I love a good radio. I used to collect them as a kid, working or not, do them up, get them working and I eventually ended up with, er… lots. I’ve since scaled my collection back a bit these days to around 10 or so, quite frankly more than is healthy really.
So when someone got in touch recently with a broken DAB radio to fix, I got quite excited.
These Bauhn DAB radios (available from Aldi or Lidl in the UK, I think) were on the market for about £10 and at that price they represent great value when compared to more expensive devices.
However, the one in the workshop appeared to have a problem power connector, which when wobbled, made the radio work intermittently. Suspicious.
Having already repaired a similar radio with a similar fault before, I decided to video the repair to encourage others to check theirs, if something similar happens. I hope you find it useful.
Cost of a new radio: £10. Cost of repair: One cuppa and a bit of tinker time.
A neighbour of mine is a talented musician in a local band and also teaches school children various instruments. Some of his students learn the drums, which is most parent’s nightmare as any notion of a peaceful evening is shattered. Luckily, electronic drum kits are an excellent way to learn with headphones, while keeping happy parents and neighbours.
This kit was missing several beats and was hampering learning, so time for a visit to the workshop. I’m no musical instrument repair specialist, but I thought that the drum kit must use electrical contacts, switches and rudimentary electrical components and I was right.
Two faults were reported; The kick/ foot pedal was intermittently not working and one of the drum pads was hardly working at all, unless you hit it with a sledge-hammer. Time to see what was going wrong.
First up was the faulty drum pad. Opening up the back of the pad was simplicity itself, just a few screws held the back to the pad. Sandwiched between two halves was a sensor, a bit like a piezo flat speaker, similar to the type found in many toys with sounds. I guess the principle here is that vibration detected by the piezo sensor is converted to analogue variable voltages by the drum kit’s circuitry. While apart, I noticed that some of the copper detail tracks on the printed circuit board which had a standard 3.5mm jack socket (to allow a connection back to the rest of the kit) had cracked. Looking again through my magnifying glass revealed quite a bit of damage, probably as a result of many Keith Moon wannabes. Testing these tracks with my meter confirmed an intermittent fault, so out with the soldering iron, to repair the connection. Plugging the pad back in, it was ready once again for more drum solos.
Next up was the dodgy kick/foot pedal. As the with the drum pad, the pedal would cut out intermittently. A few screws held the pedal together, so only basic tools required. See the slide show below for an idea of the construction.
The fault with the pedal was similar to the drum pad. Some of the copper detailing around the 3.5mm jack socket had failed and required some careful soldering. I say careful, as applying too much heat at once would, likely as not, melt the casing of the socket. One had to take care.
Once soldered, the pedal was much better. I didn’t get a full 10/10 repair with the pedal since I think there was wear on the kick sensor, but it was an improvement none the less.
Cost of replacement: £lots. Cost of repair, my time, two cups of tea and some solder.
Here’s a blast from the past: A mechanical toy, that’s really cool. One that brings fond memories from my childhood… I’m 38 as I write this (I’m 40 as I edit this- time goes so fast).
Strictly speaking, this is not a customer’s toy, but a family heirloom which had been festering in the shed for over 20 years. Consequently, it now wasn’t in great shape.
After dusting it down, we realised that records were playing intermittently and slowly at best and the problem seemed related to the rather cool winding mechanism within.
After dismantling the unit and giving the mechanicals a light service, the turntable platter turned freely once again. Our two (now three) year old daughter can now play with the record player as her mum did – very cute.
I quite like the idea of this vacuum cleaner in that it’s lightweight, easy to use, highly portable and easy to maintain. All things that make a great product.
The particular vacuum cleaner came in to the workshop, just outside of its warranty period and had been looked after well. However, it had developed a nasty intermittent cutting-out problem when in use. I also noticed that the charger’s flex had also cracked near the wall plug, making it dangerous while charging.
First things first and it was off with the rollers and filters to clean any obstructions that might make a device like this overheat. Nothing obvious there, but all items cleaned and washed as a precaution to allow the roller to move freely and the vacuum to breathe easily.
Closer inspection of the handle area revealed a weakness in the design which had meant that the quick-release mechanism had caused an electrical connection to degrade, causing the cutting out.
The only remedy was to address the handle’s weak point with a mechanical fix and make good the electrical contact.
I hope Bosch take note and make an improvement in this area on an otherwise nicely engineered item.
I also did a small repair to the damaged flex on the charger.
Cost of a new vacuum cleaner, circa £250. Cost of screw… less than 50p (without my time of course!)
The owner of this drill complained that it work perfectly one minute and then stopped the next. It was making DIY a very slow process.
As this was a cut-out problem rather than a slowing down issue, power problems were a likely suspect.
On test, the cable flex near the base of the handle seemed to be the issue as giving it a good wiggle seemed to reproduce the fault.
Opening up the drill (several self-tapping screws) revealed a fairly straightforward layout with cord, mechanical connector, smoothing circuit (mains splash) and switch. Having suspected the culprit to be cable flex near the handle, I cut the cable down and re-made the connection, removing the suspect part of the cable.
Despite cutting the cable flex down by about 8″, the owner was pleased with this fix since no spare parts were required and no real issues will be noticed since it will be mainly used with an extension lead.