Geek thread - Discuss IT stuff


My reply is always along the lines of “Oh, but I thought Apple was so fantastic. I told you not to buy one, deal with it yourself.” When one of the tablets or phones goes wrong.

Likewise, just because I’m an engineering student, it doesn’t mean I’m now tech support.


Spent the day opening my old laptop. The main reasons were that I wanted to see what was inside and wanted to try and fix the issue that made me replace it in the first place and to clean the dust out.

Laptop specs:

HP Pavilion 15 - n096na
i5 4200U
8GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM
Intel 620 Graphics

HP clearly didn’t intend for anyone to open this. I could tell because there was a dedicated hatch for the RAM and WiFi card, but to get to anything else requires complete disassemby. It was a total pain to tear apart, I eventually managed to get inside, but I can’t expect more from plastic consumer-grade electronics. I didn’t find as much dust and crap as I expected, I also didn’t see what the possible issue was that was causing the whole thing to glitch out when moved. As I was tearing it down, I noticed that the fan intake was straight through the keyboard, around the W,A,S and D keys (in that area) which I found to be quite odd.

Reassembly was even more of a nightmare than disassembly, that’s because I had to ham-fist the teardown at one point and broke a few of the crappy plastic clips holding the casing together. As a result, there’s a small part where the top of the casing ins’t flush with the frame, but it isn’t an issue. On the topic of issues, I managed to fix the glitching issue, the laptop can now be shaken and punched and it’ll be fine. I still don’t know what was causing it, if I had to guess, I’d say a loose HDD or RAM connection somewhere.

I solved one issue and created another minor issue. When I was closing the casing, I decided to move the WiFi antenna below the screen hinge to tidy the inside a bit. Turns out it was a mistake because the WiFi range was shortened to 2m. So I opened it back up, moved the antenna back to the original position and closed it again…only to find that some of the keys don’t work. So I took off the keyboard again to see what was wrong. Upon closer inspection I saw that some of the contacts on the flat cable had been scratched off. It would seem it’s only been designed to be plugged and unplugged only once or twice. I ordered a new keyboard, in the meantime I can use it with my wireless keyboard. I’m just glad I’m not going to have to deal with crap like this when I go to upgrade the Dell, it has been designed properly and is meant to be opened.

Here are a few pics, they aren’t very good in terms of showing the process as they were my emergency reference pics in case I forgot where something went.


Spent this afternoon getting into the Dell, what a joy it is to open and work on a laptop that has been designed properly, it was so easy and simple, just a few screws, a couple of clips to support the screws on the front side of the frame (as opposed to the opposite of a load of clips to support a couple of screws). I was in in seconds. I opened it for two reasons, the first is to see the specifc RAM I had and the second is to see where the missing screw is supposed to be so I can buy a replacement.

It was missing a screw inside, because I had to get the motheboard changed early on due to W10 murdering my USB ports and fingerprint scanner. Anyway, the technician had just closed the laptop and was in a rush to get to the next job when I saw a screw on the table. I let him off, because he was in a rush, it was just one screw and I didn’t want to make him open the whole thing again. The laptop is perfectly fine without it, but my OCD is going mad.

What’s odd is that I opened it and tore it down slightly more than the technician did and couldn’t for the life of me find where the missing screw was, I counted screws, I counted screw holes, I looked at the manual (which seemed to miss a few screws off), I stared at each component for minutes at a time and found nothing. I honestly don’t know where it could have been. My only theory for now is that perhaps it was a motherboard mounted screw and when it came to replace it, they put in a newer revision of the board that didn’t include the screw, but I don’t know.

One weird thing that I noticed was that the Dell, which is less than a year old, was more clogged with dust than the HP from yesterday which is probably five years old by now. The HP was full of more crap, but the cooling channel specifically, wasn’t packed with bits of dust and lint.

This is the only proper pic I took that wasn’t a zoom-in of a connector’s polarity or a set of screws.


Nice work you’re doing! Good luck in your stuff :grin:

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It should let you in now rob

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Posting this from the HP, the new keyboard came in earlier today and I replaced it a moment ago. I’m not even sure it’s a legit HP replacement given the material of the keys and the quality of the markings on the keys, but I don’t care, it fits and it works. I should say it fits mostly, it seems to be slightly bulging in the middle, so when you type, you can see it move, but it you can’t feel it and it doesn’t impede typing. Besides, I don’t care as long as it works, as this hasn’t been my main laptop in nearly a year and won’t be ever again. I might even give it to my parents, but I’m undecided for now.

Thanks for bailing me out and breaking the 3 post chain, @lpfan61 and @StephLP18. This rule is so stupid.


Yeah I never really understood that rule ethier


A little dated, but a lot of the points still stand (some to a greater extent than others).

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Hey Rob, don’t know if you can help but I’m thinking of buying a turntable, wanted advice of what to get?? Thanks @the_termin8r :grin:

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Hey, sorry, but unfortunately I know nothing about turntables (other than the very basic working principle). I’ve never used one and it wasn’t up until about a week ago that I saw one in person for the first time (and didn’t go to use it, I just saw a person using it :stuck_out_tongue: ). Maybe someone else here can help out, but your best bet is to get the digital shovel and do some online digging. Oh, and sorry for not replying in the other thread, I don’t follow that one.


I don’t know a ton about them either but, I have a Victrola. It’s basic and portable, just a single record at a time. I don’t think it’s meant for DJ’s or anything like that but, it’s good as a simple turntable.

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Cool thanks Rob…it’s fine. I wasn’t sure where to catch ya!

Brilliant thanks @melisLP I’ll have a look into it!

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Check and see if @mish3lka has any advice, I know she has a really nice one :slight_smile:

But like @melisLP, I have a victrola and it’s pretty decent, basic but decent


Well we have an old Tesla @alz89, it’s a good-old quality, but you can’t buy those in common stores. Of today’s selection, I really don’t know, I don’t have a concrete product of choice.

I just know that today, if you want quality sound, you have to buy expensive. And even with high price you cannot be sure it doesn’t break after the warranty ends. Capitalism and comsumer era :slightly_frowning_face: The old things were made to last.

And about amplifiers, I would like to have a tube amplifier, but they’re quite expensive, too.


Well, I actually have a Pioneer turntable from the 80’… and it still works fine!! :grin: If I’m not wrong it should be from 1988 :grin:

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I don’t get the hype behind tube amps.


Just realised I don’t know anything about turn tables, which is kinda sad being into music production :sweat_smile: :joy:


:scream: Yeah, you should know more than us… it’s your field! Go buy a turntable… :crazy_face:

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I have no time to learn everything at once! :crazy_face:

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Ah… ok… :grimacing: well, if you get a chance at least buy one to listen vinyls… :grin: