The day or two after? the allsky camera system captured a great big fireball in the sky it failed to show any images tuesday morning. We use VNC to remote desktop in and see that the CCDOPs software declared an unknown “operating system error” and hung. Restarting the laptop running windows XP (up for 30 days previous to this), fixed everything. As of this morning, all was automated again.

Last Earth Hour one of the desktop computers was powered off to conserve energy for the event. Only it did not want to turn back on again. After swapping out various pieces: memory, power supply, unplugging accessories, etc, we figured out that it was the old motherboard, salvaged from a flood back in 2008.
So out came the two hdd IDE drives, the two IDE DVDRW drives, the memory, NIC, video cards.
The power supply was old so it and the case went to ewaste recycling.

I cobbled together a new system based on a lot of other spare parts including a biostar 945GZ motherboard.
Only the problem with it was it had only two IDE connections, not four as before. What follows is a workaround to get a system up and running again.
Since we wanted two dvdrw drives and all we had were the two IDE ones, we needed a hard drive with SATA connections, which we had a spare.

*install old 80gb ide boot drive and new 500gb sata drive and one dvdrw ide drive.
*boot into linux fedora 14 live cdrom
*open a terminal, run the command “dmesg | grep -i sd” to identify which drive was which. sda was the 80gb and sdb was the 500gb.
*run the command “dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb” and about an hour later an identical clone of the 80gb drive had been copied onto the 500 gb drive.
* remove the 80gb drive and attempt to boot into the 500gb sata drive. it booted ok but windows failed on startup. Trying safe mode and other combinations all failed. Ug.
* boot into windows xpsp3 cdrom and choose 2nd repair option and basically reinstall the operating system without overwriting or reformatting the drive. 30 minutes later it boots ok.
* it is missing a lot of drivers so off to search google for “biostar 945gz 775se drivers”, find them, download them and install them. Restart.
* connect to the net, and do a windows update. 90 odd updates later, shutdown.
* install the 250gb IDE drive and restart
* create a new 300gb partition in the 500gb sata drive, format it as NTFS and start to copy all of the
data off the 250gb drive. An hour later shutdown and remove 250gb ide drive. Connect 2nd ide dvdrw drive and restart
* desktop computer is mostly where it was before the failure. All of the programs are there, installed, registered and operational.
* store the 80gb and 250gb ide drives for future use.
* fireup boinc with seti@home and run at 100% for the day to stress test the system.

The plan is to use the remaining 90gb or so at the end of the 500gb sata drive to install a dual-booting fedora linux 14 system.

The new system should use less power as it has only a single newer sata drive as opposed to two older IDE drives plus a more modern processor that should not run as hot.