Fixit Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
FBeyer
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by FBeyer » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:43 am

As someone who basically only ever fixes analogue crap, and mostly things made of wood: You people and your electronics skills are amazing!

Frugalchicos
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Frugalchicos » Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:00 pm

My last project was fixing these 36 year old Nintendo.

I cleaned them inside, fixed the buttons that didn't work ( I couldn't find a button for the one that is missing), battery connectors and put them on eBay for sale. Got them sold withing a couple of days for about $150.

I also fixed an old ipod and sold it for $30 :D

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:22 pm

Ooooohhhh man! I loved those toys when I was a kid. My best pal brought a bunch back from japan when we were 13. Donkey Kong rocked! I had the treasure hunt one and the one where the ninja defends the princess from attackers. I wonder what happened to mine...,

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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Frugalchicos » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:00 pm

Yep, they were treasures I had back home in a drawer. Hey, did you finally get a Macbook Pro?

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass » Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:03 am

No, I am distracted at the moment. I am still planning on buying one. I just had some very big projects dumped on me so the macbook is on hold.

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Sclass
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Aluminum Soldering

Post by Sclass » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:50 am

Fixed a pinhole in a car radiator yesterday. I thought it would fit well here because it was a skill that was easy to learn and didn’t require much investment. But the potential to save money is large. I rescued a $400 aluminum racing radiator core that got nicked during a condenser core install (doh! :shock: ).

This was all on YouTube so I didn’t plan on posting it. I honestly learned all of it in a few moments of desperation clicking videos on how to repair a hole in an aluminum radiator after I damaged my core. It was that easy.

Basically you can do low temperature aluminum brazing/soldering with these $13 (20% coupon) rods at Harbor Freight. You can make strong repairs to broken aluminum stuff.

https://www.harborfreight.com/8-piece-l ... 44810.html

No fancy torch required. I used a propane torch I picked up for $1 at a yard sale last summer. The barrier of entry is low. Not true “welding” but it’s a technology that allows you repair metal.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7nWdmE93wP8

I wouldn’t trust it for anything structural but it worked really well on my radiator.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ehMJPQ9ShyU

Saved me some money yesterday. I almost posted it up in the Teflon = cancer thread. My lungs were irritated for an hour after the job. I think the rod contains some powerful acid to deal with the aluminum oxide coating. Beware of the smoke. There are also some pretty orange stains on my driveway where I did the work. :lol: now that stuff is in my lungs. :?

Sorry I haven’t posted up many things here. I fell into the thinking that if something is on YouTube why should I post it. I realize now that knowing something is possible has value. There are a ton of things on YouTube that I don’t know are even possible and I wouldn’t bother to search.

So here we are. Very low cost aluminum repair. Easy. Low barrier of entry. A lot of money saving potential. I used only one inch of one of the seven or so rods in the pack.

This poor man’s “welding” has some caveats. It isn’t as strong as welding. It has a low melting temperature. Superior to glue, but it will melt at a lower temperature than true aluminum welding or brazing.

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Re: Aluminum Soldering

Post by jacob » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:36 am

Sclass wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:50 am
I realize now that knowing something is possible has value. There are a ton of things on YouTube that I don’t know are even possible and I wouldn’t bother to search.
I think of youtube [searches] as context-free knowledge (unknown knowns). Even if I knew about aluminum welding (which I didn't), it might not have occurred to me to use it in a particular situation whereas someone with contextual knowledge would easily be able to apply it because they know both the appropriate solution method and where to apply it.

For example, I'm capable of clicking on a link and picking up the linked aluminum rods at harbor freight. However, if you were to suggest just "picking up some aluminum welding rods", I would be stymied thinking that there's probably 10 different kinds and do I need to go to a specialist dealer or such. Basically, it's a situation of knowing so little that one does not know what is important. Hence, sourcing [the stuff] needs to be completely context-free.

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Hose clamping

Post by Sclass » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:57 am

Radiator fix is holding. I did a lot of work on my home brew frankenstein air conditioning system. I thought I'd post it up but I thought I'd focus more on the hose clamping techniques I used here. Hose clamping is a really useful technology. Low barrier of entry. Strong. Makes good repairs to a lot of household stuff where two objects need to be strapped together semi permanently. Like mending a broken lawn rake. Or connecting a water bottle cage to a bike frame without braze on studs. There are some other bits and pieces at the end of the post like how to bend custom freon lines and how to repair an obsolete GPS that won't power on anymore.

I did a lot of hose clamping for the AC. Mostly crimp type hose clamps. I'll show three types here. Worm gear (easiest to use and cheap), oetiker, and crimp. I clamped water lines, transmission cooler lines, freon (actually R134a) lines and others.

Hose clamps! Great for fixing things that need to be held together. Make a spear out of a steak knife and broomstick. Fix old garden tools. Tools required, screwdriver to tighten. Cheap. Very useful. For those who don't know, now you know. This goes up there with my favorite fix tools superglue, wire and duct tape.
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Did some tricky heater line work on my Mercedes. Using bent hose sections linked together to make a curvy hose.
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Next, Oetiker clamps. Clamped on with special pliers. Tamper resistant. Nice symmetric clamping. Holds moderate pressures. No stripping of worm drives in conventional clamps. Can be used for moderate pressures like engine oil and transmission lines. Sometimes used on AC lines with appropriate barb fittings.

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Oetiker clamp repair on my transmission cooler lines. Very sturdy. Clamp doesn't catch on things.
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Here I'm using an Oetiker clamp as a blowofff prevention anchor point for safety wire. This is a high pressure AC line that will whip around if it comes loose. I'm combining all kinds of clamps here.
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Finally, the king of hose clamps. The crimp ferrule. This type is an AC hose clamp used for freon lines. Heavy duty variants can be used for hydraulic (3000psi) lines. These offer great clamping symmetrically around the barbs. This is a new technology for me. I never was able to afford the tooling to crimp these things. I used to pay dedicated shops to make my hoses. Thanks to Chinese copycats, the $500 tool made by MasterCool has been successfully knocked off and I got one for $114 shipped to my door from Shenzen. Hydraulic crimping power. So I went crazy with these clamps. I rebuilt one car AC system with all new hose to replace cracked rubber lines. Then I made a Frankenstein AC for another antique car that didn't come with AC. And I made oil cooler lines that are no longer made...using modern high pressure EPMD rubber hose. Wow. All for a reasonable price. When the oil cooler lines were available, I paid $300 for a set. Now I made my hoses for $300 including the tooling. Then I went on to make the AC hoses. Thank you China!

Oil Cooler lines
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Brand new AC compressor and lines. This was a deal. I bought a Jeep Sanden Compressor (real, not Chinese), parallel flow condenser, Mustang evaporator, hose, fittings, clamps, Nissan Altima Expansion Valve all for $380. Hooked it all together and charged it with $9 of R134a and I have ice cold AC in the cabin. Wow. I can look in my vents and literally see icicles forming on the evaporator tubes. Modern AC tech in a 1965 car.

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The clamping tool:
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Amazing what we have lost and gained after globalization. While I'm sad to see and American company like MasterCool get ripped off, I'm happy to have these tools in my garage now. You win some lose some. Thanks to MasterCool for producing some great videos on how to use their tool or I'd have never known it existed. Wow, and my Chinese tool came with twice as many crimping dies. Thanks dudes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODIEcEV_epM

Ok, and now for something totally different.

I bent up some custom hard AC lines for the crazy twists and turns the plumbing had to make in the car. I used a Harbor Freight tubing bender. I used one of these tools in grad school to make my vacuum system for my thesis research. I hated doing it because it was hard and the tubes just always came out too short or too long and they ended up in the wrong place after several turns. In school I used an expensive bender made by Imperial Eastman. It sucked. After tight bends you couldn't get the tube off the bending mandrel. Now I got this tool for $8 at Harbor Freight. It has a linkage to make the bent tube easy to remove after bending. Cheap and it worked. Uhm...thanks China again. Gawd I'd hate to be in the tool business right now. Everything is getting knocked off.

Look at these kinky bends. Everything lined up. The angle gauge on the tool actually meant something. (old tools 35 deg = 85 deg bend).

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Good for bending gas lines in home. Copper tubing. Makes for a very clean looking build.

And now for some electronics repair 101. I have this GPS that wouldn't power on. I needed a GPS because my car has a 50 yo speedometer that is 10mph off. I could have used a phone but I figured I'd permanently install the GPS in the vehicle. Problem is it turned on and worked a week and then it stopped powering on. What I gathered was the firmware wedged itself in a funny state. It was on, but it didn't respond to the power button and there wasn't a hard reset button. ARGH! Happened when the battery was low and I tried to start it off the cigarette lighter socket in the car. Reset during low power or dirty power is a tricky game. Especially in multi processor designs. One chip starts before another and the entire system can get out of kilter. Reset chips are an entire industry for electronic systems. Sooooo...the easy thing to do is just open this bricked thing up and try to pull the power and reset it.

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Ugh, no screws. Sometimes the toughest parts of fixing electronics aren't electronic at all. Peel up the sticker. There is a tiny torx drive screw hidden in there. And I happen to own the driver. $1 shipped from Shenzen of course.

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open it up.

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Lift out components in the way of the battery. Screen. etc.

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Release flex circuit. this is a necessary skill. Everything uses these connectors now. Slide or flip up the white portion of the connector and slide out the brown flex circuit.

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Ahh, and now we can get to the battery. Unplug a few seconds, replug and boot. It worked incidentally. Then reassemble.

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Have fun. Learn on things you don't care about destroying.

plantingourpennies
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by plantingourpennies » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:00 pm

Love this-brings back memories of fixing the AC on a w114. Didn't update to the Sanden, but just replaced the gaskets on the York unit. Girlfriend/now wife loved me for it.

Tools from China are a god-send...just bought a pocket sized oscilloscope for auto repairs. Couple hundred bucks, but have yet to use it.

And clamps! When I switched from Benz to Honda I was amazed at how different such a simple technology was between manufacturers/cultures.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:33 pm

plantingourpennies wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:00 pm
... Didn't update to the Sanden, but just replaced the gaskets on the York unit. Girlfriend/now wife loved me for it.
This is an interesting point. The truck is a 65 Ford pickup. It had a Frankenstein AC already in it. With a York compressor and an under dash bolt on AC which was a common dealer add on back in the 50s. I looked at the evaporator box and it said 1959 Polaraire inside. After some Googling it turned out to be a system installed in 50s Cadillacs. Oddly some didn’t have AC even though they were a top of the line car. I guess AC was really special back then.

Anyhow the system was long dead. Cracked hoses. Old York compressor with beat up fill valves. I took one look at the cost of getting a Sanden and new AC components and moved ahead. I gutted the entire 1959 system and put in my metal scrap heap.

Earlier I watched a YouTube video discussing the rebuilding of York compressors. The guy said it takes an hour and the seal kit costs $80 on eBay. I got a steal on the new Sanden and a York to Sanden adapter plate for $130. I realized it was just better to start over with new everything.

I didn’t know jack about AC besides replacing OEM parts, vacuum and recharge. This was new territory. What was amazing is how cheap the Parallel flow condenser ($45) and the evaporator core ($55) were. All hoses and fittings were $90. The hard lines were $45 which was pretty steep but they had special o-ring flares on the ends that I couldn’t make...yes there is a hydraulic flaring tool from China but I decided not to go down that path.

So for less than $400 I built a custom AC system for the car. I used the original Cadillac fan, thermostat and vent box for the interior to keep the vintage feel of the vehicle.

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Sclass
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Dyson!

Post by Sclass » Mon May 06, 2019 2:46 pm

Hey, I bought this vacuum cleaner at a yard sale for $20. I never would have bought a Dyson. I know people here really like them but I just couldn't stomach paying 3x as much money than I would normally spend on a Bissell or Eureaka. Well, here is the story of the fix. Spoiler: I love this thing!

The guy selling it said the wheel fell off and it was an easy fix, just go on YouTube and watch the video. The part it needs is cheap and easy to install. So I bought it for $20. Seemed like a good deal. I recall hearing these things cost $300-$600 new.
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The wheel had broken out of the frame. It looked like a pretty tough fix. I was hoping glue would work. But this area sees a lot of stress and many stress cycles as you push the vacuum back and forth.
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The bolt was sheared right out of the frame and stuck in the wheel.
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Pull off the hubcap with a pair of pliers. Remove the axle bolt.
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Somehow I need to get the bolt back in here.
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Disassembly shows me what I'm up against. At this point I was shocked at how flimsy the construction of this vacuum is. They really should have made the plastic a little thicker. It just shattered out with use at the axle. Really stupid design supposedly from a company that is known for their computational fluid dynamics modelling. Why didn't they do an FEA stress analysis at this point. Just eyeballing it tells me it is too flimsy. The mold is complex and expensive. Lots of aircraft style reinforcement but all in the wrong place. Looks like it was designed by a CAD jockey on meth.
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At this point I'm shocked anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for this flimsy thing. My Bissell is much stiffer by comparison. It hasn't broken in six years of use. So I proceed to glue the thing back together with epoxy from the dime store. I ran out of steel filled epoxy (JB Weld) so I used heavy duty clear epoxy - 24 hour cure type. I glued the bolt back in and made a reinforcement plate out of sheet metal left over from my AC project.
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All the puzzle pieces glued together. Reinforcement plate shown here. Glued on the top and bottom. The idea was to distribute the stress on the glue joint around a bit.
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So I noticed the fancy wheel bearings 6802DD (24mmx15mmx5mm double Buna sealed) were stiff. They used a very high grade bearing like ABEC2 or 3 that had very tight tolerances. I guess they wanted to go top drawer but dirt had gotten into the bearings and jammed them up. It seemed the extra friction put torque on the axle that eventually led to the fracturing showing above. I was able to source four new bearings for $1 each on ebay from China. Oddly they were Si3N4 ceramic crystalline balls, not steel. Cool. I look forward to getting them. In the meantime I cleaned out the bearings with a diesel fuel soak and regreased them with some generic moly grease. They spin freely but I intend to replace them with the silicon nitride china specials.
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Back together and working.
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And what can I say but wow! This thing is superior to my Bissell by a longshot. I was pleasantly surprised. It really can turn and manuever around my home. The suction is strong. It has this shaking feature that loosens up the dirt in the rug before sucking it up. So many little innovations to make it stand out above other vacuums. The telescopic wand is amazing too. Very long wand hidden in the handle. Makes my Bissell's wand look like a toy. I now realize why it is such a flimsy shell under the ball wheels. They wanted to make it light. That's why the design is almost hollow with a lot of reinforcement struts underneath.

I was so impressed I went on to Amazon and bought the replacement part that cracked for $30. I figure my epoxy steel fix will eventually break and I'll need to replace it. Once it has the new bearings and axle plate in, it'll be solid for awhile. I'm very happy with this $50 vacuum. I probably wouldn't pay $500 for it though. I was a little confused about pricing as I found this model DC41 on the internet ranging from $300 to $600 depending on where it was being sold.

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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:41 pm

Ok, nailed a few great fixes today. I thought I'd share them. First, I made some parts with my new 3d printer. This toy has really opened up a new world of fixes. Here is what I figured out over the last few days. Plastic stuff breaks. People redesign the broken parts and upload them on Thingiverse. If you own the same item, you may need parts for it someday. Look on Thingiverse. Download. Print. Fix.

I fixed my Black and Decker workmate. It is kind of a toy workbench but I like using it to set up a temporary table when I'm spread out doing a big job or I'm out of the garage. I got the thing for $10 at a rummage sale and it didn't have the little clamp pegs that go in the top. The clamping feature is an interesting feature of the table because it allows you to clamp things that aren't square. I wanted the pegs but they cost more than I paid for the table so I never got them. I was staring at the table in the corner while I was waiting for a print to finish and it clicked. Check Thingiverse. Sure enough there are tons of peg designs there. Also they have the crank handles...and guess what mine are broken. Here is the fix.

Broken crank.
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Printing my clamp pegs and crank knob.
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Done. Fixed.

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The print filament is surprisingly cheap. It lasts a long time. I buy 1kg rolls and these parts weigh a few grams each. Cura software estimates the number of grams each part weighs. I haven't put a dent in the roll and I've made all kinds of parts. Mostly upgrades for the printer. The manufacturer's philosophy is send out a printer that is good and let the user print out and install upgrades with it to make the printer better. 1kg costs anywhere from $15 - $25 for cheap PLA plastic which is what I'm using.

Ok, so I didn't stop there. I always wanted a real bobbin extractor for my elna 62c sewing machine. But it costs $14 with shipping on ebay. For a few dimes I can print out one I found on Thingiverse. It broke for me it broke for other people. Thankfully somebody modeled one and uploaded it.

My old bobbin extractor made using a drywall anchor. My original was broken like they all are.

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Printing a new one.
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New one installed. Much better. The little horizontal printing ridges actually make it work better than the original.

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Looks like the original.

Okay, and finally, a non 3d printing fix. Glue. I fixed a hole in my exhaust pipe on my car. My wife was complaining that the car was turning into a gas chamber recently. I noticed it too. I also noticed the car developed kind of a new buzz at mid rpm. The pipe on this car has a flex joint that had a hole in it a three years back. Its a 30 year old car so I just patched it with a soup can and some muffler glue. A $5 fix. yeah, it would be better to get a new downpipe and flex section but I'm cheap. So I decided to crawl under the car and see if it was the same thing all over again.

There is the hole in the pipe right above my old soup can fix. The old fix was holding very well. Yes, yes, I should have replaced the entire thing and I'm losing flexibility but hey I'm cheap and this is easier than unbolting the thing and putting in a new downpipe.

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Get your materials. Some hose clamps. Muffler glue from the auto parts store. And a soup can. I had to buy this soup at the 99 cent store. I hate canned food. I tried to eat half of it and I just had to toss it. Too salty and too sweet. Yuck. The fix is worth the $1...just watch.

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It helps to have some of these shears. I've had the yellow ones since I was a college student. They are a very good investment. Now they can be had for only $40 or so.
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Make your patch from the can. Slather it up with muffler glue. Slather the pipe and hole up with glue.

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Put it all together and clamp the patch down with the hose clamps. You can see the new fix above and the old fix below. The old fix has lasted and the glue is still rock hard. It is made with sintered silicon carbide dust. Very high temperature glue. The gooey stuff further up the pipe is my new fix. Done deal, I'll be able to drive the car out to dinner tomorrow night.

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Re: Fixit Log

Post by horsewoman » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:00 am

Hi there, I'm new to the forum, but have been lurking for a while. I particularly enjoyed this thread, because I like to fix broken things. My forte is everything with fabric (trained seamstress) and things I can fix with duct tape or glue. Wood is my enemy and I'm a little afraid to take apart electronics, but I might start on old stuff because this thread is very encouraging.

Today I'd like to share a quick fix that saved me some cash! The bread pan of my 5 year old Moulinex bread maker was leaking. I use this machine almost daily for bread and pizza dough, so it gets some workout. The o-ring was disintegrating, causing the peg of the blade to slide down. The moisture run down where the kneading blade is attached and caked on while baking. Not good at all and a fire hazard into the bargain!

A new pan was around 30 Euros (34 USD) with shipping, but I was too cheap to order one. No luck finding fitting o-rings at our hardware store either. So I cut up a silicon muffin cup I had lying around, punched a hole in it and put it between the pan and the blade. It works great, no more leakage. It has been working for months now, today I replaced the silicone part with a new one, the old one started do fray. Success!

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:51 am

Hey that’s brilliant. I actually discarded a bread machine with that problem. Eventually the water will corrode the bearing and it’ll develop a loud squeak. Very annoying if you make bread at night. The bearing and seal were pressed in so tight I couldn’t get them out. Even then I was afraid to lubricate it because it probably needs a high temperature food grade oil. If I recall right the seal was a high temperature food grade silicone unit, not just a simple o-ring.

When fixing electronics I like to get old broken stuff from jumble sales. That way I just say to myself, “it’s already broken so it really cannot get much worse.” The other tip is move quasi statically. You want to proceed in a fashion that is always reversible. This is a photo rich thread because digital images are a byproduct of documenting the tear downs. They’re my bread crumb trail to get back to where I was.

I have a couple of cracked kindles I’m going to fix this week.

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Re: Fixit Log

Post by horsewoman » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:53 am

Sclass wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:51 am
The other tip is move quasi statically. You want to proceed in a fashion that is always reversible. This is a photo rich thread because digital images are a byproduct of documenting the tear downs. They’re my bread crumb trail to get back to where I was.
Thats what my old man says all the time! My dad is a lifelong DIY guy who tinkers a lot. Recently we took apart my desktop pc because it would not start and changed the power unit. He reminded me all the time to take photos, so we would know what plug goes were while reassembling.
I'm so grateful for growing up in a DIY household, my Pa did everything himself. My FIL is a "pay someone to fix it" guy so my husband had a steep DIY learning curve when we bought our 80 year old (and pretty run down) farm... 15 years later he is "botching" around our property like an old pro :)

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Re: Fixit Log

Post by jacob » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:11 pm

Just leaving this here for inspiration. TronicsFix is a youtube channel where the person buys e.g. 15 broken game consoles on eBay, repairs them, and sees if he can flip them for a profit.

Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmFe9Z53f9o

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Re: Fixit Log

Post by jacob » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:18 pm

I fixed my wonky left mouse button.

With age/use the micro-switch contacts tend to get worn which can lead to spurious/pesky double-clicking when you drag and drop, say, resulting in all kinds of unintended disasters. Apparently, Windows has a way of setting the systems preferences to require a minimum interval before recognizing a double-click, so there may be another way if you run windows.

Another way to do it is to fix/override the hardware. I soldered in a 1nF ceramic capacitor in parallel with the problematic micro-switch directly onto the PCB taking care not to short anything out. You can see the yellow capacitor on top of the switch sticking out from underneath the circuit board (luckily the mouse casing had room.)

The capacitor holds the contact over if it suddenly blinks out. Pick a value too small and it doesn't hold the contact long enough. Pick one too large and it will keep holding the button down electrically long after you let it go (and you won't be able to double click anymore). Somewhere in the low nano Farad range seems about right and my old mouse now works like new again.

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Re: Fixit Log

Post by SavingWithBabies » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:07 pm

The microswitches are on AliExpress for cheap! My Logitch M570 seems to last around a year of clicking on the primary mouse button with my usage patterns. I ended up buying some microswitches from AliExpress and swapping them out. It is tricky as some are just poor cheap crap but it isn't too expensive to try them. For example:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32834904704.html

It looks like the price went up a bit but $1.53 USD for 10 switches isn't too bad. Another option would be to scavenge them from discarded or inexpensively sourced mice. I'd guess you might get better quality than these that way. The ones I linked to have worked for me so far though.

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Sclass
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Sclass » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:16 pm

Yeah I’ve had the same experience with Chinese microswitches in my door remotes for my car. I notice the switches wear out as well as the linear actuators. They wear out after a couple of years. I need to solder in new ones. Kind of a pain but I like the car enough to keep it. I thought these things should be good for at least 100,000 cycles but it seems closer to 1000.

Luckily they are pennies each from Chinese eBay vendors. Takes five minutes to solder in new ones.

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Ego
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Re: Fixit Log

Post by Ego » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:05 am

The Sclass movement is taking off.....

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3kxq ... ce-e-waste

At 80 participating colleges and universities, teachers work with iFixit—a company that provides repair toolkits for many consumer electronics—to train students to repair electronics and help others do the same at a time when device manufacturers are making it more difficult to do just that.

In the course of the class, students take electronics apart and put them back together in order to build repair manuals so that people can fix their devices instead of throwing them out. iFixit puts these manuals on their website—tens of thousands, so far—and their advice reaches millions of people.

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