Tommee Tippee (not so) Perfect Prep

A formula machine is repaired in the workshop.

This fix was actually carried out during the summer, 2018.

A friend of mine brought over a broken formula making machine for me to look at.  It had been stored after their first child had out-grown it and since having another baby, it was now needed again, urgently.  Following a couple of years in storage, it was brought out, plugged in and after briefly coming on, it failed.  No lights, no hope.

These machines save time and effort by allowing water to be heated rapidly and mixed exactly with the formula powder, to produce consistent results every time, perfect for new exhausted parents in the middle of the night. So it was important that I got this working quickly.

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FixItWorkshop, Jan’19, Worthing, Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine

After removing the back, I was presented with an electronic control unit, some solenoid valves and a heater, plus some other environmental sensors such as thermostats.  The plug fuse was OK, so it was time to check if power was getting to the machine.  It wasn’t.

This machine features a couple of power control devices; two  thermal aluminium ‘can-style’ fuses in-line with the heater, plus a thermostat on the output of the heater itself (to regulate heat).  After testing for continuity, it appeared that one of the can fuses had failed.

These fuses are common across a wide range of appliances, such as coffee machines, fans etc and are cheap, just a few pounds.  It could be that a temporary air-lock in the heater caused a hot-spot and therefore that excess heat caused the 172 degree fuse to pop.  It was worth a try to replace it and see what happened.

I replaced the fuse and re-assembled.  After filling with water and powering it up, normal service was resumed.

Since I replaced the fuse, the machine has been in continuous service for many months, so I can conclude that it was probable that the over heating was temporary.

I created a short video to help others who may have similar problems with their machine.

Cost of a new machine:  £90.  Cost of repair: a few quid and a few beers.

 

 

Parrot BeBop Drone knocked off perch

Sadly, I couldn’t save this Parrot

I seem to be having a run of failed repairs at the moment and while it’s disappointing to write-up a repair that didn’t succeed, it’s important to learn from failure.

A colleague asked me to look at a Parrot camera drone recently as one of the drone’s motors wasn’t running correctly.  The fault developed after a visit to a lake where it got a little wet.  It turns out that this model isn’t water-proof, despite the £300.00 price tag!

After drying out, when powered back up, one of the four motors wouldn’t spin at full speed.  These motors seem to operate in several phased windings and it would appear that one of the motor’s phases was missing.

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FixItWorkshop, Aug’17, Parrot BeBop drone

Upon opening up the drone, I discovered that the PCB had indeed suffered water damage along its main processor.  However, three of the motors were fine and camera was working OK.

The double-sided printed circuit board (PCB) presented me with a dilemma.  This PCB was fitted with extra tiny components and multi-layered board technology, presumably to save weight and cost, so a repair using conventional soldering techniques was unlikely to get good results as the excessive heat would more than likely damage other components.  Located near the wiring connector that connects to the motor that wasn’t working properly, were several tiny surface mount fuses, one of which appeared to have failed.  Assuming I could locate the right component, attempting a repair on a PCB like this would more than likely yield a molten mess! At this stage I could have used a conductive glue to bond in a new component or temporarily bridge the fuse, but on the basis that I couldn’t guarantee a repair and the fact that there seemed to be water ingress to the whole PCB, I decided that a complete PCB replacement was probably needed.  Sadly, I had to return the drone back to the owner with the bad news.

Pump, ready for the dump

This asthmatic car tyre pump came in to the workshop with little going for it.  The owner had been very close to throwing it away when he came across my website.

This AirMan pump is designed to be plugged in to a car’s cigarette lighter socket and provide quick and convenient car tyre inflation.  This one was dead.

On first inspection, the fuse was OK, the switch seemed to work and all connections seemed sound, when tested with a multi-meter.

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FixItWorkshop, Worthing, May’17 AirMan Car Tyre Pump, repaired

Off with the cover…

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FixItWorkshop, Worthing, May’17 AirMan Car Tyre Pump, repaired- cover removed

When the motor was removed from the cam driving the piston, the bit that drives the pump, it spun freely when power was applied, using a battery in the workshop.

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FixItWorkshop, Worthing, May’17 AirMan Car Tyre Pump, repaired- gear wheel

Seemingly, the centre spindle was protruding far beyond it’s specified reach, causing the pump connection rod to it it during rotation.  Why?  To be frank, I wasn’t sure. I can only surmise that the vibration and heat had caused the flywheel/ toothed drive to slide outside of specification.

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FixItWorkshop, Worthing, May’17 AirMan Car Tyre Pump, repaired- washer

There appeared to be room for a small washer to take up the excess space, so I fitted one I had lying around.

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FixItWorkshop, Worthing, May’17 AirMan Car Tyre Pump, repaired- pump now in line with washer

The washer, once fitted, allowed the flywheel/ toothed drive to sit ‘square’ in-line with the pump.

Once resembled, the pump ran freely and was ready to inflate, once more.

Cost of a new pump, circa £20.  Cost of the washer, circa 5p.

Sterling Power Products Pure Sine Wave Inverter repaired

Inverter, repaired in the workshop

For those wondering what an ‘inverter’ is, let me give a quick explanation:  It allows one to use a mains operated device on the move, using a power supply from a motor-home, car or boat, as an example.  An inverter ‘inverts’ a smaller voltage to a larger one, usually for most applications.  Most inverters sold turn either 12 or 24VDC to 240VAC or 110VAC.

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FixItWorkshop, April’17, Worthing, Sterling Power Products Pure Sine Wave Inverter Pro Power SB 600W

The owner of this one had accidentally connected the input wires the wrong way around, effectively reversing the polarity.  Not good.  Upon hearing a little ‘pop’ the owner quickly disconnected the power!

Having never worked on an inverter before, I turned to the manufacturer for advice.  Sterling Power (UK) were not able to supply any product information on the phone nor via email and were generally not very helpful at all.  They did offer a very reasonable 25% discount on a replacement, but were not able to offer much else to save the one I had in the workshop.  Never mind.

Back to the problem.  Checking the basics, the ‘accident’ had appeared to knocked-out three 25A soldered PCB fuses.  Temporarily by-passing the fuses revealed a working unit, so replacing the defective fuses was a good idea at a very reasonable £1.50.

The fuses are mini-blade 25A automotive fuses.  Once removed and the new ones soldered in place, the unit worked once more.

Cost of parts, £1.50, cost of replacement unit, circa £160.00.

I’ve also covered this repair overview in a video:  https://youtu.be/nmnSRwQdSvY

 

Erratic GHD hair straighteners

Straight GHDs

GHD hair straighteners are a premium product which retail for a minimum of £100 in the UK.  However, over time they suffer from common annoying faults which cause owners to condemn the set they have.

This set of straighteners presented ‘as working’ when first switched on.  After warming up, hair straightening temperature was reached within the normal time.  However, after 5 minutes of use, the temperature reduced and failed to re-heat in a reasonable time.  Leaving the straighteners to cool completely would effectively reset the problem, only for  the cycle to repeat again.

GHD faults are well documented on YouTube and the fault turned out to be a faulty thermocouple or thermofuse, which should regulate the temperature and cut power in the event of a fault.  They do however wear out and this set of straighteners was no exception.

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FixItWorkshop, Feb’17, Worthing, GHD Hair Straighteners …repaired!

After dismantling, the thermal fuse was replaced for £2.70.  The whole job took half an hour and saved the owner nearly £100 on a replacement.