I was looking for a new cheap notebook PC computer and I did not want to spend $1000 on a used MacBook. I already have two 7+ year old MacBook and MacBook Pro. Trust me I have pushed them to the limit. And after replacing the keyboard on one of the MacBook’s I found out why it costs $1200 to just replace the keyboard at the Genius Bar. I was going back to a PC, which I prefer. You really need to be a genius to fix those MacBooks. I did it, but it took me 8 hours over a 30 day period…
Anyway, this search for a low cost notebook took me to Craigslist, where I found an HP Flyer 15.6 notebook computer that was less than 30 days old and the owner no longer wanted it. So, I picked it up for $175. That is a great price for a good machine and I grabbed it.
After about a week of working with the machine, configuring everything, I realized that the machine was as slow as a dog. Why? It was simple. This HP 15-R132WM L (as long as you have the HP Red Flyer 15.6 notebook you are good) came with only 4 GB of ram and it really needs 8 GB of ram to not be the most annoying computer you have ever used. In years past, I have upgraded most of our PCs and Macs with ram upgrades and wolla they are suddenly running like champs. We h ave a 9 year old iMac for the kids to use in our kitchen that I pushed the RAM to 8 GB and it went from dog to speed demon, so anything is possible for a small amount of RAM.
So, I started like most of us by using Crucial.com, where they let you download a program that analyzes what RAM is compatible with your machine and the amount of RAM you are allowed to use. It simply came up with max of 8 GB and that I had to replace it with a full 8. There was only one slot. I bought the ram for about $50 with taxes and shipping.
Now the bad news if you have arrived at this blog post about upgrade the RAM on the HP 15.6 inch red flyer which comes in so many varieties of serial numbers that 1) I highly doubt you will actually find your way to some place online like this blog post which will be completely honest about doing this 8 GB RAM upgrade; 2) There is no Youtube video explaining how to do the upgrade at this time, though I am thinking about recording a video for whoever is reading this because I have empathy for you and 3) You will quickly find out that this is no ordinary RAM upgrade.
I found this very important note about this PC here: http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Hardware-Upgrades-Replacements/Upgrade-graphic-card-or-anything-else/td-p/5138318. This note says that this hardware and configuration are really not meant for upgrades or anything other than surfing the web. This may have some ring of truth to it, but I was determined to max it out for my $175 investment. For instance, who is going to tell me not to upgrade. This machine is an x64 bit Intel Pentium processor. I know it can fly.
So, what HP seems to have done is created a notebook computer that is literally so difficult to upgrade that you need to be an certified technician. But I was still determined to hack this baby to the max. So basically opening up the cover and making a simple RAM upgrade actually can void the warranty and if it gets damaged along the way, you are out on your own. I don’t have this issue, because I paid so little for it. On this post, it states that
HP is not the only one doing this. The problem as far as the warranty is concerned is not replacing the memory it is all the work you have to do to get there. Since I posted that in November we have received clarification that HP will not void the warranty just because you remove the top cover. However, if you damage it in the process you are on your own,
HOW TO DO IT!
Ok, so let’s get down to how long it took and what I needed to do to get this RAM upgrade complete. Unless you are a super hack, I am just a regular hack, this is not for the uninitiated. I actually felt this RAM upgrade was worse for many reasons than when I used to pop boards into 286 and 386 back in the late 80s. Here is the PDF you would need to do the job: (Just the fact that I was able to get you to the right document/PDF has saved you a lot of grief)
It will appear to be like servicing an iPad or MacBook. Ok, you will find that you need to START on page 60 of this PDF. You could go to page 69 and look over the RAM module stuff, but honestly page 60 is where you need to be. Right off, there is little mention of RAM upgrades and where it is located. I can’t really tell you that the documentation actually mentions much about RAM. I found from the forums that the RAM is actually on the back of the MOTHER BOARD… And to do this upgrade you need to take everything out of the machine, pretty much break it down and remove all the pieces just about to get to this RAM. Sorry to tell you this.
Now, the good news. I figured this maze out and in less than 2 hours was able to take it all apart, switch the RAM, and put it all back together. I had one one heart dropping moment where the machine did not restart, but I will cover why and how I fixed it. So, once again go to page 60 of the PDF. To remove the mother board, it says you need to do the following:
1. Remove the Battery
2. Remove the Keyboard – page 39
3. Remove the Top Cover – page 47
4. Remove the WLAN Module – page 55
5. Remove the Hard-drive – page 53
And of course when you are complete, reverse all the steps and put it back together. Good news, it is does work and I have a powerbook instead of a dog now for very little. The few secrets or things to note are, when removing the top top cover, you need to peel off the back rubber feet. If you don’t have a tool or tiny screwdriver this is impossible with your handles. Under those feet are two additional screws. When you pop out the keyboard there is a connector to a cable beneath it. All these cables use these green flat cables that hardly seem like cables and they all open up with little flip opening things. Be carefully and just realize they all open without major force. I thought that I could get to the RAM without removing the hard-drive. The answer is you need to remove the hard-drive. Ok, the biggest issue I ran into was when I put it all back together, the thin little power cable has a piece of tape above it. That’s because my first attempt at this did not seat the green little power cable into the slot correctly. It needs to be seated nice and correctly or the machine will not turn back on. I was able to get this running.
Ok, if you have put it all back together and you are going to power up, don’t freak out that it does not restart. That cable was my problem and it was easy to fix. That’s about it. I turned it back on, it came up with the BIOS screen with the 8 GB listed. Everything went right back to normal and the machine is now flying.