Repair Wins

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JayceSlayn
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Repair Wins

Post by JayceSlayn » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:57 pm

I couldn't recall or find a recent topic for this, but if someone else knows a better thread to merge it into, please let me know.

This thread is dedicated to all the little things which we've been able to repair rather than simply trash and replace. I think it is sadly a dying skill set (and even mindset in many cases), but here is your chance to post your proud moments of saying "Not today!" to good ol' Murphy's Law.

My most recent accomplishment in this vein is fixing a garage door opener which suddenly refused to open one morning...

Wife was headed to work and goes into the garage after I hand off her morning coffee, as per usual, but then instead of the sound of the garage door going up, I hear a muffled "Oh no". I meet her in the garage and after a brief double-check that the wall switch and car remotes only result in a relay-like clicking noise from the unit and no further movement, I pop the door off the carriage and manually lift the door for her to get out. Now the investigation begins...

LED on the back of the unit is making 5 flashes and then a few three other struggling barely-flashes before starting the sequence over again. Pull up the manual online and find the troubleshooting step for 5 flashes says the unit might be overheated (unlikely - hasn't been used yet today and it is normal temperature in the garage) or the RPM sensor is having a fault. Manual suggests unplugging the machine to reset and try again. Easy enough, but no dice. Last instruction on the 5 flashes troubleshooting matches the description for 6 flashes: Replace the logic board assembly. Sounds fun and/or expensive.

For the sake of thoroughness and funsies, I look up what a logic board assembly costs, and compare that to an entirely new unit as well. Turns out that the logic board surprisingly actually costs less than a whole new unit, at around $75 USD and $200 USD, respectively. Still, I know from experience that oftentimes you can find the failed component with a little work, and it is often a few-cent passive component rather than a proprietary chip or motor etc.

The manual didn't include disassembly instructions, so I faff about for a bit trying to decipher how to pull the cover apart. I've removed all the screws I think hold the cover on, and it still refuses to budge, but ultimately it turns out that some old rubber damping pads inside had sort-of fused it all together and you just have to pull harder than I expected. :P I get down to disconnecting all the wire harnesses from the board and take it upstairs for a proper post-mortem.

First checks: No fuses are blown, and none of the capacitors have spewed their guts, so it won't be quite that easy. Next, scanning for any obvious scorch marks on the board: there are a handful of resistors and a diode that have some brown haze around them, strangely enough. I put each of them to the meter and they seem fine though. I look more closely at the back of the board, and after staring at all the tiny SMDs for a couple minutes, I find that a tiny little SOT-23 has blown half of its lid off. No black marks around it, but I'm pretty sure a culprit has been found. A diode check on the pads confirms that one of the legs is no longer connected at all.

I get out a loupe to inspect what remains of the package, and 75% of the part number is blown off, but luckily a handful of other SOT-23s nearby matching the first two (only remaining) characters of the blown device's part number suggest that it is a "K1G S3"-something. A few datasheets later and it looks like this is a NPN signal transistor (https://www.jameco.com/Jameco/Products/ ... 540800.pdf). I am certain that I don't have any "K1G S3"s laying around, but I do have a handful of "SS8050"s (https://www.mouser.com/ds/2/149/SS8050-117753.pdf), which might fit the bill.*

*Closer examination of the specifics between these parts reveals that my replacement transistor has a lower maximum voltage rating, but a higher overall power rating. I am not actually sure what the nominal voltage is on this particular trace, or what transients it might be exposed to, but I strongly suspect that it is still within the design parameters for the board.

De-solder the destroyed component and dead-bug style solder the replacement TO-92 package onto the old pads and we're ready to plug it all back into the garage door opener again. It works! An hour of work saves me at least $75 - not including what time difference getting the replacement board etc. would have been.

Notably, I have not determined what caused the original transistor to fail, although I suspect a more-or-less random occurrence. If some other undetected failure mechanism still exists then this replacement may not last very long, but it has worked for at least a handful of cycles so far.

Repair Win:
Image
Explanation for non-electronics nerds: The replacement part is the "towering" (only ~5 mm tall) black semi-cylinder component, the two black rectangles directly to the right of it are the same type of component it replaced.

Other nice "Repair Wins" that come to mind (but which I won't bore you with the details as above):
- Fixing a neighbor's laptop charging port which had broken off of the motherboard inside. Value = a new laptop, or at least pricey repair bill?
- Bypassing broken house thermostat "auto"/"on" switch - permanently shorted to "auto" now. Value = new thermostat and/or cost of technician visit.
- Sewing ripped backpack/bag straps etc. Value = new backpack to invaluable if performed on the trail (yes, I keep a sewing kit in my camping gear).

EDIT 1: OK, I remembered another thread which touches on some of the same things as this one (viewtopic.php?f=42&t=121040), but it was a little more specific towards what we keep to repair electronics, and we could leave this more open to all kinds of repair.

EDIT 2: Image added.
Last edited by JayceSlayn on Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:32 am, edited 2 times in total.
Rahul Telang wrote:If you don’t have a plan in place, you will find different ways to screw it up
Colin Wilson wrote:There’s no point in kicking a dead horse. If the horse is up and ready and you give it a slap on the bum, it will take off. But if it’s dead, even if you slap it, it’s not going anywhere.

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Re: Repair Wins

Post by MPMalloy » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:05 pm

Kick-Ass Thread! :D

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Re: Repair Wins

Post by taipan821 » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:35 am

This could be a beneficial and motivating idea.

I'll add a repair win of my own. My mother had an electrical issue with her trailer and was going to take it to a shop to repair it. I went around, troubleshooted the issue, replaced the faulty plug and tidied up the wiring, $12.50 part instead of $100 bill. Felt good.
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JayceSlayn
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Re: Repair Wins

Post by JayceSlayn » Mon Sep 30, 2019 6:27 am

taipan821 wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:35 am
This could be a beneficial and motivating idea.

I'll add a repair win of my own. My mother had an electrical issue with her trailer and was going to take it to a shop to repair it. I went around, troubleshooted the issue, replaced the faulty plug and tidied up the wiring, $12.50 part instead of $100 bill. Felt good.
Definitely a nice little emotional boost, I agree!

I got around to adding the image to my original post. Brutal functionalist abomination that it is, at least it works for now. One of those things that you almost wish someone else will find in the future and get to wonder at how it got to be. I enjoy occasionally finding the hand-made kluges inside devices I'm working on - it shows you that a real human touched and cared for this artifact. :)
Rahul Telang wrote:If you don’t have a plan in place, you will find different ways to screw it up
Colin Wilson wrote:There’s no point in kicking a dead horse. If the horse is up and ready and you give it a slap on the bum, it will take off. But if it’s dead, even if you slap it, it’s not going anywhere.

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Re: Repair Wins

Post by eugene » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:58 pm

My most recent are my table saw, which had a bad bearing that I had to break/cut off but was able to find a replacement and push it on rather than buying a whole new motor. And my HP48SX calculator I was able to remove the face adhesive with IPA and then get the case open and replace the foam strip which makes the connection between the keyboard and display.
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Re: Repair Wins

Post by Towanda » Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:35 pm

This is a really small thing, but I'll post it anyway. In my semi-conscious, pre-coffee state this morning, I managed to get maple syrup not only all over the barrel and clip, but inside the click mechanism of my Zebra F-701 pen.

After coffee and contemplation, I used alcohol wipes to clean up the outside of the pen, but the clicker wasn't clicking very well. I removed the nose cone, spring, and ink cartridge. Then I applied hot water to the outside of the clicker. Next, I used half a square of tightly rolled toilet paper inside of the pen barrel to soak up the water on the inside and clicked it a lot on a towel to get all the water out from around the button. Once water stopped coming out both ends of the clicker, I reassembled the pen. Now it clicks even better than when it was new.
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Re: Repair Wins

Post by woodsghost » Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:47 pm

I have had mold destroy at least $1000 (replacement cost) worth of gear this month. The cost is slowly climbing. And we are moving.

But my wife looked up how to deal with mold using essential oils. I have a Chinese chest rig which I have mixed up 4 parts carrier oil, 1 part tea tree oil, and spread on the chest rig (drizzled & soaked). I'll be doing the same with some of the leather which got hit.

This may or may not destroy said items. I will find out. But I have nothing to lose since otherwise stuff is going in the trash. So far, the chest rig is looking good!
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Re: Repair Wins

Post by MPMalloy » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:35 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:47 pm
I have had mold destroy at least $1000 (replacement cost) worth of gear this month. The cost is slowly climbing. And we are moving.
:gonk:
woodsghost wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:47 pm
But my wife looked up how to deal with mold using essential oils. I have a Chinese chest rig which I have mixed up 4 parts carrier oil, 1 part tea tree oil, and spread on the chest rig (drizzled & soaked). I'll be doing the same with some of the leather which got hit.

This may or may not destroy said items. I will find out. But I have nothing to lose since otherwise stuff is going in the trash. So far, the chest rig is looking good!
I'm crossing my fingers.

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Re: Repair Wins

Post by yossarian » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:22 pm

woodsghost wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:47 pm
I have had mold destroy at least $1000 (replacement cost) worth of gear this month. The cost is slowly climbing. And we are moving.

But my wife looked up how to deal with mold using essential oils. I have a Chinese chest rig which I have mixed up 4 parts carrier oil, 1 part tea tree oil, and spread on the chest rig (drizzled & soaked). I'll be doing the same with some of the leather which got hit.

This may or may not destroy said items. I will find out. But I have nothing to lose since otherwise stuff is going in the trash. So far, the chest rig is looking good!
Don't screw with that hippy shit. Get a bottle of Concrobium. It will kill the mold, prevent it from coming back and won't damage your gear. It's likely to be cheaper than essential oils too.

ETA: The crunchiest granola crunchin' hippy I know shared this with me. This stuff works.

https://www.concrobium.com/
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Re: Repair Wins

Post by woodsghost » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:18 pm

yossarian wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:22 pm
woodsghost wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:47 pm
I have had mold destroy at least $1000 (replacement cost) worth of gear this month. The cost is slowly climbing. And we are moving.

But my wife looked up how to deal with mold using essential oils. I have a Chinese chest rig which I have mixed up 4 parts carrier oil, 1 part tea tree oil, and spread on the chest rig (drizzled & soaked). I'll be doing the same with some of the leather which got hit.

This may or may not destroy said items. I will find out. But I have nothing to lose since otherwise stuff is going in the trash. So far, the chest rig is looking good!
Don't screw with that hippy shit. Get a bottle of Concrobium. It will kill the mold, prevent it from coming back and won't damage your gear. It's likely to be cheaper than essential oils too.

ETA: The crunchiest granola crunchin' hippy I know shared this with me. This stuff works.

https://www.concrobium.com/
Tea tree oil is cheap and potent. But I'm all for "better" if it's out there. Thank you VERY much for the tip!

FYI everyone, be sure to have backups of your gear. My tier 2 gear is now being pressed into tier 1 status. Stuff can happen unexpectedly. Keep things in different physical locations. And decent enough gear can be very cheap.
*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.

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Re: Repair Wins

Post by JayceSlayn » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:46 am

Towanda wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:35 pm
This is a really small thing, but I'll post it anyway. In my semi-conscious, pre-coffee state this morning, I managed to get maple syrup not only all over the barrel and clip, but inside the click mechanism of my Zebra F-701 pen.

After coffee and contemplation, I used alcohol wipes to clean up the outside of the pen, but the clicker wasn't clicking very well. I removed the nose cone, spring, and ink cartridge. Then I applied hot water to the outside of the clicker. Next, I used half a square of tightly rolled toilet paper inside of the pen barrel to soak up the water on the inside and clicked it a lot on a towel to get all the water out from around the button. Once water stopped coming out both ends of the clicker, I reassembled the pen. Now it clicks even better than when it was new.
No "Repair Win" is too small! :D While the Zebra F-701 is no inexpensive throwaway pen, sometimes just fixing something instead of binning it is for the sake of principle as much as practical. BTW: For sugar-based (e.g. maple syrup) and other water-miscible substances, just straight water is actually the best solvent - soap or alcohol would actually have less cleaning efficiency. Glad to hear about the "better than new" fix!

On the woodsghost mold saga: I don't know what kind of timeline would be required to prove a negative result of no further mold, but I hope your fix works out!
Last edited by JayceSlayn on Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Rahul Telang wrote:If you don’t have a plan in place, you will find different ways to screw it up
Colin Wilson wrote:There’s no point in kicking a dead horse. If the horse is up and ready and you give it a slap on the bum, it will take off. But if it’s dead, even if you slap it, it’s not going anywhere.

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Re: Repair Wins

Post by MacWa77ace » Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:05 pm

Saved between $175 and $450+ by fixing a coolant leak myself in my '06 Explorer last Friday.

I usually do all repairs/maint on my cars myself, so don't usually know exactly how much i'm saving, but this time I got quotes. The specific quote request was for fixing a leak under the thermostat housing.

'Tires Plus' quoted $525, which broke down like this: 2 hours labor @ $125/hr, Parts @ $275. When questioned on their price for individual parts [which i already new what they should cost] and how that adds up to $275, they said it included some of that "we don't use just any ol' anti-freeze". [they must use a 1907 Bugatti 50/50, a good year, a bit oakie with a maple finish] This is a repair that is on the top of the engine with easy access and would not require any anti-freeze replacement or new hoses when done correctly.

A second mechanic shop quoted $250 which would be more in line with my retail purchase of a complete thermostat housing and temp sensor which totaled $75 from my local auto store. But I think they would have just replaced the gasket for that price.

Anyhow, fixed the leak myself for about 2 hours of my labor which included a round trip to the auto parts store [and to BestBuy which is on the way to the auto parts store, to pick up my preorder of Ghost Recon Breakpoint,], and the $75 in parts. It would have been the same amount of labor to replace the thermostat housing gasket only, so I replaced everything as preventative maint. [$55 for the thermostat assembly and $16 for the sensor, plus tax]

Oh, BTW, I didn't lose one drop of coolant either, just drained a bucket full before starting and reused it. I don't get why some mechanic shops have to pull that 5#!+, but I bet if I had let TP start the repair they would have come back to me with 'oh, you have to replace all your hoses and waterpump too, extra $1200 please'.

But I'm going to ask for a pair of hose clamp pliers for Christmas to make my life a bit easier next time I think.
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