Looking at an object

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Determine what kind of Device it is
There are several categories of devices; networking, PC components, electronic accessories, audio/visual devices, and lots of miscellanea.
  • Because free Geek has a multitude of devices donated it is important that we identify each device before testing.
    • If you cannot identify the device please look it up using the research laptop located in advanced testing. Start with a simple Google search. You can type in the name of the object (usually found on the front or back of the casing) if it is available, or try an identifying number such as a serial or product code. If a Google search does not provide an adequate result, you can try checking the manufacturer's webpage, EBay, and other similar web resources. If you still cannot identify the item, take it to a knowledgeable staff member in Hardware Testing and they will attempt to assist you.
Determine the level of demand for the item in the Thrift Store
Check the Whiteboard.
  • In an open Firefox browser, click where the toolbar says "Whiteboard." You can also find it here: Whiteboard. This will tell you the level of demand the store has on that day. Start with items that have the highest demand in the Thrift Store. This will help the Store maintain their inventory as well as help us test the items most likely to be sold in the order of their importance.
Things we don't test
  • Firewall/VPN devices
Recycle any of the above items which we do not test.
Check for Damage
    • Now that you have identified the type of item you have ***Look at the item***

If there's dirt or grime wipe it down with a rag and some cleaning solution.

  • Does the item have any rough edges?
  • Does the item have any broken or missing case parts?
  • Does the item have any wireing attached? If so are any of the attached wires melted, cut or striped of the plastic covering?
Check for a Power Source

When checking for what type of power is required there will usually be a listing of what Voltage & Amperage are needed. The location of this information depends on the item, but will typically be located on the back or bottom face of the item, or near the power adapter plug location.

If the Voltage and Amperage requirements are not available on the device you will have to use Google, Ebay, and the other electronic resources available to determine the specifications of the device. If you absolutely cannot find anything about the device, take it to an instructor and they will attempt to assist you in determining what the requirements are.

Once you have determined the power requirements of the device, look through the "Wall Wart" (power adapter) bins to find a power adapter which matches the voltage (V) of the device EXACTLY *and* has a Amperage rating equal to or greater-than the requirements of the device. So, a device which is 12V and 2A can use a power supply that is 12V and 3A, but NOT one that is 12V and 1A. Never mix the Voltage of a device and power adapter, it can cause overheating and damage the device. This is because the power adapter does not determine the amperage draw, the device being used determines the draw. It is best to match the amperage as closely as possible so that we are not wasting higher-capacity power adapters on low-powered equipment. Voltage MUST MATCH EXACTLY in order to prevent damage!

Looking at the barrel of the power supply, make sure you are using the correct size. Does the barrel of the power adapter you are using have reverse polarity? Normal polarity is for the outside of the barrel to be ground (indicated as [-]), and the inside of the barrel is the positive terminal (indicated as [+]). If you are unsure or do not understand the directions, have an instructor check to make sure you have the correct power supply for the device you are using.

Test the Device

Look up the correct procedure for testing the device you are holding. Many of the instructions are located at Hardware Testing If you cannot find the correct procedure in the Wiki please ask an instructor for help.

Final Preparation
  • Affix a "Tested By" sticker with your initials on the device.
  • Place in the "Store" box.
  • If it is the last device you're testing for the day, please clean up the testing station, putting away tools, cables and everything else.