Fixing a 386SX laptop

Fred Cisin cisin at
Sat Oct 10 18:01:08 CDT 2009

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

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

Grumpy Ol' Fred     		cisin at

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