soldered in, non replaceable parts.  In that case after a failure you have to take it straight to service, or perhaps the scrapyard.