On a recent
trip to the “tip shop” or the “resource recycling centre” as they
I purchased a laptop computer.
The asking price was $28 so it wasn’t
going to make too much of a hole in my pocket!
It was a Toshiba ‘Satellite’, and
the sticker said it was capable of running Windows 2000 or Windows ME.
Excellent! I thought.
It should run Windows 98 really well!
There was another
sticker applied to it by the tip shop staff informing the purchaser
would not switch on, had no hard disk, and that the power
supply for it was
safely stored away.
about a hard disk…
I had recently repaired another laptop for someone and had a
devil of a job locating a suitable hard disk drive for it.
I ended up getting a 4Gb
unit for $40.
Would I have the same hassle with this one?
Then I saw a mini IDE
hard disk sitting in the shop, not far from the laptop…
Too good to be true?
3.2Gb and at the scandalous price of $3.30.
I purchased the hard disk
decided to tackle the beast.
They were right…
It wouldn’t switch on, but the
green LED indicated that the power was being applied.
Something didn’t feel
right about the power switch.
I decided to pull it all apart to see if there
was anything obviously wrong with it (as I was hoping!).
As soon as I saw the power switch
arrangement, I knew what was wrong.
The power switch proper was the typical
small momentary push button type.
It was working fine.
The problem lay in the piece
of plastic making up a combined switch lock and button in the front of
There was a
small tongue of plastic which was meant to push the power switch
had warped and would no longer push in far enough.
I inserted a sliver of scrap
circuit board behind this tongue, and lo and behold, we had
Achilles heel for Toshiba Satellite laptops no doubt!
I wonder how much they
would have charged me at the tip shop for
it, if it had worked!
installed the hard drive, I got into the BIOS setup using the
(see Technical tales no.5)
I ran a scandisk on the hard drive and found it to be
I then reformatted it and installed all my favourite software.
thing I had trouble with was finding a video driver for the laptop.
All windows would give me was VGA and 16 colours which didn’t look all
all the drivers for the laptop and installed them, but the video
driver (S3 Virge)
refused to work.
So did any copy of the driver that I could find.
going through all the drivers in Windows 98, I found a
super VGA driver
It also gave me 256 colours and a decent size desktop area on the
After that, the “new” laptop replaced the old one (The subject of
Technical tales no.5).
The batteries didn’t work, but that didn’t surprise me.
A new one is available for just over $100 if I ever need it.
all, a laptop with a 350MHz processor, 3.2Gb hard
disk, and 128Mb of RAM, for a
grand total of $31.30 wasn’t a bad deal.
I’m sure it will keep me going until
an even better one comes along!
I think every state in Australia
should have “tip shops”…
You never know what bargains you’ll get, and it helps with