You’ve got to be in the mood for certain repair work.
A friend of ours dropped in a ‘dead lamp’ to the workshop with a message: “Matt, can you mend it”? I then sort of forgot about it for er, nine months. Whoops. I need to focus on the workshop more.
The lamp was much loved by its owner and its current lack of light was leaving her in the dark.
Make and model: Endon Touch Control Dimmable Lamp
Fault reported: Not working
Cost of replacement: £30ish
Manufacturer support: 0/10
Cost of parts: £3 approx.
Hours spent on repair: 30 minutes
Tools needed: Screwdrivers, test meter etc
Sundry items: None
Repair difficulty: 2/10
Cups of tea: 1
Biscuits: Wagon Wheel (Jammie)
These touch lamps were a bit of a novelty back in the day and seem to have fallen out of favour in recent times. However, the owner of this one was a bit upset when suddenly one day, it wouldn’t work.
When working on anything mains operated, I always start with the basics:
- Is the bulb working? Yes.
- Is the mains flex OK? Again, yes
- Is the fuse (UK) intact? All OK
Lamps like this are pretty simple; there’s a mains wire, there’s a bulb and holder, a switch and the main lamp unit itself. Some dimmable lamps, like this one, feature an electronic dimming module, which in this case was built into the base of the unit.
First step: Remove the base cover
Removing the cover was fairly straightforward and only involved a few self-tapping screws, under the felt pad base. This exposed the dimmer module, which when tested with the meter, was not outputting any current to the lamp circuit.
Second step: Dismantle the dimmer
Dimmer modules like this are not designed to be repaired and contain no user-serviceable parts (don’t get me started on that!). But in the past, I’ve had some luck cleaning components and re-heating the odd dry joint with a soldering iron. In this case, it was no joy. A replacement module was needed.
Third step: Find a new dimmer!
I can’t remember what I used to do before finding specialist electronic suppliers on eBay and alike. Oh yes, I just remembered: I struggled!
It didn’t take long to find a new (almost identical) dimmer module on eBay for about £3, delivered. How do they do it for the money?
After 2 weeks of waiting, the new module arrived in the post, hand delivered by our usual friendly posty, Keith.
Forth step: Fitting the new module and test
Comparing the dimmers side-by-side revealed that they were more or less the same, using the same wire colours…but in a different combination. This meant that it wasn’t a simple ‘cut and re-join’ the new dimmer to the existing wiring. Oh no, it meant cutting everything out and starting again. Still, with only four wires, it didn’t take long. With a little soldering and heat shrink, one would never know I had been tinkering.
A good job, jobbed, even if it did take me months to get ‘aroundtuit’.
Quite literally illuminating.