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I understand those hand-held bug-zapper thingies don’t work worth a damn. I watched a woman at the outdoor market the other day waving one around and — I dunno — hoping to slay flies with vicious air currents or something.

This one? This one fucking works.

I bought it for Uncle B as a bit of a joke; the Amazon reviews led me to think this one might not be so lame. He came zooming upstairs clutching The Executioner with his eyes all shiny and hissed, “this thing is eeeeevil!”

You wave it at a bug, there’s a CRACK and a burst of lightning, and the skeeter just…disintegrates. Hugely satisfying. Mucho recommendo.

Eh. Anyway. I’ve spent the evening swapping in my ‘new’ motherboard — surely the most pain-in-the-assical of all geek chores — only to find it might be the power supply, after all. Money to waste, I have none.

Why do I like computers again?


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 28, 2010, 10:42 pm

I suggested to Her Stoatliness that she Photoshopped in a small mushroom cloud.

It would not have been much of an exaggeration.

Comment from harrison
Time: September 28, 2010, 10:46 pm

Do you think it’s strong enough for pesky neighbors?

Comment from chicken farmer
Time: September 28, 2010, 11:30 pm

I can’t believe that you blamed the motherboard before testing everything else.
The MB is the toughest part of your ‘puter IF you have a UPS fitted (and I don’t mean anything to do with packages).
The only thing to beat electro-zapping bugs is using a paint ball gun on crane flies (daddy-long-legs). Makes a mess of the wall but does good stuff to the targets!

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 28, 2010, 11:30 pm

Power supply would have been the first thing I looked at…they are getting more and more tetchy as they build in more ‘power saving’ features like variable voltage, sleep modes, etc. Having said that…my previous motherboard seemed to develop an electrical fault as it got older and started frying cards and power supplies…went through a power supply, graphics card, promise disk expansion card, and fried a couple of hard drives (electronics, not mechanical). I think the capacitors go bad after awhile.

What processor is it?…Pentium 4?

Enjoy your bug zapper Uncle Badger…sounds awesome.

Comment from JeffS
Time: September 28, 2010, 11:51 pm

I have a bug zapper similar to what Uncle Badger has. It is AWESOME. Flying insects, spiders, and other small unwanted creatures face doom with one of these in the house.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 29, 2010, 12:08 am

Well, when I pulled the processor out of the last one, one of the pins was bent flat. And then I busted the housing of the CPU fan trying to get everything properly seated again. And THEN it developed the current problem — everything spins up, all the lights come on, but it’s a total blank screen. So power supply wasn’t the first thing I thought of until the second board did the same thing.

I would have been in for a new chip and fan in any case, which wouldn’t have been much cheaper. Yeah. Pentium 4 2.8, both of them.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 29, 2010, 12:16 am

Stoatie, are you on the motherboards built it video, or a peripheral card? If MB, take out all of the cards you can, start the machine and see if it boots properly. If it does, shut down, add another card and reboot. Keep doing so until you find the one it fails on. It may be nothing more than a peripheral bios fail to release….

Comment from Mark
Time: September 29, 2010, 12:33 am

And don’t forget to look at the memory as well. Do you get a beep code as it starts? If so, check the motherboard manufacturer’s web site to see what it means.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: September 29, 2010, 12:42 am

Probably not the power supply if it spins up. If the second board does the same thing then maybe the graphics card is toast…got any spares to test? You have two P4 processors, one with a bent pin, maybe use the non bent one? As Mark says, any beep codes?…possibly bad ram module? As Scubafreak says, just test different combinations till you eliminate everything.

Comment from francis
Time: September 29, 2010, 2:37 am

I’ve seen bad PSU’s do that, where everything spins up but nothing actually happens…I’ve also seen it happen from bad expansion cards, and even wonky keyboards. Hopefully you can strip everything off of the board and “borrow” a psu from another box and find out 🙂

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: September 29, 2010, 2:42 am

I have one of the bug zapper/fly swatter thingys. Wasps are best – they fry nicely and make big sparks! If you can hit a gnat, (IF) they also make big fat sparks!! Fun, fun, fun, but then I am easily amused.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 29, 2010, 3:07 am

Unfortunately, mine is Cheapy Chinee…..

Only goes BANG when you have fresh, high quality batteries. Otherwise it’s a subdued bzzzt…..

Does piss off the Yellow Jackets…

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: September 29, 2010, 3:07 am

I hope y’all realize that this is completely unintelligible to me–you might as well be speaking Etruscan. 🙂

Except the fly-swatting discussion. That I comprehend perfectly.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 29, 2010, 4:26 am

Funny thing, Nina–I was thinking that I love it when they talk dirty. There is something about people deeply engaged in dealing with a very practical problem they know something about that is just. . .riveting. Even when it makes no sense whatsover to me.

On the other hand–if I ever have a technical problem that my IT guy can’t solve, I know where to come, so life is good. Yes?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 29, 2010, 11:54 am

No beeps, but I’m not convinced I have the speaker plugged into the right place (I have the manual from online and I’m going by that). I’ve taken all the cards out and plugged the monitor into the on-board socket. I’ve taken the motherboard out of the case, lest it was shorting against it. No keyboard plugged in. All the fans and lights and drives spin up, but it never starts the Power On Self Test — monitor blinks like it’s got no signal.

I’ll have to see if I can scrounge a power supply.

Comment from Blast Hardcheese
Time: September 29, 2010, 1:06 pm

Oh, I so need to get one of those. Just so I can strike a pose and yell:


Oh and Weas, make sure you don’t get that thing near your computer or you’ll have more than the power supply to worry about.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: September 29, 2010, 2:29 pm

Though very ladylike
Underneath her perfumed silks
Lurks the killer beast.

But the question is: Zapper of bugs or Motherboards?

Comment from Mags
Time: September 29, 2010, 2:54 pm

Randomly darling Weasel, I am going to be in the southwest England area in the next week. What on Earth is there to do aside from sleep on my friend’s couch and eat spotted dick?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 29, 2010, 3:41 pm

Hmmm, Mags. Too early for the bonfire season. Whereabouts in the Southwest? All sorts of cool stuff to see around Wiltshire (Stonehenge being the least impressive, IMO). The National Trust is always a good place to start to find cool things to stare at. Pubs are fun — they combine old architecture and alcohol (expensive to drink here, though).

Ummmm…hm. What to do is another place.

Nowhere near us, from the sound of it, or I’d buy you a dick.

Comment from Randy Rager
Time: September 29, 2010, 4:19 pm

I just had a power supply failure last week that welded the on/off switch on the power supply into position. First time I’ve ever seen that one.

Comment from Monotone (The Elderish)
Time: September 29, 2010, 6:17 pm

I heard about a guy how connected a couple car battery’s to one of those things. Pretty sure it exploded in his face.

@ Randy Yep, never had that one happen.

Comment from steve
Time: September 29, 2010, 6:50 pm

Do those electrified badminton rackets work on wood spiders?


Comment from David Gillies
Time: September 29, 2010, 6:52 pm

Good news is you should be able to get a new PSU for under twenty quid.

Sometimes I hate computers with a passion, probably because my job + life entails sitting in front of one for 70+ hours a week. I wonder if carpenters ever curse their chisels?

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 29, 2010, 8:43 pm

I would hook the bug zapper up to the computer in lieu of a new power supply. It should get interesting.

Maybe it will get rid of some viruses, and other malware.

Comment from Mags
Time: September 30, 2010, 2:01 am

Sweas, Chatham, in Kent. I know nothing about it other than there is a free couch.

Comment from goodkarma
Time: October 1, 2010, 12:30 am

We have one of the tennis rackets of death. If you catch a fly just right, it will spin around in a quick circle. I guess the fly has some kind of pressure build-up that is released by the electrical zap. OK, I may be easily amused.

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