Fixing a 386SX laptop

CSquared csquared3 at
Sat Oct 10 22:45:46 CDT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Fred Cisin" <cisin at>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" 
<cctalk at>
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2009 6:01 PM
Subject: Re: Fixing a 386SX laptop

> On Sat, 10 Oct 2009, Alexandru Lovin wrote:
>> I'm hoping to get a hint answer from you: ok, you want all those
>> over-the-top modifications. I think this man (or this company) can help 
>> you.
> The problem that you are going to run into, is that those WITH those
> abilities have their OWN projects that keep them busy.  You have to
> respect that, and the fact that they are MUCH more interested in THEIR
> projects than they are in YOUR projects.
>> I apologize if I offended you, Sir.
> Mr. Guzis is not easily offended (as far as I can tell).  But, he is an
> exceptionally busy man.  You should feel honored that he took time to
> answer some of your questions.
> He has significant projects of his own.  If I wanted to hire him to do
> something for me, I doubt that I could afford it unless he were fascinated
> with the idea.
> I know somebody who builds race-cars. (Sorry, Jay, but analogies are like
> . . . )  He is currently building an electric car, because he is
> interested in it.  If I wanted him to replace the distributor on my car,
> his time would be worth more than my car is.
> What you need to do is to get started towards developing your own skills.
> I think that a Weller TCPN is a good beginning soldering iron.  You will
> want a GOOD VOM, but a Chinese Harbor Freight one MIGHT be adequate
> temporarily while you put the funds together.  Then start shopping for a
> used oscilloscope.
> Practice soldering and de-soldering.  I improved my soldering skills by
> buying a bare board of a motherboard, and soldering sockets onto it.
> Open up that Chinese VOM, and resolder every bad solder joint in it.
> When you reach the point where you can de-solder a part off of a board and
> re-solder it, or a replacement on, then you will be ready to learn what to
> do.
> Get a copy of "Art of Electronics", and schematic diagrams of everything
> that you own.
> Go to the "motherboard-man" who is near you.  Do small jobs for him, for
> free, such as making cables, etc.  Get him to tell you what he is doing on
> his projects.  Assist him.  Doing it for free IS WORTH IT!  Eventually,
> when you have acquired some skills, work out an apprenticeship with him.
> If you really help him, he will teach you everything that he knows.
> Eventually, he will start paying you to do some work for him (and to keep
> you from leaving to go work elsewhere).
> Soon you will be able to do your own projects.  But, you will find that in
> addition to your own projects, everybody around will want you to do
> projects for them, and there just isn't enough time.
> Just one more thing.
> You have to promise to train your own apprentice, and to be patient with
> him.
> --
> Grumpy Ol' Fred     cisin at

Thanks Fred for saying that.  I don't believe I've ever read anything more 
profound on this group.  Sometimes I fear that those significantly younger 
than my 70 years don't understand that line of thought, and I believe the 
world is poorer as a result.  In my youth a wise man once told me "If you 
never do more than you are paid for, you will never be paid for more than 
you do."  I took that to heart, always remembered it, always tried to live 
by it, and have tried to pass it on to those who would listen.
Charlie Carothers 

More information about the cctalk mailing list