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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I know we live in largely a throw away society. That is somewhat ok with me because a lot of how my house has got ahead is by making use of what others have tossed.

Some of the issue is not having the skill to fix things. But the way you build skills is to try to fix something you are already thinking about tossing.

And I know that not all have the same skill set to repair things. But if you don't, hit youtube, because 99.9% of the time someone on the site has tried to fix something similar, and you can learn and see what the job involves.

Last weekend a pal of my 21yo dropped off a circa 1997 a/v receiver, and four stereo speakers that they had no use for, and had problems with.

The a/v receiver's V part is technically obsolete, with only baseband analog video functionality. Missing remote, but I don't see a need for it at the moment. But it has fine phono, cd and DVD audio inputs, and the fm tuner section works just fine. It is now destined for my garage sound system that also drives audio to the speakers that surround the patio ( which were also free finds). Right now the radio input comes from a found circa 1975 clock radio that does not have the greatest FM tuner. And it will have a $60 bluetooth receiver connected to it so my wife can be a dj from her smart phine when that mood strikes her.

Now on to the four speakers. Two where not worth looking at - one driver in a ported cabinet that can't weigh more than 6 pounds each. The other pair however were worth a stab at rehab. They are Realistic Optimus T-100, a end of the 70's stereo era speaker design that was not afraid to be made from 3/4" panels, and to be 3' tall. Tweeters were fine but mushy, only 1 of 4 woofers were working. Time to play detective.

Ohm meter out, pull the wonky 8" speakers out, and probe about. Design was two woofers in parallel, so with one working I could compare the three dead guys to it. 16 ohms. Yes, makes sense if two in parallel. Find continuity across voice coils with needle probes poking the voice coil connections on the cones. All ring out good; no sign of any scratchy's when moving the cone -good news - no burned windings that often show up as detached and scratching.

No on the the finicky job of fixing poor flex lead connections. 40 years of movement and I find only 1 or 2 of the 30 or so very fine leads in the flex wire not broken at the cone end connection. Tricky to solder good part on but doable with patience and needle nose pliers as an aid.

Then pull the tweeter control, spray cleaner to combat any winding oxidation, dig into the junque bins in my work shop to find compatible bipolar capacitors to renew the crossover. Over time these crossover components loose their zing, and can end up passing less energy, or only higher than design frequencies to the tweets. So renewal without testing while the case was open seemed prudent.

Put it all together, tin some new lead ends and power them up, and they sound just fine. Wipe cases down to remove finger print smudges, and any mars, then coat in tung oil to make the nice veneer really look good again.

Audition to some orchestral recordings, and man they sound just fine. And you know what, for great sound 40 year old speakers are just as good as any speaker sold today.

From my text you see stuff I know you may not. But I know from trying and learning from similar efforts in the past.
 

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Some things are worth fixing but many things aren't.

I learned to sew and I was really good at it. I wore homemade clothes.
But now you can buy new clothes for less than the price of the cloth.
Try to make a pair of Jeans or Pants like Costco for $20. You simply can't.
 

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My brother was a recycler. His main product was bicycles. He would collect broken ones on garbage day and make one good one and sell on craigslist. He also had an extensive stereo system he had resurrected from discards. And a collection of old phones. This was a retirement hobby.
 

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I always try to fix my stuff and I'm successful about 90% of the time. I recently fixed my plasma TV. It was not exceptionally difficult, but it was time consuming. Plus I was without a TV for several weeks while I figured out the problem and waited for the parts to arrive. That's not a problem for me -- I often go several days or a week without watching TV -- but I can see how it might be a problem for some people.

First I replaced a bulging, leaking capacitor. That didn't solve the problem, but it needed to be replaced either way. I then re-soldered some other components that I suspected might not be making a good connection -- but no luck. I was eventually able to narrow the problem down to a single circuit board, but despite testing with my multi-meter I was unable to figure out which component or area of the board was causing the problem. I knew something was wrong with it, so I decided to buy a replacement board from eBay. That did the trick! I saved the old board for parts just in case I eventually figure out what's wrong with it. The total cost for everything was about $60 -- a lot cheaper than a new TV.

I think people are losing the skills and interest in fixing things as we become a more urban society. If you're living in a condo chances are you don't have a workshop, very many tools, or much room to keep anything that doesn't work. It quickly becomes "junk" that is just getting in the way.
 

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Branding has gotten so extreme, and knowledge of how anything works has gotten so scant, that nothing old is worth repairing unless you can somehow do that without compromising the brand integrity and not just turning it into a "generic thing".

Good luck fixing or producing anything like a speaker, furniture, clothing, etc. to sell without a brand that has cache. It will sell for far less that the cost of its parts, even if it's brand new and your craftsmanship is leagues above a brand manufacturer (questionable, but possible). The buyer will think he's doing you a favor by taking your junk away and giving you any money at all.
 

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My throwaway item is printers. The wireless printers work great for a while then they become difficult. To get them to print sometimes I have to pull the plug or shutoff the modem and restart. In some cases that doesn't work and I just give up then a week later it decides to start printing. Am I alone with this problem? My solution is to buy another printer until it starts acting up again.
 

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My throwaway item is printers. The wireless printers work great for a while then they become difficult. To get them to print sometimes I have to pull the plug or shutoff the modem and restart. In some cases that doesn't work and I just give up then a week later it decides to start printing. Am I alone with this problem? My solution is to buy another printer until it starts acting up again.
I haven't had any issue with my Brother wifi printers. I had my first for like 10 years, finally the document feeder stopped working so I replaced it, and so far so good with the new one (about 4 years so far).
 

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My throwaway item is printers. The wireless printers work great for a while then they become difficult. To get them to print sometimes I have to pull the plug or shutoff the modem and restart. In some cases that doesn't work and I just give up then a week later it decides to start printing. Am I alone with this problem? My solution is to buy another printer until it starts acting up again.
I had the same problem.

I bought a colour laser about 12 years ago.
Scanner, doublesider, networked, wonderful, excessive.

Haven't bought a printer, and I just use 3rd party toner. I've likely saved a pile in printers, ink and frustration.
Plus it prints way faster, and double sided.
 

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I have had good luck with wireless inkjet printers, one up north the other down south used 6 months each.
 

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My old Hp 820 lasted for 15 plus years. Amazing service and it still worked when I discarded it. Same with my Hp 8500 photosmart printer. And it still works.

Desktop is 11/12 years old. New system disk and free u/g to W10 and it is like new. Hp scanner is 20 years old. Still functions butI no longer use it. Our $75 cd player is at least 15 years old. Same with our 40" Samsung TV even though we added a 65" Samsung four years ago.

I view value from the perspective of utility.

My experience with electronics....if it works for the first few months chances are you are good to go. We have rec'd incredible value/utility.

My challenge...I hate shopping. I try to do a little research, buy something with a good track record, and keep it as long as possible. Guess that is why we drive a 2006 Accord and a 2007 Solara....and plan to do so for the foreseeable future.
 

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My old Hp 820 lasted for 15 plus years. Amazing service and it still worked when I discarded it. Same with my Hp 8500 photosmart printer. And it still works.

Desktop is 11/12 years old. New system disk and free u/g to W10 and it is like new. Hp scanner is 20 years old. Still functions butI no longer use it. Our $75 cd player is at least 15 years old. Same with our 40" Samsung TV even though we added a 65" Samsung four years ago.

I view value from the perspective of utility.

My experience with electronics....if it works for the first few months chances are you are good to go. We have rec'd incredible value/utility.

My challenge...I hate shopping. I try to do a little research, buy something with a good track record, and keep it as long as possible. Guess that is why we drive a 2006 Accord and a 2007 Solara....and plan to do so for the foreseeable future.
My son plays Fortnite at near competitive levels on an I7-3370 with a GTX1060 3g (we upgraded the video card).
I'm mixed on upgrading him to an SSD, or a whole new computer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My web surfing laptop as I am presently typing on is a Compaq, co-branded with HP, so was made just after HP bought Compaq, so almost 20 years ago. Formerly my machine from the office. No web cam - no big deal to me. Last machine in the house with a CD/DVD drive. Has a LAN port, and I use it when everyone else in the house is consuming wifi bandwidth

I did not turn it back in as next one I got there at work lacked a built in serial port that we used at the time to interrogate some field devices. Run W7, now on a SSD. Nags me that it needs activation - was network licensed, but I can live with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So this weekend as part of sat am dumpster survey route I usually do at least weekly, I came up with two Yamaha AV receivers. One HTR-6080 circa 2007 and one HTR-4063 circa 2010.

Kinda nice since I run a 6063 circa 2010 as the living room av rig, and have the remote for it.

Neither would power up. Would click and sometimes briefly light up. Web says look to a bad capacitor that provides power to the standby power supply that stays on to listen for the remote to ask it to power all up. So swap one polyester cap on one rig, and two in the second rig. One would power right up, the other needed a reset sequence to reset past error code. So far both will work fine on AM and FM tuner mode driving a set of headphones.

Still to test the HDMI inputs and other video inputs. These are vulnerable to a common failure on the main video processor chip which is a big BGA type chip. BGA mean Ball Grid Array. A ton of dots of solder on the chip bottom that are carefully melted in manufacturing to make connections to the PC boards, and sometimes with thermal cycles of the rig can go flaky. A sometimes fix is to pull the board and bake and cool in the kitchen oven overnight.

I have a couple of Harmony One universal programmable remotes I have rehabbed sitting around ready to run them if they end up fully working
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yesterday afternoon fix.

A Coleman two burner white gas stove. You know; the one that looks sorta like a suit case, with the carry handle once it is folded up. This one was found on the curb at a place that looks like it is being renewed after an estate sold it. Picked up a bunch of aluminum extrusion, and two heft old motors, that will go to the scrap yard, and an over the air HDTV receiver that at first glance appears to be working.

I have rehabbed lots of these stoves in my over 12 years as a Boy Scout quartermaster for the local troop. We have about 10 of them, and other troops when they heard I fix them trade off their sick ones often.Not usually hard to fix, just be methodical and have an idea how they work.

I guess this one was made ate 50's. Inside paper label in lid says Coleman, with a tag line Prevent Forest Fires. Newer ones have the inside of the lid full of a plastic sticker with bilingual lighting and care instructions.

This one has an old style bronze coloured round cylindrical tank, which predate later cheaper to make stamped weird shaped two piece steel tanks. Pull old aluminum foil lining the bottom, find some corrosion. Test the pump - it was dry, but will build pressure, and squirt gas. Tank was about 1/3 full. Pull the pump, and get a drop or two of motor oil massaged into the old leather. Drop of oil into the sleeve, and then reassemble a much happier renewed and ready pump. Check fill plug- is getting old and prone to leak - will order a new gasket on next parts order with OldColemanParts, a great company. For time being swish a drop of oil around to help seal, and reassemble. Pump to build pressure, stick nozzle into stove burner, and light stove. Old fuel burns fine, no leaks. Light second burner, it works too.

So after stove cooled wash it with a mild warm water solution containing Fantastic, and use a nylon pot scrubber. Leave to dry, then after spray all non burner parts with Krown rust inhibitor. Leave for a few hours, then wipe up excess oil with a disposable cotton rag. Store stove a s a backup cooking source into the garage. Might be able to trade with anther Scouter I know who collects and really restores old stoves and lanterns -like strip and colour match the oem paint.

Yes intermittently about half and hour of work, but why not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Second yesterday fix - a portable humidifier my 21yo dragged home.

Looks to be made in 2014 from plastic stamping codes, has good not too salt crusted wick. Fan would not run. Start to disassemble - not made to be easy to fix. About 24 screws later can get to first junction. Continuity tester buzzes to say cord is good, and low water shut off switch is working right.

Six more screws and the top control deck is open. Buzz out hygrometer switch and find the open point causing problems. NC part of switch, not used, in this design works, but NO contact no continuity regardless of knob adjustment.

Disassemble that control to get the switch guts accessible, and once they were, soak with sprayed DeOxit contact cleaner meant for this sort of thing, and exercise the plunger lots of times to get the oxidized contacts to rub so the cleaner can work deeper. Finally get good continuity, and switch to ohms. Once under one ohm, basically test lead resistance, knew the cleaner had done its job. Reassemble, and now the fan runs.

Ready for putting into service. We use reverse osmosis filtered water to fill ours, and doing so we find the wicks take a lot longer to crust up with mineral salts. Once they do, a soak in what starts as a pretty warm sink from mostly hot tap water overnight will redissolve the salts and let the wick work better for longer before springing for a replacement, usually purchased on CTC money that has accrued.
 
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