Saturday, February 25, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fixit in Fremont: April 1

We held Fixit Clinic CXXV (125) at the frightful Fremont Library on Halloween, 2015 and saw some scary appliances...

Including this terminator-like skeletal sewing machine (pretty scary looking, but we fixed it.)


We're happy to report that we're returning for an encore Fixit Clinic CCII (202) on April 1, where we hope to see many other things "spring" back to life in the spirit of the season.



(See photos of Fixit Clinic CXXV (125) at the Fremont Library here: https://goo.gl/photos/Sp7q1RZmKbWP2DXU6)


Hope to see you there; costume optional. But do follow the instructions below and register so we know you're coming.

Fixit Clinic CCII (202) Fremont Library

Returning to the Fremont Library: we look forward to seeing you at this Fixit Clinic!
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Celebrating repair through do-it-together hands-on STEM-oriented fix-n-learn community-based discovery and disassembly: you actively participate in the disassembly, troubleshooting, and repair of your item so that you leave fully empowered to share your new-found confidence and insight with your friends, neighbors, and the community at large.

So bring your broken, non-functioning things -- electronics, appliances, computers, toys, sewing machines, bicycles, fabric items, etc.-- for assessment, disassembly, and possible repair. We'll provide workspace, specialty tools, and guidance to help you disassemble and troubleshoot your item. Whether we fix it or not, you'll learn more about how it was manufactured and how it worked.
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WHAT: Fixit Clinic CCII (202) Fremont Main Library
WHEN: Saturday, Apr 01 1PM-4PM
WHERE: Fremont Main Library, 2400 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont, CA 94538
HOW: Register at http://goo.gl/qTzh9J then
- Bring your broken item with all parts necessary to recreate the symptoms (carry-in only: no oversize items)
- Bring any parts and tools you already own that might be helpful (e.g. hand tools, sewing supplies)
- Come ready to describe what’s wrong and what you’ve tried
- Come ready to learn and to share your knowledge with others
WHO: All ages welcome: a family-friendly event: accompanied children are heartily invited! 
COST: Free!
WHY: To make friends, learn and teach how to fix things, and have fun!

More into on Fixit Clinic at www.fixitclinic.org

New Fixit Coaches always welcome: are you a handywoman or handyman and handy kid, or wannabe or junior handyperson, tinkerer or sewer? Sign up here: http://goo.gl/xS1MRK

Fixit Clinic at a Brewery?

The San Diego Fixit Clinic will be hosting a series of
Fixit Clinics at the Second Change Beer Company.



Image may contain: one or more people

Are We Going Down The (TV) Tubes?

Here's an excellent exposé on the CRT demanufacturing crisis. Among the many quotes of note: "The CRT mess, the industry says, has been caused by a fundamental refusal by society to acknowledge that recycling is an expensive proposition." and "...newer electronics are more difficult to recycle than CRTs, not easier."

More evidence that repair, coupled with thoughtful manufacturing and consumption, is the most sustainable approach. As consumers: we need to take into consideration that if things we bring into our lives are not designed to be demanufactured there's a long-lasting cost to the environment. To paraphrase Patagonia's Director of Sustainability: "There are very few things that we consume [that is, that manufacturers make for us to consume] that don’t cost the environment more than what we can pay back. Making something last for a long time to reduce the need for replacement is an core environmental value."

I wonder how Europe is handling the recycling of their CRTs?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fixit Clinic CXCIV (194) Castro Valley Library

Wow, we had a hectic but satisfying day at the Castro Valley Library, our fourth event there. Among the highlights:

In solidarity with the womens' marches today we repaired this side view mirror with appropriately-themed duct tape (we and the owner understand this isn't a permanent fix, just enough to get her to the repair shop.)


This lamp socket has a built in dimmer that went bad (see metal shard at bottom), we sent the owner to the hardware store for a replacement.
The 3.5mm jack into these headphones had de-soldered from the circuit board inside the earpiece, we were able to re-solder it.

See more photos from Fixit Clinic CXCIV (194) at the Castro Valley Library here: https://goo.gl/photos/1WMnwA3nc5ckqMyj9

Another great event at a great library: always glad to be there!




Monday, December 26, 2016

A Switch, a Switch, my Kingdom for a Switch

High-end Panasonic NB-G110P Quartz Element Toaster Oven: it is well designed for a toaster oven in that the pushbutton power switch is low voltage, indirectly activating a solid state relay that energizes the heating elements. But it occasionally wouldn't energize the heating elements unless you tapped the power switch lightly.
It was an easy disassembly, the circuit board is cleanly laid out, and Panasonic makes parts available (hurray for them). The low quality electro-mechanical pushbutton power switch (SW15) is the one thing wrong, yet is only available by ordering an entire circuit board for about the price of a whole new toaster oven.



In this instance the switch was disassembled, cleaned and adjusted and reassembled, but not without tiny springs and other internal switch parts flying around and several hours of fussing and cussing with surgical tweezers: not for the faint of heart; soldering in a new switch would've taken a fraction of the time. It's working again, but it feels like a Pyrrhic victory. Despite being well designed this toaster oven (like many other things) turned out to be only as good as its weakest link, which in this case turned out to be its low quality pushbutton power switch.



NOTE TO Panasonic (and other manufacturers):
1) have component-level parts available (or provide information on and access to component providers)
2) Use a durable, high quality power switch (after all, that's the switch that's going to be used the most) OR design future devices so the switch is easily serviceable (or even unnecessary.)


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLXXXVI (186) Dublin Public Library


We had four Fixit Clinics in California yesterday: Salinas, Huntington Beach, Newark, and Dublin. Our Dublin Fixit Clinic was held at the Dublin Public Library, graciously hosted by Branch Manager Lee Jouthas. Among the highlights:

This Oster blender needed a $3 part that we ordered from eBay:


We had the outdoor space to work on this almost new lawnmower, we checked fuel and spark but couldn't get it to start.


This vaporizer's motor was corroded and shot.


More photos from Fixit Clinic can be found on Google Photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/zYgvMfGehVsYU2GX6