Saturday, December 31, 2022

Rimuru Restoration - With a screwdriver, I stab at thee

Despite it only being only a few years old, motherboards compatible with Rimuru's processor are largely gone and needless to say, my AsRock isn't re-obtainable as far as local resources go. That's been the sad trend IMHO, that yes, desktops are still pretty modular, no the parts won't be worth a fart tomorrow. But alas, that's a different issue.

Deciding that the motherboard is the root of the problem based on my multimeter readings and the screwed up power behavior, I debated two courses of action: decommission Rimuru in favor of a laptop, as it was already expected to be my last desktop build; or attempt to fix things with replacement parts. The upside of the later is that it is the minimal cost option, the former that it's the less likely to piss me off.

Rimuru is now rocking an Asus motherboard a generation forward. A small fortune and the better part of my day later, everything seems to be operational. Fortunately, re-activating Windows licenses purchased from Microsoft's own store are still not too terrible to deal with motherboard replacement.

In the process, I've also decided to ditch the humongous air cooler and get a liquid cooler, cue kraken, stage left. When I originally designed Rimuru, I had considered liquid cooling and decided to stick with what I know. Well, I decided if I was going to be replacing a motherboard, there was going to be something a lot smaller hovering over the processor getting int he way of my hands, or I was going to drive a spike through the board. So, liquid cooler it be.

Now if there was just a solution for the raging headache ^_^.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Rimuru facing decommissioning

Before the holidays, I had the problem that Rimuru would power on in a brain dead state -- fans would spin up, most buses would power their components, and so on. But it wouldn't POST or reach BIOS. Just brain dead. The only way to turn it on or off was the cord and kill switch on the PSU, and trying to hold the power switch on the case would just act like a reset and then total brain death with running fans.

Tried all the good jumping off points: trying to boot off integrated graphics, reseating and walking RAM sticks, etc. Then I took my multimeter to the power supply's ATX main and CPU power pins, and that seemed to be fine.

At that point the only thing I hadn't reseated was the CPU, and I'd have to go to Micro Center for fresh thermal gloop anyway if I did that. So, I decided to drop it off and see what they could figure out. Today, I got my machine back. Reseated memory, POSTS. Well, I hoped their touch was more magical than mine. But no dice.

When I had asked, it was unknown if it fresh thermal paste was used, since the guy doing initial processing had tried reseating the CPU and swapping in another of the same model with no luck. Reseated the processor with fresh thermal gloop, and I've decided that I am taking a new policy on this. If the CPU cooler is connected and it don't catch fire, I'm not effing remounting CPU coolers for this--it's just to much of a pain in the ass in such cramped spaces, and my hands ain't gettin' tinier. If I ever build another desktop, there better not be a huge ass heatsinkage over the processor or I think I'm outsourcing to someone fitting that description.

Anyhow, the machine wouldn't boot and was doing the same thing as when I dropped it off. Gave it a kick and numerous elevated heart rate notifications later while choking on my urge to go Incredible Hulk on the decommissioning, I eventually came back to try a few things.

Tried loading a single RAM channel up and with some fiddly, I got into the OS. To do so, I had to pull the front panel header and rub a nail clipper on the pins. Eventually, I put in the other RAM channel but it didn't seem to make a difference what I did with the memory.

Depending on how I manually short the reset and power switch pins, the system either hangs as before, goes into brain death, or does a sorta reset and may boot or die.

Fiddling around, I noticed that USB ports may or may not have power. I.e., plug in a keyboard while in BIOS, walk it through the ports toggling num lock, cycle back and what the fuck there's no power, and then again and now it works. Stuff like that. In some cases the keyboard would draw power enough to light the num lock LED but wouldn't toggle, and then in some cases it would just be flashing all three LEDs at the top for a while and then go dead.

Anything resembling a "Proper" shutdown like the OS would do leaves the machine brain dead. Have to pull the power and fiddle pins trying to find the right fiddling and timing to boot. Trip the right way and the processor fan cranks and the case fan turns off, and it's total death until power pull.

So at this point, I think a technician who's able to test piece by piece and determine what is failed would be needed. That's beyond my skill without a schematic, and the tiny as hell components to desolder and resolder would make the repair work beyond my ability even if I did have a schematic to work off.

Based on its behavior, I'm inclined to believe the power management chip is screwed up or something has gone awry with the path of power causing it to just "Leak" into systems that should remain unpowered until initialized properly.

To garner a second opinion, I think I may buy one of those PSU tester things to double check my power supply's readings vs my multimeter. Which basically means, motherboard if it's not the power supply. If that's the case, given how much issue it is to get ahold of another motherboard of that model; I may opt to decommission  Rimuru.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

One of the things I rather like about Subnautica: Below Zero is that it's a fairly safe environment to explore but not devoid of dangers. Mostly though, its predators are more a nuisance to navigation than a major threat once you've crafted a knife or a sea glide. The crocodile like things in warmer waters, for example, will mostly flee if you bop them with the blade and largely stick to their personal territory. After building the drill arm for my P.R.A.W.N. mech suit, I figured out that you can actually eliminate these.

And then there's the leviathan class predators. Mostly those are classified as apex predators, those I typically choose to avoid. But some are more pragmatic than others.

The ~40 meter or so Chelicerate are large enough to tell from squid sharks by the time time you want to mossy along. Avoiding becoming a snack is always a good plan. An initial attempt at neutralizing one of these that proved too aggressive did not go very well. Attempting to rope it with the grappling arm and drill the sucker while avoiding its teeth, ended with nearly being chucked into a cave near the edge of the tree spires. Round two was more like being dragged into open ocean and ended in a draw. Glaring at each other while repairing my equipment on the other side of a vent garden.

Mostly though, I've managed to avoid those. But then the search for story items sent me to the purple crystal caves, where I previous decided to return to base after the heads up of a particularly large leviathan class predator in the area. Joy.

Well, good old "Claw Face" is a very aggressive bastard about ~60 meters long. The Shadow leviathan is like some kind of cockroach slash snake from hell with all the peaceful happy feelings of Darth Vader. Attempt to explore the caves and it will try to eat you. Drive it off for a moment's reprieve and it will quickly circle back for another attack run. Since the area isn't conductive to swimming and just about any kind of noise and activity will attract it, it's less a nuisance and more of an obstacle!

Acquiring the Torpedo Arm for my P.R.A.W.N. and the docking module to haul it by Sea Truck, I decided on an experiment to see if these things can die. Unloading over a dozen poison gas torpedoes did little more than piss it off, and I was forced to retreat and rebuild. For round two, thanks to a big of foraging and the assistance of the Sea Monkey Army, I returned with nearly twenty poison gas torpedoes and over half a magazine of gravity vortex torpedoes.

Found a nice little nook where it's possible to retreat and repair, while hoping not to be snatched and ate hole. Attracted its attention with the drill arm and jets and made for a second bout. Unloaded all the torpedoes. More than a few of them down its gullet along side the drill arm. Again, and again, and again it shrugged this off. I probably would have withdrawn and declared it mission failure, if ol' Claw Face didn't tend to cycle back and try to EAT me while repair tooling my mech suit.

In the end, I was standing on the edge of my nook, waiting for Claw Face to swoop in for the kill and using a mixture of drill arm and mech-punches. Eventually, I switched to punching with both standard arms as this seemed to drive it off much faster. One attack run would do about 30% damage to my P.R.A.W.N, and it might return before repairs were completed. It took about a battery and a half of this, punching the crap out of it after unloading two dozen torpedoes. 30-40 minutes, but finally the thing died. I wonder if it healed from the first wave.

In any case, when the player has 100 HP and the leviathans have 5000 HP, it takes quite a lot of punches in the face to kill something that orny with fifty times your health!