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Bake your graphic card back to life!

Nvidia 7950 GTX in my Dell XPS M1710

Nvidia 7950 GTX in my Dell XPS M1710

I bought my Dell XPS M1710 in January 2007, so it’s three years old now. Except some overheating issues, which I solved by cleaning the fans and applying Arctic Silver thermally conductive compound, I didn’t really have any major issues with this laptop. If you want more information about letting your XPS run cooler, please follow this link.

A few days ago strange things started to happen. During the boot up of the system, random pixels and stripes appeared, even at the BIOS screens. The Windows loading screen was normal but then a final screen with pixel distortion came up and the screen turned black. I had to shut down the system by holding the power button. Some browsing on the internet with my desktop pc confirmed my fear: my graphic card was fried. Apparently this is a common problem with Dell’s gaming rigs which are terrible at heat management. Some forums report problems when the laptop is only one month old. I guess I am lucky it worked for 3 years.

As my warranty is expired, my first reaction was to search for a new graphic card on eBay and other second hand sites. The graphic card in my system is a Nvidia 7950 GTX and they are being sold on eBay but at crazy prices! No way I’m going to pay about 300 euros for a second hand card that gives me absolutely no guarantee about how long it will work before frying again.

Then I found some forums about people putting their graphic card in the oven and baking them alive! The idea is that due to constant heating and cooling of the card, tiny cracks start to form in soldered contacts. Baking the card melts the solder, restoring the contacts. I thought “What the hell, I’ve got nothing to loose. My laptop is worthless now anyway.” Continue reading

Interactive television with OpenWrt (Telenet Digicorder or Proximus decoder behind your own router)

use a VLAN to link the WAN port with the LAN port the set-top box is attached to

My tv set-top box (Telenet Digicorder in Belgium) needs an external IP address. Without it, you’re missing certain functions, such as browsing the program guide further than two days, or planning recordings over the web. The Digicorder only gets an external IP address when it’s connected to the modem/router my ISP (Telenet) installs.

If you use your own router with DHCP enabled, you run into troubles. Everywhere on Belgian forums you will find that I should buy Powerline adapters to keep a direct line between the Digicorder and the Telenet router. Or I should drop the (silly) idea to have my own router… But where’s the fun in that?

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How to fix the display backlight of the MOTU 828 mkII

The MOTU 828 mkII

The MOTU 828 mkII

Last week I scored a second hand MOTU 828 mkII external soundcard for just €100. The reason why the seller wanted to part from the unit for such a low price was a “broken screen”. Initially I thought that the whole screen was broken, as in not displaying any info at all. But coming home and plugging it in, I noticed the screen still worked, but it had no backlight. Continue reading

This is a quick video I put together about the FPV flights I did last Friday in the polders of Tielrode.

The making of my Tomorrowland LedHat

Last weekend I went to Tomorrowland 2013. I got the ticket months ago, in February. Ever since, I had been thinking about building something to stand out, something involving LEDs and an Arduino. As usual, I only decided what to build the day before the festival! I went to the mall and found a hat in discount. This would become my Tomorrowland LedHat 🙂

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My little CNC shop

21-Jul-2013 13:20, Canon Canon EOS 60D, 2.0, 50.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 1000
By now, you should already know one of my hobbies is flying RC machines, either quadcopters or planes. My quadcopters fly, but due to imperfections they aren’t locked in. I used to cut two plates out of aluminum using wood cutting tools, drill holes with my hand-held drill and screw it all together. Needless to say the arms weren’t always square to each other. I yearned for more precision. Continue reading

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