Inside the computer case
Some people get a little excited when they look inside
a computer and see all the different electrical components and circuit
boards. All the wires, connectors and data cables inside tend to
be a little intimidating. Yet, all of today's computer repairs,
replacements, upgrades and installations are getting easier and
A technician could spend hours (at outrageous prices)
to search for a specific chip or failed solder connection that's
causing a particular problem. Repairs aren't done at the chip level
anymore. Everything is very modular. It's quicker, easier, and much
more economical to have the technician pop in a whole new video
card or motherboard.
It's still important to know some of the different
components and what they do. It can give you an insight as to which
particular module may need replacement, and aids in the troubleshooting
It may only take 5 minutes to replace a particular
(Field Replaceable Unit), but it might require a lot more time to
troubleshoot the problem and discover which module needs replacement.
Even if you don't plan on becoming A+ (A Plus) Certified,
if you've come this far you must have an interest in computers.
This is a great place to learn about what's inside that case.
Start this section with ESD
(Electrostatic Discharge) precautions and work your way through
in order. Once you understand ESD and the precautions you should
take, go ahead and open the case. See if you can find the different
components, connectors, and devices discussed. When you do, try
and discover everything you can about it. What kind of chip is it?
What does it do? What kind of socket does it fit into? How much
data can it move at once? How fast is it?
If you have room on your desk, you can run your computer
with the cover off * so you can look inside as you read (keep your
*Note: Only run your system
with the cover off for a short period of time. Contrary to popular
belief, leaving the cover off can interrupt the airflow, actually
contributing to overheating in some cases. For short periods of
time it should be OK. In fact, its often necessary when troubleshooting
hardware. Its also a good time to make sure the CPU fan is working
By the time you're done, you'll be removing and reinstalling
some of the devices inside.
Look around for an old 286 or 386 computer. They can
be picked up for less than 50 dollars, in working condition. Whether
it's working, or not, you can learn an awful lot by taking it apart
and putting it back together.
Please Remember: Do Not
take apart a monitor or power supply, there is enough stored electricity
inside to cause you serious injury!
Good luck, and always remember your ESD precautions!