repair

ScrapHappy March 2021: I just can’t stand it…

Many, many years ago, I built a water butt stand that steadfastly refused to do what any decent DIY project undertaken by an incompetent should do – completely collapse after five minutes. I know, that is decidedly NOT playing the game. I think I built the stand nearly twenty years ago when we installed our Window Operating Cistern *† (a hosepipe that you can open a window and pull in to fill the toilet cistern). The stand has had one or two minor repairs and this one is no exception, except it has an element of happy scrappiness to it.

You see the two bits of fresh wood that will be the new support on one side, replacing the rotten timber?

They were part of the packing around our new oven.

Some jiggery-pokery later and ta dah! Fixed. I even managed to reuse one or two of the screws. I guess when the other side goes, I’ll just order a new oven!

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Reunited – water butt reconnected and looking a little like Borg‡

oOo

* Patent applied for

† Patent refused with the message “Stop sending us rubbish like this!”

‡ Alien assimilators rather than Swedish tennis players

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , | 20 Comments

Mend It Monday: (It’s been) A Card Made Right

Looks like that must've hurt!

Looks like that must’ve hurt!

Some years ago, the Snail bought a new digital camera that was waterproof/shockproof/80% proof. Well, maybe not the last one but I needed three things for the list. Later came the purchase of a 16GB SD memory card, which we considered to be way bigger than we would ever need. And we were right.

In the early days, the Snail didn’t have a cable to connect the camera (via USB) to a computer to download the pictures, so would remove the card to put in a reader on her laptop. Over the years, the contacts on the card have worn away, to the point where they were drummed out of the International Contact Society for failing to live up to their essential tenet, at least inside the camera. That’s when a toothpick came to the rescue. Wedged between the card and the battery, it seemed to do the trick.

Until the other day.

The camera refused to accept that there was a card in the camera and was not going to enter into any other discussions because, deep down, the camera is, in fact, a computer.

The card itself would work in a USB card reader I had, so clearly it wasn’t completely beyond rescue.

Some frankly horrific use of a soldering iron later, and I had managed to flow some solder over the four most worn contacts whilst only melting a small chunk of the card’s body. In fact, so horrible does it look, I think the picture may need a warning notice on it.

The horror, the horror! Just, ugh, horrible. But it works!

The horror, the horror! Just, ugh, horrible. But it works!

And, in a turn up for books everywhere, it seems to work! It never needs to be removed again as we have USB cables around the place that fit, so hopefully, the other contacts won’t wear to the point of failure.

I wonder how many perfectly functional SD cards have gone to landfill because the contacts have worn through?

 

oOo

Categories: camera, repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

ScrapHappy January 2021: Let there be light!

Fully working bright light

Fully working bright light

First, a ScrapHappy New Year to you all!

To start the year, here is an easy ScrapHappy mend of an LED lamp which the Snail uses for various crafty activities. In fact, we have two of these lamps and, although they weren’t cheap, they are well made and very useful. They feature a ring of LEDs as well as a magnifier in the top, and will run from batteries or a mains adapter. The Snail uses the mains adapter for both – the batteries are housed in a detachable box which I may well use for something else one day (watch this space!).

This particular lamp started to be like me – a bit dim. This is a strange thing for LEDs to do as they aren’t like incandescent bulbs that have separate parts that can fail independently (so one of several filaments might break but the others would keep on shining). It probably meant that the power supply wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, so I started there. A quick check with my rusty voltmeter told me the truth – the supply was only half decent. It was producing a little over 3 volts rather than 6 volts to be precise.

Half the supply it was

Half the supply it was

In the last 20 years, I reckon every household has probably had about a million* mains power supplies that have long since become pointless because the device they were supposed to power has broken. Many have (shamefully) been put in landfill, but many reside to this day in old boxes at the backs of cupboards/wardrobes/sheds. Mine reside in my office/workshop/studio, liberally scattered across shelves/boxes/drawers.

Could I find one that was suitable?

Could I find one that was suitable? - SPOILER ALERT!

Could I find one that was suitable? – SPOILER ALERT!

Yay! I could! This is the supply from an old set-top box, for receiving the Freeview digital signals (for my non-UK reader, Freeview is the UK’s contribution to the vast thousands of utterly unwatchable TV channels around the globe). We stopped using the box it powered about ten or so years ago but *I KNEW* it was worth keeping.

Of course, it didn’t have the right bit on the end of the wire so I had to chop the end of the defunct power supply and solder it onto the “new” supply. Once done, voila! LEDs that are properly bright. And perhaps a hint of a smile in the magnifier too? Perhaps…

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One happy lamp

oOo

*  I checked with Twitter – it is a million.

Categories: recycling, repair, ScrapHappy | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

Mend it Monday: The Shed’s too wet without Roof

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Can’t Stand Losing You – well, any more of you…

Chez Snail’s shed was looking somewhat tatty in the roof department (a description that can equally be applied to me) and had, for the last year, been wetter and wetter inside after every drop of rain (which in Wales amounts to a fair few drops). It was time to put a new covering on before the next forecast monsoon was upon us…

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So Lousy – this side isn’t much better

The last time the Snails fixed the shed roof, it was with the felt stuff, and it basically covered the bits of the roof where the original felt was either peeling or missing, presumed in a garden about ten miles away. The Snail did some research on t’interweb and found this material called Coraline, which I thought meant it was made from a blend of snow globes and Neil Gaiman books, but in fact turned out to be corrugated bitumen sheets.

The stuff arrived and I sawed it into pieces of appropriate size. There are no pictures of this as the language filter on my camera deleted them. It turned out that if you cut bitumen sheeting with a saw, the blade becomes coated in the stuff. It also turned out that, following bitter complaining, the Snail arrived with a can of WD40 with which to clean the saw. There was less swearing after that. The following day, we both set about putting the sheets in place. You will notice that I was not the one on the roof. This is because, in an inclusive world, there is no earthly reason why anyone, regardless of age, sexuality or belief, should not be able to climb on a roof and hit it with a hammer.

Unless, like me, you’re a wuss when it comes to heights.

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Knocks Hand – actually, The Snail didn’t, keeping all her fingers safely out of harm’s way

It only took a sunny Sunday morning (about 3 hours, we started at 10a.m. so as not to completely destroy the lie-in of anyone in the vicinity) and a million nails with special waterproof caps to fit the eight sheets and four ridges in place.

Two days later, it started to pour with rain. We had nearly an inch of rain in 24 hours.

Inside the shed, it was drier than Jack Dee standing in the Sahara on a pile of silica gel.

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Invisible Pun (couldn’t think of any more)

oOo

Categories: gardening, repair | Tags: , , | 28 Comments

Mend It Monday: The Joy of Stick

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Spot the problem… there’s always one wire that comes off

I have started to sort my way through my electronics stash and came across this relic of computing – a cheap joystick. Being me, I wondered what the connections on the plug were and whether there was any damage/rust/icky stuff inside…

…and being me, I managed to break one of the wires when I took the bottom off*. Time to fire up the soldering iron! Fortunately, I was going to do some work on my next project (see September’s ScrapHappy for details, once it is, you know, September and actually written), so the iron was already warming.

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Job done, a job that would have been done quicker if I hadn’t spent some time with the joystick attached to the desk, while I pretended to fly a spaceship. Simple things and all that… perhaps I’ll keep it!

oOo

* This is old enough to mean that whoever manufactured it didn’t care about it being opened up and fixed, even if it was the opening up that precipitated the requirement for fixing. Ah, #righttorepair!

Categories: repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: , | 6 Comments

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