HP Chromebook 11 Charging Fix

So, the nice HP Chromebook 11 that my wife has seems to have a design fault. If you let the battery run flat, the Chromebook will no longer charge. Symptoms are that there is no charging LED, and no matter how many hours you leave it with the charger plugged in it simply will not charge the battery. It won’t switch on either, so you can’t even use it plugged in style!

Ideally, you’ll want to recharge the thing every time the battery drops to 20% or so to avoid this issue but here’s what to do if you do manage to kill your Chromebook by letting it run flat.

Carefully prise off the coloured panels on the base, to reveal the screws. Open the the thing up and find the battery connector:

chromebook11internal

Now, disconnect this connector and then connect the charger. You’ll see the orange LED light to show that charging is happening. After a few seconds the LED will turn red indicating a problem with the battery. (Unsurprising since we disconnected it.)

Now, with the charger still plugged in reconnect the battery connector. The red LED will turn back to orange, and the Chromebook will start to charge.

Once charging is complete (indicated by the green LED), you can remove the charger, replace the cover, screws and coloured panels and enjoy your Chromebook again.

Just don’t let it run too flat in future!

HP Proliant Microsever

I bought a 300 GB NAS box about 10 years ago, and although it still works fine it had finally filled up.  The thought that it has all my digital life on one spinning disk was also making me feel uneasy – especially given that it has been spinning for a decade. So, I was looking for something bigger to replace it but I knew that I wanted something with some redundancy against physical hard drive failures.

Now, these types of redundant NAS boxes don’t come cheap and they only do one job, so I was finding the costs hard to justify. Perfect timing then that I came across a great deal from HP on their Proliant Microserver. They were offering £100 cash back, which meant that I could by the server for a little over £100. I also bought two 2 TB hard drives at the same time, so the total cost was about £250. This compared very well to the NAS boxes I had been looking at that were nearer the £500 mark.

Of course there was the added bonus that I would get to install the operating system, and configure everything myself. Some people will see that as a hassle, but I love it when I know how all my computer bits work on the inside! Naturally, I opted for an open source solution and decided to install Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS.

The HP Proliant literature claimed it had RAID built in, but I soon realised that this is handled in software by the BIOS and takes some processor cycles. A few quick tests convinced me that I wouldn’t use the built in RAID and instead opted for Ubuntu’s software RAID instead. This was more configurable, and seemed to perform faster than the built in solution! Having never built a RAID array before, I opted for RAID 1 which means that each of the 2 TB drives is a perfect copy of the other. This means that if one drive fails, my data is safe on the other.

The install was very easy (hooray for Ubuntu!) and with the addition of some Samba packages, it didn’t take long before I had a working NAS. It performs very well, and is much faster than the old NAS box it replaces.

So, was it worth the marginal extra effort over a ready-made-off-the-shelf NAS? Definitely. I now have a small, relatively cheap to run machine that currently provides:

  • Two terabytes of redundant storage to all the devices on my network
  • A 24/7 solution for uploading data from my Fitbit activity tracker, using the libfitbit software library by Kyle Machulis
  • USB power for my Raspberry Pi

Future plans include adding a streaming webcam server, and an AllStar link node for amateur radio.

If you’re looking for a small home server, then I’d recommend the HP Proliant range. Especially if you can get it with a cash back offer like I did.