PC Crisis

Crisis, What Crisis ?
(or “Why staying cool is important”)

Saturday 14 Jan 2006
While playing a demo of Warcraft 3 the monitor went blank.
Then it came on again, went off, flickered and looked like
an electronic device near its deathbed. I turned everything
off, went and did other things for a while then came back.
Now it worked, but not for long. Five minutes later it went
blank. By pushing the contrast and brightnesss to max I could
just see the image, enough to do a proper shutdown.

It seemed obvious, the monitor was kaput, deceased and gone to
silicon hell. So I got in the car and went to Dragon PCs in Archon
Drive. They had a Viewsonic VA702S, a LCD 17 inch monitor for
$427. I was tempted to get the 19 inch for an extra $100, but
knowing the image would be a bit larger than existing monitor, went
for the 17 inch.

I put the old, damaged monitor in the corner (next to the trash)
and installed the new monitor. It went perfectly – for about 10
minutes. Then the same problem occurred. Bugger, the only explanation could be that the PC was faulty, probably the video card.
Could it be a loose connection ?
I removed the cover and blew the dust from 17 months of use
away. Gently pressing on the cards, there didn’t appear to
be any obvious problems.

Sunday 15 January
With my digital buddy resting there wasn’t much to do.
I watched Red Dwarf series 7 then looked at the old PC in the
corner. I had been intending to reformat the disks and get
red of it. An old version of Partition Magic came out and I managed
to stuff up the partitions on both disks and get DOS installed
on the C: drive (that was the idea).

Monday 16 January
At 8:30 the PC arrived at Vintron with a worried owner.
The cover was opened and the innards examined. Graham found the
problem immediately. The videocard fan was so stuffed with dust
it had stopped operating. It was left to be fixed.
Later that day he phoned to say it was fixed and I could pick it up.

Tuesday 17 January
After work the PC came home to a desk with two monitors ready.
I would get an adapter cable and run two 17 inch monitors side
by side. Everything worked OK, I could get me email and stay
up to date with Trademe (current addiction). Then I noticed
strange red patterns on web pages. I was wrong, it wasn’t just
the web pages, it was everywhere. Next, windows failed to close,
icons went blank and everything overlapped everything else, bugger.
I unhooked the old monitor and tried the new LCD monitor. At first
it was OK, then the same thing happened again. I checked the video
settings, everything appeared to be installed correctly. I turned
everything off and tried again. After 5-10 minutes the same thing
happened. It took about the same time for everything to go wrong
as before, on saturday. Conclusion: maybe the fan isn’t working
on this videocard either. This PC is going back.
The keyboard went on the old PC and I got to know DOS EDIT.COM
again. I amused myself by getting old DOS games working, including
Discworld 2, a game that wouldn’t work on anything but DOS.

Wednesday 18 January
Phoned Vintron and arranged to bring the PC to their workshop.
At Vintron, Graham didn’t bother to verify my problem, he just took
the old Videocard out and put another one in. We hooked the PC up
to his monitor and waited for something to go wrong. After 10 minutes nothing did, so we concluded the problem was fixed. In total it cost $3, and that was for the cheap speakers I got to put on my old PC. It was still working after about five hours of operation at home, so it looks like that problem has been fixed.

Friday 20 January
Finally got the adapter for the second monitor and had both running.
With a bit of fiddling, changed resolutions and settings so they
worked together. New problem, the new LCD is brighter and better than the old CRT monitor. Maybe I should get a new LCD monitor so they match. Anyone want to buy an old 17 inch monitor ?

2016 Update
I an still using the same set of monitors.