TideLog Posts Tagged “Kitamura Computers”

The Optima XM posts on my blog have proved to be massively popular, with many people asking for help with their systems. Recently I have had a big influx of people asking if I would fix their PCB’s. I do fix them, but have a specific way of doing things to prevent your system being inactive for extended periods and a risk of burglary.

I don’t normally accept boards for straight repair-while-you-wait services due to waiting times depending on chips needed, like the CPU as they need to be ordered and imported specially. Then I need to solder the components and soak test (not in water! See link to Wikipedia article!) the repaired board under full simulated load with PIR’s, siren etc in my test lab for 72 hours. This leaves you vulnerable as your alarm is inoperative.

My procedure is a part exchange service, one of my repaired working boards exchanged for your non-working board, and part cash, that way you’re less at risk as it takes much less time for your system to be running again. My cost is £15 cash and your old board, the money covers postage via Recorded Next Day or courier of my working board. Funds can be transferred via PayPal or bank transfer for security.

The working board will be factory reset so make sure you make a record of your old board’s arm/disarm code and delay times. I will program the new board for you with those settings if you so wish before sending it to you. Your old board is then repaired in my spare time, reset to factory settings and used in the exchange cycle all over again. Recycling is really cool 😉


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As the Laptop Doctor of my firm, Kitamura Computers, it’s my job to look after my patients. I make sure they all get operated on, stripped down, and rebuilt to factory procedures. Here’s the patients currently in Dr. Tidosho’s IT surgery right now:

Patient 1: Tiny A360 1.1GHz 14″ laptop

This machine came to me, and she’s almost perfect! I’m an ex-Tiny engineer, and did the job for nearly 6 years, servicing many, if not all of Tiny’s range, and I’ve never seen an A360 as perfect as this one in nearly 4 years. They’re nearly 10 years old! This one was in someone’s loft for years, and has been very well preserved. The only damage is to the vents at the back.


Pentium III 1.1GHz Coppermine CPU




Original Tiny branded Windows XP install, complete with OEMInfo branding and recovery partition


There isn’t one, really, apart from a dodgy keyboard. A few keys don’t work at all, and the Shift keys seemed to be stuck, and StickyKeys kept activating on boot-up, resulting in all icons highlighting. I washed the keyboard using my tried and tested method, it stopped the Shift problem, but didn’t fix the failed keys. I borrowed the keyboard from a preserved Tiny A440 I’ve had for a few years, so I could put all updates and software on.

Status: Awaiting new keyboard before being sold.

Patient 2: Compaq Presario 2500 Celeron (Upgraded to Pentium 4) laptop

This machine is in lovely condition. It’s almost like it was used only a few times. It’s been in our store for years at our storage in Warrington. The screen is smashed, and needs replacing. I’ve stripped and rebuilt it, and the inside of it is mint. No dust, nothing. All screws factory tightened still with thread glue. I’ve upgraded the CPU to a Pentium 4 from a Celeron, to increase its value when I finally sell it. This lil thing’s going to be worth something!


Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU (Upgraded from crappy Celeron!)

40GB Toshiba HDD

15″ Quanta TFT screen

DVD-ROM drive

ATi Mobility graphics

Fully working brand new original battery

Status: Awaiting new screen, and Windows installation.

You need to be really careful with Compaq/HP machines. If you replace the screen on one, MAKE SURE you replace it with the EXACT same model that came out. There’s an EEPROM chip that stores the characteristics/geometry of the screen, and if it’s not right, the screen won’t work. You need a Compaq Utilities disk, that’s SPECIFIC to the machine, to reprogram the EEPROM to the screen.

Patient 3: Acer Aspire 5040 AMD Turion 64 laptop

This one’s come to me from a dear friend of mine, Lindsay Wootton. She’s broken the screen by leaving her glasses on the keyboard, and closing the lid. It’s really bent and smashed the screen badly, bursting some screen surround clips, and shattering the backlight (her glasses didn’t survive, either!). The machine also kept shutting down, due to overheating, but I cleaned the heatsink out, and the computer stays running. I’ve stripped it down completely, and vacuum reworked some switches that were worn (the trackpad button switches are soldered to the motherboard, and all power/hotkeys switches) and cleaned it all out for her, renewing thermal paste, and thread glue on all screws, to keep them tight.

She’s one of those chicks that loves Messenger, and Limewire, so I’ve had to clean the usual spyware and toolbars off it for her, using an external monitor. She had Norton on, and it allowed it all on, so there goes to show just how good Norton ISN’T!


AMD Turion64 2GHz Mobile CPU



DVD+/-RW DL drive

Status: Awaiting new screen ready for fitting. I’m also fitting her a new keyboard, the impact has caused a few of her keys to fail, plus a new screen surround and lid. These 3 items I’ve got in my company laptop graveyard (we have literally thousands of laptop carcasses!) so they’re easy enough to source. Literally, locally sourced parts!

Acer laptops sometimes scare me, they’re very cheaply made, and once all screws are removed, fall apart VERY easily! And I’ve done hundreds, following Acer service literature!

Patient 4: Advent 7039 AMD Athlon64 3000+ laptop

I’ve done literally hundreds of this range of laptop built on this chassis, having worked for PC World when they were in the market, and at Kitamura, as can be seen from our forum. The Pentium 4 variants, and AMD. But, none of them surprised me as much as this one. It was bought along with an Advent 7036, a P4, and they were both perfect after I’ d serviced them.

Then, the day I was going to sell the 7039 to a customer, the screen processor failed! The screen just goes white. A perfectly working screen, rendered useless, unless I rework a new chip or PCB on to the screen. It’s a Quanta that uses heat soldered ribbons to interface to the LCD, and they’re a bugger to do. It’s now just sat under my office desk, with my 7036, which still works and gets used as a DJ machine, waiting for a screen!


AMD Athlon64 3000+ CPU



Pioneer DVD-/+RW drive (upgraded from combo)

ATi Radeon Mobility 9100 graphics

So, there you have it. An insight into one of the things I take great pride in. Laptop repairs. I’m not like your average British, Pakistani or Indian cowboy rip off shop. I’m professionally AND self taught, follow all manufacturer service documentation, and take great care and pride in each and every machine I service. I actually do put a lot of these rip off merchant jobs right. I get machines in with long screws where they shouldn’t be, circuit assemblies not seated or screwed in correctly, machines with thermal paste missing, screws and covers missing. They go out of my care perfect!

Kitamura Computers is a different company to the rest of them. I named the firm after Kassie’s dear friend Ryoko Kitamura, who sadly passed away tragically in 2005. They’d known each other for 12 years, and I dedicated the company to her. Every machine that comes in has the care and dedication to the job that I’ve been campaigning for in this industry for many years. I’m sick of immigrant Pakistani and Indian people, coming into this country, Brits too, and making a mockery of the IT repair industry, and the British people, ripping them off, and doing a shoddy job, thinking because they’ve built a computer they can do it all. It’s taken me many years to get as trained and professional as I am. I’m nearly 25, and have been doing computers since I was 9. And I’ve always taken massive pride in it, even as a child. I studied, and studied, and then practically performed the job.

And I’m bloody good at what I do. And British. I can proudly say that, and have about 300 happy people to back me up from over the years, neighbours, friends, and family, plus other colleagues from all the firms I’ve worked for, both good and bad.

Now I’ve got my lovely girlfriend Kassie backing me with Kitamura, she’s better in IT than I am, at 30, she’s very experienced with Linux and Mac, and has taught me extensively, and pulled me out of tricky situations, and being Japanese, has a lot of playfulness and charm. We also have Ryoko’s spirit looking over us. We’re a concrete firm, and I’ve watched many cowboys finally hit the dust since we were established. Good riddance to you all. It’s about time decent friendly experienced independent technicians like me survived, rather than immigrant ripoffs, and massive conglomerate monsters like PC World, who don’t really care about you, just money. It’s nice to be able to walk into an independent shop, be looked after, and have a laugh and cuppa at the same time. I did it myself with Bob Gorton, from Radiovision in Little Lever. He was my local repair guy, and we became good friends up until he retired, and sold his business in 2000. He also taught me a lot about professionalism. I probably wouldn’t be as professional as I am without him, instead sucked in by cowboys like PC World.

Kitamura Computers is a mixed firm. British, so we’re local professionals, with a sense of humour and a strong sense of Japanese charm, professionalism and friendliness. Your machines are in caring hands with us!

Plug my own firm, on my own blog? Why not? Self marketing is its own reward!

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