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Re: somewhat OT: motherboard replacement

My old 486 took a lightning hit one evening years ago - came home to the
distinct smell of burnt silicon and a sense of "C'est la vie", made
possible by four pints of beer over the evening, and a nominal relief
that the lightning hadn't hit me personally (I've been hit twice in my
life - don't need "third time's the charm" just yet.)

I saw that the screensaver was frozen - okay, monitor, graphics card and
power supply apparently still work. I three-finger saluted and the
system rebooted - keyboard, cpu and at least some of the motherboard
were functioning. System memory check cleared - that was okay. No disk
activity. Not even able to boot from a floppy. I shrugged and went off
to bed.

The following morning, I opened the box, and saw that the I/O card (in
those days, they weren't part of the motherboard) had several huge
cracks and burn marks through its main chip. I keep the card to show
people. Everything else seemed intact. Monday, I got a replacement I/O
card (better than what I'd had), installed it, and most everything
seemed to work, except the faxmodem. However, over the next couple of
days, the cmos settings started changing themselves. Although there was
no apparent damage to the motherboard, apparently the cmos was damaged,
and a change of batteries did no good. I swapped motherboards by the
weekend, and with that, re-swapped the I/O card from an ISA one to a
VESA one - transferring the CPU, and a month later got around to
replacing the faxmodem. It all came to less than the deductible on my
home insurance, and I had been looking at upgrading the motherboard

What does all that say? If the motherboard is there, chances are it took
something of a hit, and the cmos is not certain to be undamaged with the
nature of the shock, particularly if the NIC was fried (few cards seem
to offer surge protection from themselves to the motherboard, because
nobody seems to consider that power charges could come from anything
other than the main electrical outlet), and it is likely worthwhile
making the change in order to avoid an erratic system. You really don't
want a box with a wonky cmos.

Related question: How was your ISP about replacing the fried DSL modem,
or was that your job?

On Thu, 2002-08-29 at 17:17, burningclown@burningclown.com wrote:
> Hi -
> Would appreciate advice on this topic, if anyone has a moment to offer it.
> I've been happily running Debian for 2 years or so on a Dell Dimension XPS 
> T700r. A bit over two weeks ago I suffered what I can only assume was a 
> lightning strike at home while I was in Manhattan at work: came home to a fried 
> DSL modem and what I thought was a fried NIC.
> Now, however, it -appears- that more damage was done. I've tried two replacement 
> NICs, in various slots, to no avail. The system can't 'see' em, even though 
> they are very similar (same driver) to the original card. Have been told by a 
> couple of people that it sounds as though the motherboard took a hit.
> My question is, given that this isn't a bleeding edge machine (hardly) anyway, 
> should I try to find a motherboard for it or just consider it a metal ottoman 
> and look around for something else? I have very little hardware experience: I 
> swapped out the video card on the fried box and have replaced a hard drive on my 
> laptop & that's about it.
> I've been looking at www.retrobox.com as I don't have a lot of green to spare.
> Thanks,
> Glenn
> +----------------+
> http://www.burningclown.com
> "Everyone's Portal to Nothing At All"
> +----------------+
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Tel: (613) 531-8684 / (613) 539-0935
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