While diagnosing a RAM failure in my more sickly GRiDCase 1520 I noticed an unpleasant odour coming from the rear of the machine.
Pretty soon it started behaving erraticly, rebooting at random.
It's capacitors again — this time in the DC-DC converter module.
Time to break out the soldering iron!
My more beat-up Gridcase 1520 was missing its battery eject button.
To get the battery or power supply out I needed to poke a flat-bladed screwdriver into the hole where the button should be.
Since I had my other 1520 disassembled I removed the battery eject button to have a look at it.
It's shaped like a long, thin 'T' with a step in the middle to keep the button held in place against the rear of the battery compartment.
The 'base' of the T is sloped so that when the button is pressed it slides over and depresses the spring-loaded clip that holds the battery in place.
I measured it up and managed to bash together a workable model using OpenSCAD.
A friend with a 3D printer very kindly printed a couple for me.
It fits almost perfectly!
Time to look at a Gridcase 1520 portable computer.
Not the one that had the power supply failure; this is the cheaper model with the LCD screen instead of the gas plasma display.
When it turns on it complains that the real-time clock has stopped and the CMOS configuration is invalid.
Time to open it up and replace the CMOS battery!
Some time ago I purchased a VCR player to use while digitising some family video tapes.
It was the rather fancy Sony SLV-373UB with on-screen menu and massive jog-wheel remote control.
Shortly after I had transferred the last video from tape, the VCR player quietly died—the front panel display turned off and it stopped responding to any input.
Inserting a cassette didn't prompt it to pull it in and load it.
I put the machine to one side and forgot about it for a long time.
Now I have unearthed more tapes to digitise and dispose of, I've been trying to get the player working again.
(The new tapes aren't anything exciting — old WordPerfect training videos).
Since the VCR is quite old (I think from 1990?) with no obvious mechanical problems before the failure, I suspected the power supply.
Electrolytic capacitors from the 1990s tend to have dried out or leaked after thirty years so they're a first suspect for failures that don't involve loud bangs.
A few years ago the power supply for my Gridcase 1520 portable computer died.
It emitted a cloud of bad-smelling smoke and wouldn't turn on again.
I placed it to one side and forgot about it for a few years.
Now it's time to get it working again!
The Grid 15xx-series of portable computers use a removable power supply.
It's shaped a bit like like a brick with one edge rounded off.
Once the power supply is removed it can be replaced with a battery pack and the power supply used as an external charger.
I have a couple of battery packs but they are long since dead and will not hold a charge.
Maybe I'll open one up one day and see if they're fixable…