Saturday, December 23, 2006

RMA Harddisk - harddisk warranty claim

My Western Digital 40GB HDD was failed to boot after power supply failure, it may cause by faulty electric shock from the PSU. The harddisk is almost 3 years old and still under warranty. I asked PC Zone(place I bought the drive) at Low Yat about the warranty, they charge RM30 to send the harddisk for warranty (retailer only send warranty for free for the first year of purchase), and according to them, this may take 1 or 2 months or even longer time to get back the harddisk. I have decided to RMA my harddisk because it only needs 3-5 working days to get back my harddisk, can save a lot of time.

Guide to RMA(Return Material Authorization) Western Digital Harddisk Drive in Malaysia:
1. Go to Western Digital website
2. Click Support -> Warranty & Services
3. Choose "end users"
4. Click "Product Warranty Check" -> Choose your country -> key in your HDD serial no. -> click continue to check your warranty status
5. If it is still under warranty, type in your HDD problems
e.g. failed to boot, bad sector, clicking sound, can't detect by windows... -> then click create RMA
6. Click Standard Replacement as in Malaysia
7. Enter Last name and phone no.
8. Then fill in your details in the following page if this is your first time and they do not have your record. (remember to provide valid email and shipping address)
9. Click continue and verify your details in the upcoming page, finally click Create RMA to create your HDD RMA. You will receive email from WD when finished.
10. Print out your RMA and make 3 copies of it.(one for the package, one for yourself and another one may needed by courier service for customs purposes)

Follow the packing and shipping instructions that attached with the RMA printout.

Packing guideline:

-Must place your harddisk in ESD/anti-static bag
-Wrap it in foam or bubble wrap cushioning or padded with thick layer of old-newspaper or anything that suitable to prevent it from damage during transportation
-Put it inside any sturdy box that suit the size
-Make sure the harddisk is not moveable in the box
-Attach your RMA with your package(Remember to put your signature on the RMA form)
-Write the RMA No. clearly on 3 sides of the box (I wrote on all sides with marker pen)
-Well-seal your package

Send your package with trusted courier service (GDEX, DHL, Fedex... I found that Poslaju is more expensive for international parcel if compare to others...) to :

Solectron Technology Singapore Pte Ltd
(Global Service) o/b Western Digital Corporation
750B Chai Chee Road #01-01
TechnoPark @ Chai Chee
Singapore 469002

*Always refer to RMA form

Telephone No. : 65-62437100
Fax No. : 65-62422109

You may need to provide RMA form for courier service to attach with the package, and you need to fill a proforma invoice for customs checking because you are sending it out from this country. Just fill it according to the details on the RMA form. Better write down the telephone No., cause it may needed for customs purposes. As the WD service center is in Singapore and not available in Malaysia, sending parcel to Singapore will be more expensive and costs around RM48-RM50 (Less than 1KG).

In 5 days time(included shipping time), I received a brand new harddisk delivered by Fedex.
Actually they only took one working day to process the RMA after they received the product, they shipped the new harddisk the second day and I got it on the third day!
Fast and efficient!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Get rid of Streamyx intermittent connection/ Unstable DSL light/ Frequent disconnection

Solve Streamyx disconnection issue in shortest time with this guide!

Check your SNR(Signal to Noise Ratio) margin and line attenuation if you are facing problems above .
SNR is a measure of the level of noise that can be tolerated before signal or data loss; SNR Margin is the difference between the actual SNR and the SNR required. It shows you the strength and stability of your connection, the higher dB the better connection stability.
Line attenuation shows you how much the signal degraded between the connection, the lower dB the better the connection. The longer distance you are from the local exchange, the higher the line attenuation.

For SNR Margin:
<= 6dB
- bad connection/frequent disconnections(Disconnected in 1-5 minutes) or can't connect at all
7dB - 10dB
-Consider average connection but still have disconnection issue
11dB - 20dB
-Good connection with no connectivity problem
21dB - 28dB
-Excellent line quality
>= 29dB

For Line attenuation:
> 60dB
-Bad Line Quality
50dB - 60dB
40dB - 50dB
30dB - 39dB
20dB - 29dB

Simple guide to view SNR Margin and line attenuation

Go to (common address for most of the modem) with any browser and log in with your modem username and password (Refer to the modem manual for username and password)

Kasda or ZTE modem:
WAN-> DSL-> DSL param-> Local/Remote SNR Margin & Local/Remote Line Atten.

D-Link modem:
Status-> ADSL -> SNR Margin & Line Attenuation Downstream /Upstream

Aztech modem:
Status-> Modem Status-> DS Margin & US Margin

What to do if having low SNR margin and high line attenuation?
-Try to bypass splitter and any line extension, direct connect from modem to phone socket
(although most of the chance it doesn't help! just bypass it and have a look)
-Disconnect lightning surge protector(because it will reduce the signal strength)
-Disable alarm system(if any) in house, it said to reduce the signal strength in some case.
-Call TM and they will send you technician, when the technician come, 'remind' them to:

1. Check the local exchange or DSLAM
2. Check the black cable that connect from telephone pole to your house, the cable may too old(exposed to sunlight & water) and needed to change
3. Check the wiring at the "black clip" that connected to the black cable from telephone pole (the copper wire that exposed may oxidized, reconnect the copper wire). It's the connection between your house and the pole.
4. Check the telephone pole (connection of black cable that connected to your house and the plugs up there)
All steps above should free of charge.
You can do step 3 by yourself if you want to, have to climb up to the roof.
Check also internal wiring in your house, and make sure every wire connection point you have is in good condition. Oxidized copper wire may cause to poor line connection.
If all are fine, then the house internal wiring may be too old and the line quality is bad.
Rewiring with fresh new line solve the problem most of the time.
But rewiring is not free of charge, only do it at last resort.

If your line was capped at a high speed, it will decreases the SNR margin, the SNR margin decreases as the line speed increases because the required SNR increases.
For example, if increasing the speed from 512Kbps to 2MBps raises the required SNR from 20db to 30dB then the margin left will decreases from 25dB to 15dB (assumed the actual line SNR margin is 45dB then 45dB-30dB = 15dB.)
If your subscribed package doesn't use that much of bandwidth, you can call TM to downgrade the line speed. Example, you are subscribed to 512K download and you are capped at 2M or higher download rate(Speed will still at 512K even you are capped at higher speed, the higher speed may be is for future upgrade purposes). Most of 512K users are capped at 1M for now. You can find your line speed on the same page you view SNR margin and line attenuation, different modem has different name for it, e.g. Downstream/Upstream Data Rate, US/DS Rate, Up /Down speed.

If you have disconnection problem or cannot fully utilize Streamyx, ask rebate for the difficulties period you faced by sending your request to, attention to billing department.

I am writing this guide because I faced the problem before and too much of frustration and disappointment at that period. Hope this guide will help and save your energy and time.
I experienced unstable ADSL light since activation. My downstream and upstream was single digit. Downstream range was 0-6dB and upstream was 0-8dB, line attenuation for downstream and upstream was 60dB-63dB. I can't connect at all at that time, sometimes I can get connected but I can't surf anything because the ADSL light started to blink after a few second. Then I called TM, the technician came and done some regular checking, after that they climbed up the roof of my house, I think they did something to the wiring at the black clip that connect the black cable from the telephone pole. Then my upstream greatly improved to 19dB-21dB, but downstream still very low around 0-9dB. The ADSL light still blinking(blinking-> stable for 10 seconds-> blinking again-> process repeated), although sometimes it became stable and can get connected, it will started to blink again in time not more than 1 hour. The strange thing was after midnight, around 1am -4am, the ADSL light became very stable and the downstream was 7-9dB, I can get connected with no problem at that time. At daylight time, the ADSL light will keep blinking and only stable for a short period(less than 1 hour) at uncertain time. I only can connect when the light became stable, have to wait for stable light(took 1 or 2 hours, sometimes 3 or 4 hours or even longer time), really wasted a lot of time. It just like depends on the "mood" of the line in order to get connected. So, I continue to call TM to report the problem, in between I had checked all the wiring and tried to solve the problem with all kind of solutions that I able to do, but the problem still remain. The technician already came many times and done a lot of repeated checking, in the end the technician climbed up the telephone pole and did something to the wiring and plugs up there, finally my ADSL light can stable for all the time and no more disconnection problem. My downstream jumped to maximum 21dB, and the range is from 12dB-21dB. But the line attenuation still the same values(distance factor, not much can be done), 60dB-63dB.
Guess how long they took to fix the problem? 2 and a half months!

More Troubleshooting on Streamyx