Mend-it Monday: Ink or Bin

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Our (T)rusty HP Printer

About 15 years ago, Chez Snail traded in its old HP printer for a new HP printer. The old printer no longer fed paper through, but after two years of “encouraging” it (sanding the rollers, tightening things up etc.) this wasn’t surprising. I would love to have had it repaired, or repaired it myself, but at that time, I couldn’t. So, reluctantly, we traded it in (there was a deal at Staples at the time) and bought our HP C6180.

And, as you want with your printer, it basically just worked for the next 15 years, very boring, very reliable. We fed it with scrap paper, nice new paper and photopaper. We kept it watered with genuine HP ink, because we’re nice like that.

Now it appears HP have made our printer obsolete. I mean, they haven’t supported it as such for about a decade, but now they seemed to have stopped making the ink cartridges for it. This isn’t a trial since there are a plethora of “compatible” cartridges out in the world, but being forced into the situation is quite galling.

We bought the 100% compatible cartridges and put one in. This is where it all becomes messy, but not in an ink-all-over-your-arm way. The printer decided it was having none of it and came up with a failure error, a long nasty-looking error number (in hexadecimal to scare you more – fortunately, I can still think in hex when the need arises, so I wasn’t put off) and then refused to print.

Well, the simple solution was to put the old cartridge back in and muddle through: old cartridge replaced, printer turned-off-and-on again et voilà! Same error message. What had been a printer 30 seconds before was now, apparently, a rather large doorstop, and not even a nice coloured one at that.

Now, I am a chilled person at heart and maybe, just maybe, I would have given up at that point, made up some new swear words, and ordered a new printer online – they are insanely cheap these days. But, these are these days – days where we have eaten our way through the planet’s resources whilst systematically removing the right or the skill to repair and thus stopping the need to use up more precious materials.

Online I went, and after several encounters with clickbait sites (claiming to know how to fix your problem but at a price including your bank details), I found a solution (although this sequence of actions was the solution to a slightly different problem, in fact). A really easy solution:

  1. Switch the printer on
  2. Hold down left arrow and help buttons
  3. Press OK
  4. Use the right arrow to move through to the Hardware Failure status menu
  5. Click OK
  6. Click OK (this clears the hardware failure error)
  7. Click Cancel until you have exited all these hidden menus
  8. Restart the printer

Now we have a printer that still works and we should be able to get cartridges at least for a bit longer. Nice of HP to mention that this is a fix to it not liking non-HP cartridges, right? Nowhere does HP seem to refer to this menu, nowhere that I can find, including the original documentation that came with the printer. It’s almost like they don’t want you to sort it out, isn’t it?

A Mend-it Monday that required no physical tools, just bloody-mindedness and the internet. As there were no pictures, here’s one of Daisy being cute:

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oOo

Categories: computers, repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: | 3 Comments

ScrapHappy September 2021: Scythe o’ the times – Again

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Too good to scrap

Before the once upon a time started, there was a scythe that was used and hung up after each day’s toil in a slightly-too-big-to-be-called-a-shed shed. This happened a lot until one day, it stopped happening at all, and the scythe hung there, quietly awaiting the day it would be taken down, to feel once more the yielding of the blades of grass to its blade of steel…

Once upon a time, some Snail friends moved into a house next to which was an old barn-like building. In this building-of-indeterminant-status, there was a very old scythe, hanging from a rafter. This was a happy scythe – it had done its work and was resting and rusting in peace, while the world outside went on its way, presumably growing very tall grass and cutting it down again with very sharp, much newer blades.

Time passed, about 12 years to be vaguely precise although in scythe years, that’s about three weeks (they can live an extremely long time). One day, Mr Snail appeared and then things happened…

I mean, you can’t let a scythe rust to nothing without an attempt to rescue it, right?

This piece of scrap really was quite a challenge. I use a scythe reasonably regularly (see here) but I am still learning, particularly when it comes to the black magic that is peening. This is where you repeatedly whack the edge of a blade to make it better at being sharp, which it certainly isn’t immediately after having been whacked with a hammer. I have peened one of my own blades a couple of times but, because I don’t scythe rocky fields and so start to damage the edge, any difference I have thought was there before and after peening might be down to wishful thinking.

This old scythe was an opportunity to see if my peening technique was actually doing something since, when I tried to cut grass with it, it mostly folded the grass over, without actually doing any cutting. The snath (shaft and handles) seemed OK (it’s metal) although the wooden grips could do with a coat of varnish.

This blade was so blunt I nearly called it Emily. Or Anthony.

This blade was so blunt I nearly called it Emily. Or Anthony.

 

Peening jig (not a dance)

Peening jig (not a dance)

 

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Other bit of peening jig (still not a dance)

After peening, the blade was definitely sharper, but the set-up was clearly wrong. A couple more hours of playing and now it will cut reasonably well – ultimately, I think a new blade will be the answer but until then… scraphappiness abounds!

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Proof that the scythe can now do what it claims

One man went to mow etc. etc. Sorry you can't see his legs, his wearing camouflage...

One man went to mow etc. etc. Sorry you can’t see his legs, he’s wearing camouflage…

oOo

P.S. A warm welcome to Jule, the newest Scraphappy member!

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: gardening, repair, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 25 Comments

ScrapHappy August 2021: Late to the Party

The New Toy

Sorry everyone! I had hoped to write a post about the new hot air gun/soldering rework gizmo I bought a while ago to help me retrieve workable electronic components from scrap but the time has gotten away from me this month – I’ll try harder next month!

In the meanwhile, have a look at everyone else’s posts, people who were clearly better at managing their time in the last month than I was…

The first LEDs removed…
Minus LEDs , a push button and a few bits and pieces…

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: | 22 Comments

ScrapHappy July 2021: Palletgate V2.0 Update

Everything Put Together Falls Apart (well, it does when I'm involved)

Everything Put Together Falls Apart (well, it does when I’m involved)

You’d forgotten, hadn’t you? Well, that makes two of us. In March 2020, when so much happened and then nothing happened at all for months and months, I wrote a little ScrapHappy post entitled ScrapHappy March 2020: Palletgate V2.0. There was a suggestion that, in the near future, Palletgate would be rebuilt, stronger, tougher and more pallety than ever before. Well…

Welcome to the near future. In it, pallets have given way (not literally, at least not in this project) to something altogether shinier (when polished): aluminium (or aluminum, if you prefer). The problem with Palletgate Version 1 (apart from the obvious one of being built by an idiot hammer-wielding optimist) was that without further treatment of the wood, it was bound to rot as it isn’t good quality. In Wales, well, we have our fair share (and also that of England’s) of rain, so the idea of building a new one just for it to rot (even if I were to finally prime and paint it) seemed a bit silly**.

Then I wondered if I could repurpose the old bits of staging from the long now-replaced-with-the-Limery greenhouse to make a shiny new gate to keep our currently non-existent chickens* away from the raised beds. Made of lightweight non-rusting aluminium, these bits seemed ideal, so I investigated the pile of potential material further. The original leg sections could be bolted together, in ways that wouldn’t make sense if you were making staging but made PERFECT sense if you’re making the frame for a gate. I reckoned I could probably use some of the old struts as supports for the mesh (recycled from Palletgate version 1), and maybe use them for hinge supports too. Time would tell…

All the World's a stage and all the stage is a new gate. Maybe.

All the World’s a stage and all the stage is a new gate. Maybe.

We did indeed appear to have the technology. We COULD rebuild Palletgate. It WOULD cost 64 pence, with change for a small beer.***

Extra bits and pieces

Extra bits and pieces

There were also some (potentially) handy extras too. I also used nuts, washers and screws from a set I bought about twenty years ago, one which has already outlived its original case (which was the subject of this ScrapHappy).

You know what? This might just work...

You know what? This might just work…

I tested to see if two bits of the staging could form half the gate – they could, so I set about bolting them together, using the pre-existing holes and new bolts, since the originals had all snapped (I know that feeling!) when I removed them.

You know what? This just might work, vertically this time...

You know what? This just might work, vertically this time…

Having created the framework, I figured out a way to attach the hinges. The gate is so light that the existing hinges, that had bent a little under the weight of the old pallet, were perfect for this incarnation. Now to attach the mesh, a remnant from PalletGate version 1.

A Complete Mesh

A Complete Mesh

The mesh fitted on easily but needed some support as it was, to use the technical term, “a bit flappy”. This had been a problem with the first gate, with various extra supports being added over its life. I tried to find the focal points of the flappiness and clamp them with some of the original support struts from the staging.

Strutting its stuff - trying to stop the mesh flapping about

Strutting its stuff – trying to stop the mesh flapping about

I also added one of the tops of the staging to dampen any movement at the top of the mesh.

A piece of staging worktop acting as further mesh support

A piece of staging worktop acting as further mesh support

Finally (oh, how you have longed to see those words in this post), I cut a couple of grooves and constructed a gate latch from other leftover staging bits.

Groovy!

Groovy!

I’m not sure if this will be the final design of latch but it works for now. I do have an idea to improve it, but that is possibly for a later ScrapHappy!

It's Gatier than you Think

It actually looks like a real gate!

But, what should this new gate be called? StagingGate? AluGate? Well, it is Partly Aluminium, Lightweight and has the usual DIY vibe of LET‘s-see-how-long-this-lasts Gate, so perhaps we can abbreviate this to:

PALLETGATE

What else could it be called? Palletgate (version 1) is dead. Long live Palletgate (version 2)!

oOo

* So much easier to look after than extant chickens and produce almost as many eggs as ours did in the last year of their lives.

** Problem is, I do silly really well.

*** Small, bordering on non-existent at today’s prices.

These ScrapHappy posts are curated by Kate, who provides links to other (mostly sewing) ScrapHappy bloggers at Tall Tales from Chiconia on the fifteenth of every month. I have sneaked one or two non-fabric-based ScrapHappys in when no one was looking!

Lots of other happy scrappers contribute too, so check them out:

KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys,
Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon (me!), HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, Nanette, Ann, Dawn 2, Bear,
Carol, Preeti, Edith, Debbierose and Jule

Categories: recycling, ScrapHappy, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

Village Life

“Look into my eyes – you’re going to take me for a walk”

“Whatever…”

A walk through an English Village on a Late Spring Evening…

“I reckon we could have our own show, or at least maybe our own proverb.”

High as a kite

A green patchwork of potential

A thistle, its niche found, watches over as the bell sounds

In or out? No need to decide.

And, as the sun calls it a day, there is some last-minute pollen to be collected

A bee’s work is almost done for the day

The sun-gold yellow of the laburnum glows as the laburnum-yellow of the sun fades into a warm night.

Have a Happy Summer* everyone!

oOo

* Other hemispheres/seasons are available.

Categories: bees, birds, Universe, wildlife | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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