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Bent Pins

Friday, April 6th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized
 
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Q:
The other day, I was trying to hook up my CPU to the motherboard and in the process, I accidentally bent some of the pins. Is there any way I can fix them without having to completely replace my CPU? I desperately need some help!

A:
This is an excellent question! I’ve actually never really thought about this before. I mean, we all have a CPU (Central Processing Unit) and I’m sure this type of thing has affected several of you before, but it never came to my mind to put something in the newsletter about it. So, I’m really glad you asked, because this way, we can all learn together!

It’s also good that you chose to come to us first. If you didn’t, you probably would have gone out and spent a very unnecessary amount of money to buy a new CPU. I’m sure this is going to save a lot of other people from doing the very same thing as well. So, what do you say we find out how to fix some of those bent pins?! I say let’s go!

First, I need you to go and get a few of your credit cards, gift cards, driver’s license, etc. You can use any type of plastic card like that, just so it has a straight edge. Next, place your CPU on any hard surface. Turn it over so the top of it is facing down and the pins are pointed to the air. You will need to stop any static electricity before you touch anything else, so place your hand on a grounded metal object first. Once you have the CPU all set in place, you can continue on.

When you’re ready, find a row on the CPU that contains no bent pins. This will be a little practice run through for you. Go ahead and stand one of your cards on its edge and run it through that row of pins. If the card you’re using is the right size (thickness wise), it will slide between the pins with a bit of resistance, but without bending any of the pins. If it’s too skinny, it will slide through the pins much too easily. You want to feel a little pull back when you’re doing it. Now, if the card is too thick, you won’t be able to slide it through without ruining the pins. So, just take your cards for a little test drive until you find the perfect one. (Note: Best Buy gift cards work perfectly for some reason!)

Once you’ve found a card that will work, go to where your bent pins are located. Go ahead and run it through the rows in all four directions. For instance, if you have one bent pin, you can run your card through all of the rows surrounding that one pin. It will be like making a number symbol (#) when you do it. This way, the bent pin will be pulled back straight in each of the directions. This keeps everything more equal, all while fixing your pins. (Note: It’s better to use the side of the credit card that is furthest away from the magnetic strip. It probably won’t do anything, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?!)

Now, the credit card method may not work for you if your pins are so out of whack that they touch other pins or if they’re bent crooked. In that case, the credit card may not be able to get them back to normal, so you may need to try something a little different. Go ahead and find a 0.5mm mechanical pencil. You know, those ones where you pump your own lead. The tip of that pencil will fit right over the top of one pin. Move the pencil so the pin will go from a bent position to straight up and down. If you have more than one bent pin, you can only do one at a time with this pencil method. Take your time and it should bring your pins back to life.

When you have all your pins fixed, go ahead and try to hook up your CPU again. If it’s still not working, you’ll just have to retry the above methods until you can get the pins back to normal enough to fit. If your CPU doesn’t slide into place right away, don’t try to force it. If it’s not a smooth process, try straightening your pins again. If you try to jam them in, you’ll end up causing even more problems. It’s sometimes hard to find the pins that are causing the trouble, so you can try holding your CPU up to get a better view of it. Also, if you’re running out of options, look for single bent pins toward the center of your CPU. Those are the hardest to spot and they’re easily missed.

Now, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, you have to be extremely careful when doing this procedure. Don’t bend the pins too much or they might break. Keep in mind that they don’t have to be positioned perfectly. They just have to be close enough for the CPU socket to make a tight fit. Pins are very hard to replace unless you have special equipment, so if you’re trying to save yourself a little money, be as careful as possible.

One more thing: If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, please ask for help. Ask around to your friends, because they may have had to do this before and they should be able to help you out. If you don’t think you can do this properly, take your computer to a repair shop. It’s better to spend a little money on having a professional do it than having to buy a whole new computer, wouldn’t you say?! All in all, this is an easy way to fix bent pins and once you have them all worked out, you’ll be able to enjoy your computer all over again. Yes!

~ Erin

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