Half Baked

I get bored. I get REALLY bored at times and need some kind of project to keep me from losing my flipping mind! There’s only so much Facebook, Youtube and Netflix any one person can stand, and they do anything but challenge the mind. So when a bloke posts a couple iMacs for parts on Facebook Market, I pounced!ย 

Two 27″ iMacs in super great shape with the hard drives removed after video failure of some kind. The best the previous owner could explain left a lot to the imagination. “Something happened, with the thing…” I guess I didn’t need all of the details as I was willing to drop the small amount of cash to take home the latest model he had. So with parts in car, I ran to my home office, smiling and whistling in celebration of a cheap computer project.

Dusted out the air, and cleaned all of the parts before adding a hard drive and plugging in the beast, and to my surprise, after restoring the OS it ran like a champ. No video issues to speak of at all. Gave it a couple days of testing to wait for the dreaded video failure, but even when pushing it to the limits with graphics tasking apps, no luck. Okay, so I got a really cheap, perfectly working 27″ iMac. That was the upside, but I felt just slightly disappointed!! Where was my project?? lol ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ˜”

“Fine!” I says, and promptly donated the machine to a family member who was more than happy to receive a free iMac. Maybe he’ll call me later if the issue magically shows up again, but I’m really hoping he squeezes out a few years of useful computing. Now what about that second iMac for parts?? If I’m quick enough, I can take the other computer off that guys hands and give it a go. I messaged, he replied, computer was available, and off I went!

This iMac for parts delivered in so many ways! When I picked it up, parts laying about, I had a good feeling about it. The screen, apparently yanked out in frustration by the previous owner, had parts from the logic board still attached. That’s not how you do it sir, I was thinking as I got a better look at the damage inflicted. Broken connectors, damaged pins and stripped cables made me thing I wasn’t going to get very far. IT WAS PERFECT!

After a good week of either soldering parts back on myself, or waiting on shipped replacement components I was ready to boot this bitch up and witness the graphics failure that must have caused it’s previous owner to lose his shit, and yank the LCD off. Took a few tries, but to my amazement the screen lit up, the chime sounded, the little black apple appeared and we were off to the races! Somewhere in the middle of loading the recovery process, BLACK! The screen shut off, silently and randomly. Everything was still running, but no backlight. AHHHH! I know you old friend!ย 

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Long story short, I purchased parts on eBay that I didn’t need, and narrowed down the issue to a faulty graphics card. Notorious for this issue, these iMacs and their issues are well documented online. It didn’t take long to find the OVEN SOLUTION! I couldn’t have asked for a more fun and dangerous sounding solution. The computer was dirt cheap as it was sold for parts, so destroying a part in an attempt to fix it was no big deal. Popped the card out of the iMac, without having to remove much else, and got it ready for bake off.

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The process was simple enough. 8 minutes on small balls of foil in around 300 degrees of heat. Allow some cooling, and then pop that card back in to the computer for testing. I just remember that even though it was only 8 minutes, I half expected to hear a small explosion somewhere around minute 3… Maybe a crack, or snapping sound. An odd plastic smell, or high pitched squeal. ::SILENCE:: The last minute must’ve taken 5, and when the timer beeped, I hit the cancel button and removed the pan.

10 minutes later the iMac chimed to life, and after a week of using it normally, there hasn’t been a blackout. Never truly trusting these types of fixes, I half expect issues to pop up any day now, but so far… smooth operation. I get the concept behind this fix, but it always makes me laugh knowing I followed through with it. That hundreds of people have followed through with this method. Who was the first person to figure this out? Maybe you have to be super bored to have done so in the first place. REALLY bored.ย 

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Well, I got what I was after. A splendid challenge that kept me busy for a couple weeks. Now I need a new one, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next cheap challenge.

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