Not going smoothly

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So, the media server died. Well, it’s not dead. At 10 years old the Athlon XP’s power supply started to fail. I have a faint feeling it may have failed before, but this time I wandered into the Laundry room / Store, and went ‘gosh, it smells of hot components’. Having checked over the motherboard* and found no leaking capacitors I took out the power supply (which I suspected anyhow) and peered in. And in the darkness there lurked multiple failing capacitors.

And in the darkness there lurked an evil that had infinite capacity for destruction

So. I thought about it. I thought I could replace the power supply. But I hate just slinging something that needs only minor work to repair it. I thought I could replace the whole PC and freecycle the old one, but a quick check of e-bay revealed that PCs that are are on there are either on buy-it-now for way more than a new power supply (or repairs to the old one) or more than I’m willing to spend.

Having visited Nikki and Kate, they had a Packaged Hell Intel P4 that was filling space in their lounge (ironically it’s one that’s been here before, and we returned to them having decided we had no use for it). Having revised my processor knowledge from 10 years ago, it’s slightly higher performance and it sports 2 gig of ram. This, it seemed was a winner. And so I brought it home and performed open heart surgery:

Open heart surgery.

And then sat down and played the ‘getting a new OS onto an old computer’ game. we go again

It’s actually not that difficult, ‘cept I didn’t want to disassemble my desk – pulling the monitor and such, but upstairs there’s no WiFi adaptor and no wired network point (yes, I should have got them to run the cable at the same time as they rewired, rather than sneaking my network cables in after they’d wired downstairs and not bothering with upstairs) and this machine plugs into the flood-wired downstairs network when it’s fully installed. So I took it upstairs, and after a couple of failed disk burns (the stack of very cheap CD-Rs that I keep kicking around providing a staggering fail rate) produced a CD which worked (they report 24x burning, but 10x is about as fast as they’ll cope with). Having installed Ubuntu I shut down the machine for the night (having found it doesn’t have VLC on the base install CD).

Then yesterday I booted it downstairs connected to the network, forgetting that X needs some tweaks before it’ll boot headless. It didn’t boot, obviously. Then I gave in and pulled the monitor from my desk (time to be grateful for LCDs) and tried again. Still not booting. After a few more goes (it’s not making it to any form of command line either) I reinstalled Ubuntu. It still failed. Then I looked at the power supply in the P4. 315Watts. Whatnow? Running the notoriously power hungry P4, three hard disks and a DVD drive? I suspect it’s a bit much for it. It already ‘whined’ – apparently it’s always done that – or at least for a long time, but I think the whine eminating from it may have been a death-whine.

So the new plan:
– Replace capacitors in old power supply and use to switch out with old power supply on Garage PC – which is the same age as the power supply that’s failed.
– New power supply in P4 – if that works and it runs properly, use that.
– If not, nick memory from P4 (although there’re only two slots in my Athlon) and use it to marginally upgrade the Athlon server.

Unfortunately, this means I get to reinstall software that I’ve spent a fair while tweaking. Mediatomb. So feh.

ETA: I was hoping to go and pick up a power supply today, from a local store (for local people). Unfortunately, ringing around demonstrated that there is a difference between “profit margin” and “I’ll wait a day or two for it to arrive from an internet supplier”. I understand they have much higher overheads, but the difference between 16 quid delivered for a 700 Watt power supply and 40 quid I go and collect it for a 500 Watt one is too much for me, even with my ideals about buying locally, to ignore. This is more frustrating because I wanted to treat myself to a new episode of The Newsroom before I went to work for my night shift, which I thought was unlikely, but I had vague hopes for. Feh, basically.

ETA2: Bollocks. Unintentionally bought my new powersupply from Scan. Bought it on ebay, didn’t pay attention to seller’s name… Arse.

ETA3: And the capacitors have arrived… The Royal Mail left them outside the house… in the rain. How helpful.

*Not motherbard, which is literally different.


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at