The Netgear RT-314 Router, A piece of junk with even worse support

Click on the link to read about a really inferior product with really inferior service. Netgear RT-314 Internet Router

Conext UPS

I bought a 900VA UPS (really 500W which is pretty small for 900VA) from Conext. Conext is the less expensive brand name for APC, which is a very well regarded UPS company. Although I bought in around Nov-20-2004, it was made around Mar-2001. (UPS's are typically shipped with the battery disconnected, and the user connects the battery). It seemed fine. Then the power failed. There was a really horrible noise coming from my computer room. I unplugged everything in the room. I removed all the UPS's from the room, one at a time. It turned out the source of the noise was the Conext UPS. No doubt it was a low battery alarm or something. There was nothing I could to silence the UPS. I suppose I could have removed the battery, but instead I moved the UPS to the garage. It would be nice if there was some way to turn off the alarm. Perhaps the inability to turn off the alarm is related to the complete failure of the UPS. It seemed dead. Nothing I could do would make it power up. I called the support line, and got a very smart tech right away. He had me reset it, to no avail. I mentioned the software was old and didn't support Windows XP. Their web site said to use the default Windows UPS software. The tech explained how to use the APC Power Chute Business software with the UPS. He agreed to cross ship me a replacement UPS as mine was less than two months old. He speculated that the UPS failed because the battery was old. It would be nice if it simply notified the user that the battery was old, instead of turning off completely, but I suppose it would get the users attention...

HP Scanner power supply

I acquired a HP scanner. It worked fine. After a few years it failed. I didn't know why. After a little effort, I found the 12v power supply, often known as a wall-wart, had failed. It had a standard 5mm coaxial plug, but it was a non-standard depth. Fortunately, I had a spare power supply from my failed Best Data Cable Modem. A ugly splice job later, and the cord from the HP wall-wart was attached to the cable of the Cable Modem. Fixed the problem, the scanner is now working fine.

Acer aspire 5100 bl51 Notebook

After about 1.2 years, the battery failed. The warranty was one year. When charged, the notebook worked for about 10 minutes, and then shut down. It turned out that cells were ok, but the protection circuit in the battery failed. I replaced the battery with one bought on ebay, and it worked for another year before the notebook bricked.

Lenovo G555 notebook computer

This is a decent, entry level computer. Worked fine for about a year. Then the battery pack failed. It would work for about 5 minutes, then shut down. I thought the batteries may have failed from the notebook being plugged in too much, overcharging the batteries. I ended up getting a new battery pack on ebay that came with a 3 year warranty. I took the battery pack apart to get the lithium batteries for flashlight use. I thought a few might still be useful. It charged them up, and ran them, 2 at a time in a very bright flashlight I have. I ran the flashlight for between 1 and 1.5 hours at medium brightness. Every battery worked fine. Therefore, I conclude that the protective circuitry inside the Lenovo battery failed in some way. The circuitry is supposed to protect against overcharging, over discharging, over temperature and the like. I expect lithium ion batteries to wear out, but I expect electronics to be far more reliable. Of course, anything can fail...

Toshiba L750-A7280 Notebook

After about 1.5 years, the battery failed. The warranty on the notebook was one year. When charged, the notebook worked for about 10 minutes, and then shut down. I am not impressed by these cheap notebooks. In my experience, Dell, Compaq, IBM and Apple make reliable notebooks.

Adaptec 2940UW SCSI Controller

I have a Adaptec 2940UW SCSI controller. I bought it to replace the classic Adaptec 2940, which came with my Gateway computer. It has worked flawlessly for several years. A few days after I installed my new Plextor it suddenly stopped working. After several hours of thrashing around, trying 3 different SCSI cables, and several single devices to terminate the narrow SCSI chain, I came to the realization that the narrow SCSI chain part of the controller, but not the wide SCSI chain part of the controller was fried. I don't have any idea how it happened. After a few calls to Adaptec tech support, they verified that it was a retail controller, with a 5 year warranty, and they agreed to cross ship me a new controller. Needless to say, the new controller worked flawlessly. I was totally shocked that the controller could fry, and it has been my first hardware failure. But the Adaptec 5 year warranty is really great, and shows they are serious about standing behind their product.

Sony SDT-5000 4mm DAT drive

I have a Sony 4mm DAT drive. There is now a newer one, the SDT-9000, which is faster and has a higher capacity (what else is new?). It is reasonably reliable. I have had to send it back once, since it broke in a way that I don't recall.

Well it broke again 12/27/97. Did a full backup flawlessly, but refused to eject the tape. The manual eject button does no good, and when I send a SCSI command to eject, I get an error return. I am most unimpressed. I have probably made 20-30 tapes, and it has failed twice. I will send it back to Sony, and no doubt pay plenty. This drive is still listed on their web page, and people are still selling it, so I would guess it is still being made. Hope Sony can get my backup tape out... I now do not recommend this drive at all under any circumstances due to poor reliability.

Well it broke again Dec-24-1999. Backed up some data, then got a buncha errors, timeouts, and the like. And it was with new tape. So I traded it in with New Image International. They told me that the Sony sdt-7000, sdt-9000, and sdt-10000 have 'soft' heads, and when they go, the cost to fix the heads is about what the drive is worth. They said the HP DAT-8 was better, so I got it. I will eventually get a DLT drive, when they get cheaper and I get more money.

LG 995e 19 inch CRT

I bought this in 2000. In 2007 it failed. The power button doesn't turn green when you press it. No idea why. I guess I got my money's worth since it lasted 7 years.

120mm temperature sensing fan

I don't recall the brand, but they were 38mm thick and had a built in thermisistor. I bought 4, and they all failed in service. It is pretty rare for fans to fail, and these are the only ones I recall failing.

Inline 3 pin fan controller

These are a little black brick, roughly 1.4cm x 2cm x 6cm, with a knob on top to control the fan speed, and a 3 pin socket on one side and a short 3 pin wired connector on the other end. Their current capacity is 1000ma, which should be more than enough for most fans. They cost $3 or $4 from china on ebay. I had one fail in service. Yesterday, I had another one fail. I took it apart. There is a circuit board with the 3 pin plug soldered on one end, a potentionmeter, a small capacitor, and a 3 pin to-220 semiconductor with a heatsink. It might be a transistor, or an IC. On the other end are short wires with a 3 pin plug. When I said the 3 pin plug was soldered on the circuit board, when I really meant was it was supposed to be soldered on the circuit board. It was not. I am not sure how it ever worked, but when I tool it apart the 3 pin plug was wiggling freely. Fortunately, I soldered it back together, and it worked fine. There are clearly quality control issues with these. Perhaps I will be able to fix the one that broke a long time ago...

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