Sunday, July 27, 2008

Downloading Ubuntu for Alienware Sentia

A long time ago, I bought an Alienware. At the time, Alienware was one of the edgy companies that was producing high performance machines. I ended up buying what was considered their business series laptop, the Sentia. This was really before they started tacking on numbers after Sentia so as best I can tell, it is a model 223. It's not a terribly fast machine, but it did set me back some serious cash and add on to it the problems I have had with it, I really regret purchasing it.

First and foremost the battery for the CMOS has never really worked. It is always dead. This would be less of a problem if the CMOS settings from no power would allow you to even use the laptop. Nope. Everytime I power on, I have to blindly go through the bios settings and restore to defaults as the LCD screen doesn't work otherwise. I would replace it, but the model number on the CMOS battery is non-standard. I could use a CR1220, but this is a ML1220 which is supposedly rechargeable. I am afraid if I use the CR series, it will burst into flames.

Second problem as of now is the main battery is dead. Although the laptop is now roughly 4 or 5 years old... I guess it is to be expected minus I haven't really used it much.

The third problem was one I created. The power plug had gotten kicked at some point and the power connected liked to emit blue sparks or not work on occasion. This with the lack of battery rendered the laptop completely unusable.

However today, I decided that I must restore this laptop to working condition. I removed 25+ screws and multiple panels to expose the inner workings. Wouldn't you know it, I had to disassemble pretty much everything to just get to the power connector. When I got there I was expecting a broken solder point so I had the solder iron all ready to go. Not to be the case, as the plastic housing that holds the connector in place was the culprit and cracked good. After applying some Loctite Super Glue, and holding for 20 minutes, I was able to reassemble the laptop. Unfortunately I had one extra screw and the touchpad isn't hooked up anymore. Overall though, it has been restored to usable, I just can't power it down.

So now, I have decided that I would drop ubuntu on it. I have Redhat 9 on one of my desktops but it rarely gets used. Right now I am looking for something that I can do a little development work while I wait for Miranda to go to sleep while I sit in her room. It looks like I have 11+ hours of downloading before I can attempt an install so it may end up waiting till next weekend for installing.

So hopefully, in the future I can share some of the mini projects I am working on.

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