Save your monitor from landfill!


My Samsung SyncMaster 215TW started playing up recently, taking longer and longer to turn on and then flickering on start-up before picture stabilised and then finally the display not coming on at all. Even though this monitor is getting on a bit now, it still has a pretty good picture from its 21” screen so I was loathe to just to put it in the skip.

A bit of on-line surfing came up with likely suggestions for the issues which looked to come down to the power board as the power light still showing – just no display. The chaps at Corporate Computer have produced a 3-part YouTube video on how to 1) disassemble the monitor, 2) change 6 capacitors, and 3) re-assemble and test.

Some more surfing on eBay and it turns out there are sellers who make up a kit with the correct 6 capacitors. It had to be worth a go, especially as including delivery from the USA to the UK, it was only going to cost just over £10.

Continue reading


Powerline Test TP-Link AV500 v. AV600

I needed Ethernet connectivity to my home lab in the garage and short of running in some CAT6, the wireless signal was bad so it came down to Powerline, i.e. Ethernet over the mains power. Powerline, or HomePlug, comes in many variants. HomePlug AV seems to be the most common standard at the moment and on AV500 prices have really dropped and is the one to go for at the moment. For £25 you can get an AV500 starter kit consisting of two plugs. These won’t have pass through or have more than one Ethernet port and may or may not have a Gb Ethernet port as opposed to 100Mb ‘Fast Ethernet’ port.

TP-Link is one of the most popular and gets good reviews, so I bought the TP-Link AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit (TL-PA411KIT). Although its called AV500, you won’t get anywhere near this. This is starting to sound like the broadband providers advertising! The AV500 Nano only has a 100Mb port so 500 is never going to happen. These worked straight out of the box. They are extremely small and don’t block any adjacent power sockets. I like the design and seem well made. The two-tone colour is nice and the pair button is located on the front along with lights to show power, connection to a Powerline network, and Ethernet connected.

av500_studio_smallTP-Link Av500 PA411

TP-Link also does a newer model called AV600. Now this does come with a Gb Ethernet port so the 100Mb port that the AV500 comes with wont be a limiting factor. I just had to try the AV600 and do a comparison!

Continue reading