Showing posts with label DIY:. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY:. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

2005 Yamaha BWS: Strip Down

Just a little update on the Bug-eye's current state and condition. It's sitting in the garage being slowly disassembled. Most of the rear end has been removed, beginning with the seat, fairings, tail light, turn signals, wheel, and engine.  

I ran into issues removing the front fairings which I will document in an upcoming post. Until then I hope these pictures will tie all of you over until then.

Friday, November 06, 2015

2005 Yamaha BWS: Introduction

While surfing Craigslist, I came across a post for a 2005 Yamaha BWS YW50 scooter a.k.a. The Bug-Eye (They are called bug-eye because the headlights resemble the eyes of a bug). The seller was asking $600 as-is, since he was certain that he had blown the engine. Even with a blown engine, at $600 this was a rather good deal. I already own a highly tuned 2001 Yamaha BWS CW50 (Pre-Bug) and have always hoped to get my hands on a Bug-Eye. Why do I want a Bug-Eye so bad...

Well the 2005 and newer Yamaha BWS scooters have a much beefier front suspension, a slightly wider stance, and far better gearing for in city driving. So I contacted the seller to make an offer only to be told that the scooter was already SOLD. Oh, the highs and lows that come from scavenging through Craigslist.
The next day, I get a call from the scooter owner informing me that his previous deal didn't go through, and the scooter was still available if I still wanted it. So I borrowed my brother, and his pickup truck, and went to see this scooter. From its appearance the scooter was in quite good shape, but there was definitely some engine troubles. While I tried to gauge how severely damaged this engine was, without dismantling it for proper inspection, it would be all hypothetical. I tried haggling, but this seller stayed firm on his price, so I decided to take the gamble and buy the scooter anyways.
Unfortunately do to an issue with an corrupt memory card, I don't have any pictures of the scooter when I purchased it, which totally sucks. All the pictures in this post are not of my scooter but pictures of scooters that look almost identical.
First thing I needed to do after getting the scooter home, was finding room for it in the garage. Now i had to determine how much damage had been done to the engine. Typically by removing a few parts I could have access to the engine, but since I already knew I would be fully modifying this scooter, I stripped it right down.
Check in on my next post when I document the tear-down process.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Motorola DCT3416 Repair

My brothers Motorola DCT3416 died, and I figured I would attempt to fix it. I want to start out by saying I know very little about PVR's, other than somewhere buried inside is a standard computer hard drive.
While dropping off the DCT3416, my brother informs me that it doesn't turn on, and that it makes this clicking noise. My first assumption is that the HD is corrupt and or damaged and preventing the machine from booting. Replacing the internal HD should produce a simple fix, so lets go about doing just that.

Replacing the internal HD is going to be slightly more complicated than originally anticipated as the rear of the DCT3416 has 3 tamper proof/security screws, which I do not have a tool for. Instead I used a series of pliers, and 10 minutes later had all the screws removed. Here is what the tamper proof/security screws look like, once removed.  
I should add that there is also a plastic security tab, just above the IEEE 1394 jacks, which disintegrated when I attempted to remove it. Looks like the warranty is now officially voided. I slide off the cover to reveal the rather filthy inner working of the DCT3416, then I locate the 3.5" internal HD and using a Phillips screw driver I begin removing the four screws holding the HD tray in place.
Unhooking the SATA power and data cables from the HD then allows us to completely remove the HD and tray from the DCT3416.
 I remove the HD from the HD tray by removing the 4 Phillips screws.  
With the HD removed I take it to my office where I hook it up to a SATA docking station. As I had expected it powers up, and I hear an all too familiar "Click Of Death", reaffirming my suspicions that the HD is indeed dead!
Looks like I need to find a replacement Western Digital 160GB SATA HD, or do I?
As I start researching for suitable HD replacements for the DCT3416, I come across this great site ( detailing the steps needed to silence a noisy DCT3416 PVR. From this website I learn the following...
  1. The HD in Motorolla PVR's never spin down, meaning that if the power is on the HD is constantly working.
  2. Motorola PVR's are firmware limited, which means using a larger HD is pointless.
  3. The SATA and Ethernet jacks on the rear are not operational.
  4. Motorola PVR's have tamper proof screws, which I had just learned.
  5. I can use any SATA HD I want.
Armed with this knowledge, I decided to use a Seagate 250GB SATA hard drive that I had removed during a previous Server upgrade. My local computer retailer had a 500GB HD selling for $55 + taxes, which would have been a waste seeing as the DCT3416 will only recognize 160GB. It would appear the 250GB HD I planned to install would also be overkill for this project, but since it was just sitting on my desk weighing paper down, it became a great choice.With the 250GB HD in hand I now turn my attention to what I deem as the initial problem with the DCT3416, it's limited cooling. As you can see in the next few pictures, HD cooling in the DCT3416 is done using a 60mm fan located on the bottom of the unit.
Its unfortunate that Motorola has chosen to use tamper proof/security screws in assembling this unit. As evident in the above picture, a routine cleaning should probably be performed periodically. Normally I would urge anyone attempting a HD swap, to also change the fan, as the HD will get very warm, and fans cost so little in comparison. I, however, was unable to quickly locate a 60mm fan, and so I'm going against my better judgement and not replacing it. 
Seeing as I wasn't going to replace the fan, I had to do something to help the existing fan. To accomplish this I'll be using the compressor in my garage to blow out all the existing dust and dirt from inside the DCT3416 case. You could probably get away with using compressed air in a can to achieve similar results. Here are the results after a few minutes in the garage.
The fan cleaned up nicely and spun quite smoothly, leaving me feeling a bit more optimistic about re-using the old fan. Now on to the reassembly... I mount the Seagate 250GB HD onto the DCT3416 HD tray, then reassemble the HD tray back into the DCT3416.
I connect the SATA power and data cables.
I slide on the cover, and screw it in place using some spare optical drive screws that I had on hand.
Since I don't have cable TV service, I couldn't test the PVR portion of the DCT3416. I was however, able to power it up and get it to display on my desk monitor. I'll make the assumption that the unit is working as it should, and leave any further testing for my brother to perform.

Hope this post and the information it contained to be helpful and useful for anyone interested in doing a HD swap on the DCT3416.

Status update: My brother reports that the PVR is working just fine. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

HP EX475 Home Server Upgrade Part 3

As you can see my progress to this point has been quite the learning experience, and I stubbornly wanted to use the proprietary software created for this machine. 
There are all sorts of methods to circumvent the blown LAN port, but the method I found to be easiest is to format a USB drive in FAT, then copy the HP SMI Files (this is where I found them online) to the root directory of the USB flash drive. Now you will need either a USB LAN or USB Wifi device with 32bit drivers !!!!! Copy the 32bit device drivers to the drivers folder of the SMI USB flash drive. Insert the SMI USB flash drive in the back bottom USB port and your LAN or Wifi device to another USB port. I was now able to boot my device and connect to it from a remote system and install the proprietary 'HP MediaSmart Server Recovery CD' Version 3. Remember to delete all partitions off the main hard drive before booting, or you will end up booting from the hard drive.
The best alternative option is to install a more modern operating system directly from USB boot (as I mentioned earlier), an option I just might try in the future.

Monday, April 13, 2015

HP EX475 Home Server Upgrade Part 2

The next step, while waiting for parts to arrive, was to dismantle and thoroughly clean out the EX475. Physically cleaning out all the dust is easily achieved with the use of an air compressor and blower nozzle, which is my tool of choice.  

Having spent a considerable amount of time on various HP Home Server forums, I've learned from many owners that these units tend to run extremely hot, especially the Northbridge chipset (under the aluminium heatsink shown above in the center). A simple solution to cooling the Northbridge chipset is to remove the aluminium heatsink, clean off all the stock thermal transfer paste, and reapply the heatsink using a good quality thermal transfer paste.
(heatsink removed picture from Tom's Hardware)
I was originally going to do just that, but a visual inspection of my Northbridge heatsink revealed it was quite crudely machined, and had ridges (as you may be able to make out below).
(not my Northbridge heatsink, stock photo from internet)
When a heatsink isn't completely flat or smooth it allows air to get trapped between the processor and heatsink resulting in poor heat transfer. Generally a good thermal transfer paste will remedy this but an even better solution is lapping. Lapping is a process of sanding down a CPU or heatsink to achieve a flat, smooth, mirror like finish. 
(excellent example of heatsink lapping, by Par)
While I never did manage to get a mirror quality finish from the Northbridge chipset heatsink, I did remove the ridges to the point of having a somewhat fairly reflective finish (really wished I had taken pictures during this build).
All my parts finally arrived, and I immediately installed the 4GB RAM module, which was quite easy once you have the EX475 disassembled. Next I installed the VGA-Adapter, which was also quite easy, it plugs in and only goes in one way. Before reassembling, I attached the power cable, monitor, and a USB keyboard, turned the EX475 on and booted into BIOS. So far, so good as BIOS revealed that the 4GB RAM module had been accepted and was working properly. After powering down I attach the SATA HD riser and dropped in a freshly formatted 2TB hard drive.
The Bios Hack
In order to upgrade the CPU I needed to modify the BIOS, but before I could do that I needed to install an operating system (in hindsight I probably could have gotten away by booting off a live distro USB). I already had WHS 2011 available, on a USB (if you need information on creating a bootable USB drive check out this link), so I used that as a base operating system. Even with 4GB of RAM, the EX475 has little business running WHS 2011, as this installation process took forever. I then followed the steps outlined here to hack my EX475’s BIOS (** Please be careful if you're attempting this). I was now ready to swap CPU's. I powered down the system, removed the stock heatsink and CPU, lapped the CPU heatsink to a mirror shine. I proceeded to install the new AMD X2 3250e with new thermal transfer paste (I used Arctic Silver MX-2 thermal paste throughout this build, as it’s what I had on hand). I reattached the heatsink, partially reassembled the EX475 and powered it up.
Nothing, it would no longer boot no matter how many times I flipped the power switch or how many power cables I replaced.
I was filled with an uneasy anxiety, I had spent so much time getting to this point, and all seemed lost.
In desperation I reverted back to the original CPU and I was once again greeted by a friendly, but slightly different BIOS screen.
I was confused, the BIOS hack seemed to work, the system seemed to be responding as it should with the stock CPU, could the CPU I bought from Ebay be bad? Before lashing out at the world with a flurry of emails, I tried installing the new CPU one more time... and IT'S ALIVE! I don't really know why, but the system started up and BIOS revealed the new Dual Core CPU.
The Operating System Install

The EX475 I purchased came with the original 'HP MediaSmart Server Recovery CD' version 1.1. While my original plans were to install WHS 2011 or Windows 8, I was really curious as to how my upgraded EX475 would perform running the originally intended proprietary operating system. While gathering information for this hardware upgrade, I happened to discover that HP had rolled out a final version 3, of their proprietary MediaSmart Server Recovery software, which would probably make more sense in installing. Unfortunately tracking down this software through legitimate means was proving to be more urban myth than reality. I was eventually able to obtain a copy of the elusive Version 3 software from unconventional channels (for those also seeking a copy can look here).
Normally I would just create a bootable USB drive, as I had done earlier but with the HP MediaSmart Server Recovery and install off that. However I spent hours trying to get the HP WHS install disk to transfer over to a USB, and IT JUST WONT WORK! What I wasn't aware of at the time is that HP's proprietary version of WHS can only be installed remotely over a network from a client PC. Well I also spent hours trying to get this to work, and finally realized, after a good nights sleep, what the problem was. It seems the on-board network interface port on my EX475 had died, a problem that seems to plague a few of these machines. If you have a running EX47X with a blown LAN port there is a remedy found here. This solution will only work if you have a pre-existing operating system already installed. Seeing as my machine wasn't running an OS yet, this solution wouldn't work for me.
I suppose at this point I could have just installed WHS 2011 or Windows 8, as I had originally intended, but I was determined to put on HP's proprietary software.

Stay tuned as I describe this process in the next installment...

Monday, April 06, 2015

HP EX475 Home Server Upgrade Part 1

I initially fell in love with the whole "Home Server" idea way back, when my company Cybercircuits was invited to beta test Microsoft's Windows Home Server OEM (I think it was sometime in 2005). Being an OEM operating system meant this wasn't going to be released to the public, and only computer retailers and manufacturers would have access. Seeing as I was a beta tester afforded me access, and to this day, I've been running some version of WHS.

HP was one of the first companies to bring the WHS operating system to the public back in 2008, with their release of the HP EX470. I remember the first time I saw one of these units on display at a local Future Shop, I was so excited, that is until I saw the $1,000 (CDN) price tag, which wasn't in my foreseeable budget. I've always been meaning to acquire an HP Home Server ever since it's debut, however given their steep price and that HP halted production of its Home Server Line in 2010, I never imagined I'd get the opportunity to own one of these.

In January of this year I picked up an HP EX475 off craigslist for $60(CDN), and while physically it seemed to be in great shape, it's hard drives were missing and obviously wasn't running. My goal at this point was to upgrade and restore this unit and eventually assimilate it into my current home network.

The EX475 shipped with an AMD 1.8 GHZ Sempron CPU, and 512MB of RAM, which at the time was relatively state of the art, but almost useless by today's standards. If I wanted to make the EX475 useful I would need to replace both these parts. After doing a quick www search, I came across a fantastic article on Tom's Hardware, with complete documentation on how to modify and upgrade the EX470/EX475. Unfortunately some information was obsolete, and the parts suggested were no longer available, so back I went to do more research. I came across a forum on MediaSmartServer with extremely useful information on upgrading the EX475 CPU, and after cross referencing CPU information on CPU-World, I had made a decision.

My decisions had been made and I took to Ebay to make them final. While many had opted to go with 1 or 2 GB of RAM, I purchased a Samsung 4GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800MHZ 240pin DIMM RAM, a $19(CDN) gamble which ended up paying off.
For the CPU I knew I wanted the option of being able to run a more modern operating system like WHS 2011 or Windows 8, this meant I needed something that was Dual Core. I took another gamble, this time for $35(CDN), and selected the AMD Athlon X2 3250e 1.5 GHz Dual-Core AM2+ (ADJ3250IAA5DO) CPU. ** I sacrificed overall speed for low heat and power consumption as this CPU ran at 22watts, the lowest power consumption of any dual core CPU.
This build wouldn't be going anywhere without the purchase of a $45(CDN) VGA-Adapter (also from Ebay), as the EX475 has no video out or any available PCI slots.
The final purchase was a set of (2) 80mm Arctic Cooling PWM fans from  local retailer  NCIX, for a cost of $15(CDN). ** When replacing a CPU you should always consider replacing the CPU fan, in this case the EX475 does not have a CPU fan, but two PWM case fans that cool not only the CPU but also the internal drives. 
For an investment of about $130-$175 (CDN, including taxes and shipping costs) I would have myself a new addition to my home network. ** Technically while I did purchase the VGA-Adapter strictly for this build, it could also be considered as a tool, as it can be removed and used for other builds as well. Also I know I didn't mention anything about hard drives yet, and that's because I recently upgraded my main home server and had a stack of unused hard drives collecting dust. I will be re-purposing these drives for use in the EX475.

Stay Tuned for my next installment where I begin the EX475 rebuild process.