Sunday, June 7, 2009

Motherboard Fun

I ran into a little motherboard difficulty this past week. In the morning, before I go out for my exercise, I don't use my main computer, the Dell does early duty. But, I flip on the powerstrip, that powers the main unit, to get the network switch powered. On Friday, when I flipped it on, the main computer fans started running – that's not right. After some testing, I concluded that the motherboard power-on circuit must be bad.

The board is an ECS NForce250 754: I don't care what people say about low-end motherboards, this one has served me reliably for several years. That means turned on and off twice a day and 12+ hours of on-time per day.

Fortunately, I have the same motherboard in my MythTv recorder, which I haven't been using lately. Swapping the motherboard, processor and memory was a pretty quick and easy task. Since I still have Windows 98 and 2000 Pro on the computer, it's important to have the same board so drivers don't need to be changed.

Motherboard swap
Main computer on right and MythTv being disassembled on left.

Now, I'll have to consider how to replace it, either the same board, maybe I'll find one on on eBay, or a more modern board. Fry's usually has some deals that should do the job. They routinely bundle motherboards and processors for a reasonable price. I'll have to buy new memory, but, a lot of boards have video and network built-in, so I won't worry about those.

It didn't take too long to make the swap and get on with what ever it is that I do. I could have been quicker, but the plumber was in changing my water heater's P&T valve, which was frozen solid, so I had to have some discussions with him. I've lived in this apartment for 11+ years and the manager came in and checked it and changed the smoke alarm batteries for the first time. I guess some people never change the batteries – mine were new (and marked) last month. I don't know about the water heaters, quite a few are being replaced.

Notice how clean that 15 year old carpet is? That's not my fault. Part of repairing my shower's hot-water pipe leak a couple of weeks ago, was the carpet cleaning. They didn't do the whole room, but everyplace that wasn't occupied.


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