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

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fixit Clinic Salinas Saturday!

We're having our inaugural Salinas Fixit Clinic this Saturday Nov 5: please tell your friends in the area! It's one of four California Fixit Clinics we're holding that day: the other locations are: Huntington Beach, Newark, and Dublin.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLXXXII (182) Newark Library

In the second of three monthly Fixit Clinics at the Newark Library we had a full complement of sewers and fixers. The Newark Library already has a sewing program and invited the sewers to participate in the Fixit Clinic. We got a bunch of things repaired:

Getting things ship-shape for the upcoming holiday season:


Everyone's fascinated by this Singer Featherweight sewing machine, it's a classic:


And we accomplished this epic Samsung Galaxy S5 repair!


More photos from Fixit Clinic CLXXXII (182) at the Newark Library can be found here: https://goo.gl/photos/QvaW2FnBC9a9zYjp7

All in all, another great day at the Newark Library!






Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Four California Fixit Clinics November 5th!

It's not uncommon for us to have two Fixit Clinics scheduled for the same day, usually in different states, but to our knowledge this is the first time we've had not two or three but FOUR Fixit Clinics scheduled for the same day, all in California. and nicely distributed throughout the state: Dublin and Newark in Northern California, Salinas in Central California, and Huntington Beach in Southern California:

Dublin: Our inaugural Fixit Clinic in Dublin, hosted by Branch Manager Lee Jouthas at the Dublin Library: http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=ACL&curHelp=&curMonth=11&curYear=2016&SelectedDate=11/5/2016#11/5/2016
(The event's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/155439678241653/ and on Google+ here: https://plus.google.com/events/c18bhbqhh5rjvtc2knf6q1dcpm4 )

Newark: Librarian Barbara Telford-Ishida and her crew will be holding yet another monthly event as follow ons to her September and October events; http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/events.cfm?curOrg=ACL&curKey1=Newark%20Branch&curMonth=10&curYear=2016&curHelp=&curMonth=11&curYear=2016&SelectedDate=11/5/2016#11/5/2016
(The event's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/630019443842516/ and on Google+ here: https://plus.google.com/events/ck4ia5h43cj8rc3hojah3f5fvek)



Salinas: Mandy Brooks and Guillermina Gutierrez at Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority are holding their inaugural Fixit Clinic at the Salinas Recreation Center:
(The event's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1068995269815656/ and on Google+ here: https://plus.google.com/events/c4cmi5gleja2vifmdfnsectem3c)





Huntington Beach: Debbie Killey and her Fixit Coach crew are back again at the Huntington Beach Library.
(The event's on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1699076833746002/ and on Google+ here: https://plus.google.com/events/ctaro831h4hfsc2l0rhvue43ul0 )

So Nov 5th is going to be one busy Saturday for Fixit Clinics! Hope you can make it to one of these grand events.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLXXX (180) Albany Community Center

Wow, we've reached 180 Fixit Clinics! Saturday's event was held at one of our favorite locations, the City of Albany, California's Library and Community Center. There was a clothing swap going on in conjunction with the Fixit Clinic so a lot of clothes found new life through both repair and new owners.

Among the highlights:

They brought the same scale in different colors, both were fixed.


Tess was determined to get her iron working again, and she did!


Holly pulls out all the stops to repair this sewing machine:


More photos from Fixit Clinic CLXXX (180) at the Albany Community Center can be found on Google photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/CwbcFaeb3WiUWwJ1A

Many thanks to Pam for organizing the clothing swap, to Ryann, Sarah, CC, and the others from Swap-O-Rama-Rama for providing their sewing acumen, to the City of Albany for hosting us, and to www.stopwaste.org for sponsoring us.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLXXVIII (178) Newark Library

Just down Interstate I-880 on the east shore of San Francisco Bay is the community of Newark, California and their gem of a library. Yesterday's Fixit Clinic there was also a gem: it was held in the main atrium of the library and staffed by an enthusiastic and talented ensemble cast assembled by Librarian Barbara Telford-Ishida. The Newark Library already has an active sewing program so adding a large fabric and textile component to the Fixit Clinic was seamless.

Among the highlights:

Lots of people repairing fabric items:


Their tablet was not working, we determined it was a charging issue and gave them some tips for addressing it:



And, of course, the always not-so-usual parade of common household items. This lamp had a very clever touch switch that stopped working: the owner replaced it with a conventional switch.


More photos from Fixit Clinic CLXXVIII (178) at the Newark Library can be found here: https://goo.gl/photos/B8NX5G7UZcJJj16HA

Another great Saturday, another great Fixit Clinic! Many thanks to Barbara at the Newark Library for organizing it, and to StopWaste.org for sponsoring our participation.



Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLXXI (171) Albany Community Center

A mid-summer Tuesday evening takes a turn towards repair as Fixit Clinic takes up residence at the quarterly Albany Clothing Swap and adds a repair component. Among the highlights:



This kid's really getting into fixing this typewriter.



Fixit Coach extraordinaire CC gets lots of illumination help with her lubrication of this frozen serger.



Power to the people for this successful sewing machine repair!

See more photos from Fixit Clinic CLXXI (171) here: https://goo.gl/photos/Az9W87JdkMDSwg4s9

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLXVI (166) Castro Valley Library

We've always wanted to be able to repair anything at Fixit Clinic, and now we're well on our way to fully incorporating fabric and textile repair into every event. Yesterday's Fixit Clinic at the Castro Valley Library was a big step in that direction as we had a full complement of sewers and sewing machines on hand, including a bunch of new coaches who are local to Castro Valley AND guest Fixit Coach Christopher Fernandez from iFixit!

Christopher helped to replace the screen of this Google / Asus Nexus 7: he even brought the part from iFixit:





CC and the sewers were in full swing:





More photos from Fixit Clinic are on Google Photos: https://goo.gl/photos/mYDsBE1hGzHgx5oz5

We've got another Fixit Clinic scheduled at the Castro Valley Library on August 6: see you there!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLVI (156) Gilroy Library

A beautiful Saturday morning drive down US 101 south of San Jose leads to the majestic Gilroy Library and our latest Fixit Clinic triumph. We're quickly adding a fabric and textile repair to our repertoire, we had an even complement of both electronics coaches and fabric coaches today.

This girl sewed her own skirt:

In addition to the full complement of electronics repairs there were lots of other fabric repairs such as this:
And this:

See all the photos from Fixit Clinic CLVI (156) at Gilroy Library on Google+ here: https://goo.gl/photos/2Pd776mnbV7YiFdb6

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fixit Clinic CLI (151) Albany Swap & Sew

The quarterly Albany Clothing Swap looks like it's becoming a regular venue for us. We worked with Pam Tellew, founder the quarterly Albany Clothing Swap to re-brand it as a "Swap & Sew" where people could come to repair items as well. (See the listing at http://www.albanyca.org/index.aspx?page=14&recordid=12412)

This woman learned how to hem her dress:


These Singer Featherweights are in big demand these days, we tuned hers up after years of non-use:

The handle of her luggage broke on her last trip and would no longer extend, she fixed that.
See more photos of Fixit Clinic CLI (151) on Google photos here: https://goo.gl/photos/DgrnSK7ovRXNP5D87

As always, everyone had a great time!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Orange County Fixit Clinics Flyer

The Department of Public Works in Huntington Beach, CA is sending out this flyer in the water bills to all 48,000 rate payers. Holy Cow: they're going to be busy at these three events!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fixit Clinic CXLVI (146) - San Francisco

Back to the City by the Bay, our beloved San Francisco for our third Fixit Clinic at the Richmond District Neighborhood Center, and our second event here with the Bay Area Bike Mobile providing bicycle repair services.

Roy quickly noticed that the wifi switch on this laptop was iffy and fixed it in a jiffy:


Kelvin's heater had the classic issue we see over and over again: a blown in-line thermal fuse.

\
 Luckily it was easy to get to and replace.


CC's tune up of a old Singer "Featherweight" sewing machine drew a crowd

See all the photos from Fixit Clinic CXLVI (146) - San Francisco here: https://picasaweb.google.com/111525193946026734520/20160410FixitClinicCXLVI146SanFrancisco?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fixit Clinic CXXXIX (139) Oakland Public Library

One of our favorite venues, the Temescal Branch of the Oakland Public Library is also the Oakland Tool Lending Library.


It was a productive afternoon of fixing with all sorts of household items seen and fixed.

We're working on a long-term project to hold Fixit Clinics at numerous branches of the Oakland Public Library, with Oakland-based Fixit Coaches serving as the core organizers. Several Branch Managers from different branches attended to observe the festivities.


More photos from Fixit Clinic CXXXIX (139) Oakland Public Library can be seen here: https://picasaweb.google.com/111525193946026734520/20160206FixitClinicCXXXIX139OaklandPublicLibrary?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fixit Clinic CXXXVIII (138) Albany Clothing Swap

Really more of a "Mini Fixit Clinic", we're doing outreach to local clothing swaps to recruit sewing coaches so we can offer textile and fabric repair at upcoming Fixit Clinics.


Sarah helped this woman repair the strap on her bag.

She got this boombox and a VCR fixed.
We had a great time just hanging out and catching up.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wildly Successful Launch of San Diego Fixit Clinics

The San Diego Public Library held the inaugural Fixit Clinic in San Diego yesterday. The photos and press coverage show that it was a phenomenal success.





Thanks to everyone who made this such a big success!

The library's photos are on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sdplcentral/posts/1108208882522595

Debbie Killey's photos are on Picasa: https://picasaweb.google.com/111525193946026734520/20160109FixitClinic137SanDiego?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Here's the San Diego Tribune's coverage: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jan/09/fixit-clinic-library/

Heartfelt thanks to Laura Anthony and her team for all of their hard work.
Laura plans on holding monthly Fixit Clinics on the second Saturday of each month.

We're really excited!