Tag: aspire

Tales from the Car Boot: Christmas Booting

This takes place a couple of Christmases ago, when I went back home. One of the boots I attend when I’m back at home is an indoor boot that only runs in the colder months of the year.

The boot itself is primarily traders, although there are a few stands run by your average Joe. Stalls are spread across two (sometimes, when it’s warmer and busier, three) floors of what I can only assume is a dilapidated warehouse of some form. It isn’t uncommon to dodge buckets in the middle of the aisle, strategically placed to catch drips from the leaky roof. It’s a strange atmosphere but there are some bargains to be had here, so when I can (and usually when my outdoor boots are called off due to weather) I take a trip down.

One such Sunday morning after Christmas, I braved the treacherous conditions and drove down to this boot. All you need to know about the journey there is that I’d never driven in snow and ice before, and thank god my car has ABS or I’d have probably been hit by a bus en route. I encountered a stand full of phones, games consoles and laptop bits, the usual hallmarks of a trader.

Piled on a table were two stacks of about 5 laptops each. Naturally I had a rummage through, and three machines caught my eye: An MSI netbook with a detached hinge and hideous stickers on the lid, a Sony Vaio which had one of the most destroyed keyboards I’ve seen and I later learned, a cracked LCD, and a smart little Lenovo ThinkPad X60. I have a soft spot for these little ThinkPads, I once acquired an X31 missing its top half, so I duly bought one, and my mother used it for about 2 years or so before I sold it on. With some bartering, I got the Vaio for £10 and the MSI for £5. I left the ThinkPad for that week, as it was priced at £25 and was untested. My intention was to fix up the Vaio and steal the hard drive and RAM from the MSI for another machine I had in stock.

Back in the safety of home and armed with screwdrivers and coffee, I set to work seeing what could be done. The Vaio, despite being marked as untested, appeared to work other than its original faults, and it eventually booted into its XP installation with an external monitor hooked up. Not the quickest machine in the world, but a 1.66GHz Pentium dual core with 1GB RAM and a 100GB hard drive would still have netted me a good £50-70. Bonus points for the DVD-rewriter, webcam and battery that held a charge would have ensured the higher end of that estimate.

However, eBay revealed that the cost of a keyboard would be about £30-40, and the screen a similar amount. The MSI was a similar crapshoot, due to soldered RAM, but this gave up its 160GB hard drive for the other machine (an Acer Aspire 5920, see next paragraph!) and was then given to one of my contacts in my uni town alongside another machine, funnily enough, the same Acer!

While I remember, I’ll write about the 5920. This was bought from a uni town car boot for £10 missing its RAM and hard drive. 2GB was put in, alongside the 160GB drive, and was sold for £50 to a contact of mine. It then died, but this wasn’t picked up on until a long while after. As I’m not a total bastard, I refunded him £40 and let him keep the rest for spares.

I went back the next week, after New Year’s, to see if I could get a machine with a donor screen for the Vaio, and to see what I could do about the price on the ThinkPad. Previously I had seen some 15.4″ HPs in the pile that could have donated screens, but before I could look for those I spotted a couple of new additions in the pile, so went straight for them. One was a Packard Bell, 15.4″, with a severely gouged lid and in need of a damn good clean, marked as untested. I took a punt on that, and negotiated down to £10 from £20 after giving the seller an endorsement while she was attempting to sell an Xbox to an unsure buyer. I then managed to get the ThinkPad down to £15.

Back home, and problem one: My universal charger doesn’t fit the ThinkPad, I can’t test it. Shit. This is the first laptop in the 4 years I’ve owned the charger that I couldn’t use it on. As a sidenote, that universal charger was the best £10 I ever spent. Yes, £10, bought it from Ebuyer, Xenta own brand one, never let me down until that moment! But wait, it fits the Packard Bell… for kicks, let’s turn it on shall we? Oh. It works perfectly and after a wipe down, aside from the lid is in pretty good condition. Sure, it’s a Vista laptop running 1GB of RAM, why manufacturers thought this would be acceptable I will never know, and it’s only an 80GB hard drive, but the condition and the hour-long battery life made it a good candidate to sell on.

Back at university, and oh look, in my spares box is a charger for the Packard Bell. Paid around £5 for the charger in a lot of them on a boot a few months prior. My usual contact, new custodian of the MSI and the previously mentioned Acer, agreed to swap the Vaio for a charger that would fit the ThinkPad, so this deal was done, and the ThinkPad turned out to be fully working as well! The slow 40GB drive with XP Pro was removed and replaced with a spare 60GB I had from a stripped machine, the RAM was upped from 1 to 2GB thanks to some cheap sticks of DDR2 at our local CEX store, and Windows was loaded on. The machine later sold for £60 to a grateful lady who collected.

The Packard Bell sold a few weeks later for £30 to a lowballing Gumtreer. I had it listed at £50, but given the condition of the lid and the low specs, £50 was a bit of a long shot anyway.

Total Profits made:
Vaio –  £10 = Breakeven (swapped for charger worth roughly £10)
ThinkPad – £15 + £4 for the RAM, £10 item swapped for charger, sold for £60 = £29 spend, £31 profit
MSI – £5 = £5 loss, given away after HDD removed.
Packard Bell – £10 + £5 for the charger, sold for £30 = £15 spend, £15 profit
Total spend across all four machines was £59, total made was £90, so an overall profit of £31. Not too shabby for four laptops another trader had pretty much discarded!

And as for the Acer, £10 purchase price, £5 for the HDD (effectively the price of the MSI), £5 for a hard drive caddy, £10 for a charger, sold for £50 = £30 spend, £20 profit. Let’s ignore the fact that it died shortly after selling and I ended up refunding £40!

Current Stock: WAY too many laptops + Desktop and TV!

So Sunday morning’s car boot brought us a TV.

Grundig 19″ LCD TV with DVD

Interesting fact, the DVD I tested it with was found in a machine I bought!
Interesting fact, the DVD I tested it with was found in a machine I bought!

Screen is scratched to buggery, and no power supply (wants a 12v 5.83a one). Tested it with a 12v 5a and it worked fine, has a remote, the DVD player works, I haven’t tested any inputs or the Freeview tuner yet, but the seller told me it needed a Freeview box as it didn’t have it… WRONG! It does. Not sure whether it actually works, mind… I have a 15″ Bush TV at home that has the same UI and inputs (so probably similar internals), and the Freeview on that has lines over the screen, and the HDMI is overly green, so if this works and I get a PSU for it in the
Price Paid: £2

And another tower I forgot to post about that was bought on Saturday from a friend

Stone desktop PC

stone

Specs are a Pentium dual core E5700 at 3GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD. I added a spare DVD drive and installed 7. Hoping to list this today. Sorry for being brief but it didn’t need anything doing to it!
Price Paid: £20

And on Sunday afternoon, I had a message from a local trader about some machines he wanted rid of. Went over to have a look and managed to secure a lot of 9 for £45. As I left I was told of some that had been thrown out, so scavenging I went and picked up 5 more for free! Later on he’d found some more, so I went and picked up another 4 for £15, and then three more at £10, making a total of £70 for a grand total of 21 laptops! Also thrown in were 6 512MB of DDR2 RAM, which may come in useful for some worse machines I have in stock!

Without further ado, let’s go through the list. Sorry for the brief descriptions, as I haven’t had much time to test all these, and for shrinking the photos but if I hadn’t this would be the longest post in history! We’ll start with the £45 lot of 9.

Dell Latitude D510

firstD510

Comes with a 14″ screen, a Pentium M at 1.73GHz, 1GB RAM, 40GB hard drive and a DVD-ROM drive. Wireless card appears not to be present (or not recognised in the BIOS) and keyboard is missing. Boots into an XP install. Lid is also scuffed from removing old security markings.

Emachines D620

firstemachinesd620

Was missing DVD drive, hard drive, and had a cracked LCD. Turned on as soon as power was applied but wouldn’t at any other time. Battery seemed to work OK. Processor would be an Athlon 64 single core, and it came with 2GB RAM.

Toshiba Satellite Pro A60

Boots fine, good condition with no hard drive, 768MB RAM, Celeron D processor, DVD-ROM drive, 14″ screen. Not wireless, sadly.

satelliteproa60

Sony PCG-GRX316MP

1.6GHz mobile Pentium 4 processor, came with 768MB RAM and no hard drive. Great condition, but absolutely no sign of life whatsoever. Probably be scrapped, I’ve already had the RAM off it.

sonypcggrx316mp

HP Compaq nc6220

Goodish condition, missing a cover from the base, came with 512MB RAM and a Pentium M. Turns on but does nothing. Good screen though.

hpnc6220

Emachines M5118

emachinesm5118

A 2.5GHz Celeron, 1.25GB RAM, and yet, a 20GB hard drive! Wants a CMOS battery and is missing 2 hinge covers but otherwise good, booted into a crap-filled 7 installation just fine. Might knock the RAM down to 1GB, put a bigger HDD in (probably around 40GB) and load XP back on it again.

Advent 8109

advent8109

Celeron M 1.6GHz, 1GB RAM, 60GB hard drive, missing 2 keys and has a broken left click but booted into an XP install fine. Overall very tatty, and has a stained screen, which I will possibly take apart and clean up.

Dell Inspiron 6000

dellinsp6000

A 1.73GHz Pentium M, 30GB hard drive and 1GB RAM, as well as WiFi and Bluetooth. Boots fine, just wants an OS reloading. Missing 2 keys, a battery and DVD drive. Sadly the keyboard from the 6400 I already have in won’t fit.

Acer Extensa 5220

acerextensa5220

1.73GHz Celeron, 80GB hard drive, 2GB RAM (might keep this or knock it down to 1, not sure yet), screen’s scratched and it is covered in stickers, but booted to a 7 install fine. Restored it back to Vista, and as it hit the desktop, BOOM, graphics corrupted. Will probably be parted out.

Next we have the bin finds!

Dell Latitude D430

delllatituded430

1.2GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, missing HDD and battery, boots but only on an external display. Potentially motherboard fault, so may not survive!

Advent 7211

advent7211

Previously sold this to the same trader for around £10 to £15 as I recall! 2GHz Celeron, 80GB hard drive, 2GB RAM, works fine, boots into a 7 install, missing a screen, bezel, battery and 1 key. It had a screen and bezel when I sold it, I seem to recall. I found a battery in stock that fits it, £3 for a bezel, I have spare screens and a key is £1.50. The base is cracked but workable, so I might spend the £5 for a new one. I have pinched the hard drive out of this for something so it will need another one putting in, potentially from the Advent 8109.

Toshiba Satellite A60

satellitea60

Turns on with RAM added, but no display on laptop screen. Missing ODD, HDD (but has the caddy!) and has a cracked screen but a good battery. 2 loose keys that won’t stay attached may need replacing, or alternatively replace the keyboard. Might make one good out of the two A60s. While writing this I realised the nc6220 has the same size screen, so this might save it!

HP Compaq 6510B

compaq6510b

Missing keyboard, power button panel (rather irritatingly!), base covers, battery, HDD (and caddy) and RAM. Marked up as a Celeron. The HDD caddy and battery from the nc6220 will fit this, so first step is to see if I can get a power button to test it.

Acer Aspire 7520

aceraspire7520

Powers briefly, as no CPU. Missing heatsink screws, a few keys and the ODD too. 17″ screen looks good, and it had 1GB RAM in it. Has Nvidia graphics so might not be worth fixing. I have been informed that the screen and board are dead, so this will probably be sold on as is.

Onto the second lot! This lot cost £15 overall.

Sony Vaio VGN-CR29XN

sonyvgncr29xn

Powers on briefly. No RAM, HDD, bottom cover, and battery. Core 2 Duo T7250 fitted. Has a good looking screen in it. A different CPU didn’t fix it.

Acer Aspire 5100 (x2) (no pictures due to me being a dozy prat!)

Two of these, no screens, hard drives or ODDs. Both had 1GB RAM and an AMD Turion X2 1.6GHz processor. Both boot up. One has a buggered lid. Each board has its own unique faults, one won’t recognise hard drives and the other has a slightly loose DC jack, which makes contact roughly 60% of the time. I’ve put a screen in the one with the loose DC jack and as one of the batteries holds charge, I will probably sell it but for a reduced price due to fault.

Dell Latitude D510

secondd510

Another one! Better condition, the 15″ model, again, Pentium M 1.73GHz, 40GB hard drive, DVD-ROM, but this one has only 512MB RAM, has its wireless card and has a good battery. Booted, but I had garbled graphics on the first boot, so probably a donor for the other one. However, it has been absolutely fine since that time, so maybe not!

And finally, the last three. This lot cost me £10.

HP G62

hpg62chassis

Missing screen, keyboard and other components. Case is in good condition. Powers, but nothing else. Will keep an eye out for one with cracked hinges maybe.

Emachines D620 (no pic as it looks the same as the other one!)

Another one! Good motherboard, good screen, bad lid, no RAM. What I did was put the lid off the other one onto this one, switched the keyboard due to a fault, and made up a good one with 2GB RAM and I stole the 80GB drive from the Advent 7211. Currently troubleshooting a really annoying issue where if I secure the hard drive with screws as I’m meant to, it won’t recognise the hard drive, but if the cover is left off and the caddy not screwed in, it works perfectly!

HP nc4000

scraphpnc4000

Crap. Although it does boot, the hinge is broken and it’s missing the USB ports. I’d be looking at £5 for new hinges, £3 for new hinge covers and £15 for a new motherboard, as well as £3 for the power button I accidentally broke. This on a laptop that I could maybe sell for £30? I’d be looking at £5 profit tops, and the parts in it are more useful for other machines. I have taken out the 40GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, and the wireless card, and I might hang onto the screen, but the rest will be binned.

The plan with these is to get as many running as possible, and anything that we can’t sort will go to the car boot. Which laptops get sorted first depends on the chargers I get in this lot I’m waiting for, which was despatched yesterday, but I already have a charger that fits the Emachines D620, so this will likely be the first to go.

From there, the ones likely to be done up and sold include the Advent 7211, at least one of the D510s (if not both), one of the Acer 5100s, the Inspiron 6000, at least one of the A60s (potentially but unlikely both) and the M5118

Condemned are the Vaios (although the CR29 might be kept for spares), the Acer 7520, the nc4000, the other D620, the nc6220 (stripped for spares probably), and if this GPU fault occurs again, the Extensa 5220.

Hanging in the balance depending on the right parts coming along or being fixable are the Dell D430, though that’s reliant on getting a display on the LCD and sourcing a 1.8″ HDD, the 6510B if it works, the Advent 8109 (it needs a lot of plastics and it’s not that great a machine, and it could donate some parts to other systems) and finally the 6510B, which is highly dependent on it actually working.

Of course there is a possibility of other machines I already have in getting the benefit of these machines. If the Extensa’s buggered, its hard drive might go into the worse of the two V5535s, dependent on charger availability.

More news when the chargers arrive or I start getting these machines going!

Current Stock: The eBay Job Lot!

Firstly, quick updates, the Kindle sold today for £20, a little less than I could’ve got from CEX but it saves hassle so I’m not bothered. That £20, due to money made in the lot it came from, is pure profit, and means that on that lot, which contained 4 laptops (a Compaq CQ61, Samsung R510, Toshiba A200, Acer 5338), a camcorder, this Kindle and a TomTom, we’ve made a total of £98.70 profit and got a sat nav out of it too!

The eBay job lot has finally arrived yesterday! I’ve been working through each one and testing them to see if they take an OS and to see if any faults come up, in most cases by sticking in a spare 250GB HD and doing a test install of Windows 7.

Acer Aspire 9303WSMi

With work this can be the powerhouse it was new.
With work this can be the powerhouse it was new.

Tatty, but it does seem to work. Stock, this would’ve come equipped with an AMD TL-52 1.6GHz dual core, 1GB of RAM, an Nvidia Go 7300 graphics card and a 160GB hard drive. I’ve upped the RAM to 2GB, and put an 80GB hard drive in it, and I already have a charger in stock. I’ve loaded it up with Vista and it seems to be working fine, despite the Nvidia graphics of doom. It will want a screen (cheapest so far is around £30), as there’s a section of dead pixels, although this may not get replaced due to cost, and it will also want a palmrest (about £5) due to damage on the current one. There is also some crap on the keys which hasn’t come off, but I might leave this as is, or might get a cheap replacement for the keyboard (£8.99 new). Battery seems to hold some charge but not a lot!

Toshiba Satellite Pro C660-2JU

Looks smart and almost ready to go!
Looks smart and almost ready to go!

In fantastic condition! An i3-2350m processor, although the RAM’s a bit low at 2GB. I’ve bumped it up to 3GB for the time being with a view to getting another 2GB stick to bump it up to 4. Will want a hard drive caddy (£3, but it basically looks like a bit of foil!), and for now I’ve stuck a 250GB drive in. Ideally these should have a 320GB drive, so I’m trying to source one of that size or bigger. Seems to have a good battery too. Have loaded 7 onto it, and if I get a bigger drive I’ll just clone the install to the bigger drive! I have a charger for this that’s on its way in a job lot of chargers, so fingers crossed that the charger works!

Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo D9510

Again, worn but good!
Again, worn but good!

Worn but working. Keyboard is a bit grimey and so is the palmrest, but replacements are difficult to come by, especially if I wanted to keep this model’s ThinkPad style pointer. Fitted with a Core 2 Duo P8400, and 2GB of DDR3 RAM, we’ve had some failures to boot. An error on start up indicated a dead CMOS battery, but replacement didn’t fix this. A BIOS update however, did, and also revived the dead battery (not tested it fully yet!) fixed a weird issue where keys needed to be pressed repeatedly to register and the touchpad had about a second delay! This should fix the start up issue that I had with it too. Test install went fine. Odds are I’ll bump this up to 3 or 4GB (depending on what I do with the Toshiba!) and once the other machines are tested, stick that spare 250GB in here.

Dell Inspiron 1525

I'm not going to lie to you, this is probably going to die.
I’m not going to lie to you, this is probably going to die.

Knackered but works. I can’t find a bit of casing I’d want to keep yet! 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo T5550 and 2GB RAM, the service tag indicates that it should have had a 250GB HD from new. Seems to work fine with a test install. Will need a charger as well as a lid, bezel, possibly hinge, power button, DVD faceplate, and ideally a palmrest, keyboard and screen due to this superglue-like substance over the old ones! I also suspect another fault, as the battery won’t attempt to charge, but it’s struggling to recognise the working Dell charger I have. A BIOS update, which can sometimes fix this, didn’t. Could be my charger deciding to play up, could be the DC jack (£4 to replace, it’s on a separate PCB), could be the battery, could be the motherboard, who knows? And given the condition, who cares? I’ll be looking for a donor, ideally one with a dead motherboard, and this will get top half/palmrest/keyboard swap to this one!

2x Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo V5535

The better of the two
The better of the two
This one's not as good but still works fine
This one’s not as good but still works fine

Both came with 2GB RAM and Core 2 Duo T5850s. One is mint with a working battery, the other could do with a bezel (£4) and a screen (I have in stock, this one has blobs of what looks like superglue on it!) and has a less good battery. I think what I plan to do is switch around the RAM (both have 2GB sticks at the moment. The worse condition one will probably have two 1GBs put in instead, and the other will either have 3 or 4GB of RAM), and then hard drives will be sourced. Will need chargers (about £10 each). Test installs on both came up fine.

Fujitsu Lifebook LH531

A little worn and needing a little love!
A little worn and needing a little love!

i5, 4GB RAM. No sign of life, and it looks a bit worn. Upon opening it up, someone has attempted to repair the DC jack instead of replacing it (which makes no sense, it is not a soldering job to replace in these!). £7 for a new DC jack, and if this works, a charger will be sourced (probably £10) and I’ll put in my last free HDD, a 640GB. If I can get hold of RAM, it might get an upgrade. If this doesn’t work, or reveals hidden faults, it won’t get a HDD put in it, the 640 would then go in the Toshiba (which would get the 4GB RAM stick, passing down its 2GB to make 4 in the D9510), and will be sold as is.

Oh, price paid for the lot? £51 posted! So we’ve got 6 working machines here, 4 of which only really need hard drives, caddies and chargers, and another one that will hopefully work!

More updates to come at the end of this weekend, as my car is now back from the garage (with my wallet being £250 lighter) so I shall be attending my Saturday and probably Sunday boots!