Migrating from Pegasus to Thunderbird

December 20, 2012

I’ve been on Pegasus Mail for ages. It’s OK, but not open source, and I’ve always had the vague fear that some day my email will be locked away due to a format change. In addition, its HTML handling is not the best, and the way it does multiple accounts is a little weird. Finally, it was getting slow on my Windows XP PC due to the file system – and migrating it from one PC to another is a pain, especially if you’re changing the drive the data lives on.

So I resolved to move to Thunderbird. I started from here:

and here:

and when I did the MBox method, it seemed to work fine. Until I looked at the folder on Thunderbird and saw more messages than I’d counted on.

It appears that Thunderbird uses “\n\nFrom .*\n” to filter its messages. Ok, but Pegaus doesn’t quote the From in “From the editor:” which appears at the start of the line in some of my messages. Argh! This left me with lots of messages split in half, with weird dates and strange subjects / from / to lines.

I hacked up the following awk script, which I put in a file called peg2tbird:

/^From / && ! /\?\?\?\@\?\?\?/ { printf ">%s\n", $0 }
!(/^From / && ! /\?\?\?\@\?\?\?/ ) { printf "%s\n", $0 }

This takes any line that matches “From ” but doesn’t match “From ???@???” and puts a > in front of the From. All other lines it leaves as-is.

Then I ran:
\cygwin\bin\gawk -f peg2tbird < unx01234.mbx > tbird-mbox-file

Then I copied tbird-mbox-file to my Thunderbird Profile directory (in Mail\Local Folders).

This makes the messages look a little strange in Thunderbird – they look like “>From the editor:”. Also, some messages ended up showing with today’s date – inserted by Pegasus. (I think it was just those generated by a virus checker, so they were probably less well-formed than real messages.) Sigh. Oh well, that’s good enough for me to get my old messages migrated.

Repairing a Samsung LN32A450

December 12, 2012

I own a Samsung LN32A450 TV set, which has been fairly good so far… until last weekend, when it didn’t turn on. Instead, the power LED flashed steadily at about one flash every 500 ms.

It seems that my TV set suffered from the capacitor plague. A bunch of the Samwha capacitors swelled up and were no longer to spec. I could order a replacement board (the board is BN44-00214A available from findparts4you.com). A little searching showed that others had successfully revived their power boards just by replacing the capacitors.

First, I had to open the TV set. This involved removing 16 screws (all the same size) from the back. I discoverd I had to be careful with the ones marked “S” – those four also hold the TV stand in place, so I wanted to remove them last. Also, there’s a screw on the back panel below the “EX-Link” connector, and another one on the back underneath the A/V 2 inputs.

Once I did that I could slide the back off (face down, since the support was unscrewed). The power board is the one in the middle. There are five connectors to disconnect from there: two at the upper left, one at the upper right, and two power connectors that go to the lower right. In my case they stayed in the right position once I removed them because there was tape holding them to the flat panel.

After that, I removed 6 small screws that held the power board in. I didn’t need to remove any of the standoffs – they’re just there to push the board away from the flat panel.

When I investigated the board, I could see the telltale swelling of capacitors that indicated problems. I saw problems with four capacitors:

CB852 in the middle right of the board: 2200 uF 10V
CW856 near the top left: 470 uF 25V
CW858 right below CW856: 680 uF 25V
CM868 right below CW858: 680 uF 35V

Some people reported success with using Radio Shack replacement capacitors. I was a little nervous about that – these caps are all rated to 105 degrees C and have high ripple current tolerance, and I didn’t want to swap in something I’d just have to replace later. I ended up getting replacements from Digi-Key. They have a minimum $25 order (otherwise they charge you $5 for handling). Luckily I had some other stuff to buy at the same time.

I replaced them with the following:

CB852: Panasonic EEU-FC1A222L (Digi-Key part P11189-ND)
CW856: Panasonic EEU-FM1E471 (Digi-Key part P12388-ND)
CW858: Panasonic EEU-FM1E681 (Digi-Key part P12390-ND)
CM868: Panasonic EEU-FM1V681 (Digi-Key part P12417-ND)

The replacement for CB852 was about 1 cm taller than the original part, and that made it the tallest part on the board. I was a little worried about that, but there seemed to be enough clearance that it didn’t cause a problem.

These capacitors are electrolytic and have a polarity, so I had to replace them the same way ’round that the originals were. Luckily, on my circuit board all the negative terminals were marked with a white semicircle underneath the capacitor.

After that, I plugged the cables back into the board (not forgetting the single-pin green ground cable). Then I put the 6 screws back.

Next I put the cover back on and put the 16 screws back in. I started with the base “S” screws, then the top three, then kind of haphazardly put the rest in the right places.

Then I powered up. Success! The TV came on and was as good as it was before this happened.

A few links I found useful:

Maxtor Shared Storage II 320 G power supply

December 9, 2012

Since I have recently moved, I’ve discovered how much I hate devices that don’t clearly label their power supplies. All my wall warts got detached from their devices in the move, and I’m gradually re-unifying them.

Today’s example: the Maxtor Shared Storage II 320 G external drive. It takes 12 volts DC, 3A, centre positive, and a brick I had from Goodwill with a 5.5mm outer barrel connector seemed to fit well.

Changing MAC address on OpenBSD

December 6, 2012

A little while ago, I needed to change my MAC address on the OpenBSD firewall I’ve got running. (My ISP kept feeding me a bad IP address from an old lease and I wanted a new one.)

It’s easy to do this on OpenBSD:

ifconfig vr1 down
ifconfig vr1 lladdr 00:11:22:33:44:55
ifconfig vr1 up

The question is, where’s the right place to put this to make it permanent? A few web searches revealed that a bunch of people had modified /etc/netstart by putting the ifconfig vr1 lladdr line somewhere near the beginning. I’d rather not sully my pristine /etc scripts with changes if I don’t have to.

Linux has /etc/network/interfaces, and OpenBSD has /etc/hostname.if. I just changed my /etc/hostname.vr1 to:

dhcp lladdr 00:11:22:33:44:55

and I was requesting an IP address using my new MAC address.

Repairing a Dell Inspiron N4010

December 1, 2012

I recently had a friend bring me a Dell Inspiron N4010. The laptop wouldn’t boot up, and the friend wanted to get the data off the hard drive.

I figured that would be a fairly easy task. Little did I know…. I started by looking at Youtube videos about taking apart the N4010. Here’s the best Inspiron N4010 video – or rather, first in a series of three for over 30 minutes total time.

Turns out, Dell in their infinite wisdom decided not to put a door on the case to allow access to the hard drive. Instead, you have to remove the keyboard and motherboard to swap it out. This proves that Dell’s engineering department is willing to hire the insane.

Luckily, the video showed disassembly as well as assembly. I knew my friend had taken the laptop to Best Buy a few weeks before it stopped working to put a new hard drive in. (And again after it stopped: that time the Geek Squad claimed “no fix was possible” because there were no BIOS beeps.) The video showed a stick-on plastic piece that wasn’t present (any more) on my friend’s laptop between the keyboard and the motherboard.

With the laptop disassembled, I said “why not” and tried to boot. It came up. I connected the laptop up to the network and backed up the hard drive.

The stick-on plastic piece appeared to keep the keyboard from shorting the motherboard. More of that Dell quality. I’m guessing the Geek Squad just tossed it. I fabricated a quick replacement from some polyester film I had hanging around. Who knows if it will last, but at least the machine boots now.

I’m really glad I did this. It made me 100% sure I would never buy a Dell laptop. Ever.