Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Toshiba R830 laptop SSD retrofit upgrade

August 20, 2012 3 comments

My Toshiba R830 laptop weighs 1.43 kg. Pretty good mobile laptop with an i5 processor. The specs are pretty decent, with 6GB of RAM, a decent video card and more importantly a CD drive at that weight!!! Full HDMI, VGA and USB 3.0 ports. My only gripe was that the hard drive was a bit of a let down with only 5400 RPM. Furthermore a friend of mine dropped my laptop and it was acting up. Instead of buying a new laptop with a new HDD. I spent £130 to get a Samsung SSD 830 with 256GB capacity.

It is the standard 2.5-inch SSD that will fit most laptops. Double check first if in doubt. The Samsung SSD comes with a USB transfer cable and Norton Ghost to mirror your existing hard drive. As with good practice, I restored my HDD to its factory setting. It is never advisable to replace your HDD by just copying it as a mirror image to a new HDD and swapping it out. Your operating system will be unstable. However, my laptop did not come with a Windows installation CD. Most laptops now ship with a hidden restore partition that is not accessible and which contains all your installation files. In order to get around this problem of having a fresh Windows installation on my new Samsung SDD, this is what I did:

It is advisable to backup all your files or just use Dropbox!

Step 1: Restore my laptop to factory setting from its original HDD.

Step 2: Use Norton Ghost to mirror the entire HDD (together with the restore partition) onto the new Samsung SSD using the USB cable provided.

Step 3: Replace the HDD with the SSD. And power up. This is relatively simple, just unscrew the back panel of laptop. Unscrew the HDD and remove the cable. Replace it with your new SSD and reattach the cable and screw everything back.

Step 4: Power up with your new SSD and Windows 7. Mine loaded fine, I could proceed to reinstall all my software and Office suite. But using the restore partition, I again reinstalled a fresh copy of Windows 7. This will create a stable system as the OS is installed on a fresh location in the SSD.

Now it takes me seven seconds to boot up Windows 7 and even less time to shutdown. Everything is a breeze. I can now open multiple applications and windows with no noticeable delay. Everything is instantaneous. My battery life has also improved, albeit marginally. I also do not have any problems with sleep, and hibernation with this new solid-state drive. I cannot imagine going back to a normal HDD.

Lastly, what do we do with our old HDD? I got myself a USB 3.0 HDD housing/caddy

Put the original HDD inside it and connect the USB 3.0 cable. Since my laptop already has a USB 3.0 port. Now I have the original 320 GB HDD as an external drive with USB 3.0 support. Even at 5400 rpm, transfer of huge video files is extremely fast.

Samsung LE40M87BDX LE40R88BD repair

August 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Ok, my five-year-old 40-inch Samsung TV wouldn’t power on. It took longer and longer to power up as the capacitor had probably reached its end life. At first, it took a few extra seconds to power on and the TV made the ‘clicking’ noise a few more times when I pushed the ‘on’ button. These number of ‘clicks’ increased gradually over a three-month period and it got to a point that I needed 20 minutes to power up the TV. Once the TV is up and running everything is fine.  This told me it has something to do with its capacitors. After 30 minutes of Google reading I found I could repair it myself. I just didn’t have the time. A trip to PC world and Comet and I found out they wanted £100 just to look at it, so the decision was made. I would have more joy burning £100 than hand it to these clueless salesmen. A simple Google and a soldering iron did the job. What you need is a repair kit that consists of four capacitors and a soldering kit. Repair kit costs less than £10.


Remove all the screws from the back panel and unscrew the circuit board. Don’t worry about messing up the connections as each connection head/socket is different. Follow the instructions from the repair kit or Google. You basically just need to remove the four original capacitors (in blue) and solder in the four black ones, which you buy from any online electronic stores. Heat up the joining points of the four original capacitors (blue) from the back to melt it in order to remove it. Solder in the four new ones (black) making sure you get the polarity right. Reconnect the cables to the circuit board and replace all the screws. Saved myself more than £100 and a 40-inch TV as it was destined for the junk yard. Time = 2 hours. Cost  = £10 for repair kit that consists of four capacitors which I got off eBay.  It would have cost me more than £100 just for the store to have a look at it. They probably would not have a clue where the fault lies.

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