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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now-a-days people of all generations have pretty much embraced the notion that most things have a limited lifespan and are disposable. If something goes wrong with an electrical gadget they get told there are no parts available, ditch it and buy new.

How many of you guys have repaired or repurposed any 'disposable' items?

I'll kick off with one of many. I have an old Acer laptop. I bought it new in 2014 and usually only surf the net and do some video/photo editing. For a long time over the last 6 months it had this weird habit of filling in password and search boxes with about 100 asterisks. I searched online - no results.

One shift key was faulty. It worked and sometimes didn't work. I suspected that might be the problem but wasn't sure.

I contacted a member on another forum who claimed to be an IT expert and ran it by him. He had no idea but said: "People don't like to hear this, but your laptop is old. Just replace it."

The LT's 15.6 inch screen is fine, it has a 1TB harddrive and no problems except for the weird asterisk thing. I wasn't going to dump it without trying to fix it. I bought a replacement keyboard for around $8USD and installed it in about 20 minutes.

Now - absolutely no problems. LT is running fine...and to think, that under the advice of a gormless geek, I was about to throw it.

Anyone got other stories?
 

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Farmers and ranchers are the best at repurposed things. Ever heard of oil field sucker rods? You would be amazed at the things we do with those oil field throw away things. The ½ inch stuff is usually pretty eaten up but the ¾ and ⅞ stuff has still got a lot of usable miles on it. Beats buy new round stock.
 

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I hate it Shiverguy. "Planned obsolescence" In many cases things are made to be replaced. Parts are sealed and intentionally not repairable. The whole "right to repair" movement that swirls around Apple & Mackintosh is the only place I see anyone fighting back. Even in the mechanical trades many companies do little troubleshooting - instead they just replace parts till it is fixed.

As for me, I've had a few Windows laptops that were getting a little long in the tooth and slow. I wiped them and installed Linux and got a few more years out of them. I also was given a 48 port ethernet switch from work they were going to throw out because it was noisy. I cleaned it and found one fan that was shot. $6.00 for a cheapy fan motor and it runs like a charm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Last year I was watching my Samsung LED TV when suddenly there was a loud 'bang!' and it died. I went to the local Samsung service centre and they told me that it was probably the LED screen and that it was toast and it was more expensive to repair it than it was worth.

I trawled the net about similar things happening to TVs. People online said that it could a blown capacitor as a result of a power surge.

I figured: what have got to lose? I pulled the TV apart and there on the MB is a seriously fried resistor and a fully blown capacitor.

I bought both from the local electronics repair shop for a total of $0.50 USD. Put the TV back together - works like a charm.

Just another example of the throwaway mentality.
 

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I retired from a major computer firm and watched crackerjack computer field engineers turned into strictly parts replacers that anyone off the street could perform. It’s a real shame. I think we can thank China for that one too with their cheap labor and manufacturing.
 

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I pulled the TV apart and there on the MB is a seriously fried resistor and a fully blown capacitor
Mine did the same thing only I didn’t do it right. I thought I could jump the resistor just to prove that was it. Before I could get the jumper off the magic smoke that makes everything work escaped. So I’m back to my extremely heavy tube TV. I don’t watch much anyway but it still ticked me off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Not everything is repairable/recyclable.

Back in 1995 I bought my then new live-in American partner a drip coffee maker because she said she liked fresh coffee in the morning.

Well she used it for about a week and then went back to instant coffee, then I started using it - every day. It was a programmable Braun.

When we split around 10 years later, she left it with me, and I continued using it daily. On moving to the Phils I packed it up and sent it here.

I have pics of that coffee maker photo-bombing five different houses across two countries/hemispheres.

Last year it just died one morning. I thought that it might be just a capacitor, but on pulling it apart the motherboard was toast.

We have a lot of power surges here, in between regular blackouts.

It was truly a sad day for me when I threw that Braun in the bin.
 

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Sometimes it is not so easy to figure out what went wrong, or even how to open up the device. Just this morning my Ipad screen would not come on when I pressed the button to activate the device. I heard a sound but no image. I tried shutting it down manually with the volume and power button but nothing worked. I started looking at the tablet wondering how I might even open it up to take a look inside and have no idea how it even comes apart. Fortunately a minute or so later I tried the On button again and it was working normally. Truthfully, had it not come back on it likely would have gone into the trash and I would have headed out to Best Buy for a new one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm a tinkerer by nature. As a kid I would rescue old wind-up clocks that people had thrown out. Generally there was only a small problem and I could get them going. If there was a major issue, I would cannabalise another unrepairable clock to get one working. At one time I had about a dozen or so all working in my bedroom. My Mum made me give them away...lol.

I find trying to fix something that I've been told is not fixable a bit of a challenge.

At the moment I have an old 3 in 1 Canon printer. It's still scans, prints and photocopies - except that the paper pick up roller is all gunked up with sticky ink from a leaking cartridge. I messaged the local printer repair shop and he replied that there are no rollers available as it's an old printer - buy a new one.

I go online and there is a seller in Indonesia - so I order and paid $4USD. It will be here in about a weeks time. I have never pulled a printer apart - but there are a few tutorials on YT.

I figured that I have nothing to lose by trying to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Except $4 and your time that could have been used for a nice long ride on your scoot. ;)
True. But I'm retired and have lots of time on my hands, and I need a printer. I don't want to fork out for a new one because I don't use the printer all the time, and I just bought new cartridges for it which can only be used in a couple of now discontinued Canon printers.

So I'll give it a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok. Bikes and trailers, i attempt to salvage. Clocks and electronics, forget it.
I don't know much about electronics but a blown capacitor/resistor is usually easy to see and/or test with a multimeter.

They seem to be the most common component to fail in electrical devices. So far, over the last year or so, I have replaced capacitors in my TV, window air-con, water tank pump, and microwave.

I think most failed because of power surges here, and as the houses don't run an earth wire, surge protection plugs and extension leads don't work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Can you not drive a ground stake and ground the house that way?
Not without completely rewiring the house for an earth wire where all the walls are concrete and wires, switches/outlets are set in those walls.

So basically - pull the house walls apart to run an earth and then installing all new switches and outlets :unsure: hhhhmmmm....pass.

Added to that - most electrical items here only have two prong plugs (no earth) - so it would be a very expensive and pointless exercise.
 

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May as well wait for the 4 wire building code update. It’s coming. At least here it is. I’ll never see it so y’all got time. And it sounds like you’ll never see it anyway Dr. Chris. I wish we already had that mandate myself. It will finally make the ground/earth be what it’s supposed to be and the neutral can do a boat load of other things.
 
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