Sunday, November 8, 2009

Troubleshooting Hardware can be a pain in the a$$ (note the dollar signs)

Ever since I have tinkered with computers and machines from one type or another, hardware has always been my achilles heel. Not only is it difficult to troubleshoot but it can be expensive as well. There was this one time along time ago where I had a 500+mhz Pentium 3 machine that would lock up at random times and when I would escape to the BIOS, the BIOS would lock up also. How do you troubleshoot something like that? I remember calling up my dad to take a look at it and when he saw the BIOS freeze, he was as stumped as I was. I ended up replacing almost everything in that computer and it still ran like crap. To this day, I don't know the exact cause(s) of that machine's problem but that was years ago.

So what brought this on? About a week or two ago, my OpenBSD machine started displaying hard drive errors out of the blue. What was nice was the error message displayed was pretty specific which was easier to figure out but it meant that I would have to buy another hard drive. However, awhile after I removed the offending drive the error started appearing more frequently at different times for different drives. At that point I started thinking it may have a bad hd controller on the board. The board is an older DFI board that has been holding up for about 4+ years so it was plausible that the board was the issue. I was about to look into new mother boards when I thought about trying a new harddrive cable. So I pulled out an old hard drive ribbon cable and gave it a go and everything started working. I almost spent money on a new hard drive and motherboard when all I needed was a new hard drive cable. I should have known based on how that cable looked. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did...

So learn something from this kids. Hard drive failures could be just bad cables.

No comments:

Post a Comment