Linked by Howard Fosdick on Mon 31st Dec 2012 20:26 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Last month, I explained why I use generic desktops and laptops running open source software. They're reliable and inexpensive. But this presumes you can fix them. I believe that even those with no hardware training (like me), can identify and fix most hardware problems. To prove it, here's a quick guide. Feel free to add whatever I've missed.
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Doc Pain
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I agree, tapping USB power is not a great idea. An alternative to disabling the optical drive (especially if you need it) would be to tap the extra mini PCI-E slot that most laptops have. Pins 2, 24 and 52 are 3.3 volts. Keep in mind, the second PCI-E slot may not be populated with a plastic connector, but the pads are there and should still have voltage supplied to them.

Thanks, that's a great idea and interesting approach. 3.3V should be enough voltage (maybe no resistor is needed to "slow down" the fan additionally). However, accessing the PCIe wiring might be even more complicated than connecting to USB. The only requirement left is that the power must be present as soon as the machine is powered on. I'll investigate this further - sounds possible, and I don't want to deactivate the optical unit in this laptop just to make the CPU fan work. :-)

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