Repairing the Itona VXL thin client

[Jim] was the happy recipient of 11 non working Itona VXL thin clients. The units he received were 800Mhz CPUs with 256 MB of Ram and 256MB of storage. None would power up. Upon internal inspection, he found a common theme. Leaky bulging capacitors in the power supplies. Since these came with custom 50W power supplies, he opted to simply replace the caps instead of replacing the supplies themselves. Now he has 11 fully functional units. There are great pictures and lots of info on his site, but what he doesn’t talk about is what he’s going to do with them.

Why don’t you pop on over to our Hacker Q&A and tell us what you would do with them.

Comments

  1. osgeld says:

    yea recapping, people that deal with vintage computers do it all the time

    if I had my guess on these units, that little 50W power supply probably runs a bit hotter than intended (especially over time when dust gets in there) and thus cooks the caps slowly till they get funky

    AIO Macintosh’s (especially those without fans) suffer from this A TON

  2. Daley says:

    I have a stack of the *exact* same units, and yes – my company has trashed them because of the same thing (failed PSU’s). I use ‘em for anything from NAS devices to small webservers to….

  3. jeditalian says:

    videojuegos! unless they can run windows 3.1, then.. Windows 3.1!
    or just put SliTaz on it so it wont suck bc idk what windows XPE is but it includes the word windows

  4. osgeld says:

    mind saying that in english please? (and why would you run windows 3.1 on a 800mhz computer?)

  5. Whoever says:

    Damn jeditalian, you has good taste in Linux distros. SliTaz was the first thing I thought. :-)

    …about the games, unless you meant modding it into an arcade machine with vintage games, I don’t really think it’s a good idea.

  6. Decius says:

    pretty sure my father has some of these at his work. I don’t know what you could do with these but they seem to have better specs than the original xbox so It would probably be good for small media on a tv (Nothing to advanced).

    I don’t know what else you could do with them after that besides what some have already said.

    *To bad the ram was only 256mb ~ I wonder if you can upgrade them?

  7. baabo says:

    That would be a perfect linux/bsd firewall/router. Just add a second NIC to the PCI port using a pci riser and dremel a bit. I’ve done this to an HP thin client.

  8. Geordy says:

    They might make good print or scanner servers. It strikes me odd that a thin client needed a joystick port. Maybe these would work well for MAME?

  9. Hitek146 says:

    ^Yes, I built one of these into a print server for a Multi-Function Printer that wouldn’t work with any dedicated server I tried. I used Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs(WinFLP)…

  10. strider_mt2k says:

    Some classic emulation is what I’m thinning. ;)

    I would love one to fix and play with.

  11. Hitek146 says:

    ^These thin clients(of various makes and models) are available very inexpensively on eBay. I think the one I used, I paid about $15 for…

    @osgeld: At the risk of sounding like an idiot, and without bothering to Google, if I recall correctly, “juegos” means “game” or “games”….

  12. Osgeld says:

    “They might make good print or scanner servers. It strikes me odd that a thin client needed a joystick port”

    its just a generic mini itx board stuck in a generic case with a sticker on the front, the pretty durn new dual core atom board I recently got has one too, most AA boards still come with the full assortment of ports, its just the big box names decided one magic day that it would save a nickel to not include them and almost overnight we hear OMG the legacy ports are becoming rare!!

    “At the risk of sounding like an idiot, and without bothering to Google, if I recall correctly, “juegos” means “game” or “games”….”

    it wasnt really the language (but thanks for the clarification, I wont bother to google it either) but man that was a post that all over the place..

    And I still cant figure out where windows 3.1 came in, crap I have a 1990 DEC PC386 laptop that, yea, will run 3.11 as it was fresh when the computer was new, but it also runs a couple of really tweaked out modern versions of linux, windows 95 and can access my wifi in dos

    here is the deal for anyone who was not A) around, or B) serious computer user during that time frame

    the only reason you had windows back then was either for your parents to run MS-WORKS, or to play FMV flash games, otherwise I cant imagine why anyone would want to touch it, even in this age, other than just for shits n giggles

  13. Drone says:

    @jeditalian,

    Check out http://www.slax.org like SliTaz but better(?)

  14. strider_mt2k says:

    @ Hitek146
    Thanks for the ebay tip!
    I’m looking around for one now.

    Go figure I’ve got a 16GB CF card laying around. I wonder if I CAN make a thin client retro gaming rig?
    WinXP e actually works out kinda well for that stuff, what with there being so many emulators and even XBMC might work, eh?

  15. Srek says:

    What would I do with them? Wouldnt accept them at the first place. Why massing more junk @home.
    Got like an 8 core server with 16gb ram even for that I hardly paid 1k.

    If you have in mind to build a cluster from these then rather forget it. All which gonna come out of it is spending more on energybill, waste space, generate more heat.

  16. jc says:

    But will it run Crysis now?

  17. strider_mt2k says:

    Why don’t you also type “first post” and something about “more cowbell” if you’re really squeezing the last juice from that wrung-out meme?

  18. Nonya says:

    @strider_mt2k why cf it can use a full hdd.

    those flash cards are crap they would be the first thing to change out.

  19. strider_mt2k says:

    @Nonya

    Because I don’t have a proper HD laying around extra. ;) (and it’s a lower power option too, but mostly because I don’t have an extra HD at the moment)
    Plus the CF card I have is a really fast one intended for this kind of application, so I thought it would be a good use for it.

    It also occurred to me that if I ran WinXP on it I’m not where to find drivers for the hardware, although it all lokks fairly standard on the thin client I’m looking at on Ebay.

  20. strider_mt2k says:

    XP Embedded FTW.
    No driver issues, whoops.
    Max the RAM and maybe add wifi?

    I’m bidding on a similar one. :)

  21. PocketBrain says:

    Geek-Republic had something similar recently, where it was an underspecced MOSFET (6A part in a 5V, 35W power supply) that kept failing. I gotta get in on this!
    Step 1: acquire some perfectly good net machines with one weak link.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit!!

  22. BenJ says:

    I actually bought a Neoware CA2 a few weeks ago and had to superglue a broken tab holding the front on and solder on a new power button and glue it into place… Though that was shipping damage.

    The Neoware CA2 uses standard PC100/133 RAM (Came with 256 MB in one slot), 256 MB flash chip on a male laptop IDE header on the motherboard, 800 MHz AMD CPU under a large heatsink and had the option to put in an ISA or PCI card.

    I was able to attach an IDE optical drive in a USB enclosure and install Windows XP FLP, though if I were to do it again, I would take advantage of the PCI slot and put in a USB 2.0 card.

    I’ve seen people using XP Embedded and using them as dedicated machines for a MagicJack, I’m still trying to find a good use for mine… A server is out of the question since I have an older P4 box running XP Pro under a desk for uTorrent, a Garry’s Mod server, very lightly used web server and a file server.

  23. Hitek146 says:

    ^Yea, it was a Neoware that I used too, and it also had a male header. I plugged a 2.5″ laptop adapter into the header, and then attached a standard IDE cable to a CD-ROM for installation and a second 2.5″ laptop adapter to connect my laptop HDD at the same time. Once I had the OS installed, I connected the laptop HDD directly to the motherboard header using a 2.5″ hard drive cable from an old Mac…

  24. nubie says:

    Fileserver w/torrent DL, and this would make a fantastic firewall with IPCop for example.

    It is incredible to surf the web with loads and loads of the crap all blocked and no need to worry about the users getting into trouble.

    Also, definitely a Car PC and a Email PC for the HDTV or Projector with a wireless KB/MS and Puppy Linux or Damn Small Linux installed

    Pair with a wireless card and used car battery and make a mesh network, hide inside fake rocks and Wifi your whole neighborhood.

  25. strider_mt2k says:

    So cool!
    I managed to get one (MaxTerm 8300B) cheap AND to uncover an old 40GB HD and some other goodies I had laying around in my PC stuff drawer.

    This might be fun!

  26. strider_mt2k says:

    Look, props to Jim and HAD for lighting a fire under my ass and helping me find a cool little project on the cheap.

    Like I said, I have a Maxterm 8300B TC on the way, as well as a couple of other helpful bits.
    When it all arrives/gets dug out of the PC junk drawer and put together I will document the project and share my own findings.

    :)

  27. Brett_cgb says:

    Web-cam server (think security system).
    Print server (USB or parallel).
    Radio scanner server (google “liveatc”).
    Build a small cluster.
    MP3/MPG/WMV player/jukebox.
    Weather station controller/logger.
    VOIP adapter.

    What speeds are the USB and LAN ports?

  28. strider_mt2k says:

    Okay, my tinkerings with a thin client were not fun.
    Weak, badly supported hardware doth not a fun time make.

  29. jagsph says:

    I put a USB hub internally for permanent internal storage since the unit cannot house a hard disk and usb sticks are getting very cheap and large…

    there is also 2 extra internal pinouts for the usb ports at least in the itona that mcdonalds didnt want back :)

  30. jagsph says:
  31. Mrt says:

    Anyone know how much Watts this takes this board in the iddle?

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