I void warranties!


Have a look at the poster above (thanks to ifixit.com) and think about it – does it strike a note? It certainly does with me, I love taking things to pieces to see what makes them tick and not many things annoy me as much as these insidious ‘warranty void if removed’ stickers.

If everything works as it should I’m generally a good girl and leave things alone, for the first few months. But the day inevitably arrives when the urge or need to check inside becomes overwhelming, and there I go again, removing stickers, undo ‘safety screws’ and generally turn into an anarchist.There is so much to learn when you’ve finally uncovered the secrets inside, and sometimes this knowledge helps fix things that need fixing, and sometimes it is just magic.

We have had one of those weeks: first the washing machine wouldn’t turn on, then the sewing machine spat the dummy and then the pond pump stopped working. Great!

The washing machine was the most urgent, I did not fancy a trip to the laundromat. So, disconnect everything, take the top of, find the circuit board and how to get at it. Take it out, have a look at all the little micro-switches: yes they seem to work, can’t see anything wrong with the thing. Brush/blow a few bits of dust and insect parts off the board and reinstall. Bingo! It worked again and hasn’t missed a beat since. One down, two to go.

Next the sewing machine. I opened it up and saw the circuit board – very complicated with lots of chips, any one of them could have gone. Tried my clean-up routine but this time, it didn’t work. The local sewing machine repair man told me the machine was too old and there were no spare parts. “It’s a doorstop,” he said. I love this machine, yes it is 20 years old but it has sewn everything I have thrown at it, and to replace it with a modern machine that can do what this machine can, I would be looking at $2000-$3000 – ouch! I took out the circuit board, threw it in the car and showed it to a friend with a background in electronics. “Can’t see anything obvious, probably one of the chips” – drat! Throw it back in the car, leave it on the desk for a few days, finally, decide I better put the old thing back together, just for looks. Might as well try it one last time. And she worked! If anything, she has improved. I have no idea what was wrong or what fixed it, but I’m keeping my ‘doorstop’.

The pond pump wasn’t that easy, the underground cable to the pond had a problem and we actually had to dig it up and replace it.But a few meters of cable was nothing in comparison to a new washing machine and a new sewing machine.

The moral? Always open things up when they don’t want to work (unless you have a warranty that you want to hang on to), and you never know, sometimes just the act  of opening and showing some concern might just convince the machine to get it’s act into gear and work again!





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