Someone got in touch with a set of GHD 4.2B hair straighteners, which wouldn’t warm up. Not even the light would come on.
Make and model: GHD 4.2b hair straighteners
Cost of replacement: £85.00
Cost of parts: £2.89 (plus my time)
Hours spent on repair: 1 (plus testing)
Repair difficulty: 5/10
These older hair straighteners are well supported with spare parts and their design means that, with a systematic approach and basic test gear, the fault can be identified and parts replaced, fairly easily.
The thermal fuse on these straighteners can fail, even though the heating elements and associated wiring and circuitry is just fine. A combination of age and accidental rough handling can affect the life of the fuse, so it was the first thing I checked on these straighteners.
It was first time lucky in this case. The fuse tested open-circuit. To prove that the rest of the circuit was working, I made a temporary short circuit to the fuse connection and the straighteners powered up OK.
Time to order a new fuse. Using an eBay shop (SiriusHairUK), a fuse was ordered and it arrived very quickly, great service.
With the fuse re-fitted and the heating element re-installed the rest of the hair straighteners were ready for reassembly. Using basic tools, the straighteners went back together well and after final testing, they were ready for use again.
As covered a few times on my blog already, I do like Dyson products. They’re engineer and tinker-friendly.
A colleague got in touch with a poorly DC14 which had worked well. She’d kept the filters clean and generally looked after the appliance with care, which makes a nice change. However, despite all this, nothing was being collected with the floor beaters. The hose worked OK, but that was it.
Time to do some screwdriver wealding. Despite the filters being in good condition, I washed and dried them anyway, just in case.
Up ending the vacuum cleaner revealed the problem straight away. The bottom foot hose had become disconnected from the interference fit compression joint and was flapping in the breeze. Usually when this happens, it’s because the hose has split, but this one was in good condition. What seemed to have happened was that the hose had become untwisted from the joint, so all that was required was careful reassembly.
While the cleaner was in pieces, I gave it a thorough service, paying attention to all of the machine’s seals and moving parts, especially where the cylinder joins the vacuum pipes from the motor as these can leak with age.
Once spruced-up, the cleaner was back to full health once again. Another Dyson saved from the tip.
Cost of replacement: £150 and up. Cost of repair: Time, tea and biscuits and silicone spray, a bit of washing-up liquid.
I like the classic, function-over-form design of this heater. Simple, clear, chunky controls and nothing included that isn’t needed. Less is usually more.
This 1980s heater, although very well made and clearly designed with longevity and repair in mind was a little bit, er smoky.
It appeared that the fan wasn’t running and the smoke was coming from old dust which had settled inside the machine. I don’t think that the heater had been used in many years.
The heater came apart very easily, just three self-tapping screws holding the sides together to the main shell.
On first examination that the shell was out of shape and that it had come in to contact with the fan itself, forcing it to far down the motor shaft on to the motor body. So, all that would be needed would be reposition the fan and re-shape the outer heater shell, a simple fix then. Not quite.
The motor did not spin easily and even with a little penetrating oil on it, it was turning slowly, with the mains applied.
The motor was an induction type, with no brushes and didn’t obviously have anything restricting the motor’s spin. I know that even apparently clean motor parts can have deposits of unseen oil and muck that can stop an otherwise good motor from working properly. In situations like this, I tend to use brake cleaner or similar to break down the dirt. Once cleaned, just a couple of drops of sewing machine oil on the moving parts and that usually cures things. I was in luck and after performing a mild service on the motor, it was spinning at full speed once again. Quite literally warming.
With the parts all back together, the heater was ready to run for many years to come.
Cost of replacement: £15.00 Cost of repair: £0.00, one cup of tea and a Bourbon.
Who wouldn’t love a new DAB radio for your birthday? Well, that’s what I had this year and I was thrilled to receive this Pure Evoke H2. After choosing a suitable location on my desk, I quickly unpacked it, plugged it in and…nothing. Booooooo!
The display backlight appeared to glow a little, but that was it and I was missing Today on Radio 4.
To save a quite frankly dull story, the returns and replacement process offered by the company who supplied the radio was hopeless. But, after 2 months, I ended up with a replacement radio, in addition to the one I already had. The second radio worked, albeit with some fettling required to the speaker to make it sound ok (another story).
Time to dig out the screw drivers as I had nothing to lose.
Just 6 screws hold the back on and with these removed, the radio’s innards were exposed. Now, I’ve made radios from kits in the past using components I can hold with my fingers, but with this radio, the circuitry was teeny-weeny and I would have to have some luck to fix it.
I was in luck. The radio is made up like a sandwich. The front fascia is screwed to the cabinet and the back, that I’d removed, was screwed to the cabinet, from the other side. There are data-style cables between the two halves and one of them appeared to be loose. I carefully pushed the connector ‘home’ and then re-applied the power lead and wouldn’t you know it, the display lit up and it burst in to life. Now we’re talking.
Thinking I’d sussed it out, I screwed the radio back together and had about a week or two of unbroken service, until the screen froze and then nothing. Oh no.
Re-opening the back of the radio, I suspected that the tiny soldered pins on the back of the multi-way connectors on the data-style cables, had been dislodged. I have average sized hands for a bloke, but I needed tweezers to get the connectors on during assembly. I wonder how much it would have cost to add an inch or so to each cable, to make manufacture easy. As a consumer, I would have gladly paid the extra penny. I suspected that this is how the original fault came to be as it wouldn’t have taken much more than a shove in the wrong direction to break the delicate connectors, due to the short length of the internal cables.
Since this circuit board is a tiny stamped component affair, I had to be quick and neat with my re-soldering. Each pin to PCB connector re-soldered, cables re-attached, back screwed back on and the radio worked once more.
Pure have a reputation for easy to use, excellent sounding products. It’s just a shame they have seemingly penny-pinched on some of the internal gubbins on this model. If yours develops similar symptoms, don’t give up, take the back off and have a look.
Cost of a new radio: £40-90. Cost of repair: 5 mins tinker time, one cup of tea.
On the back of a previous article about a repair I did on the rather wonderful Elna SP sewing machine, a reader got in touch. She was a genuine sewing aficionado and had several top of the range current machines, but she used the trusty Elna SP for many smaller jobs, where the other machines didn’t quite cut it.
All Elna SP machines are getting on a bit and parts are either re-manufactured, scarce or secondhand, if you can find them. Having said all that, a well-maintained Elna will run for many years and last much longer than new metal on sale now.
The foot pedal on this machine had gone pop, bang, finito. It smelled terminal.
Knowing that parts for this machine are rarer than hens teeth and I do like a challenge, I took on the job. I’m based in Worthing, West Sussex and the machine was located in Scotland, so after a short wait, the knackered pedal arrived in the post.
The pedal is held together with four small self-tapping screws and came apart easily. The reason for failure was two-fold. The copper leaf contacts had arced excessively and caused major pitting in the contact strip (see slide show) and the probably ensuing resistance had caused the main resistor to overheat, causing the winding to fail.
The contact surfaces were easy-ish to fix, or rather breathe new life into as all they needed was cleaning and re-shaping. The resistor was a bit trickier to mend. Getting hold of a replacement was going to be near impossible, so the only thing to do was to try and repair it. Without that particular style of resistor, of that value, it wouldn’t work again. Luckily, there was some excess resistance wire on the thing and I managed to twist it in to the broken section. Soldering was not an option, since the wire was an alloy that wouldn’t take to solder and in any case, these things get hot in normal service. I twisted both ends of the break to form a new section, while maintaining the same length of windings on the resistor, essential if I was to match or get close to the original specification. Difficult. Luckily, after a few goes, I managed it and the applied a little heat-conducting (and therefore dissipating) paste to the join.
With the pedal reassembled, I was only able to test it with my meter, since the sewing machine was far too heavy to post. The pedal tested as a closed circuit (OK), which was a result. I then had to wait for the pedal to be collected, taken back to Scotland and tested. Fortunately, my fix worked and the machine sprang in to life, without a hitch or missed stitch.
Now, a word of caution with this one. This is NOT the best way of mending something like this and all I’ve probably done is prolong it’s life a little longer. There are generic sewing machine pedals that would work with this machine and will be fine, when this one fails in future, but that’s not the point. The main thing is that something that was broken is now working and even if it’s not the best fix, at least it will run for a bit longer. Happy days.
Cost of replacement: (generic part) £15-30. Cost of repair, my time, a bit of solder and several cups of tea.
My daughter was kindly given a V-Tech Splash & Sing baby book and always enjoyed singing along to the music it made. It’s a splash-proof book which is suitable for bath time play, but not necessarily for complete submersion at 100 metres!
It’s a battery operated toy and has an on/off switch and volume control on the front. If the middle page of the book is squeezed in a couple of places, there are small switch buttons inside the book page itself, the corresponding the tune changes, relating to the picture on the page- I hope that makes sense.
The tunes on this book stopped changing with button presses and it became annoying to here the same tune constantly being played at bath time. Very annoying.
The casing is held together with a few Pozi-head screws and after a bit of wriggling, the pages came free from the spine (the bit with the batteries and on/off switch).
Upon testing, the wires between the pages and the spine had broken internally and no longer connected to the corresponding page buttons. They’d probably broken as the pages were turned over a good few uses.
FixItWorkshop, Sep’17, V-Tech Splash & Sing baby bath time book, buttons.
FixItWorkshop, Sep’17, V-Tech Splash & Sing baby bath time book,wire repair.
FixItWorkshop, Sep’17, V-Tech Splash & Sing baby bath time book, wire at spine.
FixItWorkshop, Sep’17, V-Tech Splash & Sing baby bath time book.
FixItWorkshop, Sep’17, V-Tech Splash & Sing baby bath time book, opening up page.
This toy is definitely not designed to be repaired. The only way to get to the wiring was to cut open the page, cut out the damaged wiring and replace it with something a bit tougher. The previous wiring was very flimsy and it would only be a matter of time before it broke, too soon.
I decided to use some thin gauge speaker cable, the sort you find in cheap portable radios for the repair. This worked really well and after some careful soldering and gluing of the cut-open page, the toy was ready for reassembly.
This repair probably wouldn’t cost in, in the real world, but I hate extreme built-in obsolescence and this toy showed examples of it.
Cost of the toy, circa £14.00. Cost of repair; my time plus some old wire I had lying about.