Oddest computer you've been set to repair...

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Rydian, Mar 15, 2013.

Mar 15, 2013
  1. Rydian
    OP

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    A portable diagnostics system for cars. This one's got a Celeron M, 512MB of RAM (some leeched for the IGP), on what looks to be stock XP, with a resistive touchscreen.
    It's got a USB port, thankfully, so I was able to plug a mouse in to right-click on stuff.

    Y'all?
     
  2. Crystal the Glaceon

    Member Crystal the Glaceon GBAtemp Inkling™ Squishies~

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    The oldest computer I worked on was about 17 year old, give or take, laptop. It had Windows 95, a 2GB hard drive, and IDK the RAM. My friend found it and thought it would be worth something.
    I actually might install FreeDOS on it and play me so DOS games!
     
  3. tbgtbg

    Member tbgtbg Shaking the ring ropes up in the sky

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    He said ODDest, not OLDest! :lol:
     
  4. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I count various garages among some of my most frequent clients with one of them being a major player in car electrics so I am familiar with the stuff there- my advice there is if you can then run away fast and do not become the choice computer fixer for anything beyond basic office and network stuff for them (though that is a slippery slope as it always is when fixing computers for people), if you must then become familiar with virtual machines, XP's boot ini (naturally the programs from different auto groups will fight each other tooth and nail) and clonezilla (also back up their CDs for the tools). Also even if it is a piece of P3 junk if it has a serial port consider spending the time to get it working. Reasoning- car electronics are some ten years behind the curve and awfully made, car programs are not much better (I had boasted at times I had no java woes... it caught up with me) and winding in how things play our on North American cars is even worse. That said most of mine have a few of those scantools but opt more for the straight up laptop approach to life.

    After this I have had some strange arrangements of software (domains leading to terminal servers with the controller also doubling as backup and all database hosting for said terminal server and that was before I had a look at the phone system there) but most of it is keeping legacy stuff running in harsh conditions (said garages, industrial stuff, laptops that get dragged halfway around the world or become the focal point of a village somewhere).

    That said I have now almost lost my desire to properly fix everything if I can massage it and keep it ticking otherwise, I had always wondered how those that taught me had become so jaded but no longer. Fortunately it seems I did not make a fool of myself before that hit though it was touch and go at points and also several 30 hour days that saw that bullet dodged.
     
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  5. DinohScene

    Member DinohScene The Gift of Dino

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    I've had to repair some laptop that is used for working on ECU's on cars.
    The thing was made from thick rubber I think.
    Really sturdy like the Nokia 5xxx one.
     
  6. Crystal the Glaceon

    Member Crystal the Glaceon GBAtemp Inkling™ Squishies~

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    Note to self, wear my glasses more often.
    As for the oddest computer I ever worked on? :unsure: I can't say I ever really worked on any strange computers. I worked on a few custom made computers, they were all rather strange, but nothing too amazing.
     
  7. Devin

    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    May I present the Motion Computing M1400.
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    Specs: http://www.motioncomputing.com/kb/article.aspx?id=10398

    ....The original owner installed Windows 7 on it...

    This thing was such a joy. Couldn't install from USB because it doesn't support it. So I have to use this darn firewire(?) CD-R external drive that came with it. It was picky as hell, and I didn't get a power cable for it. My PSP power cable worked, so I used that. It's picky with the cable as well, I had to hold in the cable as I wrote XP to it.

    Oh joy it works. It also came with a decent keyboard w/ stand. But those genius, and I mean genius designers. Thought it was a good idea to put the darn USB/DVI/VGA ports on the bottom of the thing. Where it sits on top of the keyboard stand. So it's either VGA output, or keyboard.

    The stylus broke within a week.
     
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  8. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Ahh proper tablets.

    As for the matter at hand was http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanagers.html not an option?
     
  9. Originality

    Member Originality Chibi-neko

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    Old brick laptop. Practically a paperweight. It was brought to me saying "it won't turn on no matter what I do". I plugged it in, didn't turn on. Checked all connections, tried again, and it worked just fine.
    I got praised as a miracle worker by the old lady...
     
  10. Kouen Hasuki

    Member Kouen Hasuki Kouen the Cyber Husky

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    Some Chinese windows ce "net book" battery was toast in short and only took 3 months to get that way lol
     
  11. The Pi

    Member The Pi Lurker

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    I worked on a weird brandless box that literally shot out it's harddrive due to a massive spring, thankfully it was the HDD at fault in the first place.
     
  12. Chary

    Reporter Chary GBAtemp's #1 Naoto

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    Was given a secondhand computer by a friend. It had 3 CD readers literally tied to it with shoelaces. And that wasn't the oddest part. I booted it up, saw that the computer's name was Cheese Queso,and the icons on the Desktop were named,
    I
    Am
    The
    Chicken
    Overlord

    I have no idea why someone would do that, but they did...
     
  13. FireEmblemGuy

    Member FireEmblemGuy Finally hit 1000 posts

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    For me, I think it's got to be a combination of oddest and oldest, although I've never had the chance to work with anything out of the ordinary, really. My dad used to be a computer programmer and set up some hardware on the side; I grew up around plenty of computers. Unfortunately he hasn't done a whole lot since the late 90s and he refuses to admit he's fallen behind the curve. As an example, we were cleaning out a bunch of old software out of a spare room and he refused to let me throw out a copy of Photoshop 4.0, claiming that it was still perfectly valid and even if it wasn't, Adobe would just give him a free upgrade anyways.

    A few years back I dug up a pair of old Compaq laptops - both were identical machines, stock Windows 95, HDD less than 5GB, maybe 32MB of RAM... and somehow, he'd managed to get Windows 2000 running on one of them. The one that was still running Windows 95 worked as well as it did fifteen years ago, and for what it was it was fairly snappy. You wouldn't even be able to open any sort of document or program for the first twenty minutes or so with the other one.

    Then there was the time he tried to set up a computer for my brother... This was back in early 2009, I think. My brother wanted a computer of his own, since at the time I was the only one in the house with a working laptop, and we couldn't go three months without someone fucking up the family computer somehow. After replacing it in 2005 with a top-of-the-line XP Media Center machine, our last family computer had been wheeled off to the aforementioned spare room; it was a Windows 98 machine, and probably the last machine I can recall my dad ever putting together from scratch. Of course, he decided that the hardware "isn't that outdated" and "for homework and Facebook or music it'll be fine". So after trying to set it back up, finding the hard drives were shot, and eventually digging up an unopened HDD apparently intended for that machine, he realized he couldn't actually get anything to install from the CD drive. So after driving around town for a couple hours trying to find some blank floppies (insisting on going to the big electronics stores and Walmart first, despite my insistence they wouldn't and didn't have them) we finally found a box of unused floppies for creating installation media. At this point, though, my dad decides that since it meets the minimum requirements of 64MB of RAM, he might as well install Windows XP instead. Somehow, we managed to get it up and running (I had to find a modded version of XP that was lighter on resources before I agreed to let him go with anything newer than 2000), and it actually more or less ran properly (as well as it could, given that it had half the minimum memory requirements for modern web browsers) for a few months. Needless to say, the first thing my brother did after getting a job that summer was buy himself his own working, modern laptop.
     
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  14. KDH

    Member KDH GBAtemp Regular

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    The oddest computer I ever repaired was the very first computer I ever fixed AND the very first modern computer* I (well, my family) ever owned. The only thing REALLY odd about it was the CD-ROM drive: it required you to place the CD in a plastic shell that looked like the offspring of a 5.25" floppy and a time-travelling zip disk (because this was 1994) before you put it in the actual drive. I probably still have some of them somewhere, since it came with six of the bloody things.

    What was wrong with it? The CD-ROM drive didn't work. Oh mechanically it was fine, but apparently the CD-ROM drivers got erased part-way through the Windows 95 installation, leaving us stuck with DOS because none of the so-called experts could figure out what was wrong. Fast forward a week and I'm sick of the command line (oh how naive I was...), so I go poking around and find that Windows 3.1 still works fine. Cue parental praise. But I'm still not happy. I didn't know it at the time, but I REALLY can't stand leaving a problem unsolved. I started digging through all of the floppy disks in the house until, a month later, I find one that looks promising. It was labelled "CD-ROM" in tiny faded print beneath a paragraph of words I, for the most part, didn't understand at the time. I stuck it in the floppy drive, ran the setup file, and what do you know; the CD-ROM started working again. Did I mention I was seven at the time?

    So yeah, that's the oddest computer I've ever fixed and how I did it. Nothing really special on either count, but I haven't encountered anything REALLY strange yet. At least not that I was allowed to fix. I saw a malfunctioning Linux based tablet game system (think GBA with a 15" touch screen) in a restaurant the other day that I probably COULD have fixed if they'd let me.

    *It had a hard drive and colour monitor, as opposed to the monochrome, dual 5.24" floppy, single unit machine my mother used for business until I was about four.
     
  15. Pong20302000

    Member Pong20302000 making notes on everything

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    This was odd for me to fix :P
    got it working tho, was also the oldest computer i have fixed too
    Warning: Spoilers inside!
     

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