When my wife turned on the light in our bedroom one morning, it didn't work. I suspected that the globe had blown, but when I turned on another light, it didn't work either. There was no blackout, because the digital clocks were still working, so there was obviously a problem with the light circuit.
I found that the safety switch for the light circuits had tripped and this was caused by a fault on light circuit #1, as light circuit #2 was still working with no fault. Time to call my mate Ray, who is a qualified electrician. With a bit of troubleshooting, we got to the bottom of the problem and found the cause. Fortunately, our electrical wiring is compliant with the latest code and this may have saved our house from burning down.
See what caused this situation and what was involved in fixing it.
I bought my first arc welder over 45 years ago. It was a 110A Abel arc welder and I've done a lot of work with this welder over the years, but because of the weight of this old welder, I more recently bought a smaller more portable welder for general use.
However, neither of these welders are capable of welding very thick steel at high currents, so it was time to upgrade to one of the new inverter welders. I bought a 250A inverter welder and after testing it to make sure it worked, I put it away and I didn't use it for around six months. When I went to use it again, it no longer worked, but I was able to repair it and put it back into good working order again.
See what the simple problem was that stopped it working and how easy it was to fix it.
Several years ago, we bought a GMC 750W generator, which we used a few times before it was stored in the shed for a number of years. When I got the generator out to use it again, it no longer worked. The two stroke motor started and ran, but there was no output from either the 230V AC socket or the 12V DC socket. As the generator had been barely used since we bought it, I wondered why it no longer worked.
After investigating the cause, I was able to affect a repair and get the generator back into working order, along with another GMC generator that I'd got from a friend. Now we have two working generators after a bit of work and a few dollars spent on repairs.
See what was involved in repairing the two generators.
When we first moved into our new house, I installed a cordless doorbell. Initially, we had some problems with the indoor unit, with ongoing issues with flat and leaking batteries. After modifying the indoor unit to run from rechargeable batteries and a plug-pack, we had no further issues with it.
However, recently, I noticed that the push-button for the doorbell wasn't working very well and required some fiddling in order to ring the doorbell. On investigating, I found that the internal switch was oxidised from old age and no longer functioning smoothly.
I thought of an idea to rectify the situation to make the push-button a lot more reliable. See what I did to rejuvenate the outdoor unit to improve its reliability.
Our 360° sensor on our front verandah didn't seem to be working, as the coach lights on the front verandah were no longer turning on when someone approached the verandah. I'd previously repaired this sensor when it was first installed and it had worked well for around 20 years, but it looked like it had failed again now.
When I looked further into the problem, a whole new set of problems arose, requiring the old sensor to be replaced. However, things didn't go smoothly with the replacement sensor either, as I encountered problems with it and I actually had to repair it before I could install it.
See what the issue with the new sensor was and what I did to fix it.
We'd been considering buying a camping lantern for the occasional time that there's a blackout at night, but after seeing the price of new lanterns, we decided to pass on that idea, as I thought I'd be able to construct something suitable using some white LEDs and a 12V SLA battery. However, when we were at the recycling centre, my wife came over with a camping lantern that she'd just found. I looked it over and then I removed the battery cover, which revealed four “D” sized batteries. There was a lot of corrosion on the battery contacts, but the batteries looked reasonably new.
Some drastic action was required to repair the lantern, but we ended up with a good lantern at a bargain price, that even came with usable batteries. See what I did to get the lantern back into good working order again.
I was sorting out a few things in my shed and I noticed the old Arlec battery charger that I'd picked up somewhere, quite some time ago. The case was broken and the low voltage leads were a bit on the ratty side, so I thought it might be time to have a look at it to see if I could bring it back to good working order.
I already had a replacement lower case half for the repair, but I still needed an upper case half before I could do anything with it. As it happened, we were going out the next day and we'd be calling at the recycling centre, so I'd keep an eye out for the part.
The repair was successful and I now have a good working battery charger.
I was given a Medion computer by a friend, after they bought a new computer. I was told that Medion computer no longer worked and they would dump it if I didn't want it. I could see that the card reader door on the front panel was missing as it had been accidentally broken off some time ago and tossed out when the accident happened. However, the computer did have a Windows 7 license, making it a suitable candidate for repairing, so I grabbed it. We could do with an extra computer, as my wife and I usually share the one computer.
The repair ended up being anything but straightforward, but in the end it was successful, albeit with several work-arounds to solve a variety of different issues. See what was involved with the repair and how I solved several different problems.
A few years ago, I bought a Taurus 100A Arc Welder from Aldi, when it was on special. I already had a much larger Abel 110A Arc Welder that I'd bought around 40 years earlier, but the Abel Welder was quite heavy and hard to move around, having a copper secondary winding, as was common at the time that welder was manufactured. A smaller, more portable welder like this Taurus would be ideal for small jobs, where a higher welding current was not required.
A couple of issues with the original design of this welder "out of the box" were causing some problems when using the welder.
See what modifications I did to make this welder a much better unit overall.
I was just writing an email, when my computer Blue Screened and rebooted, so I decided to just turn it off and service it. It'd had a few “funnies” in it just lately, so it was now time for some routine maintenance. The computer is usually hibernated, which saves time when starting up, as well as saving data by not having to reload web pages, as would be the case if browsers are re-opened after starting Windows from scratch. It also allows the computer to be turned off fully, thus saving power.
There had been a few other issues with this computer from time to time as well, so it was time for some routine maintenance, to keep it going.
Read about what I did to get the computer back into good working order again.
I'd been using my computer and I'd left one of the hard drives defragmenting while I went and did something else. When I came back, the screen saver was on, but when I moved the mouse, I couldn't get the screen back up. I pressed the space bar and up came the screen, but the cursor would not move when the mouse was moved.
I suspected the mouse had died, so I shut down the computer using the keyboard and then I replaced the mouse with a spare one. After powering the computer up again, that put it back into action and the dead mouse was put aside to be checked. Later, I decided to look at the dead mouse.
See what the problem was with this mouse and how I repaired it.
I was using my angle grinder when I detected some arcing from the brushes, so I immediately shut it down so that I could investigate what the problem was. Arcing from the brushes can be caused by one of two things. It could be either shorted windings in the armature, causing excessive current through the commutator-brush connection, or it could simply be that the brushes have worn down to their limit and are no longer making proper contact with the commutator. I've had this grinder for more that 30 years, so I suspected that it would be just worn brushes, as I've never replaced the brushes since I've owned it.
Parts were no longer available for this 30 year-old tool, so see how I got around that issue and got the grinder back into good working order again.
I've had a “Brand A” torch for a number of years and it was always proving troublesome. I hadn't used it for quite a while and when I went to use it, it wouldn't work. The three “Brand A” batteries that had come with the torch were flat and worse still, they had leaked and caused considerable corrosion to the inside of the torch.
A short time later, I went to use my “Brand E” torch, only to find that it too had flat batteries. However, fortunately, they hadn't leaked, so the torch was still in very good condition, but its one drawback was that it used a conventional globe. A thought then occurred to me, that maybe I could adapt the reflector and LED assembly from the “Brand A” torch to fit this much better quality “Brand E” torch.
See how this idea worked out and gave me a much better torch from the exercise.
My mate Greg (alias) dropped in one afternoon and he had his desktop computer with him. He explained that every time he turned it on, it would start to load Windows, then he'd get a Blue Screen of Death and the computer would then re-boot. Would I mind having a look at it for him, because he had some important emails to answer and this being his only computer, he was stuck until he could get it working again.
It sounded like the problem wasn't too serious, so I had a look at the computer. I thought that I should be able to get it working again without too much trouble.
See what the problem was and what the solution was to fix it
It was a Sunday afternoon and I turned on our older computer that we use for backing up our files, only to find that it shut down again after initially booting up. I'd been planning to upgrade this computer anyway, as the motherboard was quite old and it was still running Windows XP. I found a suitable replacement motherboard I had spare, so I started upgrading the computer, but now I would need a USB mouse, because there was no PS2 mouse port on the replacement motherboard.
As I didn't have any spare USB mice, I checked what faulty ones I had available and I found three. I hoped I could repair one or two of these.
Read about how I managed to repair two of the three faulty mice .
Quite some time ago, our late friend Rod, called in and dropped off a Simpson Riviera 728 Washing machine, which had belonged to friends of his.
They'd bought the machine second-hand some time previously, but it had recently “stopped working”, so they had decided to just get another machine, rather than spending money on repairing this one. They'd then given this machine to Rod for disposal, so he dropped it off here for me to have a look at and see if I could repair it.
See what was wrong with the machine and what was involved in repairing it and getting it back into good working order again.
Our daughter had been away at University and she'd come home during the mid-year break. She'd been having problems with the left-hand headlight on her Hyundai Getz. She'd replaced the globe several times, but on each occasion, the light had only worked for a short time before the low beam had stopped working again. Fortunately, she'd kept the globes, because they all still tested good.
I was able to find what the problem was with the headlight and at the same time, I also refurbished the polycarbonate headlight lenses, which had been badly weathered.
Read about what caused the problem with the headlight, how I fixed it and what was involved in the headlight lens refurbishment process.
We have a lot of photos that were taken with a film type camera, which we had before we got a digital camera. We want to eventually convert all our photos to digital format, so it was fortunate that my wife found a second-hand film scanner.
I thought I would test the unit, so after installing the software (which fortunately came with it) I tried scanning a few negatives to see how they came out. This was not too successful, as the pictures came out with all sorts of hairy effects, indicating that there was contamination inside the unit and it would need cleaning.
See what was involved in cleaning and servicing the film scanner.
In a bundled lot I bought on eBay, was a DSE Q1418 multimeter. This unit arrived without the battery and I noticed that one of the screws holding the back on was missing. I thought I'd fit a battery to the unit and test it.
After fitting the battery, I turned the unit on, but nothing happened. I was sure that the battery was good, so I got out one of my other multimeters to check it. Sure enough, the 9V battery tested good, so there was obviously a fault somewhere. The fault turned out to be something quite unusual, but I was able to find it and carry out a repair with little effort.
See what the fault was and what the easy and cheap repair was.
A sump pump is a small self-contained pump with a float switch, which is used to pump water from a sump, pit or tank. The pump is fully automatic and it doesn't require any attention, as it will switch on when the water level rises to a certain height and switch off again after some water has been pumped out and the water level falls again.
I've repaired a few of these units in the past, mostly finding that the small transformer in them burns out, necessitating its replacement. In this case though, it was obvious that the transformer was still OK, by the fact that the set at least half worked, so there was some other problem with this particular set.
Our TEViON PVR had started to malfunction. At first, whenever the channel was changed to ABC2, the picture wentto monochrome and it would stay monochrome, even after changing to another channel. The only way to correct this was to change to a channel other than ABC2, then switch the unit off and back on again.
This issue persisted for some time, but the unit then started to occasionally freeze when playing back a recorded program. This condition slowly worsened, so the PVR was replaced with a new Panomax PVR, so the problem was then solved.
See what was wrong with this unit and how it was restored to working order again.
Our good friend Rod dropped in on one of his many visits and he had with him, his small electric drill, which he said had stopped working. He's had it for quite a few years and he's done quite a lot of work with it, so he thought the brushes might have worn out.
He often works with sheet metal and uses this smaller-than-average drill for drilling the 1/8” holes for the pop rivets. He asked me if I would mind having a look at it for him. He's always doing me favours, so I was happy to oblige.
See what had caused it to stop working and the simple fix to get it back into good working order again.
I was looking for something in my shed recently and I found a DSE Surge Catcher Power Board that someone had given me some time ago. At the time, I'd just put it away for later reference and I hadn't thought any more about it in the meantime.
When I tested it, it didn't work, so that meant dismantling it to find the fault.
See what was wrong with it and what I did to restore it to working order again.
My gas-less MIG gave quite a lot of years of service with the occasional use that I put it to over years. One day, after not having used it for a long time, I needed to weld something small, so I got it out to use it. It had been working properly the last time I'd used it, however, it was now malfunctioning. The motor that feeds the wire was running flat out and it could not be slowed down with the wire speed control.
This made the welder pretty much unusable, because the wire speed needs to be set according to the job and the amperage used to weld various thicknesses of steel. So, this meant repairing the welder in order to be able to use it for my small welding job.
See what was wrong with it and the simple fix that put it back into working order again.
I'd been using my SIP Handymig MIG Welder for a welding job, when the wire feed motor suddenly stopped working. I could hear that the transformer that supplies the welding voltage was turning on when I pressed the trigger on the hand-piece, but I wasn't getting any wire feed.
I've had this welder for over 20 years and I've done a couple of repairs on it during this time. On this occasion, however, I was concerned that the wire feed motor may need replacing, which could prove to be a problem, trying to source parts for a unit this old.
It turned out to be a simple fault that was easily fixed. See what the problem was and the easy fix.
I was given an ONIX DVD Player with an intermittent fault that sometimes prevented the DVD tray from opening.
At first, the unit was still usable by pressing the Tray Open button several times, but after a period of non-use, the intermittent fault became permanent and the unit was therefore unusable.
After diagnosing the fault, I was able to repair it, using a spare part from an unusual source.
Find out what was wrong with it and what I used to fix it.
A friend gave me a dead Samsung SyncMaster 740N Monitor. I have repaired several of these monitors, all with similar faults. Generally, they are quite simply and cheaply repaired, but sometimes, there's more wrong with them than first meets the eye.
These monitors probably aren't really designed to be repaired, due to the high cost of servicing here in Australia. Mostly, when a monitor dies, it's thrown out and a new one is purchased, because the cost is about the same and usually a newer type of monitor can be obtained for a little more than the cost of repairing the old one when factoring in labour.
Find out what was wrong with this one and how I fixed it.
My friend's HP Pavilion computer was crashing and failing to start. He'd had it for quite a few years and he was generally happy with it overall, as it suited his needs. He just used it occasionally to go on the internet and he didn't use it for other purposes, such as playing games or video rendering.
It's a fairly basic model, designed for the lower end of the market. It's quite suitable for its purpose, once the RAM is upgraded from its original 512MB to around 2GB.
I'd serviced this computer a couple of times in the past and it's basically a good machine.
Read about what was wrong with it and how I fixed it and saved him $120.
This Wide Screen Samsung SyncMaster 226BW monitor was discarded by its previous owner after five years of service, when it stopped working. It had been put in for repair, but then a brand new monitor had been obtained at a really good price, at a large retailer's computer clearance sale, so the repair was cancelled.
The monitor then came into my possession after the repairer passed it on to me in order to dispose of the now unwanted item. I was able to repair it without too much trouble, due to the type of fault that it had.
See what was wrong with it and the procedure to repair it.
When my teenage son was vacuuming his room, the vacuum cleaner suddenly died. We'd had this vacuum cleaner for a number of years, as it had been given to us by a friend when they moved house.
It's my wife's favourite vacuum cleaner, as it's lightweight and easily manouvered. Cleaning the dust bag is relatively easy and it's a good unit overall. I'd already repaired it a few times previously, but this time, it sounded like it was terminal. But, there was nothing to lose, so I checked out what was wrong with it.
This is how I repaired it and restored it to working order again.
Our middle (teenage) son had been doing some vacuuming (yes, really!!!) with my wife's favourite vacuum cleaner, when it started making a loud rumbling noise, so he turned it straight off.
This situation was then brought to my attention, so I decided to check out what the problem could be. I turned the vacuum cleaner on and then off again quickly, so that I could hear it running, without risking possible further damage to it. It sounded terminal, but I decided to check it out further, to see if it could be repaired.
Fortunately, the unit was still repairable. See what was wrong with it and how I repaired it for under $5.
When the exhaust fan stopped working, I thought the motor had burnt out, so I bought a new exhaust fan to replace it. I had a lot of trouble installing the new exhaust fan, due to the design of that particular model. Once I had it installed, it made a high-pitched screaming sound like a jet engine.
This was an unacceptable situation, so I turned my attention to the old Arlec exhaust fan, to see if I could repair it.
Read about what had caused it to stop working and what I did to fix it and restore it to good working order.
My son had helped to set up a new Set Top Box for a friend of a friend. Their old one had been crashing and failing to turn on, so they bought a new one and tried to set it up. They had some problems with the setup and they couldn't get it to work.
When my wife and two sons were visiting our friend, it just happened that her friend dropped in and mentioned the problem they were having and my youngest son was able to get their new Set Top Box set up and working for them, so they gave us the old one that they no longer needed.
Read about what was wrong with their old Set Top Box and how I fixed it.