header



Welcome to the Micro Center Tech Support Blog!
Find free technical support on a variety of products featured at Micro Center and plenty of how-tos on new technology. Start searching our Blog below or search our Tech Center archives »

Can't find what your looking for? Take advantage of our Tech Support services »

Join the MC Tech Support Community Forum: Get direct advice from the Knowledge Experts @ Micro Center.
Click here to access the Forum »

Search This Blog

Loading...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Art Nouveaux Case Mod, Part 4

Glass Windows

With so much effort put into carved wood, I want a side window that harmonizes with the rest of project. Using the dogwood blossom design, a leaded-glass window will fit into the lip carved out behind each of the side panel openings.


[caption id="attachment_457" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Trim a piece of paper to fit in the rear opening and then trace around the edges of the openings."]side panel[/caption]

To start, a paper template is cut to fit the opening and held in place with tape. From the outside, the openings are outlined on the paper and a rough sketch of the blossom design added. A more detailed drawing is then made on the paper using sharpie markers to suggest the positions, shape and layout of the glass. For this window, a rectangular grid will be imposed over the dogwood design
to emphasize the window aspect.


[caption id="attachment_459" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The pink glass used for the dogwood petals, has a slight iridescence on one side. Stakes in the glass are oriented to radiate from the centers of the blossoms as much as possible."]cut glass[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_460" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Copper foil is used to wrap the edge of the glass, and then the are segments tacked in place with a tiny blob of solder."]glass panel[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_461" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Branches are added to connect the flowers."]glass panel[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_462" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Clear glass that has a "frost" texture is cut and fit for the rectangular panels. "]glass panel[/caption]

 

Petals of pink glass are cut and shaped for the blossoms, caramel brown for the branches, and a clear frost pattern for the background grid. Copper foil is wrapped around the edge, and then the individual pieces are tacked together with a bit of solder at points where they touch.
 

[caption id="attachment_464" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A heavy-duty soldering iron is used to flow solder across all of the foil-taped edges and fill small gaps."]glass panel[/caption]

Once all of the pieces have been cut and placed, a heavy duty soldering iron is used to flow tin-lead solder over all of the exposed copper foil on both sides of the window. (This also lets me conceal all of the small gaps that we amateurs leave when attempting this type of work.) Brass plated furniture tacks are soldered to the center of the blossoms and then the window is scrubbed clean before mounting into the side panel. Several small wood screws with washers hold the window into the wood frame, then the metal side panel is again attached to the wood panel.
 

[caption id="attachment_465" align="aligncenter" width="291" caption="With the bench light shining in the rear of the case, the mounted window is viewed for the first time. "]mounted glass panel[/caption]

The second case window was assembled by the same process, starting with a paper template that fits inside the recessed opening on the back of the wood panel. The edges of the panel openings are marked and a flowering dogwood design is roughed out on the paper.

Glass pieces are then cut and ground to follow the resulting design, with pink for the blooms, caramel color glass for the stems, and clear frosted for the background. All pieces are edged with thin copper foil and tacked into place before the final soldering. Using a heavy-duty soldering iron, tin-lead solder is used to cover and bond the segments together into the assembled window.
 

[caption id="attachment_466" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The second window seems to assemble quicker, (practice makes perfect?) this time, with a stylized branch pattern in the clear background."]glass panel[/caption]

Textured furniture tacks are used to cover the small openings at the center of the petals and suggest the dogwood blossom detail. The finished window is cleaned and installed into the wood panel, held in place by several screws. The metal side panel is attached to the completed wood panel with wood screws.
 

[caption id="attachment_467" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The finished panel is reversed and test-fit in the rear opening of the side panel. Wood screws with washers hold the panel in place."]mounted glass panel[/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_469" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The metal side panel is reattached to the wood panel."]mounted glass panel[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_470" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The galvanized steel of the case blocks most light coming from inside the case. This side will need its own light source."]completed case[/caption]

 

Next time: Decisions about cooling

Monday, August 29, 2011

Westinghouse HDTV: Instructions for Setup of Non-Set Top Boxes

  1. Select Language you want to use for menus and message screens.
  2. Select a Time Zone.
  3. The Set Up Wizard will guide you through scanning channels or accessing your connected set top box. Select Enter to begin Set Up Wizard or Select Skip for a list of available Input options.
  4. Channel Scan Screen: you can select Antenna, Cable, Satellite or Other.
    If you select Antenna or Cable, you will need to activate your ATSC Tuner:
    1. After you selected Antenna/Cable, you will be directed to the "Obtain Tuner Activation Code" screen. This screen will have a serial # (ex: 1234A12345678) that you will need to activate the tuner.
    2. You can either call 1-800-701-0680 to obtain an "Activation Code" (this will be a five digit number) or go to the following website: www.wde.com/support .
      Scroll down to Tuner Activation and select please click here.
      Select your model # from a drop down list. From there, you will be able to enter your serial # and click the Enter button. You will be given a five digit activation code.
    3. Enter your five digit activation code with your remote, then select Enter from your remote.

  5. The next screen that will appear is the Channel Scan (this may take a few minutes to complete, and you will see a scan progress bar. This will show all analog and digital channels found. When the scan is complete, you will be able to watch your local programming.
NOTE: Channel Scan Screen - does not apply to VCR, DVD/Blu Ray players, Video Game Consoles or Cable/Satellite boxes.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Add a Legacy Hardware Device in Windows 7

This is a how-to document on the topic of adding a legacy hardware device in Windows 7.

  1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left, then right-click on Computer and select Properties.

    Open Properties menu
  2. On the new System window, click on Device Manager in the top left.

    Select device manager
  3. Click on Action across the top, then choose Add Legacy Hardware from the dropdown menu.

    Action menu
  4. On the new wizard window, click Next to begin the wizard.
  5. In most cases choosing the Search for and install the hardware automatically option will be the best choice. Select this option and click Next. If this option fails, choose the Install the hardware that I manually select from a list option and follow the instructions.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What are System Images and File Backups?

System Images (or Disk Images) and Backups (or File Backups) are features designed to back up the files and settings on a PC. So, what makes them different?

A File Backup stores a collection of a user's files and settings in an archive  which is transferred to another storage media like an external hard drive or DVDs. A File Backup is great for storing pictures, videos, documents, and other file based resourced. There are to major drawbacks to using a File Backup system: First,  programs and applications cannot be saved, and second, Windows or your operating  system is not saved. If your hard drive crashes, you will need to reinstall Windows with the original disc or recovery media.

A System Image or Disk Image stores all of the information on a hard drive in a  file on another hard drive, or collection of DVDs. The main advantage is that if the hard drive were to fail or to be wiped out by a virus, the System Image could be restored to put the computer exactly to where it was. For example: when System Image is created on Saturday at 5pm, then the hard drive crashes on Thursday at 3am, the computer could be restored to exactly how it was on Saturday at 5pm with a new hard drive and all programs.


To review:  File Backup will save pictures, documents, etc. whereas a System Image will save everything including all of the applications and the operating system.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Troubleshooting: ESET Operating System Maximum Protection Not Insured

The ESET icon has turned orange and opening the ESET window displays:
"There is not a problem with the ESET program".


ESET protection warning

The ESET security programs show an orange ESET icon when important updates are available for the operating system by default.

 To update ESET software:
  1. Click on the orange here in the message to open the ESET listing of available updates.

  2. Click Run System Update button to open the Windows Update.

    System Updates

  3. The important updates are typically fixes for security weaknesses or known flaws in the operating system. These are what should be installed. Click the
    Install updates button to install the important updates.

    Windows Update window

  4. If you wish to disable this feature in the ESET security program follow the procedures on the ESET web site at:
    http://kb.eset.com/esetkb/index?page=content&id=SOLN2196&actp=search&viewlocale=en_US&searchid=1301085084376



Monday, August 22, 2011

Art Nouveaux Case Mod, Part 3

The Top Panel and Front Door

With the side panels fasted in place on the case, a board is cut to fit on the top of the case between the two side panels. A flowing design is sketched directly on the wood and then rough-carved to shape.


[caption id="attachment_444" align="aligncenter" width="287" caption="On the left, the top panel takes shape after rough carving. On the right, the cental pattern has openwork dogwood blossoms added as a decorative accent matching the other panels (or as a fan guard if left open.)"]case panel[/caption]

As I was working on this piece, I saw that the central area lined up pretty well between the position of the power supply and the front drive bays. By routing this out and adding open-work dogwood blossoms, the top panel can now allow for air flow if a top case fan is added. Right now, it makes a shadow-box style dust trap. If I don't install a fan, I will add a piece of glass behind it to match the front panel appearance.
 

[caption id="attachment_446" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Using a scanned image of a 12cm fan as a template, a vent hole is cut between the power supply and drive bays, centered on the new top window. A drum sander on the drill removes the sharp edges left by the 4.5" hole saw."]sander[/caption]

With all of the stationary wood panels completed, everything is attached to the metal case. Any of the panels that will have glass installed will have to come off again, but to complete the door, I need to know the positions of the sides and top to make the best fit.

[caption id="attachment_447" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Views of the finished sides and top, mounted to determine front door dimensions."]case panel views[/caption]

With the top and side panels attached and in position, a thick length of board is cut to size as a front door. The extra thickness is so I can carve designs on both surfaces.


[caption id="attachment_448" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Once cut to size, flowing curves and flowers are sketched on both sides of the door before carving."]case panel[/caption]

 

The outside surface is carved with curves and blossoms like the other panels. Since the quartz cabochon on the front panel is the highest point in the design, and its position is marked on the inside of the door to include a depression carved at that location. Additional curves and blossoms are worked into the design and the inside of the door carved and finished.
 

[caption id="attachment_449" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The outside of the front door after sanding, sealing and buffing."]case panel[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_450" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The inside of the door with the hinge attached. Note the depression in the top center; this lines up with the quartz cab mounted in the front panel."]case panel [/caption]

A length of piano hinge is attached along one side, of the door, and then the door attached to the edge of the right hand side panel. To keep the door closed, a small magnet is embedded in the door and a second one in the edge of the side panel.

Next time: glass windows.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How to Import Folders into iTunes

  1. Open iTunes by double-clicking the iTunes icon on your desktop.
    iTunes
  2. In iTunes, click File then Add Folder to Library.

    add folder to library
  3. Select the folder containing the music you wish to add, then click Select Folder. You may be asked to convert your music to AAC format. Click
    Convert if this message appears.

    locate folder
  4. Your music will then begin to convert and import and can be monitored by the bar across the top. Once complete, all selected songs will be added to your iTunes library.

    new songs imported to iTunes


Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to Clean Browser Cache, Cookies and History in Safari

Clearing out the temp files stored in Apple's Safari browser will help the program run better and work a little faster. Here are the steps to clean the browser cache, cookies, and history files.

To Clean the Browser Cache:


  1. Open the Safari application. On the top of the screen, click on Safari.

    Safari menu
  2. Select Clear Cache.

    Empty Cache
To Remove Cookies from Browser:

  1. Click on the Safari then Preferences.

    Preferences menu
  2. Select the Security icon at the top of the menu.
  3. Choose the Show Cookies button.

    Security menu

  4. Click on the Remove All button to delete the cookies on the system. Confirm that you wish to delete.

    Cookies list
  5. When the process is finished, close the Safari Preferences window.
To Delete the Browser History:
  1. Open Safari and click on the History menu.
  2. Choose Clear History at the bottom of the menu.



  3. Close Safari. The browser history has been deleted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Art Nouveaux Case Mod, Part 2

The Side Panels

With the front-to-back dimensions now known, I could start work on the rest of the panels. A simple bottom panel is cut and the edge routed to extend slightly below the side and front panels. The base is necessary to support small feet at the corners which will raise the system above the desk or floor surface.

Two different side panels with windows are planned, with an intricately detailed one on the motherboard side. The other case panel will also have a window treatment, but not as detailed. There is a motherboard tray that slides into the bottom of the case, and behind this is a sheet metal shield, placing little or nothing of interest in view through a window in that side panel. I am thinking that the sheet metal may allow for some specialty backlighting in this narrow gap that should show off a second art glass window really nice.

[caption id="attachment_434" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="To create a single large solid wood panel for carving, two boards had to be glued together along one edge. The resulting side panel was trimmed to size, and the pattern transferred onto the wood with pencil and marker."]wood carving[/caption]

 

 


[caption id="attachment_435" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="From the pattern side, starter holes are drilled for carving openwork detail along the bottom. After flipping the panel over, I used a router to carve a recessed area into the back of the panel so I can mount a glass window between the wood and the steel side panel."]panel back side[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_436" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Using a handheld jigsaw, I then cut the large heart-shape opening and some of the larger areas for the blossom pattern. (The mesh you see here is the anti-skid rubber mat to hold the panel in place while I was routing out the back. "]opening cut into panel[/caption]

 

Using a high-speed rotary bit in a Dremel tool, the smaller openings around the flowers are enlarged and cut to shape. Using a selection of different shaped burrs in a flexible shaft, the curves and blossom details are roughed out. After that, it's more carving, lots and lots of sanding, and finally - sealing of the wood. Then, the whole process is repeated with the second side panel.
 

[caption id="attachment_437" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The pattern is carved into the surface of the wood, and details are roughed in using different carving burrs."]panel carving[/caption]

 

To hold the wood panels to the case, they will be attached to the original sheet metal chassis panels with four or five screws. Before final attachment of the wood side, a custom window hole must be cut in the metal panel to allow light to come through the windows.
 

[caption id="attachment_438" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A plasma torch makes quick work of cutting an irregular opening through the sheet metal panel."]metal panel opening[/caption]

By attaching the wood to the the metal panel, the edges of the carved openings can be scratched onto the painted surface of the metal panels. The incomplete pattern of outline scratches is completed in a connect-the-dots fashion, to create the guide to cut a window opening. With the outline now clearly marked on the painted surface, the wood is removed. The metal panel goes outside for a close encounter with my handy-dandy plasma torch, quickly cutting out the window openings.

Next time: The top panel and front door.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to Enter Single User Mode in Mac OS X

Single User mode is a command line-type window that allows commands to be run on the Mac. You can run small commands to correct issues with operating system without loading the desktop. Some software developers will use this mode to write and compile software programs.

To enter the single user mode:

1. Turn off the Mac.
2. Turn on the Mac and immediately hold down the Command and S keys.
3. You will see the screen turn black with white letters on it. This means that you have successfully entered the single user mode of the Mac operating system. The windows is similar to a Linux or Darwin terminal and will require commands written it this format to use the window.
4. Type "reboot" and press the Return key or Enter Key.
5. The system will reboot and start normally.

Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Insert an Image in a Microsoft Word 2010 Document

This guide shows you how to insert an image in text documents in Microsoft Word 2010.

  1. Make a note of where the image to be used in the document is saved. For demonstration purposes, the image used in this document will be stored on the desktop.
  2. Open the Microsoft Word 2010 document to be modified. Select the Insert tab at the top of the screen.

    Insert tab
  3. Select Picture.

    Select Picture
  4. Browse to the image to be used, click it, and select Insert.

    Browse pictures
  5. Check your document to verify that the image was inserted. You can edit the image by clicking on the Format tab for more menu options.

    Check document

Introducing the Art Nouveaux Case Mod

The Front Panel

Last year at this time, I was working away on the Egypt Mod case. With travel back and forth to our new North Jersey Micro Center, I seem to have had less time to spend messing around on a new case modification. However, I have not been entirely idle, as I have been trying my hand at wood carving. Besides, with the warm weather, it is much nicer being down in the nice cool basement...

My latest project is inspired by the flowing drapery and organic aspects found in art nouveaux design. Now, I'm not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination, but that won't stop me from creating what amounts to a fancy wood shell that depends on an existing case shell to provide support and the mechanical functionality of a desktop case.

photo flower reference

To tie the project elements together, I decided to incorporate flowering dogwood blossoms into the design of the wood panels and windows. I want the natural wood grain to be obvious, and it should also fit with a color scheme of pink and white. I settled on Bubinga for the wood, and obtained a nice selection of this "African rosewood" from the neighborhood Woodcraft store.

[caption id="attachment_411" align="aligncenter" width="228" caption="The Foxconn Diabolic case before"]The Foxconn Diabolic case[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_413" align="aligncenter" width="293" caption="The Foxconn Diabolic case after"]finished art nouveaux case[/caption]

System case: I started with a Foxconn TH 202 series chassis that I saved back after one of my system upgrades. Foxconn makes some very nice cases where you can install most of the components without the need of any tools at all. Their outside shells are well-finished and have a certain flair, in this case (sorry, no pun intended) with their "Diabolic" theme, it's complete with glowing eyes, horns, and even a toothy grill over the front USB & audio connections.

My first step was to strip off all of the plastic parts, windows, and trim pieces to take the case down to the basic metal shell. Because the drive bays were designed to position the drive out through the front of the plastic bezel, I need an extension to my case for the same purpose.


[caption id="attachment_414" align="aligncenter" width="246" caption="To attach and support a new wood front panel, a frame of Bubinga wood is attached to the chassis with angle plates."]case construction[/caption]

I want a solid door to cover the front bays, but also decided that decorative openings for the drives and front panel should be and integral part of the project. To support a new front bezel, I added a rectangular frame and anchored it to the case with a couple of 90-degree angle plates.


[caption id="attachment_416" align="aligncenter" width="242" caption="Making the template for the front panel. Paper over the opening and light from the rear allows me to rough-position the drive and front panel openings."]case construction[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_417" align="aligncenter" width="180" caption="The decorative carving template is based on the grid template and defines the irregularly-shaped openings for the drives and USB panel."]case template design[/caption]

 

I created a wood grid to fit snugly into the opening to support the new front panel. A couple of wood screws through either side of the frame, prevent the grid from shifting or being pulled out.

[caption id="attachment_418" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Clamps hold the grid to the roughed-out front panel during gluing."]case construction[/caption]

A panel of 1/4" Bubinga is trimmed to the size of the frame, and then openings for drive bays and the front panel connections were marked and cut through the panel. The grid is then glued to the front panel before carving and finishing the surface.


[caption id="attachment_424" align="aligncenter" width="184" caption="The front panel with roughed-out openings is test-fitted in the front bezel frame."]case construction[/caption]

 

With the openings roughed out and the position and dimensions now defined by the retaining edge, a design for the front is laid out in actual size with paper and pencil. This template is then glued to the board with rubber cement and the design was then cut into the wood using a Dremel tool and a sharp burr.

[caption id="attachment_420" align="aligncenter" width="190" caption="The design template is glued to the panel with rubber cement. This will peel off easily once the pattern has been transferred to the surface by carving right through the paper."]case construction[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_421" align="aligncenter" width="155" caption="Front panel with the basic design carved through the template. Note the remains of the paper template in the flowers that are still attached to the open work area."]case construction[/caption]

For the openwork dogwood blossoms, a high speed rotary cutting bit was used,and then a variety of burrs to shape the detail. I could not proceed with the sides, top cap or base until this step was complete, since I won't know the exact dimensions until the bezel was installed and roughed-out.


[caption id="attachment_423" align="aligncenter" width="265" caption="Finishing touches: Frosted quartz for the front panel LED indicators, a wood power button, and translucent white glass behind the open work carving."]case detail[/caption]

 

Integrated into the bezel design are a (wood) power button and a frosted quartz cabochon, which will diffuse the LED light for power status and hard drive activity. Once I had the openings designed into the pattern, holes are carefully cut into inserts that are mounted in the bezel's support grid and the power switch and LEDs are hot-glued into place. Hot glue should be secure enough to hold, but flexible enough that it can be torn out if switch or LED needs replacement.

Thin wood veneer is glued over the front panel connectors and carefully trimmed with an Exacto knife to expose the USB, audio and FireWire ports. A single piece of translucent white glass is trimmed and installed behind the carved blossoms in anticipation of some specialty lighting to be added later.

Next time: side panels