Author Topic: The DIY Repair Thread  (Read 6720 times)

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Offline The Latinist

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The DIY Repair Thread
« on: November 07, 2017, 11:01:32 PM »
This is a thread in which to discuss our adventures, travails, and triumphs in DIY repairs.  Areas for discussion include repair of:

Home electronics
Computers
Appliances
Power tools
Yard equipment

Perhaps even DIY home improvement could fit in here.

My hope is that this will be a place where people can get inspiration and encouragement and learn that making your own repairs is can be rewarding and save you money.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2017, 11:07:29 PM »
I'm currently repairing a broken washing machine that's only about 18 months old.  My wife overloaded the washing machine and broke the shift actuator. I got ahold of a technician's manual for a similar model and was able to use it to run diagnostic tests and determine the likely culprit. It actually has a pretty sophisticated auto-test mode as well as the ability to retrieve codes and manually test specific subsystems.  Unfortunately I couldn't find the manual for my exact model, so I wasn't able to determine the pinout on the control board.  If I had, I could have used a multimeter to check resistance of the part as well as voltage during manual testing.

Anyway, I've ordered the part, paid a bit extra for two-day shipping. There are clear videos on Youtube showing the replacement method, and all it requires is a screw driver.  It should take me at most half an hour, and the total cost will be about $50.  The part probably would be covered under warranty, but lord knows how much it would cost to get someone out to install it.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 12:19:14 AM »
I have a dryer. Was not heating up so when down the list of components. Replaced effectively everything but the circuit board and had trouble believing it was the circuit board. Turned out to be the circuit board however. Unfortunately it was relatively expensive although still far cheaper than a new dryer.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 12:27:42 AM »
I have a dryer. Was not heating up so when down the list of components. Replaced effectively everything but the circuit board and had trouble believing it was the circuit board. Turned out to be the circuit board however. Unfortunately it was relatively expensive although still far cheaper than a new dryer.

Fixed the dryer in my last place. Thermal fuse was blown, but it turned out the root problem was the element, which overheated when it burned out. Got out of that one for about $70 all-told.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 07:36:16 AM »
I have a dryer. Was not heating up so when down the list of components. Replaced effectively everything but the circuit board and had trouble believing it was the circuit board. Turned out to be the circuit board however. Unfortunately it was relatively expensive although still far cheaper than a new dryer.

Fixed the dryer in my last place. Thermal fuse was blown, but it turned out the root problem was the element, which overheated when it burned out. Got out of that one for about $70 all-told.

The first thing I replaces was the heating element, having had a previous dryer die because of it. It was then followed by various thermostats and fuses.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 08:19:37 AM »
I have a dryer. Was not heating up so when down the list of components. Replaced effectively everything but the circuit board and had trouble believing it was the circuit board. Turned out to be the circuit board however. Unfortunately it was relatively expensive although still far cheaper than a new dryer.

Fixed the dryer in my last place. Thermal fuse was blown, but it turned out the root problem was the element, which overheated when it burned out. Got out of that one for about $70 all-told.

The first thing I replaces was the heating element, having had a previous dryer die because of it. It was then followed by various thermostats and fuses.

Great thing about fuses (and motors) is that they can be checked for resistance/continuity.  Usually you can find specs, but even the existence of continuity in a fuse will show it's good.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline Morvis13

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 08:55:23 AM »
This reminds me i have to change two outside power outlets before the snow flies. Not looking forward to it.
Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Morvis' Law: Anything that does go wrong is my fault.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 09:34:05 AM »
Great thing about fuses (and motors) is that they can be checked for resistance/continuity.  Usually you can find specs, but even the existence of continuity in a fuse will show it's good.

It seems like whenever I buy a tester and later use it, it always seems to be broken even after I change batteries.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Billzbub

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 10:01:39 AM »
My dishwasher stopped starting, so I called a repair guy.  He took it out of the wall and found that the wires to the sensor that detects that the door is closed were chewed through by chipmunks who had made a nest there.  We cleaned out all the chipmunk poop and cat food that the chipmunks stashed up there, and he put it back.  We put out a trap and caught the little bugger and released him in the woods.

The next day, it was broken again.  I  pulled it out myself, and this time the wires were shredded at the connection to the switch itself, so I couldn't just splice them like the repair guy did.  I ended up just bypassing the switch by twisting all the wires together.  Now I can run my dishwasher with the door open.   :-\

It turns out we had a bunch of chipmunks that my cat keeps bringing into the house and not killing (I caught her doing it), so we've been setting the trap every day.  We eventually got them all out.  Now we leave a nut or two out on the kitchen floor all the time as a chipmunk detector.  If it disappears, we'll know they are back.  It's a shame that such cute little guys can cause such chaos.  I was happy sharing my space with them, but they've definitely overstayed their welcome now.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 01:08:52 PM »
Very old story: I think it would have been around the early 1980's that I had a ham radio transceiver with an unusual warranty: The warranty stated categorically that if you attempted to repair it and failed, this would not void the warranty. They encouraged owners to attempt their own repairs, and even if you made it worse they would still fix it. The company was TenTec. I think they disappeared at the same time that all electronics manufacturing moved to Asia. My radio was 100% American made, or at least that's what they said.

So it quit working, and not being competent to troubleshoot it I phoned them and talked to a technician. I describe the problem. He asked for some voltage and resistance readings across specific components, diagnosed the problem, and had me remove the bad component. I sent it in and they sent me a replacement, and after that it worked fine. I was very proud of myself, even though all I did was take some readings with a multimeter, then take a part out and solder the new one back in.

I also had a Heathkit HW-8 which I built myself. The HW-8 was a low-power CW (Morse code) transceiver. I think it has two watts input and about one watt output. You could contact anywhere in the world with that if you were good and conditions were right. It quit working and I decided the culprit was a particular transistor. I don't remember how I came to that conclusion. But I could not find an exact replacement for the transistor. So I looked it up and found a close alternative, which I bought and installed. The result was better than the original. The HW-8 had a very sharp square wave, resulting in "code clicks." But with the new transistor mine had a slightly rounded wave (as seen on my oscilloscope) and had the cleanest code of any HW-8 on the air. I sold all my ham radio gear when I left the country to study Spanish. I never got back into radio when I returned home, but I heard on the grapevine that my little HW-8 was still around and was highly admired by the local hams who used CW (most used the voice modes). I had previously modified it for quasi-QSK. QSK is when the radio switches between transmit and receive so rapidly that you can hear what's on the band between the dots and dashes while you're transmitting. With my modification (published in a magazine, not my design) you could hear the band in the longer pauses between words, or maybe between letters, but not between the dots and dashes of a letter unless you were sending very slowly. I operated around 20 to 25 wpm back then.

I don't think I've repaired anything since then.
Daniel
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Offline starnado

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2017, 01:35:57 PM »
I bought myself some tiny screwdrivers including a triwing and a little tiny starshaped doodad. So far i have fixed one ps3 controller, failed to fix a 3DS SD card reader and also failed to fix my old Wii (although I did strip it down and rebuild it successfully).
I have my eye on a soldering iron, magnifying glass and multi tool. They are in my Amazon basket. I might even get a jigsaw and build a small tabletop arcade cabinet with my kids. I have an old tft screen.

I always try to repair rather than replace if possible. 

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Offline junki

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2017, 02:01:49 PM »
The company was TenTec. I think they disappeared at the same time that all electronics manufacturing moved to Asia

Ten-Tec is still around, owned by Dishtronix now (just a quick google, no other experience). Elecraft is another US company making fine (but expensive) radios.

Offline junki

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2017, 02:30:08 PM »
I broke off a piece from concrete stairs. Vacuumed the surfaces, test fitted, vacuumed again and glued it back with cyanoacrylate. The piece went back really snugly, the seam was practically invisible. Then I repainted the area, and now it sticks to the eye badly, the old parts having faded for decades.

Offline HighPockets

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2017, 02:51:09 PM »
Before the age of You Tube, I picked up a copy of the Reader's Digest Fix-It Yourself Manual for probably $2.00 at a used book sale.



This book has helped me repair so many things from refrigerators, to washing machines and dryers, to furnaces. I still consult it first before going to the internet for back up.
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Offline MTBox

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Re: The DIY Repair Thread
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2017, 03:57:13 PM »
I repair and maintain tons of stuff. I will keep them alive longer than they are worth, really. If it's already broken, why not try to fix it? The hardest thing is sourcing what you need. McMaster-Carr is my friend. So is United Plastics. Ace Hardware is pretty amazing, as well. For parts and/or labor I can't do, I go to the light industry and long-haul trucking areas of town. You can get anything welded, stitched, or ordered.

I bought an oven lock-out reed switch at an appliance repair shop (he let me fish around in his "miscellaneous bins") and fitted it to the old dishwasher door. I've replaced connectors and rocker switches in professional sound gear, by picking out parts at the appliance repair shop, too (there is no Radio Shack). I had a Police electronics shop repair the rectifier on a satellite dish mover; I repaired the powerhead of the canister vacuum by taking the motor out and to a rebuild shop; it turned out not to be rebuildable and had to be replaced whole, spending about 1/3 of what I would be charged at a Vacuum repair shop; hey, I already had it out. I had an Upright Bass Bag restitched at an Awning maker's shop; it wasn't one I had made, and the zipper was what had failed. My machine couldn't handle it.

Plus, you can look for "Makerspace" where you either get to use the tools, or connect with people that know what you don't know and have the tools, or both. I took a huge pile of hard-shell floppies there and a guy was Linux-ing an old XP system, so I was able to run a directory on each disk, to know if I could break it and recycle it, or needed to copy the data, first.

I moderate a motorcycle forum for a specific discontinued model, where we keep track of "what else fits and how to make it fit." My sedan has a cabin filter that the dealer will charge $40 for + installation labor. I either buy a 4-pack over the internet for about $8 each, or cut up a $10 home filter into the right-sized pieces, and installation takes about 20 minutes.

I want to fix our Krups toaster oven myself (the "start" button acts up), but they won't sell the module to the public; only to a repair shop. I decided I don't care enough about how it is acting up, to bother, in that case. That's the problem with newer stuff = it's modular, not in pieces; or, it's electronic, not mechanical.