THE STORY OF CACO
An epic saga of the revivication of a sickly and intractable base unit, in several parts. Here are parts three, two and one. This is pretty much the last part. Thank goodness. However I have to go back to work tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it.
4. Dubious NICs and Clamorous Fans!
Time to resolve part three's cliffhanger. The reason caco wasn't booting was... another damn network card.
Fortunately it wasn't the extra one I'd bought specially (see part one.) It was the card the previous owner had added. It had been working perfectly for three weeks. I hadn't touched it when I'd opened caco in August. Thus it never crossed my mind it'd be the problem. I didn't bother to try booting, having removed it.
That card being removed meant that caco now only had one network interface. However, I had had some suspicions about this and the repair guy confirmed them.
- The motherboard actually had a network interface built in.
- The case made the network port, located to the immediate right of the USB ports, inaccessible. The thin metal panel in the back has holes cut in it for all the ports except the network. Seeing as the dates of the components in caco ranged between 1998 and 2002 it was entirely feasible the case had been made before motherboards with network ports were common.
I thought "either wait to buy yet another card, or lose the panel" Needless to say within an hour of its return caco was completely in pieces and now has a gaping hole in the back where the panel used to be.
Digression: As I've said I seem to have a bad history with network cards; the first one I had turned out to be the reason my internet connection never worked properly. But in a remarkable twist of irony, that card which had so screwed up in baron worked fine in caco! I put caco's working card into baron, and laughed a lot.
So, it's all good. Everything was running sweetly! Well, almost everything. The noise was still unbearable.
- PSU Fan: Quiet enough not to be a problem
- Case Fan: (aka chassis fan, you know, it goes in the receptacle at the bottom of the front of the case) Also sufficiently quiet.
- That weird extra fan that screwed onto the bottom of the hard disc: This would be pretty quiet if it ran smoothly. However every few seconds it makes a horrible rattle and stops spinning completely. I couldn't stop it doing this so I took the damn thing out entirely.
- CPU Fan: This was by far the worst, it made a godsawful racket even on its own but, when installed over the CPU, it made the whole damn case resonate. It was only a five centimetre fan, so it had to spin faster to compensate. It must have been fully twice as loud as the one in baron, which was only a basic six centimetre fan.
I tried to reduce the noise of the cpu fan by padding the screws where it attached to the heatsink; it made a slight difference but nowhere near enough. I couldn't keep swapping the cable modem from baron to caco at weekends and then back again, because something else weird was going on; if I rebooted the cable modem it would take usually until the next day to reacquire its signal.
I knew the only solution was to get a decent fan. The following weekend, I went shopping and managed to find what was apparently a slightly newer model revision of the fan in baron. Thus being fairly sure of its sound properties, I bought one. I also bought a case fan for baron (as I said above there was one already in caco, which gave me the idea. They seem to be more than quiet enough not to cause any trouble.) I took the boxes apart, fitted the fans, put it all back together and powered up. That was the one. It was all over and we were triumphant. The only reason I didn't immediately post "CACO LIVES" on here was that I'd rebooted the modem to swap it to caco, which of course made it lose its signal.
So, finally, the whole thing was a success. It had been long and full of drama, but, like all crap Hollywood movies, finally had a happy ending. I felt at last able to make a start on getting caco to do something useful...