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Repair before Replace?
Old 07-20-2010, 03:47 PM   #1
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Repair before Replace?

So, since you've FIRE'd do you have a different mindset about buying stuff? I do as now when something breaks down, I think "can I fix it?" before deciding to just buy new to replace.

I sucessfully fixed a couple of things in the past few weeks. One, I have this solar flashlilght just that quit working. So, I took it apart and all it needed was a wire re-soldered. I'm not good with a soldering iron, but did get that to work (after about 5 tries ).

Yesterday, I was testing the 12v dc socket of my battery jumper but it didn't work. So I put some baking soda and tried cleaning the bit of corrosion I saw there. Didn't work. Next I was thinking of buying a replacement portable power station.

Something like either of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Duracell-DPP-3...d_sim_dbs_ol_3


http://www.amazon.com/JNC300XL-Jump-...9658993&sr=1-1


One last effort today, I bought a lemon, squeezed the juice into the socket to wash out the rust and ... Success!! A little patience, 48 cents for a lemon and now the thing works like new.
No need to replace at all.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
So, since you've FIRE'd do you have a different mindset about buying stuff? I do as now when something breaks down, I think "can I fix it?" before deciding to just buy new to replace.
That's great! Wish I could say the same. I have no talent for fixing things and I am a terrible clutz, so I am afraid of jumper cables.

On the other hand, I can't think of anything that I have broken since I retired in November. I'm sure there must be something, but it isn't coming to mind. Oh, I know! My Wii broke so (after checking on Nintendo's website, which said it was hopeless) without even thinking twice I bought a replacement. The replacement only cost about half what I originally paid back when they were a new fad, so that was a pretty good deal.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:38 PM   #3
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Now you got me thinking about what things broke and needed fixing or replacing since I FIRE'd. The transmission of my car went out. I got that fixed (not by myself, of course). One time I got home from out of town to see the hallway glass lamp shade cracked in pieces. It must have just fallen on it's own. I had to replace the fixture (I actually like the replacement more than the original).
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:54 PM   #4
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The only thing I'm good at fixin'...are meals. Otherwise...

I do well in regards to maintenance....like gardening, mowing, scraping, painting, staining, etc...
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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That's great! Wish I could say the same. I have no talent for fixing things and I am a terrible clutz, so I am afraid of jumper cables.
Gee, I hope you don't buy a new car if your battery goes dead

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On the other hand, I can't think of anything that I have broken since I retired in November. I'm sure there must be something, but it isn't coming to mind. Oh, I know! My Wii broke so (after checking on Nintendo's website, which said it was hopeless) without even thinking twice I bought a replacement. The replacement only cost about half what I originally paid back when they were a new fad, so that was a pretty good deal.
I fixed my kid's PlayStation 2. It stopped reading the disks and I found a good how-to on the internet about adjusting the laser that reads the disk. I figured what the heck and gave it a shot. It worked. then it started shutting down after 20 minutes of play. Turns out the fan stopped working. So, I took it apart again and discovered I had pinched a wire and not only had the fan stopped working, but the pinched wire shorted the whole thing out. I ended up buying a new one anyway.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:08 PM   #6
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I fixed my kid's PlayStation 2. . . . It worked. then it started shutting down after 20 minutes of play.
They should come like that from the factory.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:07 PM   #7
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i should have been a depression era farmer. Some sick obsession with resuscitating appliances and keeping cars running. Even when its frankesteined - like a 18v drill battery powered roomba. I am getting smart enough to stay dumb when a friend or neighbor asks a question.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:18 PM   #8
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I like fixing things. Maybe that's why two of my cars are 50 years old.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:51 PM   #9
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yeah - its fun, and inexpensive on parts. i have 13 cars 10 ar older than 1975.
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:54 AM   #10
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Being FIRE'd sure hasn't changed that situation for me--it's always been like that---do everything you can to fix it before you replace it. Family joke--I bought a wood porch swing 25 years ago and hung it on the kids' swingset when they outgrew it. It sits outside in the weather. After 3-4 years a board broke and I said, "No biggy", and replaced it. Couple of years later same thing. Now I've reinforced and patched it so much, I can't lift the whole thing like I used to (weight-lifter style) for mowing. Wife starts laughing every time I start patching on the sucker, but it still works, and my 2 grandkids (2 & 4), love to swing with Grandma.
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:31 AM   #11
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I can't relate to the OP question at all. I always try to fix something before I replace it - retired or not.

I might put a bit more time/effort into it now, since I have it. Or I might skip it if the device is past any useful life anyhow. But then I usually tear it down to see if there are any parts to scavenge for the next thing I fix. Then off to the recycling center with the rest.

-ERD50
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:08 AM   #12
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I can't relate to the OP question at all. I always try to fix something before I replace it - retired or not..........................
-ERD50
As an engineer, I usually try to fix it before it is broken, then continue to fix it until it IS broken.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:28 AM   #13
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I can't relate to the OP question at all. I always try to fix something before I replace it - retired or not.

I might put a bit more time/effort into it now, since I have it. Or I might skip it if the device is past any useful life anyhow. But then I usually tear it down to see if there are any parts to scavenge for the next thing I fix. Then off to the recycling center with the rest.

-ERD50

LOL... I am not retired... but will try to fix it ...... 'some day'.... that does not go over well with the wife who wants everything done NOW....
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:51 AM   #14
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I can't relate to the OP question at all. I always try to fix something before I replace it - retired or not.

I might put a bit more time/effort into it now, since I have it. Or I might skip it if the device is past any useful life anyhow. But then I usually tear it down to see if there are any parts to scavenge for the next thing I fix. Then off to the recycling center with the rest.

-ERD50
That's me!!! One of my keys to an Early-ER was all the DIY efforts, which I continue to do.

Scavenging parts - "Reusing is better than recycling".
I've recovered, and used, lots of hardware, parts, even sheet metal from a lot of stuff I've taken out of service. I keep a collection of used A/C parts handy, like contactors, capacitors, etc. Had a previous A/C compressor unit blow it's mult-section cap one (hot) evening shortly before bedtime. Had one in my collection that would work, got it up and running again. Critical in our hot environment here!

It's amazing how many materials can be reused in other projects, if you remember what you have, and where you last saw it

Now if I could just let go of more of the wood that I have recovered... But I would hate to think I'd have to go on a shopping trip, and may/may not find what I need for a quick project. And a lot of the wood today is pretty crappy, I always have to do a lot of sorting.
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Old 07-21-2010, 09:58 AM   #15
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As an engineer, I usually try to fix it before it is broken, then continue to fix it until it IS broken.
STOP THAT!!! You'll give us a bad name!

Actually, in the later years, I've known very few engineers that were DIY people. Rather sad. I have some theories about this, but people I have told them to tend to get upset hearing them... expecially the non-DIY engineers, who get huffy. Oh well.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:35 PM   #16
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Congrats on the repair, satisfying isn't it.

I'm find I repair to many things regardless of the replacement costs. I remember once I was repairing a tiny LED flashlight and thought to myself, what the heck and I spending 30 minutes on this when it cost me $3.00. Since I was half way into it, I repaired it anyway since it was also a bad connection. It took me more time to open it up, get the tools, then put them away then it did to repair it.

Right now I'm repairing a no start on my inlaws 01 Buick Century and after repairing one problem, there's still another. I don't like it when there are two problems related to one. Time consuming electrical problems.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:48 PM   #17
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I'm not particularly handy and it's usually difficult for me to figure out how stuff works when I tear it apart. So my limited efforts at fixing stuff over the years have had mixed results at best. However, if I ever figure it out once, I can do it again and again. So some things get fixed many times and most get replaced at the first failure to figure out how to fix it.

I do try to "triangulate" time vs. money vs "fun". If it looks like a fun project to tear into, that may overcome the fact that it's not worth my time (the most limited asset any of us has) to try to fix it.

Fixing stuff has not been a major component in my FIRE plan. Still, it has been a small component in living frugally.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:03 PM   #18
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I like it when something breaks. Properly dead. Not working at all. Ready for the trash. Then I can get repairing with nothing to lose, and I sometimes have good results.

Where I have a problem is when something is occasionally on the fritz. Is it bad enough to be worth possibly breaking it? Often a tough choice.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:38 PM   #19
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I've always tried to fix/upgrade stuff before buying new. Even my last computer was 12 years old before I replaced it. Of course there wasn't much left of the original besides that big honkin' tower case.

And I've been eying those new telephones with push buttons on them....
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:01 PM   #20
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As an engineer, I usually try to fix it before it is broken, then continue to fix it until it IS broken.
Well, I've done my share of that, too! I think it started when I was about 9 or 10, and got a portable transistor radio for my birthday. One day, when I was replacing the battery I noted that it said 9V on it, and the transformer for our slot cars said 18V. Hey, that's gotta be twice as good, right? Hooked up some wires (polarity? AC? DC? ) and - not a peep after that. I didn't even get a nice puff of smoke for my efforts.

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Actually, in the later years, I've known very few engineers that were DIY people. Rather sad. I have some theories about this, but people I have told them to tend to get upset hearing them... expecially the non-DIY engineers, who get huffy. Oh well.
Aw c'mon, give us a try. I have a theory also (though a lot of engineers I knew from the old days were not DIY either). It is harder to 'tinker' today. Old school discrete electronics meant you could get in and take out a part and hook this to that, and tap into the signal/control path and insert a circuit here and there. There are just fewer opportunities for that in the integrated circuit and CPU driven stuff. It is all so tightly intertwined, you just can't muck around. So they don't tinker, and they don't learn.

I've got a $100 receiver that's acting up - ghosts get in and it switches modes and channels and scared the heck out of us one night at 2AM when it decided to turn to the radio at high volume. But it is all micro-controller driven with inputs/outputs to the chip that drives a display and switches relays. If I can't fix it (and all I've done so far is cleaned some flux I saw, it has helped, so I might try another cleaning), I'll probably see if I can just hardwire from one set of input jacks to a physical volume control to the AMP. That will be good enough for a CD player or iPod, but I lose the radio. But even the power switch runs through the micro-controller... I dunno. It might not be worth messing for $100, but if the next one I buy does the same thing... But it might just be the 5V power supply getting flakey, and that I can probably fix (wow, 7805s have been around a looooong time!)

-ERD50
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