troubleshooting

Garmin Forerunner 110 Blank Screen

I recently purchased a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch to track my runs. I've been happy with it, but today when I plugged it into my computer after a run, the watch screen flashed "Saving activity" and then went blank. The watch was dead after that.

It had been fully charged before my run, so I was pretty sure it wasn't just out of juice. The instructions provided with the watch weren't helpful.

This blank-screen issue appears to be a common problem. The Forerunner 110 Blank Screen (Dead) thread in the Garmin forums has over 100 entries. You can browse that thread for details, but here is a summary of the suggested fixes:

  • Hold down the Light, Start/Stop, and Lap/Reset buttons for about 30 seconds. (This worked for me.)
  • Hold down all four buttons for about 7 seconds. (Didn't work for me.)
  • Hold down the Light button for about 6 seconds. (Didn't work for me.)
  • Hold down the "Power" button while plugging it into the computer. (My watch doesn't have a button labeled "Power". I tried this with the Light button, and with the Page/Menu button, but neither worked.)
  • Plug it into a different USB port. (Didn't work for me.)
  • Just leave it plugged in for a few days, and eventually it will spring back to life.
  • Rub the contacts with a pencil eraser.
  • Attach the USB clip, but don't attach the clip to a USB port, and hold the Light button for 6 seconds.
  • Check whether there is a firmware update available.
  • Try a master reset.
  • Contact Garmin Customer Support.
  • Take the watch back to where you bought it for replacement/refund.

After I got it working, i checked for a firmware update, and indeed there was a new firmware version available for the Forerunner 110. This is in the release notes:

Changes from version 2.60 to version 2.70:

Fixed an issue where the device could display a blank screen while connected to the charger.

I installed the update. I'll have to wait to see whether the problem recurs.

Update 2014-01-23: The screen went blank again. Hold down the Light, Start/Stop, and Lap/Reset buttons got it working.

Update 2014-03-09: Blank again, and the above remedies weren't working. The recharging display did appear when I connect it to USB, but it wouldn't do anything when disconnected. I let it sit disconnected for a few hours, and it sprung to life.

Troubleshooting the MacBook Air SuperDrive

My wife has a MacBook Air. One of the things that makes it so light is that it doesn't have an internal SuperDrive (writable DVD/CD). Apple sells a special external SuperDrive designed to specifically work with the MacBook Air.

Unfortunately, we couldn't get the SuperDrive to work. Any disc we inserted would be ejected, without being recognized by the computer. After a few days of struggling with this, we decided we'd take it back to the local Apple Store.

We live far away from civilization, and a trip to the Apple Store requires D-Day-like preparation. So, the SuperDrive sat on the desk for a while. Then my wife figured out the problem:

It was upside-down.

Yep, we were trying to use the SuperDrive when it was upside-down.

You see, Apple products aren't designed like other computer manufacturer's products. Most products have a shiny logo on the top of the product, and the bottom looks like a piece of Soviet military hardware. The MacBook Air SuperDrive has a shiny silver side, and a shiny side with an Apple logo.

It never occurred to us that the logo-side would be the bottom. She turned it logo-side-down, and now it works fine.

We feel really smart for figuring that one out. At least we didn't have to be told by a Genius at the Apple Store.

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