I’ll be writing about the things I repair on this blog.
Within reason, I’ll try and repair most household items before condemning them to landfill and I hope there are many other shed-dwellers doing the same thing.
In our modern ‘throw it away culture’ one could be called ‘cheap’ for attempting to make-do-and-mend. This is madness as often good quality items end up on the scrap heap with little required to get them back in working order.
While throwing things in the bin and buying new is good news for the economy, we live in a world where the strains on our environment are increasingly evident and repairing things that can be repaired usually makes economic and ecological sense.
My aim here is to promote the art of repair. I also offer a local repair service in Worthing, West Sussex, UK, for a small fee.
Here’s a blast from the past: A mechanical toy, that’s really cool. One that brings fond memories from my childhood… I’m 38 as I write this.
Strictly speaking, this is not a customer’s toy, but a family heirloom which had been festering in the shed for over 20 years. Consequently, it now wasn’t in great shape.
After dusting it down, we realised that records were playing intermittently and slowly at best and the problem seemed related to the rather cool winding mechanism within.
After dismantling the unit and giving the mechanicals a light service, the turntable platter turned freely once again. Our two year old daughter can now play with the record player as her mum did – very cute.
This cheap and quite frankly nasty DVD player came in as a dud unit. No lights on, nothing. To be frank, not even I thought it would cost in to repair it, since the owner told me it didn’t cost more than £20 in the first place.
Never mind, off with the cover and a quick poke around with the multi-meter revealed no power coming from the transformer within the unit. This converts high voltage from the mains to lower, safer voltages for the player. On this DVD player and many others I’m sure, the internal processes are broken up in to ‘cards’. On this unit, there’s a power card, a logic card for the motor drive and a video card for the picture. Closer inspection of the (cheap and horrible) power card revealed several faulty components, which had failed catastrophically. At first glance, I suspected that the cost of replacing individual components wouldn’t cost in and that sadly, this DVD player might be headed for the bin.
Fear not! With the power of Amazon, I was able to find a generic suitable DVD power card via China that fitted, with a small amount of wiring for £5, delivered. Job done.
I quite like the idea of this vacuum cleaner in that it’s lightweight, easy to use, highly portable and easy to maintain. All things that make a great product.
The particular vacuum cleaner came in to the workshop, just outside of its warranty period and had been looked after well. However, it had developed a nasty intermittent cutting-out problem when in use. I also noticed that the charger’s flex had also cracked near the wall plug, making it dangerous while charging.
First things first and it was off with the rollers and filters to clean any obstructions that might make a device like this overheat. Nothing obvious there, but all items cleaned and washed as a precaution to allow the roller to move freely and the vacuum to breathe easily.
Closer inspection of the handle area revealed a weakness in the design which had meant that the quick-release mechanism had caused an electrical connection to degrade, causing the cutting out.
The only remedy was to address the handle’s weak point with a mechanical fix and make good the electrical contact.
I hope Bosch take note and make an improvement in this area on an otherwise nicely engineered item.
I also did a small repair to the damaged flex on the charger.
Cost of a new vacuum cleaner, circa £250. Cost of screw… less than 50p (without my time of course!)
These chargers often lead a hard life, working in dusty, hot and noisy conditions, so I guess many of these fail in time.
This Bosch unit is fairly common among Bosch DIY drill sets and this one had died catastrophically. With the power applied, this one refused to give the slightest charge to a drill battery, once plugged in.
After some basic testing, I decided to change four components which would have caused the other to fail in a ‘domino effect’. The cost of the replacement parts was just shy of £10, but definitely worth saving since second-hand units seemed to be changing hands for £40 on eBay, with their condition largely unknown. The parts (two resistors, MOSFET transistor and diode/ transistor) were readily available online.
I recorded a short video to help others who might have a similar problem with theirs…
This asthmatic car tyre pump came in to the workshop with little going for it. The owner had been very close to throwing it away when he came across my website.
This AirMan pump is designed to be plugged in to a car’s cigarette lighter socket and provide quick and convenient car tyre inflation. This one was dead.
On first inspection, the fuse was OK, the switch seemed to work and all connections seemed sound, when tested with a multi-meter.
Off with the cover…
When the motor was removed from the cam driving the piston, the bit that drives the pump, it spun freely when power was applied, using a battery in the workshop.
Seemingly, the centre spindle was protruding far beyond it’s specified reach, causing the pump connection rod to it it during rotation. Why? To be frank, I wasn’t sure. I can only surmise that the vibration and heat had caused the flywheel/ toothed drive to slide outside of specification.
There appeared to be room for a small washer to take up the excess space, so I fitted one I had lying around.
The washer, once fitted, allowed the flywheel/ toothed drive to sit ‘square’ in-line with the pump.
Once resembled, the pump ran freely and was ready to inflate, once more.
Cost of a new pump, circa £20. Cost of the washer, circa 5p.
A friend of mine had long been complaining about a leaking tap in his kitchen for some time, so it was a long overdue job for me to tackle.
A quick look online revealed lots of videos and help, but nothing covering the actual problem in this instance.
The tap spout was leaking from the swivel joint where the spout body is allowed to move approximately 180 degrees to move from sink to sink, in this case. This is a fairly common problem for taps (faucet if you’re in America) of this design and sooner or later they all seem to suffer.
I was interested to know if the parts were available, but Internet searches revealed nothing. An email to Reginox UK was answered very quickly and I was referred to Mayfair Brassware Ltd, the manufacturers of the tap in this instance. The parts were quickly identified and delivered next day. Both companies were very helpful and efficient, useful for a non-plumber, like myself.
The cost of replacing the tap was about £50, so the £5 spent on replacement seals was well worth it. The whole job was done in 10 minutes using basic tools.