Posts Tagged With: mending

Mend-it Monday: Ink or Bin


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:



Categories: computers, repair, Sustainable Stuff | Tags: | 21 Comments

Mend it Monday: On the phone(s)

Mend it Monday is an occasional post inspired by thesnailofhappiness


Headphones – comfortable but broken

I have had these headphones for about 15 years now – they were quite expensive in their day and I have used them in what I lovingly (and slightly inaccurately) called my “recording studio”. They are great headphones and, when the rubber earpiece things disintegrated, the Snail made me new coverings that are largely acoustically transparent (that is, sound goes through them like they aren’t there).

Like all these things with moulded plugs on the ends of their wires, something starts to break/come loose in the plug. I have spent the better part of the last three years carefully bending the wire near the plug just enough to get the headphones to work properly.

Well, even that stopped working yesterday, so I was forced to mend them. The wires on headphones are always thin and pretty difficult to work with, and these were no exception. Fortunately, I had an old working plug (from a broken something-or-other) to use, and it all seems to have worked!

Mended and back in action – now back to doing important things such as watching this (which just makes me laugh and cheers me up every time I see it):



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

Mr Snail’s “Mend it Monday”… on a Tuesday

Downscaled RIMG0138

Could this be the dullest picture ever? Maybe… a broken salt grinder

I thought I would get in on “Mend it Monday” with a swift mend of my own, albeit on something the Snail has had for nearly as long as salt has been in existence. I did actually do the mend yesterday (Monday) but was so exhausted afterwards that I needed a lie down with a glass (or three) of wine to recover.

The Snail bought this salt grinder about 30 years ago and it cost £12 which was a lot for such an item (£12 in today’s money is about £560.72 I think).

Time and salt have slowly eroded the screws securing the plastic doobrie* which presumably holds the grinder mechanism to account. Indeed, there is the end of one of the screws still embedded in the wood – fortunately, this didn’t pose a problem.

Downscaled RIMG0139

Two shiny new screws to the rescue

Two new, bigger self-tap screws later et voila! We’re back in business, provided that business is grinding salt.

RIMG0141 - Copy

As good as almost new

Happy Mend it Monday on a Tuesday everyone!


* Technical term.

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

Kelly Aloha!*


I’m looking at YOU – fancy a cup of tea?

Ah, the first DIY of the new year! Our Kelly Kettle, subject of a few posts over the last couple of years (e.g. Plugging the Leaks by the snail or this one by me), needed a bit more TLC**.

Just to the left of the lighty-pokey-hole (technical term? No idea.) the metal of the base has disintegrated, for reasons that are unlikely to become clear any time soon. The problem was that now, rather more air was flowing into the fire than needed, making the kettle difficult to use. What was needed was more metal and a way of cutting it into the right shape. Cue:


DIY Fix-a-hole-in-the-base Kit

The old tin was a no-brainer if only because, to get it, I had (I mean HAD) to eat the contents. Actually, tins like this are becoming difficult to find because all the companies use plastic tubs now. Using my vast, and by vast I mean tiny, knowledge of material science, even I could spot that a strip of plastic in the base was going to suffer the same inevitable fate as a chocolate teapot (mmm…tea and chocolate).

The tool required to snip the tin is a pair of tin snips. I mention this because I was pretty sure I had made the name up (a problem of being a writer, I guess) but it turned out, rather disappointingly in one sense, that I hadn’t. And I didn’t have any, whatever they turned out to be called so I had to buy a pair, for around five quid.

I snipped tin. The resulting piece fitted the curve of the base with little manipulation so the job was done in about ten minutes. Is 2016 going to be the year of quick DIY? Yeah, right…***


Tin, snipped and in place


Not so staring-you-in-the-face now, eh?


* Kiele Aloha is a Hawaiian expression that can mean “hello”, “goodbye” and “I love you”, depending on the pronunciation. Sally Oldfield used it in her song “Mirrors” – it’s that bit in the lyric where you go “what was that again?” every single time she sings it. Now I’ve connected it to our Kelly kettle and probably ruined it for evermore. Sorry about that.

** Totally Laughable Craftsmanship

*** I always smile when I use this phrase. It reminds me of the anecdote where a lecturer in English says ” A double negative makes a positive but the same is not true of a double positive.” to which a student loudly says “Yeah, right.”

Categories: General silliness, recycling, repair | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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