How to: Fix a heat sink anchor clip on the motherboard

December 30th, 2010 4 comments

While resurrecting a slew of over-the-hill computers from my computer graveyard, I came across an interesting challenge that’s inspired me to catalog the repair. The heat sink to the North Bridge chip popped off because an anchor holding down the spring dislodged itself from the motherboard. I looked online for ways to replace the anchor with the least amount of effort, but couldn’t find anything that didn’t involve soldering. As much as I enjoy removing the entire motherboard from the chassis and soldering electronic components onto a board coated with anti-flux, I opted for an easier, albeit less scientific approach. I hope this post will be helpful to anyone who comes across a similar challenge.

I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the repair method depicted will not be sanctioned by anyone who’ve had the slightest training in basic electronics and logic design, and much less the manufacturers of the motherboard. I’ve tested the hardware after the repair and everything appears to be in working order (hardware and software). Personally, this ghetto repair method was justified for a computer ten-years past its prime.
Note the location of the missing clip and its non-missing twin on the upper-right-hand corner.Heat sink. Spring harness. One dislodged anchor.Visualization exercise.Gently coaxing the anchor back into its seat.Run a small bead of Super Glue between the plastic washer and the motherboard surface. I squeezed two drops and let the capillary action absorbed the glue into the seam.Post-glue observation.Slather on thermal grease between the chip and the heat sink.Take a moment to ponder why they charge so much for grease.Smack on the heat sink and lock it down to the anchors.

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How to: Change out the parking lamps on a C5 Corvette Z06

October 6th, 2010 1 comment

Recently, I’ve had the good fortune of helping my famous Corvette-owning Author friend with a minor repair to his Vette’s burnt out driving/parking lights. Below are a few lessons learned from the experience designed to help those who may share my similar good fortune fiddling with a marvelous piece of American Engineering. Before we begin, the tools you’ll need for replacement of these two pesky light bulbs are your hands (Preferably small, dexterous, sensitive, yet heat resistant), good mechanical inclination, good spatial-abstract analytical abilities, and the ability to read and comprehend what’s written here.

Before we begin, study closely the casing that encloses the light bulbs. Print out the attached pictures to help with visualization.

The light bulbs for this repair (2 large amber bulbs – part number: 3157NA/4157NA) and (2 Little white bulbs – part number: 194) will set you back roughly $6/pack for a total of roughly $12. We bought one set at a local auto parts store and the other at a local Wal-Mart. We learned after stopping at Wal-Mart that both sets were available for $0.30-$0.70 less than the auto parts place the day of the repair. Regardless, small price to pay given the circumstances. All the best with the repairs. Feel free to link this article or share with us your repair experience in the comments. Toodles.

How to: Change out the radiator for a Nissan Frontier.

May 2nd, 2010 5 comments

Hello and welcome to another exciting episode of: fix your ride. Today we are going to cover how you’d go about replacing a radiator for a 1998 Nissan Frontier. Although you may not own a Nissan Frontier, the lessons presented in reference to radiator replacement is universally applicable to most cars. This issue was selected because I drive a Nissan Frontier, and it just so happens that my radiator decided to explode after just 200,000 miles of use, causing me to have to go out and replace the damn thing. I’ve enclosed a bunch of pictures taken during repair that will be arranged in chronological order. The level of difficulty involved with this process is just slightly harder than that of changing the oil. If you have any mechanical inclination whatsoever, you will do just fine.

Before delving into pictures, make a mental note of the few items listed below for a safer and more enjoyable repair experience: Firstly, before heading out to your favorite store, call to make sure that the radiator that fits your model car is available and in stock.  Secondly, pick up a radiator flush kit to rid any residual coolant in the system and pick up a gallon of coolant for after the installation. Thirdly, be sure that the vehicle has been off for awhile and that all engine components are cool to the touch.

Reverse the disassemble process to make whole your vehicle. Once everything is replaced, fill the new radiator with 50/50 water and antifreeze coolant. The aftermarket radiator that I purchased had a minor defect where the fan box was seated to the ledge. The distance of the rounded-rectangular cut out in the ledge where the pegs from the fan box were to have been inserted were off by 2mm. The 2 mm caused me an extra 20 minutes of improvised sawing to make the thing work. Best of luck with your radiator repair adventures. Feel free to drop a comment with further questions or concerns.

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April 19th, 2010 Comments off

As you’ve probably heard, most of the air traffic in Northern Europe has been crippled by the Icelandic volcano that erupted last week. Two items of interest sparked my mind when I caught wind of this news: firstly, being stranded while traveling really sucks, but this is probably one of those times when it may actually be legitimate; secondly, how the heck do you pronounce the name of the volcano.
The aviation regulatory agency in Europe is really in a pickle because, on the one hand, you have really angry travelers who do not understand why flights aren’t allowed because of a little dust; on the other hand, you have businesses complaining because they are losing millions in revenue with each passing hour; meanwhile, the effects of prolonged sandblasting of airplanes and jet engines with really course media at 450 miles per hour have never really been field tested, hence their logic for grounding airplanes for “safety” reasons and such unproven science is shaky at best (I want to see a Mythbusters episode on this one.) I feel for the unfortunate travelers who have to endure this untimely natural occurrence, but, for once, am in full support of the scientist’s decision to take a wait-and-see approach on this issue. I enjoy going really fast just as much as the next guy/gal, but if the integrity of the vehicle in which I travel is questionable, or my chances of survival can be unnecessarily compromised, then I can wait – as should most people. For it is much better to be late than never when it comes to life and death.
As for the volcano name, I think it’s pronounced Eh-ya-veh-logue-kh. That’s what I got out of the wiki listening link. Give it a stab and let me know what you come up with.