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 Ramcheck Ramcheck
Garrett writes in with a request, a DIY RAM checker, anyone ever hear of a DIY version? -

Dear Publisher:

I have recently found your magazine…its great…and this is from someone who has never done any type of electronic project or task as I read in your magazine.

Although I work in the computer industry I am not an engineer. I love to tinker and will continue to read your magazine until I have the courage to make one of your projects. As a manager I did not was not able to get my hands dirty as it were.

Keep up the good work.

My suggestion and something I would like but cannot build is a RAM memory checker. There cheapest one out there is around $800 dollars. There are other problems besides the price, it gives too much information for one.

The two best features of a RAM checker would be the ability to check all types, SIMMs,DIMMs,SDRAM, DDR…etc. and the ability to Bluetooth to a printer. The simple check of the RAM would be sufficient, is the RAM okay.

Now what I don’t know is if someone has already done this project and any referrals would be welcome.

Thanks for reading.

Related:
RAM Check – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


Related

Comments

  1. rglenn says:

    One problem with this is the various sockets you’d need are surface mount nightmares. Another is that interfacing with high-speed RAM – and especially DDR – is quite difficult, and doing it at full speed – which you probably should if you want to be sure of functionality – is a PCB layout nightmare.

    That said, a lot of FPGAs can handle the memory interfacing, and the algorithms for RAM patterns are available from the fine folks who brought you Memtest86 and Memtest86+. So I have no doubt it’s possible to build, I just think it’s gonna run you a bit more than $800.

    This moment of pessimism was brought to you by the letter N and the number NaN.

  2. peokuk says:

    that’s an ambitious project. My DIY would be a several old boxes and a copy of memtest86.

    You could probably use the serial from the linked RAM check device and rig bluetooth to a printer using an arudino and a bluetooth module.

  3. dragonphyre says:

    Peokuk hit the nail on the head. I have a bunch of motherboard-only RAM testers. They don’t take up that much space, and they take seconds to boot up and begin the test. They are by no means as fast as the dedicated hardware–but they were essentially ‘free’ from old computers that I found or was given.

    Not only that, there is no such thing as a RAMBUS tester. So, you’d have to have a motherboard for that.

  4. jvin248 says:

    I’d suggest the old motherboard tester too. People toss old computers out all the time (too full of viruses they downloaded and no known cure). Mount the CDRom drive/floppy drive, powersupply (you may need two or three different ones due to output wiring differences), and keyboard to a base and then drop in the appropriate motherboard to match what RAM you want to test.

    Usually when you get a batch of unknown RAM (and most RAM manufacturers label their product poorly to tell for sure), just sort into common pin-type piles and then run through that one motherboard and boot, good ones into one pile and bad ones into a ‘retest’ pile. Use marker/tape to mark RAM size and type (“PC100″) on the good ones. The retest pile might actually contain incompatable speeds (PC100 ram in a PC66 machine, CL2 vs CL3 etc) or be bad. Sort out the groups and then test MEM86 on the good ones. Retest the others on another motherboard. After a while you’ll be able to tell from the die shape the approximate specs of the Ram you’re testing.

    Good luck.

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