A+ Cert

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Robert Woodill, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. Thinking of taking my A+ certification exams, can anyone recommend the best
    study guides to use ?
    Robert Woodill, Jan 16, 2005
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  2. Robert Woodill

    Steven Guest

    I havent long just passed that myself , did you check out the PDF of what
    they need you to know on there compa website thing?

    Steven, Jan 16, 2005
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  3. Robert Woodill

    Old Gringo Guest

    There is a bunch of them out there, take your pick:
    Old Gringo, Jan 16, 2005
  4. Robert Woodill

    Rick Blythin Guest

    I took the A+ exams back in 2001, I'm also Network+ certified. For both
    exams I used Mike Meyers all-in-one books. Passed A+ in 15 minutes,
    Net+ took me about an hour, and scored 94%. But I'd been in the field
    for 12 years at that point. Depending on your knowledge you may need
    additional prep books. I'd highly recommend Mike's book very well

    Best of luck!
    Rick Blythin, Jan 16, 2005
  5. Robert Woodill

    nogeekatall Guest

    A+ Certification Core Exam - The Test

    The A+ Certification is obtained by taking two exams. The first exam is the
    A+ Core exam, which this tutorial covers, and the second exam is the A+
    Dos/Windows exam.

    The A+ Certification is a general computers, maintenance, repair, and
    technical skills exam which is sanctioned by the Comptia.

    What is it?

    The A+ Core exam is 70 questions. Six of the seventy are customer service
    questions and don't count towards your final score. The passing score for
    the exam is 66%, you have to answer 2/3 questions correctly.

    In preparation for the exam, there are several good books out there that I
    recommend. The A+ Certification Exam Guide is one of the most comprehensive
    books you can buy for your A+ studying. Also, these books are good
    resources: A+ Certification for Dummies, A+ Exam Cram, A+ Practice Tests.


    The A+ exam can be broken down into several areas to study.

    Identify terms and parts of system modules. Examples: System Board, Power
    Supply, Processor, Memory, Storage Devices, Monitor, Modem, Boot Process,

    Identify field replaceable modules. Examples: System Board, Storage Device,
    Power Supply, Processor, Memory, Input Devices.

    Indentify IRQs, DMAs, and I/O Addresses for installation and configuration.
    Examples: Standard IRQ settings, DMAs, modems, floppy drives.

    Identify peripheral ports, cables, and connectors. Examples: cable types,
    maximum lengths, pin layouts, DB-9, DB-25, RJ-11, BNC, PS/2, RJ-45

    Configure IDE devices. Examples: Master/Slave, Max # of devices.

    Configure SCSI devices. Examples: Addressing, termination, cabling,
    internal, external, jumper settings.

    Installation of Peripherals. Examples: video devices, modem, storage

    The questions are multiple choice with 4 answers on each question. The
    respondent has to choose the best of the 4, as more than one may fit, the
    best answer should be chosen.

    You also will experience some "identify parts" questions where there are
    pictures and you have to identify a part labelled on the picture.

    Study Techniques

    My recommendation is to take this entire tutorial, then go back through and
    create "flash" cards to test yourself. These flash cards are two sided, one
    side with the answer, the other with a question. This way, you can test
    yourself on both ends, giving the answer for the question, and stating the
    question for the answer.

    Next, take a few practice exams. This is the best way to know that you know
    what you know.


    Serial Ports

    Serial communication is used for modems, mice, and general communication
    uses. Serial ports are either 25 pin male, "D" Connector, or a 9 pin male,
    "D" Connector. It sends and receives 1 bit of data at one time.

    COM Ports

    COM1 and COM3 use IRQ4. COM2 and COM4 use IRQ3. Most PCs only have two
    external COM ports.

    Parallel Ports

    Parallel ports are used for printers, scanners, and sometimes drives. It is
    a 25 pin female, "D" connector. It sends and receives 8 bit of data at one

    External ports send data in an asynchronous fashion.

    Keyboards are either DIN-5 or PS/2. PS/2 is a smaller port and is often on
    newer computers.

    Your mouse is either a 9 pin serial or a PS/2. Again, the PS/2 is smaller
    and round, while the 9 pin serial is a D-type connector.


    Video is a HDA connector. It is a 15 pin female with 3 rows of pins. (VGA &

    Cables & Connectors

    Serial Cables

    Serial cables communicate between two devices with serial ports. 50 feet is
    the maximum length a serial cable should be. A null modem cable is used to
    communicate between two devices (such as computers).


    SCSI cables communicate between a SCSI port and a SCSI device, or between
    two SCSI devices. SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface) is standard on
    most Macintoshes and optional on most PCs. SCSI is advantageous over other
    ports because of its high speed data rate and its ability to support up to
    seven devices (eight devices including the controller card).

    Hard drives, tape drives, optical drives, scanners, and CD-ROM drives can
    all use the SCSI interface. SCSI uses IDs to specify the device, which are
    numbered from 0-7. Most SCSI host adapters have to be set to SCSI ID 7. Most
    external SCSI devices use a Centronics 50 or male DB-25 Connectors.

    Network Cables

    Phone lines (some types of networks) use a jack which resembles a phone
    jack, a RJ-11 or RJ-12. Another type of network cable, twisted pair, uses
    RJ-45 connectors. This connector resembles a flat phone jack.


    There are three main types of hard drives: IDE, EIDE, and SCSI. The factory
    does a low level format on the hard drive prior to sending it out which
    organizes the hard drive into tracks and sectors. It is possible for you to
    perform a low level format of a drive but highly not recommended.

    Before the installation of an operating system, you have to partition and
    format (high level format). When you partition a drive, you setup different
    virtual drives on the PC. Hard drives can have 3 primary partitions and 1
    extended partition. Extended partitions can have up to 23 logical

    A typical IDE drive supports up to 528 megabytes of storage while an EIDE
    drive supports 2 gigabytes and larger partitions. Most of the newer PCs you
    will work with will have two hard drive controllers, each supporting two
    devices. When you install a second drive on one controller with an existing
    drive, the first drive needs to be set to be a Master drive and the second a
    Slave drive. This is normally done using jumper settings on the hard drives.

    A SCSI Controller will let you expand beyond the limit of 4 drives by
    allowing you to have up to seven additional SCSI devices for the controller.
    There are three different types of SCSI, SCSI 1, SCSI 2, and SCSI 3, also
    referred to as Ultra SCSI. SCSI 1 supports up to 8 devices, 1 of them being
    the SCSI Card. SCSI 2, which is the most popular, supports up to 16 devices
    and it has a higher transfer speed. If the exam does not specify which SCSI
    type you are using, assume it is SCSI 1 and has a maximum of 8 devices.

    The SCSI chain must have a terminator at both ends. The SCSI card often has
    a built in terminator, and a lot of present day SCSI devices also have a
    switchable termination on the drive or device. SCSI drives are also more
    expensive than EIDE drives, but have a higher access speed and you can have
    access to more devices.


    CD-ROM was developed by Sony and Phillips. It has a capacity of 650
    megabytes of information and is burned onto a CD-ROM using a laser light.

    CDFS (Compact Disk File System) is the type of filing system CD-ROMs use to
    store information.

    Tape Backup Devices

    There are three main types of interfaces for Tape Backup devices: Quarter
    Inch Cartage (QIC), SCSI, and LPT (printer port).

    Controllers control the flow of data from sending and receiving devices.
    They match the speed between the devices and convert data between different

    A DTE device is a computer or printer. A DCE is a device such as a modem. A
    terminal sends a Ready To Send signal when it transmits to a DCE device such
    as a modem. A modem must have the Carrier Present signal before it is able
    to receive. RS232 is the standard for serial communication.

    SCSI Controllers

    As we learned in the previous lesson, there are several types of SCSI. Here,
    we will expand on that topic and show you all types of SCSI. This table
    shows the characteristics of the different types of SCSI:

    SCSI Type
    Bus Width
    Data Transfer Rate

    SCSI 1
    8 bit
    5 Megabytes per second

    Fast SCSI 2
    8 bit
    10 MBps

    Wide SCSI 2
    16 bit
    10 MBps

    Fast-Wide SCSI 2
    16 bit
    20 MBps

    SCSI 3
    16 bit
    20 MBps

    Generally speaking, the controller should be set at ID number 7. The higher
    the setting, the higher the priority. Slower drives should be set with a
    higher ID so they can access the bus whenever they need to. Each device has
    to have a unique ID. In general, the bootable hard drive is set to an ID of
    0 and the CD-ROM to an ID of 3. This is not a requirement, just a

    PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) was
    originally designed to help expand memory in handheld computers. It is a
    16-bit bus interface type. PCMCIA is often referred to as PC Cards and
    supports many different types of devices including modems, Ethernet
    interfaces, and hard disks.

    There are three types of PC Cards, Type I, Type II, and Type III. Type I
    cards are 3.3 mm thick. Type II cards are 5 mm thick and are mostly used for
    modems and Ethernet cards. This is the most common type of PC Card in
    today's systems. Type III cards are 10.5 mm thick and most often are hard
    disk cards.

    PCMCIA cards use very little power and can be hot swapped - interchanged
    without rebooting your computer.

    The computer power supply provides the power for all of the internal
    components to function. The power supply converts 110 volt AC into four
    voltages, +5 volts DC, -5 volts DC, +12 volts DC, and -12 volts DC (ground).

    To remove a power supply and replace it, first, shut off the power and
    unplug the computer. Open the case.

    Disconnect the power supply connectors from the internal components and

    Remove the mounting hardware from the power supply and the case. Remove the
    power supply.

    To install the new power supply, follow these directions in reverse.


    The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is the chip that contains low level
    software for configuring the system's capabilities and communicating with
    the hardware. The BIOS is usually stored in the ROM and communicates between
    the software and the hardware so less conflicts present themselves.

    Since the BIOS contains the low level software controlling the computer, you
    may need to replace it in earlier PCs if you have to upgrade the hard drive.

    Typical BIOS options include automatic detection of IDE drives, Option to
    enable/disable the processor/cache, Plug 'N' Play technology, and password

    The BIOS writes it configurations to the CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide
    Semiconductor). The CMOS is powered by a small battery so it can retain the
    settings after the power is turned off. the CMOS is usually not upgradeable.

    The CMOS configuration program can usually be started using a key
    combination when you start up the computer.

    When you enter the CMOS configuration program, you can usually change the
    hard disk type, display type, floppy disk type, boot sequence, serial &
    parallel configurations, date & time, password, and power management.

    The expansion bus allows the computer to be upgraded using different
    modules. Expansion buses are made up with copper slots where a circuit board
    can plug into it. The motherboard contains a bus clock which controls how
    fast information flows to the expansion boards and back.


    The 8-bit expansion bus operates at a maximum of 4.77 MHz (approximately 5),
    has eight interrupts, four DMA Channels, and one large 62 slot card.

    ISA Bus

    The ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) bus is a 16-bit bus with a card
    slightly larger than the 8-bit. The 16-bit cards have an extra piece
    extending beyond the 8-bit card length. This bus has 16 interrupts and 8 DMA
    channels. ISA also runs at 8 MHz. ISA buses are also backwards compatible,
    allowing an 8-bit card to fit into it.

    MCA Bus

    The MCA (Micro Channel Architecture) bus was a proprietary bus designed by
    IBM. It is a 16-bit or 32-bit bus and it's clock speed is 10 MHz. It also
    offered software configuration instead of dip switches and jumper settings.


    EISA (Extended ISA) bus borrowed a lot of features from the MCA bus and
    expanded on them. It has a 32-bit bus and it has more I/O addresses with no
    need for interrupts or DMAs. It also still uses the 8 MHz of the ISA card
    bus to allow for backwards compatibility

    VESA Local Bus (VL Bus)

    The VESA Local Bus is a local bus type, meaning it is a bus that runs at the
    same speed as the processor. Typically, its used for video to take advantage
    of the high speed of transfer to the processor. It is backwards compatible
    with the ISA, but has an extra slot to make it 32-bits.

    PCI Bus

    PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Bus is the newest and most
    advantageous types of all of the buses. It supports both 32-bit and 64-bit
    data paths to be compatible with 486 and pentium class processors. PCI is
    also processor independent, allowing it to be on Macintosh, PC, and RISC
    computers. PCI runs at 33 MHz and has a maximum throughput of 256 megabytes
    per second.


    PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card Association) is the last type of bus.
    It is mainly used in laptops and other small computers and in some digital
    cameras. PCMCIA come in three types, Type I, Type II, and Type III.

    Type I cards are 3.3 mm thick. Type II cards are the most common and are 5
    mm thick. Type III are mainly used for hard disks and are 10.5 mm thick.


    Below is a chart summarizing the different buses:

    Bus Type
    Bus Size
    Speed (MHz)


    8 (10 in turbo mode)

    16-bit or 32-bit


    VESA Local
    Processor Speed

    Processor Speed

    PCMCIA Card
    33 MHz

    The processor, or CPU (Central Processing Unit) controls and directs all
    activities in the computer. The CPU contains millions of transistors. The
    CPU is measured by its clock speed in MHz. One megahertz is one million
    cycles per second. The first IBM PC CPU, the 8088, ran at 4.77 MHz, today's
    PCs can exceed 700 MHz.

    With the chip is a math coprocessor which handles floating point
    calculations, like algebra and statistics. A math coprocessor, also called
    an FPU, handles most of the numeric operations.

    Most processors have an internal cache which stores frequently used data and
    instructions. Cache is broken up into two classifications, L1 which is the
    internal cache and L2 which is the external cache.

    Each processor have buses that go along with them. The external bus (system
    bus) allows the processor to connect with other devices, such as expansion
    cards and slots.

    The data bus is used to send and receive data.

    The address bus is used to describe memory address locations. Each CPU
    handles a different width of each of the different types of buses.

    The 8088 chip has a 8-bit data bus and a 20-bit address bus.

    The 80286 chip has a 16-bit data bus and a 24-bit address bus.

    The 80386SX uses the 80387SX as its coprocessor and has a 32-bit data bus
    and a 24-bit address bus.

    The 80386DX has a 32-bit data bus and a 32-bit address bus.

    The 80486SX uses the 80487SX as its coprocessor and has a 32-bit data bus
    and address bus.

    The 80486DX has a 32-bit data and address bus.

    The 486DX2 has a 32-bit data and adress bus.

    The 486DX4 has a 32-bit data and address bus.

    The Pentium has a 32-bit data and address bus.

    The Pentium Pro has a 64-bit data bus and a 32-bit address bus.

    The Pentium Pro II has a 64-bit data and address bus.

    The MMX version of these chips is enhanced for multimedia applications and
    have several important characteristics. It has 57 instructions for
    manipulating video, graphic data, and audio. It also has more built-in cache
    on the chip.

    The following tables summarize the processor chips and their

    Data Bus (bits)
    Address Bus (bits)
    Speed (MHz)





    1.185 Million

    1.2 Million

    2 Million

    2.5 Million

    3.3 Million

    Pentium Pro
    5.5 Million

    Pentium Pro II
    7.5 Million

    CPUs are mounted in different sockets depending on the size of the chip.
    Also, 486 chips and newer usually contain heat sinks, with fans, which fit
    on top of the processor chip. The CPU socket information is summarized in
    this table:


    486DX2 / 486DX4

    486DX, 486SX
    486DX2 / 486DX4

    486DX, 486SX, 486DX2
    486DX2/4, Pentium

    3.3 or 5
    486DX, 486SX, 486DX2, 486DX4
    486DX2 / 486DX4

    60/66 MHz Pentium

    Other Pentium


    Other Pentium

    Pentium Pro
    Pentium Pro

    There are two types of upgrade methods, ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) and LIF
    (Low Insertion Force) sockets. ZIF sockets have a mounting bar attached.

    The first type of memory is ROM. ROM is Read-Only Memory which is a form of
    non-volatile memory, meaning it keeps its information even when there is no
    power. It is also read only, so you cannot write to it. It contains the
    setup program and POST (Power On Self Test) software.

    RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a volatile type of memory which loses its
    information when power is not present. RAM is where your software and data
    is stored when your computer is on.

    SRAM is an older type of memory, it stands for Static Random Access Memory.
    It is an older type of RAM and stores information using transistors.

    DRAM, or Dynamic Random Access Information, stores information using

    PROM, Programmable Read Only Memory, this is a programmable type of ROM. It
    cannot be erased or changed once it is recorded.

    EPROM, Erasable PROM, data can be erased using a UV light on a special
    window on the chip. This chip can be reprogrammed.

    EEPROM, Electronically Erased PROM, can be erased using a special electrical
    charge. Chips can then be reprogrammed after erased. Most modern day BIOS's
    are stored in EEPROM.

    VRAM is video RAM and is used on video cards.

    Cache memory is memory used to cache CPU instructions. L1 is cache memory
    that is located on the CPU, L2 is cache memory outside of the CPU.

    DIP, or Dual Inline Package, is an older type of RAM used mainly in older


    RAM is broken up into DOS memory "sections". The first 640K of memory is
    Conventional Memory, which is used to load DOS, run programs, and load
    drivers. DOS is loaded in the first 64K of memory.

    Above 640K, but below 1024K is Upper Memory, also called Reserved Memory.
    640KB - 768KB is Video Ram, 768KB - 960KB is for BIOS and RAM Buffers, and
    960KB - 1024KB is Motherboard BIOS.

    Above 1024K is Extended memory. High Memory Area (HMA) is the first 64K of
    extended memory. Extended memory is mainly used by Windows programs.

    Expanded memory is sometimes used by DOS programs and is available up to 32
    MB. It is swapped in 16 KB pages (addresses in pages of 16 KB).

    In DOS, the MEM.EXE program allows you to determine how memory is being used
    by DOS. It has several switches, the important ones are highlighted here: /?
    the help switch, /C the classify switch - gives a report of how memory is
    used, /D the debug switch - details the first 640KB of memory, /F the free
    memory switch, shows all free memory blocks in the first 640KB of memory, /M
    (module) the module switch, shows the starting addresses of the data,
    program, and how much memory is allocated, and /P the pause switch, displays
    the output one page at a time.

    To use upper memory, you need to make sure the upper memory device driver,
    EMM386.EXE is invoked in CONFIG.SYS and DOS=UMB is there also.

    DOS=HIGH loads DOS into HMA.

    Device=HIMEM.SYS is the extended memory device driver.

    A Parity Error indicates a problem with RAM. Parity is a simple form of
    error checking and is used to check RAM

    IRQs (Interrupt Request Lines) and DMAs (Direct Memory Addresses) are an
    important portion to study as they comprise several questions on the exam.
    The best method I found was to make flash cards with each IRQ and what it
    belongs to. Here is a chart of the common IRQs and what they belong to:




    Wired to IRQ 9

    COM 2 (COM 4)

    COM 1 (COM 3)

    Available (often LPT2, sound cards, or network cards)

    Floppy Disk Controller



    Wired to IRQ 2



    Mouse Port


    Hard Disk Controller


    In most PCs, there are 8 DMA Channels. In most modern PCs, DMA shouldn't be
    used, it just slows it down, but older PCs may use DMA. Channels 4-7 are
    usually available, while Channel 0 is used to refresh DRAM, Channel 1 is
    used by a hard disk controller or sound card, and Channel 2 is usually the
    floppy disk controller.

    Another important topic which should be memorized are the common I/O
    addresses, this table outlines those:

    Address (Hex)

    DMA Controller

    Interrupt Controller


    Hard Disk Controller

    Joystick Controller

    Bus Mouse


    COM4 Serial Port

    COM2 Serial Port

    Ethernet Card

    MIDI Port

    LPT1 Port

    COM3 Serial Port

    Floppy Disk Controller

    COM1 Serial Port

    POST (Power On Self Test)

    The Power On Self Test, or POST, automatically runs every time you turn on
    your computer. It tests several components of your computer:

    The Processor - if the test fails on the CPU, the system stops, usually no
    error code

    ROMs - POST checks the BIOS ROMs, problems usually cause the system to stop
    with no error code

    DMA Controller - if any problems, the system stops

    Interrupt Controller - any problems and the system gives an audible error
    message of one long beep, then a short beep, then the system stops

    System timing chip - this chip provides timing signals for the bus and
    processor, this also gives a long beep and a short beep, then the system

    Video Card - if this fails, there is a long beep, then two short beeps, then
    the system halts

    RAM - an error here generates a 201: Memory Error message on the screen, any
    error beginning with 2 is a memory error

    Keyboard - an error causes a 301 - Keyboard Failure error message on the
    screen, followed by a short beep, system may halt or may continue, some
    systems may ask you to press F1 to continue - which makes no sense

    Floppy Drives - any problems cause a 601 - Floppy Disk error

    Other devices - POST checks the other ports and parts of the computer,
    beeps, then continues. It also checks the Master Boot Record (MBR) on the
    hard drive, if it cannot find the MBR, it will freeze and not continue
    loading, otherwise it hands control over to the MBR (or DOS Boot Record -
    DBR - if it is booting from a floppy)

    Error codes - the following table summarizes the error codes and what they

    Error Code
    Problem Description

    System Board problem

    CMOS Battery Failure

    Memory System Size error

    Memory related problem

    Keyboard problem

    Monochrome video problem

    Color video problems

    Floppy Disk problem

    Hard disk problem

    Electro-static Discharge

    Electro-static Discharge (ESD) can cause damage to electronic components as
    you work on them. This will have several questions on the exam. ESD can be
    caused by static electricity your body picks up as you move, rub against
    your clothing, or can be picked up by things you touch.

    While working on your computer, you should always wear an Electro static
    discharge wrist strap which grounds you. Also, it is recommended that you do
    not wear synthetic clothing, as your body rubs against synthetic clothing,
    it can create static electricity. This ESD Wrist Strap should not be worn
    while working on monitors though, it has stored voltage which could kill

    When you store or ship electronic components, you should send them in
    antistatic bags. Antistatic bags do not conduct electricity, and can be

    As a computer service technician, it is very important for you to understand
    the basics of networking. Networks allows companies to share information,
    applications, printers, and other equipment.

    Networks are broken down into two categories, Local Area Networks (LAN) and
    Wide Area Networks (WAN). Another type of network that may appear on the
    exam is the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN).

    At the core of the network is the Server. The Server centralizes the control
    of resources, account management, and routes information to all of the
    workstations on the network.

    Peer-Peer Networks

    Peer to Peer networks uses the computers in the network as both workstations
    and servers. This type of network does not have centralized authentication,
    but relies on each PC to interact with another.

    Server Based Networks

    Server based networks uses a computer as a server to have a central place
    for account management and resource management.

    Network Topology

    Networks are laid out in many different fashions. It is important to know
    the difference between the ways networks can be created.

    The first way a network can be created is using the Bus Topology. This
    consists of a single cable to run to all of the workstations.

    Another way is a Star Topology. Each workstation connecting comes off of a

    A third topology is the Ring type of network. A Ring connects each
    workstation to each other forming a ring through which messages pass to
    every workstation.

    Most networks today are actually a Hybrid, or combination of one or more of
    the other types.


    Networks communicate using Protocols. A protocol is simply a method for the
    network to communicate.


    Ethernet is a network architecture. It has several different flavors, with
    the original Ethernet designed with 10base5. The "10" stands for 10
    megabytes per second. Base is the Baseband communications is uses. The "5"
    stands for a maximum distance of 500 meters to communicate with. Original
    Ethernet used coaxial wiring, while newer versions use twisted-pair cabling.

    There are several flavors of Ethernet, including 10Base2 (10 Mbps, 200
    meters), 10BaseT (10 Mbps, 100 meters, twisted-pair), and 100BaseT (100
    Mbps, 100 meter, twisted-pair).


    Token-ring is the foundation for IEEE 802.5 specification networks. It uses
    a star, logical ring type of network. All of the workstations are cabled to
    a Multistation Access Unit, a MAU. The ring is created using this MAU.


    There are four main types of network cabling: twisted-pair, coaxial, fiber
    optic, wireless.

    Twisted-pair is the least expensive and most popular type of network
    cabling. It is several pairs of wires twisted around each other in an
    insulated covering. It is used a lot in 10BaseT networks.

    Coaxial cabling consists of a copper wire surrounded by insulation and a
    foil shield. It is often used for 10Base2 cabling.

    Fiber optic cabling is designed to transfer data at very high rates and over
    large distances. It carries a light pulse through a glass core at speeds of
    100 Mbps - 1 Gbps.

    Wireless networks consist of several different types of transmission medium.
    It can use microwave, radio, infrared light, or lasers.

    Network Interface Card

    Each workstation on the network has a Network Interface Card (NIC) and
    special software to allow it to communicate with the network.

    Printers is a large part of the A+ Certification Core Exam and there are
    several sections that I guarantee will be on the exam. The most important
    part of the laser printer section is the order in which a laser printer
    operates, it will be at least one question on the exam.

    Laser Printers

    Laser printers, also referred to as page printers, receive their information
    one page at a time and print using electrostatic charges, toner, and laser

    The laser printer has several Field Replaceable Modules, including the Toner
    Cartridge, the Laser Scanning Assembly, High Voltage Power Supply, DC Power
    Supply, Paper Transport Assembly, Transfer Corona Assembly, Fusing Assembly,
    and the Formatter Board.

    The EP Toner Cartridge holds the toner which is eventually what is printed
    onto the page. Toner is sensitive to the electrostatic charges. The Toner
    Cartridge also contains the print drum, charge corona wire, and the cleaning
    blade. The print drum is has a photosensitive material on it which holds
    static charge when it is not exposed to light. The charge corona wire
    charges the drum, while the cleaning blade does exactly what its name
    suggests, it cleans the used toner off the drum.

    The Laser Scanning Assembly holds the laser which shines its light on
    certain parts of the printer drum. The electrical charge is reduced and the
    toner attaches itself to the drum where the laser has shined.

    The High Voltage Power Supply takes 120 V AC and converts it to higher
    voltages for the charge corona wire and transfer corona wire. The DC Power
    Supply produces +5 Volt DC, -5 Volt DC, and +24 Volt DC from household

    The paper transport assembly moves the paper through the printer. It is a
    series of motors and rollers to move the paper.

    The Transfer Corona Assembly charges the paper with a positive charge as it
    moves through the printer. Once charged, it picks up the toner from the
    photosensitive drum.

    The Fusing Assembly (also known as the fuser) applies pressure and heat to
    the paper to seal the toner particles to the paper. In the process of
    fusing, there is a halogen lamp which heats up to about 350 degrees F.

    The Formatter Board is the circuit board that controls everything that is
    going on in the printer. It formats the information then tells the different
    modules to function together to get the printed page across.

    Order of Processes

    The following is the order of processes that occur in a laser printer. It is
    an important part to memorize as there will be questions with this on it:

    1. Cleaning
    2. Conditioning
    3. Writing
    4. Developing
    5. Transferring
    6. Fusing

    Cleaning - the EP Drum is cleaned with a rubber blade.

    Conditioning - the EP drum is given a negative charge of about -600 Volts by
    the primary corona wire

    Writing - A laser beam writes to the EP Drum, this laser causes portions of
    the drum to become almost positively charged

    Developing - Toner is applied to the drum by the particles being transferred
    to the areas of positive charge

    Transferring - The Transfer Corona wire charges the paper with a positive
    charge, the EP drum turns as the paper runs beneath it

    Fusing - the paper runs through the Fusing Assembly which is heated to 350
    degrees F, the toner is fused onto the paper

    Other Notes

    The ozone filter should be replaced during maintenance.

    Dark spots on paper could indicate loose toner particles, run a few pages
    through to clear it up.

    The primary corona has the highest negative charge in a printer.

    Always check the leading edge of paper when there is a paper jam, it can
    indicate what part of the printer is causing the jam.

    The drum is photoconductive and loses its charge when light hits it. It is
    normally negatively charged during the print process.

    The transfer corona can cause the print to be too light.

    Dot Matrix Printers

    Dot matrix printers are a form of impact printer. The printhead in a dot
    matrix printer is a series of pins which form numbers, letters, and graphics
    as it passes over the paper. In early dot matrix printers, 9-pin was a
    common size of printhead. This was called a draft quality printer. Later
    versions, such as the 24-pin printhead, print in near letter quality (NLQ)
    print mode.

    During preventative maintenance, never lubricate the printhead of the
    printer. A tight ribbon could be the cause for flecks and smudges on the
    paper. Also, a missing or broken printhead pin could cause incomplete
    printing. If the print density is erratic, there can be a problem in the
    advancement of the printer ribbon.

    Bubblejet (Inkjet) Printers

    Inkjet printers spray ink onto the page to form the letters and graphics.
    The inkjet printer has an ink cartridge which contains several chambers of
    ink. When the ink runs out, you must replace the ink cartridge. It is not
    recommended to refill ink cartridges

    Video Types

    There are several major types of video, Monochrome, EGA/CGA (Enhanced
    Graphics Adapter, Color Graphics Adapter), VGA (Video Graphics Adapter),
    SuperVGA (Super VGA), and XGA (Extended Graphics Array). Each of these
    different types of video support differing numbers of colors and

    Video Type
    Colors Depth

    720 x 350


    320 x 200

    640 x 200

    640 x 350


    640 x 480

    320 x 200


    1024 x 768

    800 x 600


    1024 x 768

    800 x 600


    Monitors have two main characteristics, the dot pitch and the refresh rate.
    The dot pitch is described in millimeters (mm) and describes shortest
    distance between two dots of the same color. For example, a lot of present
    day monitors will have a 0.28 mm dot pitch, anything lower than that (such
    as 0.25 mm) is superior, anything larger (such as 0.31 mm) is less quality.

    The second way to describe a monitor is in its refresh rate. The refresh
    rate (also know as vertical scan frequency) measures how many times per
    second the monitor is scanned. VGA has a standard refresh rate of 60 Hertz,
    or in other words, refreshes itself 60 times per second. The higher the
    number, the more times per second the monitor is being refreshed, which
    means less flicker is being perceived.

    There are two types of monitors, CRT and LCD. CRT is Cathode Ray Tube and
    LCD is Liquid Crystal Display. LCD screens are mainly used in Laptops,
    though are appearing in desktop models every day.

    The A+ Certification Core exam covers a lot of topics, but with this
    tutorial, you should be well prepared for passing the exam.

    Also, our A+ Discussion Forum allows you to discuss the exam with fellow
    test takers!


    Learnthat.com has a resource directory for certifications, free online
    courses, training company and other information. A+ Certification has its
    own section, check it out for additional web resources to study from.

    Practice Exam

    Learnthat.com has a 100+ question practice exam to help your study efforts.
    Check out the A+ Certification web resource section of our links directory
    for additional practice exams.
    nogeekatall, Jan 16, 2005
  6. Robert Woodill


    Sep 16, 2011
    Likes Received:
    taking A+ cert at pearson vue

    took the A+ practical applications test at Pearson Vue Arlington. The administrator of the test took a phone call during the test that lasted several minuits. and I could not concentrate during that time. then found out there was not enough time to finish the exam. pearson vue did nothing about it. I failed by one or two questions
    pb3400c, Sep 16, 2011
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