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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
[SOLVED] Which Puppy for this tiny computer?
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Javelin Dan

Joined: 28 Dec 2010
Posts: 117
Location: Akron, Ohio

PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2013, 13:08    Post_subject:  

Starhawk –

I’m coming to the party a little late on this one and without much technical expertise, but I can give you the benefit of my experience. On my old Dell Inspiron 8000 (750Mhz, 512 MB RAM), I’ve tested dozens and dozens of different Linux distros, and dozens of versions of Puppy. I’m not doing anything high tech, so for me the criterion is fairly simple – can I configure my wifi USB dongle, and does it play Youtube videos to any degree? On this particular old box, Puppy rocks…but not necessarily all of them. Anything I’ve tried before version 5.whatever was problematic for me to get my wireless working. So all the versions I could actually test extensively were version 5 and above since I only have two CAT 5 cables hooked to my DSL and they are both occupied. Anything using ‘Barry’s Simple Set-up” tool in the connection wizard works great for me. For a long time I thought Wary rocked, but through experimentation I found Lucid 5.2.8 to play Youtube videos better than ANY other version of any distro I tried. Precise and Slacko are fairly close seconds. Odd, because I thought Wary was specifically compiled to work better with Civil War vintage equipment like mine. On this box, in Lucid, Youtube actually plays like an actual video albeit somewhat hurky-jerky. In all others it plays like a slide show. Your guess is as good as mine as to what makes the difference. All this is worth what you paid for it and probably won’t relate to anything you’re doing, but I thought I’d share.
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Feb 2013, 16:30    Post_subject:  

Thanks! I usually steer clear of the mainline Puppies, but I don't really know why... I'll give Lucid a try once I get a beefier power brick for this thing.

Anyone need a 12v 60w brick, that has a stronger 12v brick? I'll trade!

(I don't have the $20 to get the replacement I need on eBay Sad )

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Feb 2013, 20:43    Post_subject:  

Non-update: still looking for that power brick...
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb 2013, 00:30    Post_subject:  

Update that really IS an update... Apologies for the long post -- but it's worth reading, and you won't really understand what's going on if you don't read it all.

Someone on another forum was really kind to me, just now.

That other forum has a section where people can buy, sell, and trade computer hardware of various form and origin. Within this section, there is a thread started long ago called the Perpetual Freebies Thread -- for stuff that is considered (by these people, most of them enthusiasts aka "computer power users") too old and worthless to charge anything more than the cost of shipping. All sorts of stuff shows up in that thread, and most of it works. In fact, probably a good portion of the computers accessing this forum regularly (Pentium 2/3/4/M and AthlonXP era stuff) would be considered quite suitable for that thread by the people on that forum.

As part of cleaning up a room in my house that has been a computer-equipment closet for entirely too long, I put up a veritable mountain of stuff in that thread. None of it was worth enough money (to them, not me) to bother putting up a For Sale thread. Nobody there would've paid more than shipping costs for any of that (to me) slightly-old stuff.

At some point, fairly recently, having cleaned up the room sufficiently... I posted a Want To Trade thread (not a Want To Buy, as --per usual-- I have basically no money) asking to trade my 60 watt power brick (for the tiny board) for a 90+ watt brick, as the brick I have isn't quite strong enough. I wanted a much more capable brick to allow for margin-of-error in estimating how much power the board was actually wanting to pull. (I can tell that the 60w brick is probably pretty close, as the board does partially boot, but I can't tell how close.)

To make a long story... well, less long... a fellow on that forum came across the three posts where I gave away all that stuff, and he decided to just up and give me the $20 I needed to buy a 96w brick I had picked out on eBay as a just-in-case if I couldn't do the trade after a while.

So, thanks to the wonders of Paypal, I've already ordered the brick. Should be here within a week or so.

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Feb 2013, 12:35    Post_subject:  

Received the power supply this morning. I also received something for another project -- I'll probably be working on that other project first, and if there's time to test the power supply with this setup, that will come second.

Tomorrow is going to be busy, so if nothing happens on this today, it will happen Saturday.

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Thu 28 Feb 2013, 21:59    Post_subject:  

Working on this now -- it appears that an insufficient power brick was not the issue at all. The replacement brick did not solve my problem.

However, adding a rather inexpensive (and old) surge suppressor did. Looks like the local electrical company slacks off a bit on line regulation when it comes to its more rural customers Rolling Eyes

This time, instead of a bunch of text scrolling across the screen, involving AUFS and all sorts of low-level software stuff dying a horrible death... the screen blacked out at the xorgwizard point.

This is progress, simply because it hasn't gotten this far before, at least in my house... next I'll try attaching a spare LCD to it that I got for free (it needed a repair which ended up costing me 45 minutes and less than $7 in parts). Maybe it's just having some graphic irregularities.

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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2607
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri 01 Mar 2013, 15:15    Post_subject:  

You know how it has multiple connectors for the 12v supply coming onto the board... well, do those connectors all just parallel up? Or do they have something like diodes or fuses linking them to the main power bus of the board? Could there be something like a resistive fuse, dry joint, or dicky diode in the power line? Is it worth trying to bring the 12v onto the board directly or through a different one of the connectors?
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 01 Mar 2013, 17:52    Post_subject:  

Two onboard connectors are available for power input. One is the barrel jack I've been using. The other is a "P4" connector like on a much larger motherboard. 4pins, +12V on two, ground on the other two.

It IS worth noting that one of the times I've gotten this board to power up at the tech shop I was using the P4 connector -- but that was with a power supply that has a bad filter cap in it. Those caps are LOUD when they die completely (or so I hear) and this one, although it hasn't quite died yet, has a foot in the grave. This also means that the output from that power supply is quite likely to be rippletastic. Poor line regulation = not good for electronics!

If the barrel jack on the board is bad... well, there's one way to find out Wink I'll go rig up a jack-to-12v adapter. Good thing I'm well acquainted with the soldering iron Razz

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Fri 01 Mar 2013, 19:10    Post_subject:  

Not the barrel jack. Made a cable. Didn't fix.

It's dying later in the boot process, though... now it gets through language and keyboard selection before it goes kablooey. Hmmm.

EDIT: three things.
(1) sorry for the blurry pictures -- I am rather a lousy photographer!
(2) my tech wizard dude over at the shop says that this is a problem with AUFS. I'm not smart enough with linux to know if he's right or not.
(3) DSL, which (I think) uses a different kind of union filesystem, boots fine. I don't like DSL, though, so it's not much use here, beyond that of troubleshooting. It is interesting to know, though...
linux-oopsie-screen-2.jpg
 Description   Using the new cable.
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linux-oopsie-screen-2.jpg

linux-oopsie-screen.jpg
 Description   Before the new cable.
 Filesize   98.63 KB
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linux-oopsie-screen.jpg


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greengeek

Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 2607
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat 02 Mar 2013, 05:37    Post_subject:  

When the DSL boots does it offer a choice of doing a ramtest? Just wondering how solidly that RAM module performs?

Do you have a copy of 4.3.1? It's so rock solid on so many different PCs it's got to be worth a crack just for the sake of comparison...
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Mar 2013, 12:31    Post_subject:  

I've 431 with k2.6.25.16 and intel modem drivers. I'll give it a go!

DSL doesn't offer a RAM test, but I've got Memtest86+ around here somewhere, if 431 bombs I'll let it go through memtest a couple times.

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Sat 02 Mar 2013, 12:53    Post_subject:  

431 died a horrible death Sad but it left a new clue. This time I got good (intelligible) error reporting. It's udevd that's exploding, at least in this case. Went into the board's BIOS and found USB keyboard support enabled.

Wonder if that's the problem...? There's nothing hooked up to USB on this board!

EDIT: didn't fix. Disabled USB entirely... we'll see Wink

EDIT2: not USB. Hmm Confused very strange indeed. I'll go find my memtest CD...

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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Mar 2013, 13:57    Post_subject:  

Running memtest86+ -- first pass completed, no errors, took ~45min. Of course, memory is really fickle, so I'll leave it going for a goodly while yet. Almost always, nothing happens in the first pass unless one's ram is royally ****ed.
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rokytnji


Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1404
Location: Pecos/ Texas

PostPosted: Sat 02 Mar 2013, 14:41    Post_subject:  

It's not Puppy. But. I still have this cd for trouble-shooting purposes on old gear.

http://iso.linuxquestions.org/mepis/antix-mepis-8.2/

Iblio link is no good but the Virginia tech mirror is ok. The Netherlands link is OK also.

Found a better site for more versions. I've been a user since version 7.

http://mepis.gabston-howell.org/download/released/AntiX/
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starhawk

Joined: 22 Nov 2010
Posts: 2994
Location: Everybody knows this is nowhere...

PostPosted: Sat 02 Mar 2013, 15:28    Post_subject:  

Worth trying, if only for troubleshooting *shrugs*

~2h 20m into Memtest, I'll give it 4hrs or so (total) and see where things are. If it's not RAM, I'll try that antiX-MEPIS thing. (I'm downloading it now for later.)

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