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 Post subject: Help please
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:33 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:27 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Sacramento CA
Got your attention? Good – I’m hooked and I need help.

Not hooked on booze or drugs. But, rather, this newly discovered eWaste recycling and the electronics you end up dealing with.

My technical background is within metals and plastics. I still wear my necklace of chicken bones and garlic when I open up anything with a plug or USB slot. You see, I’m recently retired and don’t golf, hunt or play tennis. My wife got tired of looking at me so much and told me I had to find something to do or she would create her manifesto called the “Honey Do” list. Believe me; she can be as long winded as a Russian novelist writing their masterpiece during a Siberian winter. So, here I am, necklace and all, falling down the electronics rabbit hole.

I recently sent my first shipment into Boardsort and immediately had to deal with another disadvantage with living here on the Left Coast – freight. Until one of you electronics wizards invents the transporter, I have to figure out how to minimize the chunk that freight takes out of my hard-earned beer money.

One way many have suggested is to sell more of my treasures on eBay or Craigslist. Seems to be a very sound suggestion. But, the vast majority of my potential competitors there say they sell “tested”, “cleaned” or “wiped” goodies. So I finally get to my “How To” questions:

1.) Where can I buy, or how can I build, a CPU tester?
2.) Where can I buy, or how can I build, a hard drive tester?
3.) How are motherboards tested? What is needed?
4.) How are circuit boards tested? What is needed?

I know that the answers to these questions are very detailed and lengthy. That’s why there are university degrees in electrical engineering, etc. Please just help me by placing me on the right newbie path to enlightenment and point me to your favorite internet repositories of knowledge or even (gasp!) books.

As always, this board’s guidance is invaluable. Who knows, maybe someday I won’t need to wear my necklace!

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An answer to a problem that is correct and efficient yet pleasing to behold is that problem's elegant solution.


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3067
Location: Low DOS
I'll give you an equally deserving detailed reply in a little bit but first off ; I changed the title. Yes it was catchy but with the volume of spam I wipe daily (much more than winds up being seen in the threads) you nearly got swept up on my deletions. Till I saw who posted it. :)

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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3067
Location: Low DOS
I'll start with the easiest following my general warning.
Don't sell general purpose scsi Sata or (p)ata drives on ebay. Even as unknown/parts-repair. The buyer protection program bites the seller way too often.
IDE (predates ATA) modern and early SAS, and fc drives are expensive enough for the risks involved.
You'll need a computer you know works with USB 2. Preferably one you can be willing to nuke and start over on.

As far as testing goes for drives, there's two methods I usually suggest. The first is easiest and cheapest; using an internal to external adapter. They come as USB to ata sata with a power cord and are good for quick brief testing.
The second method is what I use. a collection of single interface external cases.
One for each you'd test. I have ata, sas, and scsi dock cases. All with eSATA ports to connect to my computer. Though you can also get USB and FireWire and not lightning and more.
For the first look up USB disk drive adapter
For the second look up external drive enclosure

Step one is to encrypt and wipe the drive
In Linux just plug it in
For Windows you'll want to turn off two settings first.
Turn off auto PLAY and auto READ in the control panel
Turn ON "disable read at mount USB mass storage" in the policy editor.
In Linux and other nix you'll need to install the encryption library. -get drive encrypt usually works in most cases
Windows comes with bit locker

Linux load the terminal and type enc -(drive ID) -256 -s -n
Windows load my computer and right click on the drive and chose encryption or encrypt, and follow the prompts

N) encryption followed by a format guarantees the data can't be recovered

2) once encrypted you'll want to format the drive
Linux fmt -(drive ID) -f -ext
Windows load my computer right click the drive choose format , then full (not the quick one) and chose anything other file system than ntfs.
...and wait... ... ... ... ...

3) verify the drive integrity
In Linux vfy -(drive id) -ps
In windows load my computer and right click on the drive select tools and select check disk.
You may be prompted to restart the system to run the test. Do so.

Both cases will end by giving you an on screen result. If ANYTHING is bad scrap the drive. It's not worth it.
If everything checkout you've got a working drive. Clean and ready to take an os.
More coming later on the rest.

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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:34 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3067
Location: Low DOS
Testing full systems
Is actually fairly straightforward. For x86 processors, 32 and 64 bit; AIDA tends to be the easiest to make use of. For Windows. Systest for Linux. Not sure on Intel Macs.
SIT works on 68k systems. A bootable disk image (dmg, or img) is available.
SIT32 for power, sparc, and arm 16 and 32 bit systems

Scan, for 8 bit computers is a flashable rom image that will run in most open memory computer OSs as it includes basic and a real time translator. (Haven't looked for it in a while but believe it's in the Internet Archive in the software section, along with many other choices.

For most modern systems though plug it and turn it on. Any modern benchmarking or performance program will run a fairly harsh set of tests finding any hardware issues for you.

Next : testing addin cards.

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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:48 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3067
Location: Low DOS
Is this even remotely what your looking for?

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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:45 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:59 pm
Posts: 35
Also if you are generating a gaylord of material I maybe able to save you money on shipping


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:38 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:27 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Sacramento CA
lostinlodos wrote:
Is this even remotely what your looking for?

Yes.

Please continue when you can - no rush.

Much is beyond my current knowledge base. But, the more I read it - the more the fog begins to lift. Better to have to stretch than no challenge.

I plan on printing it out and terrorizing my local electronics parts store with a visit.

_________________
An answer to a problem that is correct and efficient yet pleasing to behold is that problem's elegant solution.


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:27 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Sacramento CA
gorven wrote:
Also if you are generating a gaylord of material I maybe able to save you money on shipping

Thanks.

But that may take a while.

_________________
An answer to a problem that is correct and efficient yet pleasing to behold is that problem's elegant solution.


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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 1:54 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3067
Location: Low DOS
I'll hit addin boards and motherboards today.
Things begin to get more convoluted here so you'll definitely want to buy, or as I did, make, one of these from the photo
I made my own based on the first photo by buying a bunch of server cases from a local scrap yard, cutting the parts lose, some minor cleanup and light welding and I had my own. My first one though was the first photo, which I cloned when I made my own.
A loose open design like this makes swapping out parts a breeze!
You'll also want an antistatic dust cover.


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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.
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 Post subject: Re: Help please
PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3067
Location: Low DOS
With add on cards there are a few common ones you see often, and some bizarre proprietary stuff
On old systems you'll commonly find isa and Bus. bus being iBM.
More modern post pentium systems will have pci and pcie.
In very high end gaming systems, workstations and servers you'll commonly find PCIx as well.

Testing these is quite easy
First turn off the system and plug in the board.
This is actually the first test. If the computer doesn't post you've got a card probably not worth troubleshooting for your purposes so simply scrap it.

For testing isa you'll want a windows 3.11 or 16 bit unix os. (Xerox and Z-OS are easiest).
32 bit windows compatibility is hit or miss and running isa cards on Linux involves writing your own drivers. A pain for a $10-$20 card but of value for testing expensive stuff like telco adapters and SCSI adapters.
You can download windows drivers from driverguide or driver guy for most cards that are isa or pci.
From there install the driver and test the ports.
It works or it doesn't. Remember that isa involves setting interrupts etc
A good source of documentation on this stuff is the old early A+ training books.

PCI like it's later younger sibling is much easier. Here you'll want windows xp sp3. 90%+ is built into the os at the very least with generic workable drivers on plug n play.
When you boot into xp with the new card it will automatically install, or prompt you to supply drivers (driver guide) but here we know the card itself is working.
By installing any extra drivers your prompted for you can then test any ports.

For the next two I suggest windows 10 pre install environment. Windows PE 2016
PE costs about $20-$30. It's not a full windows, more a development environment for OEMs to test various things and prep the system for a full install. A slim shell version is included on every windows CD since 95 OSR 2
So you'll instantly recognise it. But you'll want to buy a copy of your own. Tiger, new egg, etc.
The good thing here is there's quite a bit of extra software that is meant for OEMs such as drivers and compatibility layers. And the interface is self explanatory and quickly enables you to fully test anything you want. From pci and PCIe to ram (memtest) and power stability.

PCIx is a beast to cover later. Along with a collection of proprietary stuff. Most of that stuff isn't in general consumer computer excepting HP and Dell. (Why does iOS always change HP to ho? Something we should know about there?)

_________________
-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.


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