Time to clean notebook

While people at these spring temperatures feel more comfortable, computers are already unbearably hot. This is especially true for laptops.

How do we know? Hot air blows from computer, keyboard and touchpad are warm. Fan rotates faster and louder. When the computer begins to reset or block, the situation is already critical. If you continue to use it it’s possible, that it will break down in a short time. This repair will bring us much higher costs.

What should we do? Bring your computer in service to clean it professionally and replace the cooling paste. You will soon be able to take the computer back home and will work two or three years again.

Setting up our homepage in English and German

Accession of Slovenia to the European Union brought substantial changes in business operations, offering new business opportunities to our companies. One of preconditions for those wishing to place their products and services on the internal market of the EU Member States is to have their homepage translated into foreign languages. 3BM had been aware of this fact long before 1 May 2004.

Given the favourable situation near the border, we decided to market our services in the neighbouring countries as well, in particular in Austria as the nearest one. Thus we set up our homepage first in English and later in German during 2004.

Adequate translation of specific technical terms is crucial for the better understanding of our complete services in particular for foreigners. They can locate our homepage by entering the key words in the regular search tools (Google). All the pages are accessible in translation by clicking the appropriate language.

Our homepage was set up in English and German in 2004.

Repair of a multiprocessor industrial computer of the Slovenian Railway Company

For a period of time, 3BM has successfully been solving difficult problems that some other servicing companies have failed or refused to tackle. This recent servicing job has by all means been one of the most demanding ones.

A five multiprocessor computer system at the shunting station of Zalog provides for the correct braking and shunting of cargo wagons. Harmonised operation of these computers is prerequisite for shunting more than two thousand wagons a day.

The controlling computer system had been causing problems for months and owing to a failure on the industrial computer the operators had to resort to the manual mode of braking that is less reliable as any small mistake can lead to great material damage.

On failing to remedy the problem on the braking computer, the Slovenian Railway Company maintenance team contacted several computer servicing companies. Even the French computer system manufacturer could not help them owing to the obsoleteness and non-deliverability of some spare parts. Finally, the Slovenian Railway Company contacted us on the basis of a newspaper advertisement.

Our servicing team located and remedied the key errors in the system within two weeks, using our expertise and experience. The controlling system was put into trial operation in the beginning of November 2004, and now it has been operating under full load.

Repair of computer controlling the electron microscope at Acroni Company of Jesenice

The Acroni Company has several well qualified maintenance teams in the different spheres of expertise of operational and process information technology. They remedy most defects on equipment in production, laboratories and other departments. External servicing teams are called in only, when an extremely complicated problem turns up.

In analysing materials, the Acroni Company uses the electron microscope, among other things. The electron microscope is controlled by a server type industrial computer. In October 2004, the computer did not start up and the Acroni maintenance team and information technology engineers could not bring it to life despite all endeavours. They decided to call in an authorised servicing engineer from Poland. Nevertheless, the authorised servicing company was unable to assess the length of servicing activities and ensuing costs, and the servicing job would only start in two weeks. And then our company stepped in.

Servicing the computer was a very tough job from several reasons. Merely downloading the Windows operational system in the server type computers is rather an exacting job and it gets even harder, when the computer is several years old and the supplier has not provided all the required software tools. In this case, all the updated user software versions and the data of analyses carried out on the instrument as well as settings and calibrations of the electron microscope had to be retained. Erasure of calibration data alone would mean that a foreign servicing engineer would obligatorily need to be called in.

3BM servicing team succeeded in starting up the industrial computer within some days and put into operation the electron microscope. All the software, data and settings were successfully retained as well.

Repair of industrial computer at the Agency for Telecommunications

The Agency for Telecommunications of the Republic of Slovenia is using industrial computers to control instruments. Although industrial computers are designed so as to be proof against failure, they do break down from time to time.

Industrial computers can be discerned from personal computers at first glance. They are built in a casing that fits into iron case together with control electronics. They even sound differently during operation. Industrial computers are fitted with numerous fans and filters preventing the overheating of electronic components and the introduction of dust and foreign particles. Consequently they are much louder in operation. Great differences are visible in the design and functionality of components. Industrial computers can be ten times more expensive than personal ones.

The differences between personal and industrial computers make the latter more difficult to repair. Components are several times more expensive and after a period of time they cannot be purchased anymore. More recent components do not fit as to design or compatibility with the existing software. Therefore, repairs of industrial computers make much more sense than repairs of personal computers, and they are cost-effective.

On the other hand, repairs of industrial computers require much more effort than of personal computers, where a primary school pupil can exchange a motherboard by himself. In an industrial computer, one has to locate a defective integrated circuit, resistor or misalignment. Such operations require much more knowledge and experience. There are several computer servicing companies in Slovenia, but only a few are qualified in motherboard repairs.

The Agency for Telecommunications of the Republic of Slovenia found the information in a newspaper that our company repairs motherboards among other things. In October 2004 they delivered to us an industrial computer, which other servicing companies failed to fix. After a number of hours spent we located a poor alignment on the motherboard and fixed the computer, which would otherwise be considered beyond repair. When the computer resumed operation, we ran several tests to verify its accuracy. It functions normally now.

3BM passes the expertise on to other servicing and maintenance staff

3BM Company appreciates highly the importance of expertise and experience in the servicing and maintenance of electronic and computer equipment in industry. A mistake made in exchanging parts or at testing may lead to serious damage. In order to minimise such instances, we decided to pass on our expertise in the form of lectures held at the meetings of the Slovenian Maintenance Staff Association.

Slovenian Maintenance Staff Association prepares the annual meetings of maintenance staff, providing for lectures from the different spheres of maintenance expertise and including targeted exhibitions of products and presentations of services, and presenting an opportunity to the different maintenance staff to exchange their views and ideas in a pleasant atmosphere. The most recent meeting was held at Rogla from 7 to 8 October 2004.

It was the third time that the manager of 3BM Company, Mr Bogdan Bricelj, held a lecture at the meeting, and this time he lectured on the topic of exchanging and repairing electronic modules. He presented the most critical points at exchange of electronic modules, where potential serious faults may occur. He substantiated his exposé with some examples from practice and useful instructions on the successful exchange of modules, describing some possibilities of repairs on the exchanged modules.

The lecture was dedicated to the existing and future customers and to persons intending to repair electronic modules by themselves. The lecture was well attended and welcomed by the maintenance staff, as all the preceding ones, and published in the collection of lectures of the meeting.

Successful cooperation with ETA Cerkno Company in repairing their electronic boards

3BM have been co-operating successfully for a number of years with one of the world’s biggest producers of warming kitchen-range plates, the ETA Cerkno Company, servicing diverse electronic components: CNC facing machines, milling cutters, robots, process computers and different controllers.

Though ETA Cerkno has an excellent electrical and electronics maintenance team, their production includes many complex electronic and computer instruments and tools, which require the specialised external assistance.

3BM helps them eliminate electronic and computer defects, repairing also electronic modules. In the past, these modules had to be repaired abroad, mostly in Japan. By being repaired locally, the costs and time required could be reduced to the minimum.

Repairs of more and more notebooks all over Slovenia

Notebook repairs are much more demanding than desktop PC repairs. Notebooks consist of two main parts, the motherboard and the display, which cannot be exchanged between models even of the same producer. The prices of these parts are so high that their exchange is hardly cheaper than the price of a new high capacity notebook.

With an extended use of notebooks the number of defects increases as well. Repairing a notebook is mostly very expensive. Normally, motherboards and displays are not in stock and the repair may take a month or more. In such a case the users have two possibilities: buying a new notebook or trying to find a qualified motherboard/notebook repair service.

We started repairing notebooks some years ago. The experience gained in servicing industrial electronics was of great help. Special equipment is required to repair/exchange very small SMD electronic elements. We keep a stock of some such elements. Notebook dismantling/assembly takes quite a few hours of work. It is most difficult to locate the defect in the printed circuit board, as notebook manufacturers do not supply diagrams in the package. Nevertheless, most servicing proves successful.

Customers are thrilled to see their notebooks repaired within days. Repair costs are 50 to 80% lower then the motherboard exchange in an authorised servicing company. As far as we know, we are the only service in Slovenia, repairing notebook motherboards and displays. We get many orders from most distant regions of the country.

Preparing spare hard disks with the operational system pSOS for the ACRONI Company of Jesenice

We have been co-operating with the Acroni Company since 1990. This is the greatest Slovenian steel plant. We help solving problems in production, so that less foreign servicing is necessary. Some machines are so old that even the foreign services cannot help.

The latest servicing we carried out was preparing spare disks for a profile-meter on a Steckel line. These 170 MB SCSI hard disks are really old and no longer available. Only a few more recent SCSI disks enable the connection to a computer.

In order to prepare a spare disk we must find an adequate hard disk. We format it in a Unix-like format. In order to run the programme, the rare pSOS operational system is copied from the floppy disks. Many times, the computer refuses to operate even from the original disk. New disks can be obtained from the manufacturer in England, at very high prices.

By now, we have prepared also three spare hard disks for the profile-meter and X-ray machine computers.

Motherboard repair at 3BM Jesenice

A few months ago we decided to repair PC motherboards. The decision was based on customer needs. Motherboards get damaged because of the poor quality components (electrolytic condensers), which may happen even to the recognised manufacturers.

A defective motherboard as such is not a great problem, but some motherboards are no longer available because of the rapid PC development. In such a case, the microprocessor and RAM have to be exchanged as well, and the expenses are just a bit less than buying a new computer.

Our servicemen realised the problems our customers were facing, and thus we decided to start motherboard repairs. We are well qualified as we service various electronic equipment and have available the suitable equipment, instruments and spare parts.

This new activity decreases repair costs, in favour of our customers. We remedy all other problems, which customers may encounter. Such services are rendered to our end users as well as computer services that are not qualified or equipped for such operations.

Repairing a frequency converter of the Alples Železniki Company

3BM have been co-operating with one of the largest Slovenian furniture manufacturers, Alples Company, since 1997. There, we repair various wood-processing machines: CNC facing machines, cutting machines, treenail machines, loaders, unloaders. We remedy problems in the computer-controlled forklifts, and other equipment.

There are many well-qualified electronics technicians in the Alples Company, repairing many defects by themselves. They exchange modules and send replaced modules to 3BM for repair. Most are frequency converter and other engine-speed and temperature controllers. We repair also input-output modules of PLCs, process unit LCD displays, signal transformers, and other Alples equipment.

Long-term co-operation between LIP Bled and 3BM Jesenice

Most our customers in the field of personal computers are small companies, entrepreneurs, natural persons and some big companies as for instance LIP Bled.

We started co-operation with LIP Bled in 1992. Our co-operation has become more intensive since 1995. 3BM are one of their computer equipment suppliers, as well as servicing printers, screens, faxes, personal computers and notebooks. Some problems to be tackled are rather complicated, as for instance, recovering data from a damaged disc.

Some problems in production were resolved as well. A few years ago, we repaired a CNC facing machine, more recently a frequency converter, a process computer, programmable controllers, different modules, and computer-machine links.