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The great "can't fix that" racket


Nick Jones
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The MiL has a power awning over her back porch.  Installed at fairly horrific expense in 2006 it's given pretty good service.  Winds itself in or out at the touch of a remote button.  Except a year or two back it got a bit naughty about winding itself back in if all the way out so someone would have to get up on a ladder and twist the roller while someone else pressed the button (quick fix, don't wind it all the way out!), and this year refusing to do anything except click.  I had a bit of a poke at it but was unenthusiastic as a). the roller is 10 feet up on the wall and b). the motor is inside the roller and forms the spindle at that end.

The local "specialist" was duly called in...... and apparently the discussion went something like:

"It's broke" he said "it just clicks".  Yes..... we know that.  Can you fix it? 

"Dunno, I dunno much about these but probably not, the motors aren't available any more and we don't know if there is an equivalent. We'll have to take it down to measure the motor"  Oh.  How much will that be?

"Ah, well, it'll take 3 men to get that down, and we'll need lifting gear, so about £ 300 minimum and that's just to look, repairs and putting it back will be extra....."  Oh..... goodness.... how much for a new one then?

So he had to go away and get a quote done for that but that was £ 3.5K + £100 to fit (funny how it costs £ 300 to get one down for a look but only £ 100 to defy gravity and get the new one up....).

So as we were invited for dinner Saturday evening, I thought I'd take the tool box and the steps.

What we have learned:
- Two people can take down just the roller in under an hour.  Probably in 15 minutes if they'd done one before.  You need two sets of steps, a phillips screwdriver and a 5mm allen key.
- If they'd known what they were doing they could have got the motor out without dropping the roller down.  You wouldn't leave it like that for long, but you could certainly swap the motor or do a quick repair on it.
- The sprung loaded booms are a bit feisty.  If you knew what you were doing you'd get a ratchet strap on them before detaching the roller...... Probably make reassembly easier too......  Still, no major damage done, the bruises will fade with time!  Reassembly technique still be developed!
- The motors are still available.  You can get them on ebay in a few days for ~ £ 200.
- The actual motor fault turned out to be the run-capacitor being  old and down to1.2 uF from the 7uF it started at.  It will run when not under load.  I've ordered a new capacitor for £ 5.50 delivered and shouldn't even need a soldering iron to fit it......

Take advantage of old ladies they do........ bastards :mad: ........ and if they are really not clever enough to fix them, they shouldn't call themselves specialists!

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It's always a bloomin' capacitor :)  Good effort though!   When I was working in auto diagnostics this used to happen a lot, especially with main dealers. 

I remember one guy had a fairly old, but perfectly serviceable Clio however the remote key fob had stopped working. 

He could open the doors by hand but it wouldn't start due to the immobiliser.  Renault told him that it would be, I forget, but well over a thousand Euros to replace all the locks and the ECU etc.   I asked him how he felt about a nearly 20 year old Clio no longer being protected by an immobiliser and he was fine with it, so for fifty euros or so I zero'd out his immobiliser chip (old trick, works on old cars from that era) and he carried on using the key to open the doors (like in the olden days :) )..

Also a Merc dealer telling a garage there was no way they could just replace one module (body, I think, forget which one) on an SLK convertible.  "They're all coded together, they come as pairs/sets you need to buy a complete new set and have it coded in at a main dealer."  I forget exactly how we fixed that one, but it took about six hours but certainly didn't require thousands of pounds worth of parts and labor from the main stealer.

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Well done, Nick.  Another step upwards in the long and tortuous 'Favourite SiL' stakes.

Years ago, a friend lived in South Africa.  Her watch stopped working, so she took it to a repair shop.

"What's the problem, lady?"

"I don't know - it's buggered," she said breezily.

After roving his beady eye over it, he advised (sagely, I might add),

"No, lady, this watch isn't buggered.  It's f#cked.  If it was buggered, I could fix it, but it's f#cked, so I can't"

Paul

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Hi Nick,

 it is an age old problem. 

after about five years use our Neff dishwasher stopped working (apprx 1994).

I had a quick look underneath to see the bottom tray full of water. There is a switch on there to stop flooding.

So we called out the Neff service man. He arrived when I was at work.

He told my wife that it was the motor that had gone. A new one was dearer than a new dishwasher. He gave my wife the number of his mate who could sell us another one - at a good price.

When I came home it all sounded fishy. So I pulled the washer out from under the work top. Removed its casing. and found a split  water hose coming off the pump.

The following day I contacted the Neff service centre. The girl on the end f the phone fax'd me, at work, the drawing so I could tell her what part I needed.

The part was £3 (one hose and two clips). I paid over the phone. The following day two sets of pipes and clips tuned up. And was working the evening.

It has run perfectly now for 25 years. 

I did report the  thieving toe rag but I bet no action was taken.

 

Roger 

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In the last few years my wife and I have fixed the washing machine, the dryer, the dishwasher and the microwave oven all thanks to youtube videos. These appliances are all 30 years old but better built than the new products and the repairs were all within our capabilities and inexpensive.

Stan

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Same here Stan.

I will always have a go, although I'm not as knowledgeable as many on here, the use of Forums and youtube has enabled many fixes. I've also found that Halfords contact cleaner spray 'fixes' many issues with washing machine control boards, lawn mower on-off/safety switches etc etc.

Rod

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Keep up the good work you fixers! The people who take the time to document their fixes on YouTube and thus improve our chances of success are to be applauded. The number of largely healthy machines that get binned for trivial reasons must be horrifying.

If we’d only been videoing our roller removal...... would probably have been worth £ 250 from You’ve Been Framed!

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Yes the You Tube videos are brilliant.

 

In the days before the internet, my neighbour had a Kawasaki  motor cycle that had a bad misfire (was only running on two cylinders).
Swapping them over shows the fault wasn't a coil pack so he enquired about getting the ECU repaired....
"not repairable, you will have to buy new"
so my friend tried a breaker, they could supply a used guaranteed ECU on a non-exchange basis.

This got my friend thinking, seeing as they didn't want the faulty ECU, how about trying checking it over?
Low and behold a resistor had no resistance. A trip to a local factory produced a new resistor (for a few pounds)
and a few minutes later the bike was running as good as ever!

 

 

Ian.

 

 

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Hello All

              I must be a tight B****r like Nick as I have been doing this for 60 years before you tube and faceache etc

My late father in law converted our first tele from 405 to 625 lines and later the BBC2 !

Our last washing machine always had a spare pair of brushes taped to the lid  ready for when it started making the lights flicker(I lost track of how many sets I fitted along with a bearing kit and door seal)

Our back boiler/gas fire I fitted in September 1992 and its only needed 1 thermostat and pilot light unit and a de sludge!

I have just installed 2 super market delivery boxes in the green house to grow tomatoes in(cheaper than grow bags!)

The list is endless!

Roger

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It’s partly that I’m tight...... partly that growing up in Africa (and usually in fairly rural parts) meant that repair was the quickest (by far) if not the only way, and partly that I’ve always though that chucking something where 99% of it is fine is very wasteful.

You can tell a lot about the prosperity and culture of a place with a quick look at their rubbish dumps. If there are few intact bottles and cans in the mix then they are dirt poor...... when expensive appliances are tossed because they need a new capacitor or even just a good clean..... the pendulum has swung too far.

i still have our last telly partially dismantled in my study. It suddenly refused to switch on and defies my minimal electronics knowledge to get it working again. Probably a bloody capacitor again...... but it has many!

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It annoys my wife, Diana, immensely that I keep many things 'just in case'.

A few Christmases ago, the big day lunch was saved - at least in part - by the old electric four plate hob I had kept in the garage after it had been replaced by the fitters of our 'new' kitchen some 20 odd years ago when it warped within a few days of being brand new. The fitters didn't take it away so I kept it. I have three more hotplates that I can replace when the time comes!

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I'm similarly afflicted.  In my previous house the 'office' was full of things being fixed.  Old Sky boxes (ex-pats love them for some reason), laptops, speakers, anything really.  I even went through a phase of buying broken things from fleabay to fix them and flip them.  I blame the fact that when I left university  I worked for a few years in an electronics shop in London that did exactly this (buy broken junk off the public, fix it and stick it in the window with a massive markup).

When we moved to Luxembourg I had to get rid of a lot of it and sadly some of it went to the tip :(  Since living in a brand spanking new flat I've had to fix the shower, the kitchen extractor, a new washing machine, a new dyson cordless vacuum, a cabinet and the wife's ipad (twice, after she dropped it, twice...)

I'm sure the old stuff we had in the old house didn't break this much..

 

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Hello All

                 I am still wearing clothes I used to go to work in and I retired 13.5 years ago(garage and garden) The Memsahib will not let me wear them socially?

 I am frightened to go to car boots sales as I would bring so much stuff back and the tip upsets me when I see all the good stuff in the skips!

Roger

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Ouch. That is so close to home that it hurts!

My first reaction to anything that stops working is to try to fix it - and most times it can be done provided you have enough 'useful' bits stashed away.  It would seem that none of us on here are party to the throw-away society.  Unfortunately I think we are dinosaurs doomed to extinction.

 

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Hello All 

               I think I sometimes????? take it to a whole new level when I spend hours repairing things that I can replace for a few pounds or even pence !!!

It still beats scubydo puzzles etc ?

Roger

ps I have been half? looking at electric power steering for Spitty(just as challenge now the EFI is nearly running right) Corsa units look cheap! saw a brand new one for £100 and used down to £25 ish delivered!

They are coming to take me away ha ha he he !

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1 hour ago, rogerguzzi said:

the tip upsets me when I see all the good stuff in the skips!

Can relate...... especially when the tip refuses to sell you a perfectly good bicycle (that has gathered dust in someones garage for 15 years after being ridden twice) on health and safety liability grounds - and they have the cheek to call themselves a "recycling centre".  That pissed me off so much I actually wrote to the local paper - a very rare event!

Then there is the issue that when I go to the scrapyard the cars there are mostly newer, lower mileage and less cosmetically challenged than the one I have just arrived in!  There was even an occasion when the scrapyard owner had to advise a would-be punter that the ancient black A6 near the entrance is a customers car and not for breaking.....

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So, the new capacitor arrived and was duly fitted. Chris and I then returned to MiLs house and got the awning mechanically reinstalled in about 20mins. Figuring out the programming and setting the limits took another 15 mins. Job done. Total parts bill £5.50 plus a couple of spade connectors.

Its still working today apparently, so I’m calling it a win :smile:

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  • 3 weeks later...

So the awning has survived extensive testing and still works perfectly.  That's the good news.

However she broke the door on her shower yesterday....... so I got a call.  One of those over-complicated curved things with rollers and slides that is always sticking or unhooking itself and refuses to stay adjusted from one week to the next.

Each of the two doors hang on two, two-wheeled bogies and are located at the bottom by some slider things which are meant to be spring loaded but bind and stick for a pass time.  One bogie had lost both wheels due to its nasty plastic carrier snapping at the axles.  One wheel vanished without trace.....

IMG_2471.jpg

Complete un-busted one.....

Not really bodge-able without significant time/effort, so I hit the internet to find a replacement. 

Problem number one:  I know the make of screen but not the model and there are HUNDREDS of variations out there

Problem number two: I've finally found an industry that takes the piss on parts prices even more than bicycle makers.... :mad:  First find was £ 210 for a full set of the all bogies (4) and sliders (4).  I only want one bogie......  Next I found a single bogie for £ 55.60....... really?!  But then the retail price of the whole shower unit (the tray is part of it!) is £ 1,500 !!! :ohmy:

So after giving myself a stern talking to I found one on ebay for £ 32.50 and clicked buy it now......  Got my favourite (only) SiL status to consider after all!

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agree with everyone here its much more satisfying to fix stuff than just throw it away.
I did give up with our dishwasher just before Christmas, I had repaired it 4 times for leaks and damaged wires (thanks to a escaped mouse that the cat had brought in to the kitchen). The final leak was between the plastic lower housing and the SS case, I think it was the first bit put in when it was made, tried silicon and even added some weight to the anti flood float switch to make it less sensitive... but had to give up. Shame as it was only 7 seven years old.

And I have to admit to replacing our washing machine this week again only 7 years old but had a earth leakage fault that was tripping the kitchen RCBO (probably a capacitor in the SMPSU). My excuse is that we had just come back from a holiday in the campervan so had lots of washing and I am in the middle of redoing our bathroom.... Still frustrating to dump something that mostly worked fine...
I wish the manufactures were forced to publish technical documents on the appliances then it would make repairs so much easier. If you want to move to a more sustainable society then the manufactures need to help but then again there is no profit for them in getting stuff repaired....

mike

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Cost can indicate  quality.     We had expensive kitchen units fitted and they supplied a dishwasher.   I didn't recognise the maker, but assumed that it was a 'direct-to-fitter' one.   Endless problems.  Valves stuck and it flooded, drains blocked and it flooded, and it refused to work on occasions as well.   Eventually, we bought a Bosch replacement, and that has never given a single problem!

JOhn

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Kitchen fitter companies are mostly theiving bandits and their fitters are animals. Our built in one is a Siemens machine but the basest of specs and rather less effective than the stand-alone Bosch we had before we moved here.

Our Bosch washing machine has now done 12 years. It’s definitely past it’s prime. However, in that time it’s only had to have a couple of enemas ( it can’t digest safety pins reliably), a set of motor brushes and a set of drum bearings. That last job was real cow as it involves splitting the drum. It also turned out, having put it all back together that the main source of the noise and vibration is the knackered dampers. Changing those involves splitting the drum too and I’m not doing that again!

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Couldn't agree more with all of the above. Constantly staggered by the stuff I see discarded at the (non) recycling centre.

Not on the scale of Nick and others, but just decided to rehabilitate my 30 year old bike to pedal over to the where the TR is garaged (its as quick as driving). All fine except that neither of the gear shifters would shift. Consulted my friends Google and YouTube. Six videos! Solution was a dousing in WD40 to loosen the congealed and aged grease followed by a squirt of 1 in 3. All functioning like new. As I was doing this spotted the youngest daughter about to toss a fan heater 'that kept shutting down' into the bin. A quick blast with her hair dryer to dislodge a load of fluff and dust. Again, all functioning well. She owes me a beer!

Miles

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2 hours ago, MilesA said:

As I was doing this spotted the youngest daughter about to toss a fan heater 'that kept shutting down' into the bin. A quick blast with her hair dryer to dislodge a load of fluff and dust. Again, all functioning well. She owes me a beer!

Miles

Miles

Owes you a beer?

Either you have no grasp of the rules of parenthood, or I misinterpreted them over 40 years ago.

 

John

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