AudioEndpointBuilder – The Dilemma

Thought I’d make this post to help save some time if someone else came across it. I was recently asked to fix a Windows 8.1 64-bit Laptop with no sound. The problem being specific to Windows 8 laptops

 

Talk about a night mare. The sound wasn’t working basically because the “Windows Audio” service wasn’t started. The problem is this thing relies on 3 other dependancies before it can work

– Remote Procedure Call (RPC)

– Multimedia Class Scheduler (MMCSS)

– AudioEndpointBuilder

 

Everything would start except for the AudioEndpointBuilder. It would fail with an error code 193:0xc1. The log in even viewer said it was not a 32-bit application

 

After going through various troubleshooting procedures after going through the usuals. I trailed the web and checked everything suggested

  • Reinstalling the sound drivers, motherboard drivers
  • Running SFC.exe
  • Checking the registry – making sure the paths were correct
  • Accepting the windows drivers
  • Booting into safe mode
  • Recreating the service.

None of it it worked, the only thing I could do would be either reinstall windows or find a solution

 

Luckily I found a solution (or rather a bodge)

Basically to fix the Windows 8 audio problem I did the following after finding it online…

 

– Open the registry

– Navigate to Microsoft\Windows\Current Control Set\Services\AudioSrv

Look for the path which talks about dependancies, there will be 3 entries

– RPC

– MMCSS

– AudioEndpointBuilder

 

You need to open this and delete the values for AudioEndpointBuillder and Rpc

Save it and reboot. The audio, should now be working

Views – 441

Home IT : New Addition – Laserjet Printer

For a longtime I’ve had a Canon Inkjet MP180 Printer. It has been reliable and served me well, it still works to this day but it’s a bit iffy. When I first purchased it, I was on Windows XP. Since then I’ve done many migrations up to currently Windows 10. Canon have been a bit reluctant to update their drivers however for the MP Navigator software and it’s a bit finnicky when trying to connect the printer for printing off jobs.

 

Time for a replacement!

 

I decided to add a new addition to my network, I’m used to working with business class equipment. So recently purchased a HP Laserjet 4350 Printer (with Duplexer) to add onto my home network.

 

Not only is this more Universal (the printer drivers are bundled with Windows 10), it’s a lot higher quality to use and saves me money in the long run for printing.

 

The MP180 uses Inkjet Cartridges @ ~£13 per cartridge (490 pages)

The Laserjet 4350 uses B & W Toner Cartridges @ ~£165 per toner (10,000 pages)

 

To get the same amount of pages on my MP180 = 10,000/490 = 20.4 Cartridges

Total Cost would be 20.4 x £13 = £265.2 for same level

 

 

 

As you can see a Laserjet printer is more efficient at saving money when printing off jobs. Not to mention it’s faster. The MP180 prints 17ppm. The LJ4350 prints 55ppm

 

It will benefit me for my home network and when printing off information for eBay sales and general documentation. Already installed and chuffed with it because I’m used to the equipment

 

Total cost of printer was £99 including Toner.

 

Views – 512

Why I haven’t migrated my site to WordPress fully

This is probably something which someone may question at some point so here are the main reasons why I’m not (or currently haven’t) migrated my website into a WordPress or Content Managed Website

 

  1. Entire site needs rebuilding
    1. To migrate my website I’d have to modify a lot of code and go through all the articles again, quite frankly can’t be arsed. Also to have the site how I want it I would need to rebuild all of my website, and given the problem I’ve had moving between hosts, it would break everything meaning I’d have to fix it again and resubmit all site links to Google and generate new sitemaps.
  2. Static HTML suits me for the content I write
    1. Articles I write are DIY guides, I like the fact how they’re laid out within HTML and it’s just nice and simple. No OTT designs, or OTT in general. Just nice simple information which loads quickly what the end user wants
  3. Blogs are more for content which updates regularly
    1. Articles that I write are generally updated / created as and when I have to fix something on my car, I don’t really write very often, unless it’s crap. So doesn’t really suits me
  4. Static HTML is easier for me in terms of placement of pictures
    1. I don’t need to modify the code much, I just put in a simple HTML table, and insert the picture. If I wanted it somewhere specific I could have a little bit of CSS coding into the page. Having it on a WordPress/CMS system makes it annoying as a lot of my articles are full width and I’m yet to find one I like which makes it easier to add pictures and have them placed where I like. Plus uploading pictures is a chore as I have to upload them to a gallery then insert from gallery. Rather than just dump everything into an /images folder and simply hotlink from there
  5. Low server requirements
    1. My website if running on static HTML barely uses any resources. Websites running PHP/MySQL can be resource intensive, whereas a website designed to run nothing but static HTML could potentially hosts thousands/millions of websites on the same server because static HTML is reguarly cached and loads quickly
  6. More secure
    1. Whilst not impossible, it’s generally a lot easier and more secure when using HTML sites, because there is nothing happening in the background for pages to be loaded such as database or PHP requests. Pages are simply served, so it locks down the security a bit better as the hackers would have to be able to modify the direct HTML file itself
  7. Faster backups
    1. This is a bit irrelevant really because I can’t download my backups until I’ve created them, but the larger your site is the longer it takes, having a small website means it’s backed up within minutes, instead of being up to 1 hour on a larger size, HTML compresses very well too for backups which makes it quick to download. Useful if I’m on a low speed connection
  8. Easier to troubleshoot
    1. Whenever I get problems with HTML, it’s fairly easy, it’s displayed on the screen. You either make an error and it doesn’t work, or it works fine. You can make HTML pages look amazingly modern and very stylish by using basic .CSS stylesheets. If you run a site with WordPress or CMS, you have to have MySQL, CSS, PHP and a few other things. Usually a simple change can break your code which gives you hours of headaches. I’ve had to fix my site often so I’m familiar with the layout of it now
  9. Low disk space usage
    1. When my website only has HTML pages. It doesn’t consume much disk space. An average HTML page is around 5KB in size. So adding some pictures (reduced in size / compressed to around 100KB) and basic CSS, I could have an entire website with 100+ pages that only consumed 50-200MB of disk space with very low requirements and would be very responsive. HTML pages also load really quickly, because it’s basically text and nothing else. Nothing requires rendering or any function calls in the background which talk to database. It just has a request and serves it to the end user straight away. Whilst disk and file compression is possible on dynamic sites, putting everything into wordpress just increases the overall size due to the databases and PHP aspect of everything

 

Eventually, when I find something I like the entire site will be migrated. The PROS of having a WordPress or CMS based website outweight the CONS, but for the time being I can’t be arsed.

Until I find something which suits the purposes and how I write my articles I’ll just keep going as needed then eventually change it over when I have it how I like it. Content becomes easier to maintain and increases my score in Google overall, so it will be done for end benefit

Views – 473

How I built a working iPod for £25 from spares

I recently decided to go back to the gym again, one of the things I wanted to do was get another iPod Nano 4th Generation music player. I can use my phone, but personally I always liked the nano that I had, I found them comfortable to use and they seemed to suit me for the gym

Problem was I sold my previous one, I didn’t want to spend the money to buy a brand new one or second hand one. I like repairs so thought why not carry out a repair on one.So off I went on eBay and found 3 broken iPod Nano 4th Generation 8GB models for £9.99 – can’t complain at that, should be able to salvage the components

Broken iPods

A selection of the iPods I purchased for repairs

 

The iPods I purchased for repair had 3 issues (from left to right)

  1. The first one the click wheel wouldn’t respond. The device worked, but nothing happened after power up. Click wheel wouldn’t respond to any input.
  2. The second iPod had a problem with connecting to the computer, it just wouldn’t switch on
  3. The third iPod worked fine, it just had a problem with the screen being very dim and wouldn’t increase in brightness

Reading this I thought I may be able to at least salvage one of them, the cases on them were all scratched, but as it was for the gym I wasn’t particularly bothered. One of them had a good case, but this was also a problem with the screen.

 

My first train of thought was the following repairs;

  • iPod 1 – Faulty click wheel, cable, dirty click wheel, or O/S restore
  • iPod 2 – Possible port damage, O/S damage or physical damage
  • iPod 3 – Damaged LCD, damaged digitizer, damaged logic board

Now that I had decided what I was going to do, I set about a plan of action. The 3rd iPod was hopefully the one I was going to use, merely because it was in the best condition, but I still wanted to try and repair at least one of them to have a go and see what I’ve got to work with

Broken iPod 1 Repair

I first powered up the iPod to confirm the fault, indeed, it powers up. Screen was fine, seemed to load the operating system fine, but no luck nothing else. I tried cleaning up the click wheel to make sure no grease had got under it. Carried out a system restore but none of this worked still the same problem. Issue now is either hardware related, or cable related. Kept it for spares, since I knew the iPod had a working screen

Broken iPod 2 Repair

I first needed to find out what was busted on this. I tried to connect to the computer as initially I thought it was a USB issue, I received no connection. I couldn’t go any further to test with this because the battery had no charge, so decided to dismantle it. Turns out the battery was damaged as it had swelled in size, so it’s possible this can be repaired. I couldn’t go any further with this because the lower data cable connecting the battery to the board snapped on removal as the battery made it a tight fit and I ended up cracking the screen on removal…..bugger… 1 down two to go.

I had spares from the first iPod, I swapped the logic board and battery over to the iPod which wouldn’t charge up or switch on. It came to life, but had the same issues as the first. The problem followed me so it meant the logic board was damaged as I was using a different clicker wheel this time. This may be a possible repair in future, but I wanted to see what I could do with the 3rd one.

Broken iPod 3 Repair

OK, first iPod knackered needs a new board. Second iPod, busted battery, cracked LCD (now no longer working) and connector cable. I have a 3rd one that’s working, great. Swap the screen over, still dim…. well that’s a problem. If you have a dim screen on an LCD, normally you replace the digitizer. All the power controls and assemblies are built into the screens and the logic board circuitry.

I had swapped the screen over, and had the same problem. That means the battery was OK, but the board was gone…. board from iPod 1 was a nono, board from iPod 2 required repair with soldering iron so what was my options

I ended up having to fork out some money, and kept an eye out on eBay because I needed either a good battery and board, or a good board. As this was all pot luck I kept my eyes open

 

iPod Nano 4th Generation, successfully repaired

Success, I found an eBay seller who was selling what was listed as a working board and battery. After some back and forth emails I took the risk and purchased them with the spares they came with for £16.99

 

I received them a couple of days later, swapped over the units working screen and replaced the logic board. Then came the moment of truth….

I powered it up, it worked! It connected to iTunes and said it needed a restore but then I received a low battery warning message. Damn it, usually low battery means it’s knackered. I figured it was working, so went to bed and left it on charge.

Lady luck was shining down on me, the battery really was just low, once connected to iTunes I restored it and now have a working iPod for the gym again.

OK I could have probably found one for the same price, but as I will also be repairing iPods for my business it makes good practice for me to understand how they work and the problems that you can encounter when working on them. Plus I like to tinker about with electronics.

This concludes my article on How I built a working iPod for £25 from spares

Fixed iPod

A repaired iPod built up for £25

Views – 823

Server Migration

Apologies for any downtime caused on this site, I recently decided to change web hosts because quite frankly I’m sick of my old one. I had constant never ending problems and in the end I carried out a Server Migration to a different webhost

As you can tell by this post, the server migration was carried out. Eventually! I had so many problems to sort out and still do. Everything about my old configuration was completely muddled on with by my old host to get it working, as such the server migration wasn’t a straight forward process.

The account restore didn’t work, I had to manually download the databases because they had to be restored. Had to alter the database names, had to manually edit the server names in the configuration files and carry out a db restore. Also had an issue with the .htaccess

I’m happy now, I’ve found a new host, in the name of Tech-Hosts. I love them so much I migrated to them with my personal site as well, highly recommend you check them out

Views – 1011

Windows 10 Upgrade

OK, OK, my computer has finally been bugging me long enough about carrying out the Windows 10 Upgrade. My past experience with Windows is painful, I always lose files, or had to back up things and reinstall applications. So I decided to bite the proverbial bullet, I was sick of hearing Windows 7 moan on at me about the upgrade being available. I decided the hell with it, and carried out the upgrade after backup of all my files

The result…. pleasantly surprised, the upgrade went smooth. I checked the compatibility report first and backed up everything I could lose before hand. Luckily, nothing went amiss and everything was reinstalled. All my internet shortcuts, desktop shortcuts, installed applications. Nothing failed.

Props to Microsoft, my Windows 10 Upgrade was flawless and you have redeemed yourself. For I did not lose any files, nor did I have to reinstall any applications or find anything new.

OK, there is a down point, I have a new interface, which I sort of don’t like. I was used to Windows 7, but that’s just a change. I really don’t like the sounds, and the Cortana search. Hey, I consider myself a power user though, I’m no amateur when it comes to PCs. So overall my experience with the upgrade was a positive one.

Just learning the new features now, I’ll be updating this blog if I find anything amiss.

Views – 715

Cracked Windows Install

One thing which is becoming apparent to me since owning a business, when reading all the posts people are making who run their own businesses, is how many people seem to offer legitimate Windows installations for cheap prices or blatantly offering cracked Windows installations.

If you are running a business, not only is it unethical, but you are running the risk of serious issues if uncovered. That’s why I will only use genuine copies of Windows when reinstalling software, or making sure I have a valid COA key. IF there is no genuine key then I won’t carry out a cracked Windows Install. I’ll simply advise the customer to purchase a genuine COA key / Install of the software.

If they refuse, they’re business is turned down

Views – 736

PS-77CS Shredder

After around 7 or 8 years of some tough abuse and shredding my Fellowes PS-77CS Shredder has finally given up the ghost and failed on me.

The machine is getting power, but it doesn’t run the shredder motor. There are signs of power going to the device, because it detects win the bin is open and lights up the red light to say it’s open. The light goes off when you push in the Micro switch so this tells me the sensor circuit was working fine and the problem was more electrical as opposed to mechanical.

I did some dismantling of the actual equipment. Fairly simple, lift it up and remove about 10 screws. Open the lid then disconnect the wire attaching the motor to the PCB. I did a quick look around the circuit and couldn’t find any specific issues.

I finally identified the problem, I went to remove the PCB so I could look up the schematics and when removing it the transformer was literally hanging on a couple of threads of copper wire. So it came off easy enough (picture below)

DB-0812D Transformer

The busted transformer which failed. Also seems to be a common problem – not supposed to come off the circuit legs like that. It’s meant to be attached.

I decided to remove it, as it was evident to me the transformer is what caused the problem. For those who don’t know, a transformer receives an incoming voltage in a circuit and then alters it for the output side (either by increasing or decreasing it). In this case, it’s receiving an input voltage of ~220v and outputting it into ~15.6v from what I can find online (these are the specs). I’ve wrote them below if anyone finds them useful.

Input Voltage : 220V
Output Voltage : 15.6V / 15.6V
Dimensions???? : 8*11
No Idea???? : 3+4

Now, when researching online, it seems these transformers are commonly fitted to the Fellowes shredder models and seem to be the weak point of them. The point of failure is usually when the shredder falls over or gets banged about a bit. The transformer / PCB are mounted upside down in the shredder motor. So if the unit falls over it can damage it. Essentially it’s dangling on it’s own internals.

A common fix suggested by one user seems to be fitting an M2730 transformer, which is slightly bigger then hot glue it in place so it doesn’t damage it if it falls. I looked up this product and unfortunately it’s a discontinued product. So I may try places like eBay or Farnells/CPC in the UK to try and source one.

In the meantime I have emailed Customer Support at Fellowes to see if they stock spares. I’m more than happy to fit the equipment myself to get it up and working again. Failing that I’ll source one online if they cannot supply. The equipment by Fellowes is amazing. It’s stood up to some tough abuse from myself, but I’d rather not pay £100 for a new shredder if I can fix it myself for around £20

I’ll update this post as I go, hope some of you find it useful and helps you on your quest with your Fellows PS-77CS Shredder or others.

PS : If your from Fellowes, I’ll happily receive a new shredder from you if you offer me one. I wouldn’t complain 🙂

 

Views – 1402

Paypal Scam Emails

Every now and then, you get the occasional idiot who tries to scam some poor user out of their account information by showing information affiliated to the company in question

I received an email from “Paypal” support

I already knew it was dubious from experience, but decided to carefully investigate it. The user in question owned a website (hosted by godaddy) and had a blog with a purposely hidden upload link with a redirect onto a fake paypal login

They’re getting smarter and smarter, but when displaying links to unknown pages, always hover your mouse over them and check out the address first. It should always match the domain where it’s coming from

Needless to say I hate scammers. So I reported the domain abuse to godaddy and rackspace, and I’ll also be reporting them to paypay, eBay and the local authorities

Views – 824

Electronic Payslips

Recently I’ve been having problems where I work regarding my pay. As such I’m constantly digging around for my old payslips. After long and hard looking for them I finally got sick and decided to make good use of the scanner I had lying around home and convert all my paper ones to electronic payslips.

Not only can I scan them into an electronic format, it means that with electronic payslips, I can also create my own archiving system for storing my information at a glance. This makes them easier to find, and I know should I need important information it is there straight away.

It’s a slow process, but something I’ll only need to do the once. The benefit is when it’s converted, I’ll be able to input all my salary details into a sheet straight away. Open them up or send on information as requested.

I’m also making good use of my printer which rarely gets used anyway. Now I can scan them and put them somewhere where I’ll forget them. The only important thing I’ll need now will be a secure USB pen to store them on like the datAshur which I will be buying next.

 

Consider doing it yourself, work smarter, not harder..

Views – 808

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