Can You Fix It ?!

“Can You Fix It”, the theme of today’s session which was spear headed by two of the society’s most prominent tech gurus – Roger Straker and Melissa Chewitt as they imparted knowledge of the fundamental concepts of hardware and software maintenance.

Both presenters are final year computer science students who possess formidable knowledge and passion for the hardware and technical aspect of the discipline.



Hardware fault resolution/Maintenance

PART I – Problem Solving Steps

  1.  Identify Problem- Is the system not booting, is it not getting pass boot-up screen, is it randomly restarting etc.
  2.  When did it occur?- Monitor occurrences of the problem and the frequency at which it occurs are very important pieces of information for troubleshooting.
System Message/ ClueSymptomsCauses
POST (Power on system test) and Beep CodesExcessive or different beeping noises upon powering on the system.POST may fail due to missing or faulty hard drives or RAM for example.
Blue Screens (Blue Screen of Death)Display goes blue with lots of white text and various error codes.Usually result from critical and sudden hardware and software errors.
Increased sound and heatFans gets noisy due to the extra work that it needs to do.Accumulated dust means a slower spinning fan which will result in less heat dissipation.
Boot TimeComputer gets slow, may lag/hang or take while before booting.Usually OS or hardware problem (e.g failing hard drive)

Remember the 3R process :

Reboot – If the problem goes away, then great, if not then recreate it.

Recreate – Retrace steps to recreate the problem then try to isolate it ( is it just your computer or others as well?)

Retrace Procedure – Uninstall/Install- programs and applications you no longer use, remove them, they slow down computer

Must have software 
Virus Protection

  • AVGs free antivirus
  • Windows Defender (Microsoft Security Essentials)

Malware Protection

  • Malwarebytes – blocks threats of malware and removes malware infected files

Hardware Precautions
A few precautions to take while undertaking hardware repairs include:
* Electric Shock– Never dismantle the power supply unit as it contains potentially fatal levels of voltage, just replace it
* Sharp Edges- Be wary of sharp/pointy areas of the components especially the chasis, processor chip as they can be damaged and break off or cause painful skin tears.
* Connections-  Always remember to power off  to discharge the electricity in the system. This will protect against static discharges and shock to the computer which could damage the device.
* Handling & Cleaning – Most importantly, handle with care and be very cautious with which cleaning tools and agents you use. Isopropyl (isopropanol) alcohol and lint free cloths are your best friends !

Here are a few handy tips that we were implored to consider before servicing of the computer system begins.

* Tools-  Ensure the right sized screwdriver to avoid rounding off the heads of the screws.
* Workspace- Lots of space to take apart your system, rest parts nearby and have tools at hand
* Research- Youtube videos, tech websites, manuals and How-To guides are all great resources to utilize when in search of information
* Patience- Apply a gentle grip, avoid slippage, go at a careful and steady pace. Pay attention to how screws, ribbons etc were removed.
* Grounding(IMPORTANT!) Hold down power switch for 15 secs to dispel charge and to avoid a fatal static shock

PART II – Assembling the laptop

* GPU- Graphics Processor Unit- controls what you see, can’t be repaired, best to replace. Look at model number since every one is different
* The Heat sink-  Cools processor and any other components that need to be cooled. It’s best to apply thermal paste to improve heat dissipitation.
* Motherboard-  Ensure screws are seperated and labelled rather than mixing them up with the other screws of the laptop. There is a lock that needs to be clipped in that locks motherboard in place.

Ensure the hinges are flat when connecting the monitor to the laptop and remember to hold RAM chips on their side, so you don’t damage any of the pins. As mentioned in an earlier section, grounding is very important. Make sure you drain the laptop of power by taking out the battery first. Hold down the power button to ensure the residual power is used up then touch the case and hold the laptop to remove static energy.
* Take your time, be gentle, know where your screws are and where you took them from, ensure you carefully plug in components. For your particular laptop, look for the manual for guidance.

Server Challenge Activity

The challenge presented was to attach all internal components in the correct manner and within a specific time frame. The winner was determined by who had the quickest time and committed the least number of errors.

Christopher Maynard – Winner
Jamal Patrick- 2nd Place
Devon Bourne – 3rd Place
Kelsie Mason
Clorissa Callendar
Adrian King
Derek Duesbury
Derek Ashby

Photo by K. Trémaine Gikes
Photo by K. Trémaine Gikes
Roger Straker and Melissa Chewitt demonstrate to students how to disassemble and reassemble a laptop.
« 1 of 5 »



Video: Server Challenge winner Christopher Maynard assembles the components of this server in record time.

Can You Fix It – Server ChallengeThe challenge presented was to attach all internal components in the correct manner and within a specific time frame. The winner was determined by who had the quickest time and committed the least number of errors.In this video we have our challenge winner Christopher Maynnard

Posted by Computer Science Society Cave Hill on Saturday, 19 March 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *