HOWTO: fix your old PC

I am running one of my old PCs right now, testing the latest build of Wary with dialup -- PcTel modem card, 500MHz CPU, 128MB RAM.

The problem was, I turned it on and one of the RAM modules had failed and I only had 64MB.

Well, Wary still ran. This PC has a 900MB swap partition, so I did expect SeaMonkey would run, albeit slowly. But no-go, there was massive disk activity but SM would not start. Well, not in a reasonable time-frame anyway.

So, it looks like we have to rule out PCs with 64MB of RAM with recent SeaMonkeys.

Anyway, I turned off the PC, opened it up, and just wobbled the memory modules in their sockets, fired up again and hey-presto, 128MB is back!

Some of the guys who contribute to the Puppy Forum do PC servicing for a living or hobby, and they have reported this as standard first method -- give the PC a good hit (after the customer has left the store). Or in my case, a more focused application of the principle.


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 9:09


Comments:

Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 10:01 by disciple
clean the contacts
In my limited experience cleaning the contacts on the RAM with an eraser is often what is needed.


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 10:16 by rjbrewer
fix old pc

Found an old Asus pc board the other day.
P3 933mhz coppermine.
Inserted 256mb ram.
Wary runs great in it; quite a bit better than my
old P3 800mhz coppermine Inspiron 4000 laptop.

A very troubling development:
With Luci 237 the cd can not be removed once booted.
First time I've ever seen that in a regular Puppy.


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 10:33 by 01micko
re rjb
rjbrewer
I have had that happen plenty on my old K6 400MHz IBM Aptiva (desktop) with 128 RAM, the CD gets mounted, there isn't a puppy yet to run on that old bus, but the CD is not removeable due to RAM constraint (NO swap). Could depend on how much RAM is being chewed by the video chip too if it's onboard.
Probably the best (fastest) was Barry's woof built 218. The kernel was very happy, cleanly shutting down and all. Some of the others had trouble shutting down. I often ran it with a 3G modem, no problem. lupu-511 was fine with it, though I did use a drive with swap. I did test without swap too and it booted fine to desktop. I think James C went lower booting a cyrix 300MHz (there-abouts) chip with lupu.
Might see what happens on that with luci-238 (due soon)
Cheers


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 12:50 by BarryK
Re mounted CD
I can't remember whether threshold for copying to RAM is under or over for leaving the .sfs on the CD for a 256MB system. I would have to check, it might be bigger size of the Luci .sfs that tips the scales.

But it doesn't really matter, as once you have shutdown and created a save-file, accepted the offer to copy the .sfs to the hard drive, at next boot mounting the .sfs from the hard drive frees up the CD.

Which is exactly the situation I got on my PC mentioned in first post above.



Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 14:31 by rjbrewer
re mounted cd
Well, it's only happening on this Asus board; my
other pc and 2 laptops will unmount okay.

It is also only happening with Luci237; Lupu510
unmounts okay, which is just 1mb smaller than 237.

A good little mystery, I'll keep playing with it.


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 14:33 by Sage
"I only had 64MB... Wary still ran"
I told you so! Wary is excellent for old kit - the best yet, but:
It is unreasonable to expect it to run with 64Mb if that includes on-board video, although all old-board fiddlers will know this, so it's not something that should influence changes to code, besides which, the world is awash with old SDRAM .
It is not reasonable to pander to the world's richest nation because capitalism has failed to provide them with broadband. Stop wasting valuable intellectual effort on Winmodems - for those who must, external 'proper' modems are the complete solution and can be had from eBay for a handful of beans.
It is not reasonable to persist with a lousy browser, most especially with old-kit projects. Netsurf often suffices, but, if not, effort could usefully be deployed to port Opera mini/portable/or-whatever-they-call-it.
The P,Q,W sound issue looks like it's reaching resolution, although it had already been satisfactory for most of its long life, apart from a few individuals using cards that could easily be swapped from their spares box/eBay/cannibalised junk/local dump/w.h.y. It is not reasonable to rely on the cr*p ('free')sound chips soldered onto the board. These always need an external amplifier which leads to appalling aural results. Again, fiddling folks will already know how to achieve worthwhile sound quality, which is worth striving for even for playing the latest hiphop or wrap(sic!).
Notwithstanding, most readers who reach this point will ignore or forget my entirely reasonable and reasoned argument.


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 16:27 by Sage
re. Netsurf
Netsurf crashes when trying to load bbc.co.uk. This the first time I've seen this with Netsurf and with BBC, which is the most reliable of all.

re. 2barks (aka woof,woof) - is there a simple script that can be used to invoke it in other situations, ie other than a click from its directory?


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 19:04 by L18L
re woof,woof
is there a simple script that can be used to invoke it in other situations, ie other than a click from its directory?
Yes, here it is:
aplay /usr/share/audio/2barks.au



Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 19:40 by Sage
re woof,woof
Thanks a bunch, L18L.


Posted on 20 Nov 2010, 22:00 by 01micko
compression
Well, it's only happening on this Asus board; my
other pc and 2 laptops will unmount okay.

It is also only happening with Luci237; Lupu510
unmounts okay, which is just 1mb smaller than 237.
(quote from rjbrewer)
2 possibilities here..
1)luci-237 contains more code and less images than 511 (code compresses better than already compressed images)
2)The amount of onboard video RAM needed may be just tipping it over the edge
HTH
Cheers


Posted on 21 Nov 2010, 6:17 by rjbrewer
unmounting cd
01micko:

The "tipping" point argument seems correct.
Lupu 5.11 cd is actually 129mb and Luci 237-238
is 136mb, just enough to make the difference on
3 computers with 256 mb ram I've tried.


Posted on 21 Nov 2010, 12:53 by ttuuxxx
old pc
Hi Barry maybe remove one of the sticks of ram try 2.14X. It has the latest Firefox 4.0b6.
Usually it takes 1/2 the memory of puppy 5.
ttuuxxx
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=42553