Personal computing discussed

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SecretSquirrel
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:09 pm

ludi wrote:
Chuckaluphagus wrote:
As an aside: the stereo was bought used 14 years ago for $20. Was manufactured in 1992 and has been in relatively constant use since then. Still works flawlessly. If you open the case (for instance, in order to clean out a disgusting felt mat of cat fur), it's made entirely of (by modern standards) relatively enormous, user-serviceable through-hole electronic components, and everything is clearly labeled on the circuit boards. It was clearly designed to be repaired. I think we've gone a little too far away from that.

In 1992, that thing probably cost the equivalent of $349 now and the computers five shelves over cost the equivalent of $3499 and also had through-hole components.

As much as it pains a repair tech like myself to see the world+dog fall to the siren call of SMT and miniaturization, that same $349 now will buy a six-channel receiver or a decent laptop computer or a good smartphone from last year's models.


$391.10, based on the original MSRP of $230. I still have my 1998 vintage JVC receiver in service for my office stereo as well. There is some serious truth to the "they don't make them like they used to" saying.

Surprisingly, neither cat tries to sleep on top of mine, though there isn't as much room above it as their is on yours.

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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 7:16 pm

My old Scott receiver and my wife's Sony turntable (both circa 1980) were used to rip much of my old vinyl collection to WAV around 15 years ago.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Aug 30, 2018 7:59 am

Chuckaluphagus wrote:
I think you're right about all of that, and I'm glad that miniaturization has led to much more powerful and much cheaper devices. But I look at this stereo receiver (and I truly don't need more than 2 channels to listen to music or play games), 26 years old and doing exactly the same job it always has; or I look at my Thinkpads (a T420, then a T430) from earlier this decade, both of which are extremely capable machines while also being easy to upgrade and repair (and I know that because I did both); and then I look at ultrabooks with everything bonded or soldered in place, with the express result that it becomes a device that must be disposed of if anything breaks; and I think that we've suddenly hit a point in the curve where I'm feeling unease.

</grumpy old man shaking his cane>

I had a similar experience earlier this week. I opened up my 6-month-old MacBook Pro this morning at work and fired it up, and noticed the keyboard back light wasn't lit. And when I went to log in the keyboard didn't work. Nor did the track pad. I got it working with an external keyboard and mouse, and started the support process with Apple, they have me try a few things and confirm it's nonfunctional, so they send me to a service center. I assume they're just going to crack it open and re-seat a wire and send me on my way.

I get there and they confirm the keyboard and track pad don't work, then go "Ok that will be about 5 business days". :o I ask them if they're going to work on it and their reply is basically that there's only one main board on the entire laptop with only 3 wires connecting anything, and it's 99% of the time just a fault with the motherboard. So they are just going to send it in and odds are I'll just get either a new motherboard in my old shell, or a complete replacement unit.

All in all, the process was extremely smooth, but it sucks having my daily driver gone for what's probably going to be over a week. Luckily my old laptop is still hanging on, but going from a 2.9 GHz Kaby Lake with lots of turbo headroom back to a 1.7 GHz Lynnfield that can barely sustain it's base clock hurts (not to mention having to get used to Windows again).
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:35 pm

Fixed my office chair this morning. I have a 2004 era Herman Miller Aeron that I love. I've actually replaced the main reclining mechanism in the chair about five years ago. Last weekend, I went to move it an the end of the pneumatic tube popped out of the bottom. Amazon Prime to the rescue. Parts arrived last night and this morning I put everything back together. Good as new!

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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:47 pm

This weekend was full of fixing...

Started off with the refrigerator in my daughter's house. She sent me a text, a couple Friday's ago, wondering if I knew any reason the fridge would be not cold. :cry: Had service guy come out on Monday. He spent over two hours getting all the ice of the evaporator coil. It had so iced up that the the evaporator fan couldn't move air into the fridge section. They wanted $475 to replace the control board since the compressor was running continuously, and wouldn't get the parts in till Friday. I thanked them, and paid them for the service call, then headed over to Amazon and ordered the board for $65. When I was up visiting her this weekend, I popped out the old board, and put in the new. Took all of 15 minutes to do and the only use of a screw driver was to release the plastic latches that held the controls in place.

Next up was her dryer, which was screeching horribly when running. Stripped it apart and found one of the rollers to be rusting and just in bad shape. It had a fair amount of play on the shaft on which it fits. I cleaned all the rust and gunk off an lubed the bearing and shaft as a temporary fix. It still has lot of play, but it now spins freely and do the dryer doesn't screech. Today I ordered two replacement rollers, new shafts, a new belt, new front bearing pads, and new drum seals . The tensioner idler pulley appears to be in good shape, so I'm letting that one stay. Otherwise, when I replace the bad roller, I'm replacing pretty much all the mechanical stuff that can wear out. Total cost, about $85, and that includes the cost of a pop rivet tool that I'm taking the opportunity to add to my tool collection. The front bearing pads are held in place by pop rivets.

Sunday was out to my parents. They live way out in the country and have a broadcast TV antenna. Mid last week, both TVs in the house stopped receiving any stations. Being out in the middle of nowhere and with me heading back to Texas, Sunday afternoon, on Saturday I went to Lowes and loaded up on the various bits and pieces that could go bad between the TV and the antenna -- new F connectors, new coax, new amplifier, etc. Also picked up a coax continuity tester, on a whim. That turned out to be a really good purchase. Got to the house and started eliminating potential causes. Disconnected the branch the splitter and ran the antenna feed direct to the upstairs TV, no signal. So the problem was somewhere between the power injector and the antenna. Unplugged the feed from the power injector, plugged the remote unit for the continuity tester, and headed up on the roof. Nothing. The F connector on the inside end of the coax was a bit loose, so I replaced it out of an abundance of caution, to no effect. The only thing thing between the inside end and the antenna end of the coax was a pass through grounding block. I disconnected the house side and found my problem.... The center conductor was pretty much missing. When I disconnected the antenna side of the ground block, I found it's center conductor completely missing and the end of the foam dielectric melted and blackened. At some point in the past, a nearby lightning strike had required the grounding block to do it's thing. I put stripped back the coax and put new connectors on. Lo and behold! Channels. Oh. Guess what I didn't pick up when I was a Lowe's on Saturday? A replacement grounding block. :oops: So, we I go back up to do the daughter's dryer, I get to go out to the parents and put in a new grounding block...

Like I said, this weekend was full of fixing...

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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:51 pm

I'm upgrading my 200 gallon aquarium pump this week. I had a Pan World 100PX which nominally pumps 22L/min at 5m head. Its gotten weak after ~20 years of use. I bought a Pan World 250PS which will pump 100L/min at 5m head and 72L/min at 10m head which is my conservative estimate for the resistance of all my aquarium plumbing. I got all the bits to partially bypass my 3' x 4" fluidized crushed coral bed which is plumbed with 3/4" pipe. I have 1" pipe for my 3'x4" pumice bed, 1'x2" UV sterilizer, and tank drains and returns. I have a gate valve to create some back pressure to force a portion of the flow through the fluidized bed and pass the rest for the pumice and UV filters. I'll be doing the fitting and gluing tonight and then swap in the new parts some evening this week.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:55 pm

Another weekend, another pair of ancient sink shut-off valves replaced with quarter-turn ball types. Two more sinks to go.

This would be a faster job except the previous units were installed back when copper compression rings were still a thing. Since copper compressing against copper causes both pieces to give, the pipe is left with a crimp that you gotta cut back or the new brass ring will never seal. In this case, one of the stems required a sweat-soldered extension inside the vanity. Had a fire extinguisher handy, sure, but that's a fidgety bit of work.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:55 pm

I loathe compression fittings.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:15 am

I've had to pump hundreds of gallons of water out of two different basements because of stupid compression fittings. Now they're on my list of things that can't be in a house I live in.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:19 am

Agreed. PVC for me wherever possible.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:06 am

Yeah, I've gotten to where I only use PVC (foam core) on drains and copper and solder on pressurized fittings, plus threaded, gasketed and steel-braided hoses for things like sinks and toilets.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:50 pm

Maybe experience varies with local water quality? Everywhere I've lived the water has either been excessively soft or slightly hard, but never corrosive. My dad and I have both replaced compression fittings that were decades old in some cases, no issues in the fitting, just the usual valve failure. I've had to redo a few brass compression rings because they didn't seat correctly the first time, but chalk that up to my own inexperience.

OTOH, I've known of a couple examples where corrosive water ate through copper pipes, so I can imagine it would be just as bad for copper and brass fittings.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:04 pm

My poor history with compression fittings mostly revolves around the brass ring around a soft plastic pipe, mostly for leading up to toilets or sinks. Every time the water is shut off abruptly (single handle kitchen sinks especially) the water hammer would very slightly push the pipe out of the fitting. After a month or so of that, the plastic pipe would wiggle its way out of the rigid pipe and start spraying water around. While I was out of town. :evil:

My area has somewhat hard and neutral water (Michigan) so the only time I've seen an issue with copper is due to either poor solder joints (due to me not getting the pipe completely dry) or galvanic corrosion mating them up with old steel pipe.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:31 pm

SuperSpy wrote:
My poor history with compression fittings mostly revolves around the brass ring around a soft plastic pipe, mostly for leading up to toilets or sinks.

Oh, yuck. That's not what they're for, the brass ring is supposed to seal to a rigid metal pipe. There's a "shark-bite" quick-connect style fitting rated for PVC and PEX attachments (although it also works on copper).

I actually used one on our master toilet because I couldn't cut back enough pipe to get a standard brass type to seal after pulling the original, and the water tap location was too risky to resolder without pulling the stool first. The thing seemed worryingly loose after I installed it but what I discovered is that the seal mechanism actually bites harder into the pipe while under pressure.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:25 am

Ah so it was shoddy plumbing instead of just bad design. That makes more sense. I had it on two separate houses, and after getting bit on the first house, when I saw it on the second that was about the first thing in the trash can when I moved in.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:23 am

On further research I see there is a type of PEX compression transition that uses a split brass ring. However, the fitting is designed for the job with a nipple and internal O-ring. Installed correctly, the PEX itself would have to fail before the fitting would pop off. I don't think there's a rated metal compression to CPVC pipe stem connection, only the other way around.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:50 pm

The stuff reminded me of ice maker line (that ~3/8" white translucent plastic). There was nothing inside the fitting to seal it, just a tapered shaft with a screw fitting over the top that was supposed to pinch the brass fitting. I've seen installations like that with copper but never with plastic, so I'm guessing it was just an el-cheapo hack job by the stereotypical handyman.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:57 pm

SuperSpy wrote:
The stuff reminded me of ice maker line (that ~3/8" white translucent plastic). There was nothing inside the fitting to seal it, just a tapered shaft with a screw fitting over the top that was supposed to pinch the brass fitting. I've seen installations like that with copper but never with plastic, so I'm guessing it was just an el-cheapo hack job by the stereotypical handyman.

I've had to replace a coupling on ours that started leaking. 3/8 was too big, 1/4 was too small. The stupid thing is 5/16. $17 dollars later... And it still isn't a good fit. I'd much prefer something that had a ferril on the inside that would then screw into. Alss.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:32 pm

You can buy screw on (with rubber gasket) hoses that attach to the same threaded section as the locking nut on those fittings.

This isn't the exact part as it depends on what fittings you have, but those kind of lines are what I use to fix the shoddy supply lines.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sat Sep 29, 2018 9:11 am

Finally got around to patching a couple of shingles on the roof. I think some of the nails had worked loose as some drips were visible during the really heavy storms. Took a quart of roofing patch to about 4 ft^2 around each one and now it should be good to go.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:53 pm

The timer on my parents sprinkler system blew. We had been wanting to replace it with a simple switch anyway. Got the dipole switch, had to figure out how to wire that in with 240V. That was fun. It didn’t help that we are using 14/2 to extend from where the circuit comes out of the ground conduit up to the switch so I had to wire the green/red/gray to white/black/ground to go to the switch and then back to the pump. All done now, other than replacing the plastic outdoor box that melted when the timer blew. I’m pretty sure it was a lizard that made its way into the box and shorted across 240V. :o
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:27 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
The timer on my parents sprinkler system blew. We had been wanting to replace it with a simple switch anyway. Got the dipole switch, had to figure out how to wire that in with 240V. That was fun. It didn’t help that we are using 14/2 to extend from where the circuit comes out of the ground conduit up to the switch so I had to wire the green/red/gray to white/black/ground to go to the switch and then back to the pump. All done now, other than replacing the plastic outdoor box that melted when the timer blew. I’m pretty sure it was a lizard that made its way into the box and shorted across 240V. :o

Did you tape-wrap each end to make the color codes match? The NEC typically frowns on doing this with conductors #6 AWG or smaller (i.e., which are readily available in the correct colors sets) except when identifying a switched conductor or neutral in a switch return, but at least it gives someone in the future a chance of figuring it out without blowing themselves up.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:05 am

ludi wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
The timer on my parents sprinkler system blew. We had been wanting to replace it with a simple switch anyway. Got the dipole switch, had to figure out how to wire that in with 240V. That was fun. It didn’t help that we are using 14/2 to extend from where the circuit comes out of the ground conduit up to the switch so I had to wire the green/red/gray to white/black/ground to go to the switch and then back to the pump. All done now, other than replacing the plastic outdoor box that melted when the timer blew. I’m pretty sure it was a lizard that made its way into the box and shorted across 240V. :o

Did you tape-wrap each end to make the color codes match? The NEC typically frowns on doing this with conductors #6 AWG or smaller (i.e., which are readily available in the correct colors sets) except when identifying a switched conductor or neutral in a switch return, but at least it gives someone in the future a chance of figuring it out without blowing themselves up.

No I didn't, but that's a really good idea. Are there pre-made labels/tape for that? It's a total of maybe 2x8' on the 12/2 runs; when we were extending it, that's the wire we had on-hand. It's only 10-amps on 240 with a direct run from the panel to the pump with no other devices on it.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:13 am

I usually just use red electrical tape (which most big box stores sell) or a red paint marker, and just color as much of the exposed white wire as I can so it's obvious to the next poor sap working in the box (which is likely to be me again).
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:21 am

Had fun with a relatively recent whirlpool dishwasher.

It stopped recirculating water so it would fill and empty but not actually wash dishes.
It seemed to following the cycle because it was also opening the soap door and "drying the dishes".
I did some reading and they said it was the heating element or the temp sensor.
Those both passed the continuity test.

So, I got a hold of the tech manual and was able to run the diagnostics.
It said the overflow switch was getting triggered and to check the check-valve.
I got the dish washer out and the check valve was definitely leaving so I cleaned and flushed it and tried again.

Same issue as before so I ran diags again and this time got the error that the recirculating pump was not starting.
So I took the dish washer out for the fourth time and and checked the motor.
The motor turned, it passed continuity and was not shorted.
I hooked it directly to mains power and it spun.

Put it all back together, reinstalled the dish washer and tried running a cycle and it worked just fine.

I have no idea what the final cause was but it is working fine now.

Now the GE Gas dryer is not drying so I have an order of replacement solenoids for the valves on order.
Since it is trying to dry clothes it is either the solenoids or the igniter.
I don't remember if you could see the glow of the igniter under the dryer or not but i don't see it, so I bet the igniter finally went.
I guess we will find out this weekend.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:28 am

SuperSpy wrote:
I usually just use red electrical tape (which most big box stores sell) or a red paint marker, and just color as much of the exposed white wire as I can so it's obvious to the next poor sap working in the box (which is likely to be me again).

Thanks. I'll do that. I need to go back and replace the box anyway, so that's a good time to do it. I'll get some red, green, & grey tape.
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:25 am

Fixed the electric window and central locking on my Golf.

Although the part were cheap, very cheap they don't make it easy!

The plastic clips that hold the glass to the window regulator had just gone brittle with age and as soon as someone tried to open the window it made a crash dive into door. The only good thing about this was that at least it was a nice day, I have had to take car doors apart to wedge the glass up in the snow.

Back to the price of the bits though... How the hell do they make stuff like this so cheap. A complete new window regulator inc shipping was £25 and includes the pressed inner door card that mounts everything.

The central locking bit which had never worked on that car since I got it was only £16.50. The Spline bit I had to by to get the old one off the door cost almost as much.

If you ever had to fix one of these windows yourself all I can say is make sure you have the two most important tools: small hands and x-ray vision. Almost everything has to be done blind or in some small space.
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Sat Oct 06, 2018 7:34 am

Speaking of car repairs, I finished installing the new radio in my Wife's Corolla. The CD reading broke, so I went with ye' ole $25 BT-only head-unit. Went great once I bought the right bracket. Still need to return the wrong one that I had bought initially. I decided to solder the wires on the harnesses instead of the butt-joints. That didn't take long. The longest part was the bolts holding in the factor radio were recessed about 10" behind the console, so I had to go buy new tools: and got an extension and then a hex->1/4" drive so I could use the sockets with my 18V impact versus a ratchet/socket. Oh darn :lol:
 
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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:25 pm

Bah. I finally figured something out that has been bugging me for a few months: starting my kit car.

Note to self - never trust that settings are saved when upgrading firmware on something (even if that is what's supposed to happen). I've been fighting hard starts on the Exocet for a while now, especially when cold. Turns out my starting timing was set at 360 degrees (it was supposed to be 15 degrees or so)...nearly a full cycle after fuel injection. No wonder it kicked back and hated to start when not warm! At 360 degrees it was basically flooding the damn thing every time I started cranking if it didn't fire the time before.

Set at 15 degrees it fires up like stock. I thought it was my cam timing (which is wildly different than stock) but I also upgraded firmware right around the same time so I didn't suspect the settings like I should have.

I'm both happy and sad that it took this long for me to figure it out. It's been months of hard starting and weirdness. :oops:

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Re: Anyone repair anything today?

Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:19 am

At home:
Dishwasher is still working, still have no idea what the issue was.
Dryer not drying turned out to be the igniter.
Replaced the solenoids anyway and ordered a new igniter, dryer is drying again.
Still need to get some time to fix the fridge downstairs. Don't really want to have to do it though... I'd rather just a buy a new one, but wife would rather I try to fix it...
I hate having to be the miracle worker sometimes...

At work:
Found the server drives were badly fragmented so I'm trying to defrag during the day while the backup takes place at night. I've gotten the main server from 85% fragmented and 15% free disk space to 42% fragmented and 17% free.
The wyse thin client that runs the shift buzzer died with a BSOD and I had to find an old machine with a serial port to get the buzzer working again.
I gave a user a newer machine 2 weeks ago, a really nice dell precision 3620 and the intel ssd in it died. Luckily I hadn't reimaged his old machine yet.
First time I've ever seen two ssd's die on the same day. (the thin client has a 16gb sata ssd card in it)
Main machine: Core I7 -2600K @ 4.0Ghz / 16 gig ram / Radeon RX 580 8gb / 500gb toshiba ssd / 5tb hd
Old machine: Core 2 quad Q6600 @ 3ghz / 8 gig ram / Radeon 7870 / 240 gb PNY ssd / 1tb HD

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