List your little personal fix-it triumphs here

I just fixed an expensive vacuum cleaner that was throwing belts. I glued a small spacer on the drive motor shaft that stopped the belt from wandering. Cost - zero. Time - 10 minutes. A small victory in the war against things that are aggravating.

A few months back I had an expensive GPS harness die. Without the harness I had to run it on batteries only and it would be tough to change them out while flying. The tiny connectors were corroded in place. after finally digging them out I replaced them with tiny springs from watch band pins. Cost - zero. Time - a few hours of fussing.

Also had a microphone die on an old headset intercom system. It was a dedicated system that matched headsets to an intercom. One of the microphones died. I bought a $4 handheld microphone and cut the actual microphone out and glued it to the unit. Works great.

So pat yourself on the back and post your success stories here.

Uh… It only takes one of me to change a lightbulb?

Hang tight… I’m sure I’ll think of something better than that Real Soon Now.

Wrong forum. This thread should be moved to IMHO.

Dad needed a custom mount for a water block on an engine he was building.

So I designed one in SolidWorks, converted to G-code with SprutCAM, and then machined it from a block of aluminum with a Tormach CNC milling machine. Except for my time, the final product was cheaper than even a non-custom commercial mount.

Okay, so that wasn’t quite a simple fix-it :).

Let’s go with the time I accidentally filled my cell phone with sand. I was able to remove almost all of it, except for the speaker, which had a seemingly one-way hole which allowed sand to enter but not exit. Turns out I was able to order a replacement part for <$3, and I was able to repair it easily. The only other thing I needed was an incredibly tiny Torx bit.

I just fixed my microwave oven this week. The light and fan would only work intermittently, but it would still heat. I eventually tracked it down to a failing solder joint on the control board. I figured out which section the bad one was in, hit all of them in that area with a soldering iron and a little extra solder, and it’s working correctly again.

Fixed a weather-alert radio that had crappy reception. Opened it up to take a look, and the antenna wire wasn’t attached. Easy-peasy.

Fixed our electric dryer. One of the hot wires wasn’t tightened at the factory. The bad contact meant the wire was overheating and eventually the wire failed. Cut off the brittle part, reconnected the wire tightly, and it’s like new.

Fixed a long distance remote control. This uses a UHF radio to connect the remote to an IR transmitter unit that you point at the stereo, but the distance was crappy. The antenna was just kind of wadded up in the IR unit. Extending the wire out improved the connection.

Made several modifications to a wireless guitar for Rock Band. The main one was that it kept dropping connection. Opened it up, figured out what the antenna part was, lengthened the antenna with some foil tape, and now I can stand in another room and not lose connection.

Only a hobby machinist would consider using $20K of machine tools & software to save a
$100 on a part as a bargain.:):slight_smile:

(I am a machinist for both fun and pay so I understand fully the pride & fun of making something yourself even if it doesn’t make pure economic sense.)

My last fix-it was fixing a Thermofax (sp) for the wife’s business. They don’t make them anymore and this one is wearing out so I had to do a bunch of little tweaks to get it to work right.

I fixed the electric window mechanism in my wife’s car, costing me £25 for parts instead of probably £300 at the garage.

It involved removing the cosmetic trim panels from the door (in itself hard, because it’s not always easy to tell whether things just unclip, or if they are screwed or bolted in place in some cunning fashion).
Then I had to drill out all the rivets holding the inner window carrier panel in place, then carefully disengage it from the door with all its wiring and lock mechanisms, then work out just from the parts, how the thing was meant to be configured (because in failing, the old mechanism had quite thoroughly deconstructed itself)

Then put it all back. Works perfectly, but everyone was surprised I didn’t male a mess of it.

My wife’s old netbook was having screen glitches. So I fully dismantled it, traced down the problems to a particular wiring loom. I then “un-loomed” it (technical term) found the breaking wire, “re-loomed” it (technical term) and fitted the bugger back together.
It was a proper job as I had the requisite single screw left over and the required cosmetic enhancement marks around the case where I used a screwdriver to “encourage” it apart.

I handed it over to my wife with an ER style “I fixed it…for now”
But I’ve promised her it will happen again and I’ve ordered a new wiring loom from ebay for exactly that purpose (£7.49 including delivery) so…hurrah! I get to fiddle with it again.

In a nod to an associated thread, I tried to suggest to her that the reason for failure was her overworking the screen by having several thousand browser tabs open at the same time . She wasn’t buying but it was worth a try.

Ha ha, indeed. Fortunately, I didn’t have to pay for the equipment myself–at least not exactly (long story). At any rate, you are correct, I enjoyed myself and I am proud of how it came out, so in that sense it was totally worth it.

I think that is such an appropriate phrase - my wife would agree with the sentiment.

We got tramping boots for a skiing trip. A few months after the trip, my wife got her boots out. The salt had corroded the metal loops for the laces. I used some cable ties to create new lace loops. 6 years later, she is still using them.


Moved from General Questions to MPSIMS.

samclem, moderator

Our lawn tractor’s PTO belt died. I found a generic replacement the correct size and figured out how to get it on without removing the mower deck. But it repeatedly came off when the blades were engaged. I eventually figured out that the idler pulley was 180 degrees flipped. Fixed it and mowed the lawn!

Also, I repaired our ancient Maytag gas dryer. Used a borrowed multimeter to find a bad thermostat. Found a replacement online and replaced it. Damn thing still wouldn’t work! Kept troubleshooting and found a second bad part. Ordered it online and viola, works better than it has in years. Apparently the thermostat had died years ago, but the dryer still worked until the other part bit the dust.

I re-programmed the remote locking on our car key after the batteries died.

£40-50 at a main dealer but you can do it yourself… was a bit like a cheat code on a games console, turn the key 4 times in a certain time window, then push and hold a certain button for x seconds, then re-turn the key.

Worked a treat and saved me enough money for a nice meal out.

I’m part of an IRC chat room that has periodic meetings that require some fairly lengthy texts. copying and pasting is a huge pain in the ass, but there is a script called Txplay that does it for me.

Only one problem. It doesn’t work in the newer versions of mIRC. I downloaded an older version so I can use Txplay to run the texts. It’s a kludge, but since I don’t have access to the eggdrop bot, it’s better than nothing, and it’s much better than copying and pasting.

Last year I noticed that the pool was leaking somewhere in the underground piping to the pump and filter, probably because I had not blown out the lines properly prior to winter and they had frozen. I was losing 1/4"-1/2" of water per day (a few hundred gallons), and it seemed to worsen when I ran the filter, so I ran it sparingly.
At the end of the pool season, I closed it up and tried not to think about the thousands I would have to spend for them to jackhammer the sidewalk to get to the buried lines.

A week after I opened the pool this year, I noticed that the whole skimmer casing—that bit at the edge of the pool where leaves and dead squirrels accumulate—had a four-inch crack in the side, with a 1/8" gap in places. Could it be? Maybe!

I bought waterproof two-part epoxy putty at Home Depot and rolled out a long snake of the stuff. I then packed the crack and smoothed it over. The leak stopped, and the epoxy is solid as a rock, holding things together for another pool season.

This wasn’t especially clever, but it did save me huge $$$ and amount in great happiness.

Last weekend I replaced all of the fuel lines in my chainsaw which I use maybe twice a year. The last time I did some cutting it had just sputtered and stopped. When I took it apart I could see one of the fuel lines had come off the port into the carb but when I tried to put it back on it just came apart.

It was quite a challenge to get the lines hooked up and even more so to get them through the fuel tank wall. Afer a couple of hours of work and one trip to the hardware store to get some really long needle nose pliers, I reassembled the chainsaw, refueled it, and it started right up. As a general klutz who is lucky not to get injured changing a light bulb, I was pretty pleased with myself.

This was a while ago, but: my wife’s car, an older Explorer, had a headlight problem. The console computer just said, “CHECK HEAD LAMP”. Replacing the headlight didn’t solve the problem. So, I checked the other bulbs on the same circuit; all fine. Checked the fuses, interior and under the hood; both fine as well. Hrm.

I dug up an old electrical schematic for the car and noticed that the lighting ran through something called a “light out module” right under the console computer. I found out how to pop the computer off, disconnected the module, and opened the case. The schematic said that the left headlight ran through pins 1 and 11; I checked them with a multimeter, and found continuity. The right headlight, the one that was out, ran through pins 12 and 13. I checked them, and found continuity on the bottom, but not at the pins. So, there’s a solder crack somewhere, too small to see, that’s not letting current through.

I pulled out my soldering iron, heated up the joints, and tried to ease a little new solder in there. Let it cool, check for continuity again, and success! Put it all back together, and the headlight works fine now. Crazy, obscure little issue, but I fixed it at no cost.

This weekend’s project: putting in a bigger doggie door for our growing St. Bernard. Wish me luck.

The top rack on our 30 YO dishwasher lost a roller when the metal bar to which it was attached rusted through. The top tray would no longer slide in an out. Priced a new dishwasher and got prices around 300 - 500 bucks.

Investigated the failed area more closely, and then found a stainless steel strip that just happened to have a series of holes drilled at the exact spacing that I could use to attach it to the failed metal bar. Used a Dremel cutoff wheel to cut out the rusted parts of the old bar, inserted the bearing from the roller into one of the holes on the SS strip, and attached each end of the strip to the old bar with stove bolts. Spray painted the bare steel parts that had been exposed when the rusted area was cut off to make the repair look neat, and we’re good to go.

Entire operation took about 15 minutes, saved probably at least $400, and I’m now a hero to the wife.

I found an iPod Touch 32G 4th Gen smashed and broken in the garbage. I charged it up but password was enabled and Apple couldn’t help me locate the owner and I posted it on the classifieds for a couple months.
I ended up restoring it to factory settings, bought a replacement LCD screen and glass digitizer for about 16 bucks off e-bay and installed it myself. Works great now!

Ooh! I have one to share. A while back, I decided to take on some basic car maintenance – my wife’s car needed some new spark plugs. I just needed a torque wrench, so I went to the nearby used tool store, and found a slightly gummed up one for $5. So I got it home, took it apart, sent several springs and ball bearings flying, found said springs and bearings, replaced a small bent spring, greased it up, and now it’s good as new. I even managed to roughly calibrate it.

Now, when I picked it out, I didn’t recognize the brand, and I expected it’d be some crappy but serviceable Harbor Freight POS. Turns out it’s actually a rather nice torque wrench, which would cost me $150 new.

With the aid of said $5 torque wrench, the spark plug replacement was a snap, and last weekend I also replaced the front brake rotors and pads. (The trick there was figuring out the best way to jack up a car on my gravel driveway…)