BUYING NEW OR FIXING WHAT YOU HAVE: PART I
Creative Solutions Got Things Fixed
I have a hand-held Dymo Labeler that I use to print out labels for file folders, spice bottles, and miscellaneous tags. It uses a simple pop-in tape cartridge to print various sizes of letters on a glossy background. Batteries power the unit or you can purchase an optional plug-in electric charger.
I had not used it for a long time but found need for it recently after building a spice rack for our new pantry. When I turned it on to test it, the message on the screen said printer head was jammed. I found out from my wife that our grand kids had played with it and managed to cause the printer tape inside to wrap around the feeder wheel a multiple number of times.
I looked online for solutions to fix the problem and found none. So it was up to me to find my own solution or toss the unit and buy a new one. Since I hated the idea of throwing an otherwise perfectly good labeler out into the trash, I chose to fix it. As I explored my options, I found an off-the-wall procedure to solve the problem.
When I cut away the loose tape close to the roller head I had a small stub sticking out. I then pushed the “print” button and noticed the feed wheel made one complete revolution and stopped with the stub parked inside the inaccessible part of the roller. So what do I do to get the stub view able when the roller stops?
I decided to try opening the battery compartment and giving myself access to a quick way of removing one of the batteries while the roller was moving. So I pushed the “print” button and watched the roller rotate while having a finger nail hooked onto one of the batteries. When the stub popped out during rotation, I quickly yanked the battery. This stopped the tape from rotating back into its hidden position.
This procedure exposed about 1/4″ of protruding tape that I could cut with scissors. So I repeated it multiple times making about 12 to 15 cuts before I finally freed the wheel of all the jammed tape. This awkward, but “creative solution”, corrected the problem and now the unit works fine. I saved about $25 to $30 over the price of a new unit and gained an extra measure of patience while doing so.
Turning A Sealed Glass Ball Lamp Into A Deco Seashell Lighting Fixture
My wife has longed for a hollow glass lamp that she could take the electric components off off and fill the cavity with an assortment of shells that we have collected over time. Since ready made units are quite expensive, she preferred the DIY route and has been searching for a suitable candidate for quite some time.
The last time we were at our local LOWES home improvement center, she spotted a bare bones flower vase style glass lamp that was in the clearance area of the lighting section of the store. Since it had a sale price tag of only $13, and she wanted me to look at it first before making a decision, she moved the lamp over to a sticker that said $30 so no one would snatch it while she went looking for me.
When I saw it, I helped her choose that lamp thinking it would be a no brained for turning it into a glass table masterpiece. However, the light bulb socket fixture was tied tightly to the box that housed the whole lamp, and I had to assume that it would come off to expose an open throat on top so those seashells could be dropped in like penny’s into a piggy bank.
When I took it out of the box the next day, I was surprised to find out that the whole fixture was not designed to be filled with anything but air. That shocked me because you could see the unsightly electric wire that fed the lamp inside the glass which was quite ugly I might add. After wrestling with all the lamp components, I finally got the thing apart and discovered an acrylic plastic disc glued to the top of the glass lamp covering that throat that I wanted access to.
So, with a combination of lacquer thinner to help break the bond of the glue, and a Japanese finishing saw, to carefully cut into the plastic sideways so that I could free the disc from the throat and insert the shells. When done, I glued the disc back onto the glass with an epoxy adhesive. Then I reassembled the lighting fixture components, added the lamp shade wand and lamp shade and she had her lamp. Voila!
Jeeze! My Chainsaw Won’t Start
I have an expensive Stihl high-performance chain saw that I purchased new for my construction business. I used it to trim foundation pilings for homes I built in swampy areas. It is temperamental when it sits for awhile when not being used and eventually becomes hard to start.
I had it sitting for several years without use in the city. Finally we had a large palm tree fell in our back yard after a horrific windstorm. It needed to be cut up to be hauled out to the street for yard-waste pickup day. I needed the chain saw to be working to get the job done.
I took the saw down to a lawnmower and power equipment repair shop nearby. They installed a carburetor repair kit and and got it running for about $160. A hefty price to pay for lack of proper maintenance.
Recently, in my new country home, I needed it to cut down a tall maple tree growing inches away from a very large oak. I pulled out the chain saw and did get it started initially, but flipped the run switch one notch too far and turned the saw off. After that, it would not restart.
I decided it was flooded and that it might have had some carbon built up inside the cylinders. I went to a nearby power equipment repair shop and bought a new spark plug. Cost was $7.00. The shop personnel also advised me to try starting the saw in the second notch on the switch which would leave the choke slightly open.
I went home and pulled the starting cord several times with the spark plug removed to free the cylinder of excess gas. I also created a gas-fuel mix with high octane fuel and Stihl gas oil additive. After clearing the combustion chamber I installed the new plug and set the switch to the second notch. The saw started right up and I saved possibly $35 to $60 in repair shop fees.
Laptop Computer Longevity Syndrome
I have a Hewitt Packard laptop computer my son got for me back in 2012. It is now old enough for me to consider a replacement. I chose not to get another one and opted for having it updated.
Back in 2006 I helped my son start his computer repair business in Upstate New York. In exchange, I only asked him to either help me with computer repairs, virus attacks, and software installations or with new computer purchases and the required setup of said units.
Recently I have had issues. The computer case was cracked, the cooling fan was making noise, and the hard drive needed attention. On his next visit to our home in Florida, he did some upgrades. After replacing the cooling fan, he installed a solid state (1 terabyte) digital hard drive. He also obtained a new case to replace the one that cracked. Cost about $345. An equivalent new computer would cost about $1.200.
Since everything downloads quickly and memory is far more than I need, any updated technology is not an issue. I guess the motherboard or screen could fail at some point in time, but everything is working fine for now, so I will continue to use what I have.
Since then, I have learned a lot about taking computers apart and fixing them myself. I recently had to go in and reconnect the wires that control the WiFi operation in the laptop. A repair manual was available to show me how and I accomplished the task without any problems. Awesome!
Apps Can Track Your Data
You can find Apps that store repair information on your electronic devices. One I found is Centriq. It allows me to provide info about any appliance, electronic gadget, or equipment to their add-new-item slot manually, or by taking a photo of the model and serial number tag.
Then a day later, I get pics of common repair items, where to get them, and user and operator manuals. You can view the manuals page by page and fix many items this way by yourself. You can also diagnose operational issues before calling a repairman or taking something in to be fixed.
I realize most people are technologically challenged. But with some patience, perseverance, and instructional materials, a lot of money can be saved fixing things yourself. At least you can give it a try. It’s your money. Might as well use it wisely.
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!