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Wakum Mata!
Politcally Incorrect Musings
Laptop 
13th-Nov-2006 07:28 am
linux
As you may recall from earlier posts I have a new (used) laptop that has some issues. Chief among the annoyances was the fact that the pointer stick (there is no touch pad) does not work. Well, I fixed that on Saturday. The data cable was unplugged. Works like a champ now.

The Compaq Armada M700 is a strangely built laptop. It took me unscrewing every screw to figure out how the keyboard was attached. It turns out that removing the keyboard is rather simple, but, having no user manual, I didn't know that. Fortunately, I was able to put it all back together and didn't wind up with extra screws.

There are four little slide latches at the top of the keyboard near the display hinge. All one has to do is to slide each latch back and then tilt the top of the keyboard out. Underneath the keyboard, you'll find the memory... this laptop has a serious design flaw.

The memory is inserted into a stacked SIMM connector. The bottom memory holder has plastic clips. The top has metal retention clips. Unfortunately, if the clips on the top memory slot are fully engaged, the left clip will short out four tiny traces on the memory module. I found this out after rmoving the memory to reseat it. When I rebooted I got an error about an invalid memory module. I noticed the metal clip touching the traces and was concerned that I might have inadvertantly cut them. Micro surgery would be required. I could fix it, but I am not set up at home to do this level of fine soldering. Fortunately, the traces were not cut and the memory seems to be undamaged.

I think this is a memory vendor issue as the holder is a standardized connector. Kingston surely knows the limitations of these clips and could have done better at paying attention to their memory module layout and design. Compaq should have seen this issue as well.

So, the left clip on my top memory module is not fully engaged. Other than that, it looks like the notebook is operating just fine. I have some tweaking to do on Mandriva 2007 (official, free version), but it appears to be very stable and operating fine otherwise. I am not sure I like the partitioning and may wind up having to reinstall. We'll see.
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