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Blog Archives for April 2011

iMac G5 Repair

Friday, April 29th, 2011 - Comments (2) in Computers, Life, Work

I was recently had the opportunity to fix a broken Apple iMac G5. It belonged to a coworker who brought it into the Apple Store when it wouldn't turn on. They took a look and found most of the capacitors on the mainboard bulging or leaking. Apparently this is a common problem with that machine. I'm very familiar with this type of problem and deal with it on a weekly basis with the Dells at work. The Optiplex GX270, GX280 and SX280 all have similar problems with capacitors blowing. Maybe other models have the problem too, but these are the only ones we own at Harley.

So instead of paying Apple some ridiculous amount of money to fix her 6 year old computer, I told her I could do it without issue if she buys one of those $20 capacitor kits online made just for this problem. She bought the kit and I tore into it.

imac g5 capacitors imac g5 capacitors

Once I figured out how to get the mainboard out and tried removing the first capacitor I ran into a rather puzzling issue: I couldn't get the solder to melt to remove the bad parts. When working on Dells I just use a standard 30 watt Radioshack soldering iron and it works like a charm. I'm not an engineer by trade, but I've been soldering my entire life so I'm not entirely clueless. I tried a bigger 40 watt iron but that didn't touch it either. I finally pulled out my 100/140 watt Weller iron (that I paid $0.50 for at a garage sale!!) and that did work but was still difficult. I was absolutely astounded at how difficult it was to replace those capacitors.

I did a little research and it seems that Apple doesn't use lead-based solder to be more "green" using either silver or some other alloy that melts at a much higher temperature. I also found out these mainboards are actually layered so it dissipates heat much faster making this job more of a pain in the ass.

3 soldering irons, 2 new tips, 29 capacitors and a never-ending stream of profanity later I put it all back together and hit the power button. All I got was a beep, a flashing light and a black screen. After more profanity and resigning to the idea that I had just wasted all that time it dawned on me that I never put the memory back in. With the ram back in place it fired up with no problems!

imac g5 working again

The Walking Dead

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 - Comments (2) in Life, TV

You might not know this, but I love all things zombie related. My buddy Jason informed me of an AMC miniseries with a zombie-apocalypse plotline called The Walking Dead. So of course I checked it out and it was totally awesome! I was expecting terrible low-budget SciFi-channel-like special effects but was pleasantly surprised; most of the effects were very well done and more importantly not overdone. Sure there were a few bullet through the head effects that didn't look quite right but that's fine with me. It was also refreshing to find that it really wasn't a show about zombies with a few people trying to survive, it was about people trying to survive and zombies.

walking dead

I did a little research and found that it's based on a comic book by the same name that is still in production! So of course I got my hands on that, and it's totally better than the show! All of the characters were believable and you can relate with just about all of them. My only beef with the comic is sometimes it's tough to tell some people apart. It's all in black and white and there are so many characters they can sometimes look very similar.

I watched some interviews online and apparently the author of the book has no plans to end it any time soon. The show's producers said they're going to follow the book more or less with a few tangents, so I'm really looking forward to the next full season.

walking dead

After z-day, you would think the biggest danger would be the zombies, but other people end up being the bigger problem. At the end of the world the people who are left will do anything to get the things they need to survive: food, weapons, shelter, etc. It seems like a good idea to form big groups and work together, but who can you trust? If you come across a stranger or a small group will they join you or just kill you in your sleep and take all your stuff?