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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 8th Jan 2014, 11:03 pm   #21
reelguy
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Late 50s/early 60s, Mum was given an old B&W tv.
We didn't have an aerial so Dad hung wires round the kitchen {Living room } It worked but the picture wasn't very good.
Then I had an idea and experimented using the budgie cage stand as an aerial, it worked. .
But it was even better if stood in the bay window

The budgie cage sat on the table after that.

Peter W.....Reelguy.
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Old 9th Jan 2014, 5:45 am   #22
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Sixty+ years ago my father had in his garage workshop a "bigger bits n' pieces" box plus small drawers of miscellaneous nuts, bolts, screws and other "it'll come in handy one day" stuff, and as a child I regularly made use of the contents of these boxes and drawers for my various projects.

I still have them today, and over the years I have added all sorts of items, whole or partially dismantled etc and scarcely a week goes by that I don't go rummaging for 'just the right bit' to complete a repair or some other project.

I have a pretty good collection of (small to medium) screws of all sizes and thread types, I started it nearly 50 years ago when Whitworth seemed to be the principal thread type, then Japanese products came along in quantity with all sorts of tiny fasteners with very fine threads, so I collected those as well.

I don't know how any keen handyman can get by without at least a modest collection of such bits n' pieces. They are easy to collect and take up very little room. I'd be utterly lost without that resource, and my family appreciates the range of repairs that can be made using those resources of plastic and metal items and the wide range of fasteners.

Cheers

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Old 12th Jan 2014, 5:52 pm   #23
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

I've just spent some time on a Hacker Sovereign II which was very deaf on LW and MW.
The problem turned out to be that all the rubbery bits down the sides of the IF tuning slugs had perished allowing all the IF stages to go off tune.
I managed to find some thin elastic thread in my wife's sowing kit. I ran a length of the thread down each former,this made up the slack and after realignment all is well.

John
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Old 12th Jan 2014, 6:43 pm   #24
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

One from a year or so back: building a little HF antenna-tuner I needed a way to isolate the frames of the variable-capacitor and the roller-coaster coil from the metal case. I found a Tesco "Value" polythene chopping-board could be cut to size and, being about 1.5cm thick, provided a rather good solid low-loss insulating base.

Small offcuts of the chopping-board bolted to the front panel provide support-bearings for the two control-shafts. Polythene is a good material for use in un-lubricated bearings.
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Old 12th Jan 2014, 9:38 pm   #25
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

I have been making some replica HT and LT batteries recently, and so far I have managed to find good, strong cardboard boxes that are almost the exact size required for the battery casing. Most of these started life as food packaging - from savoury biscuits, chocolates, and Marmite for example. Cutting carefully to size and glueing using PVA adhesive forms a strong and rigid box for the battery, which can then be covered by a suitable replica battery image printed onto matte photo paper. I also use expanded polystyrene packaging material, cut to size, to form an inner tray to hold the batteries and add rigidity to the box.

This Ever Ready AD14 started out as a Marmite gift pack...

Phil
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Old 13th Jan 2014, 12:24 am   #26
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Hey Phil, that looks really grand!

Steve.
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Old 13th Jan 2014, 4:18 pm   #27
Anthony Thomas
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Recently I was looking for some plastic rod or dowelling to extend some potentiometer shafts, I wanted a non conductive insulating material. I found some sticks at the local gardening centre that were 6mm diameter and a pack of 30 was very inexpensive, they were a good length.

Tony
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Old 13th Jan 2014, 4:51 pm   #28
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Knitting needles are good too, ask SHMBO (or HHMBO) first though. Thinking about it sewing shops are well worth a look for 'speaker fabric and the like.
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Old 14th Jan 2014, 11:04 pm   #29
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Smile There, I've fixed it!

Hi,
I recently found a Pioneer turntable at our local tip which looked repairable but was missing the counterweight, mat & belt. I had a spare mat & belt, but no weight. So I bodged one from a Terry clip & a stack of washers. Not pretty, but it works!
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 14th Jan 2014, 11:54 pm   #30
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Hi pete,

Great! now all you need to do is individualy paint the washers with a coat of Humbrol enamel matt black, and put them all back on again and away you go .

Paul.
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Old 14th Jan 2014, 11:58 pm   #31
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

I once carried out a service call for a cooker, the company I worked for never did get the right parts in!
A previous engineer had visited this job, a fan oven with noisy fan.
They had ordered a fan oven motor, when I checked out the cooker prior to fitting the motor. It was the cabinet ventilation fan that was making the noise and the customer was already unhappy about the time taken to order the first part.
When the customer was out of the kitchen I found some cooking oil and put it on the sintered bearings with a screw driver.
I left the company after only one week, they were so hopeless, so never heard any more about it.
It saved my ears getting chewed off at the time, at least the customer was left happy!
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Old 15th Jan 2014, 4:22 am   #32
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

That cooker job was a good bodge and would have lasted long enough for you to get away with it anyway.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 7:08 am   #33
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

I have just used the clear plastic sheet from a Christmas gift packing box to make three new tuning dial windows, to replace the cracked celluloid ones on a pre-war McMichael 367 portable.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 1:12 pm   #34
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Further to #32, on Christmas Eve 2012 the fan of our electric oven wouldn't turn but just sat there buzzing. Prodding the impeller through the grill could get it started, but the fan blade fouled the housing. The end bearing turned out to be very worn. No chance of getting a replacement motor at lunchtime on Christmas eve, and the family were expecting their turkey the next day! Adding a couple of washers stopped the fouling, but it would only run slowly and noisily because the shaft was precessing in the bearing sleeve, even when oiled.

I remembered reading about how early railway waggons used grease boxes where lubrication was effected by the friction of a dry bearing generating enough heat to melt the grease, so got out my tin snips and folded up a small box using tinplate from a baked bean tin, stuck it on the end of the motor housing with some silicone rubber sealant, and packed it with some grease that I used to use for lubricating car wheel bearings. It got us through Christmas and was still working Ok when we got a new cooker in early February.
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Old 17th Jan 2014, 1:54 pm   #35
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

I bet that will be going for years! Those plain bearings last for ages, if any of mine start to squeak I use a few drops of really posh synthetic engine oil, never needed to re-lubricate one after that treatment. And why is it always a baked bean tin?
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 12:07 am   #36
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

I think it's just an expression.

One of our bits of test gear at work is a beautifully fabricated stainless steel cylinder with a dozen or so hermetic D-types on the top and a vacuum flange coupling on the bottom. It's used for getting lots of instrumentation wiring out from a vacuum space. It's about the size of a 2.5litre paint tin and is just called "The bean tin".

I can't think of any household connection for it, though
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Old 25th Jan 2014, 11:11 pm   #37
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
Further to #32, on Christmas Eve 2012 the fan of our electric oven wouldn't turn but just sat there buzzing. Prodding the impeller through the grill could get it started, but the fan blade fouled the housing. The end bearing turned out to be very worn. No chance of getting a replacement motor at lunchtime on Christmas eve, and the family were expecting their turkey the next day! Adding a couple of washers stopped the fouling, but it would only run slowly and noisily because the shaft was precessing in the bearing sleeve, even when oiled.
I smiled when I read this. About 3 years ago on Christmas Eve, the fan in our oven packed up. I had previously bodged it and knew it was the end. I rang the shop where I get 'white goods' parts from and just caught them as they were leaving and going to the pub for the afternoon. It is some 18 miles from me so they took a motor with them and we did the deal over a pint. The fan was repaired and the Turkey ready for the main event. I thought I was extremely unlucky to have this happen on Christmas Eve so it cheered me up to know I am not alone.
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Old 26th Jan 2014, 12:51 pm   #38
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

[QUOTE=terrybull;657634]
Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
I thought I was extremely unlucky to have this happen on Christmas Eve so it cheered me up to know I am not alone.
I can go one day later...Christmas Day (some years ago). Got up early to get the oven on and the Turkey in it. Minor firework display - oven element burnt out.

Off came the side panels etc., for me to find that there were two elements in the oven - in series. One was intact. Where to find something of sufficient power handling to put in series? Answer - the grill. Duly wired up (fortunately all done with slip-on spade connectors), and the bird went in. We ate around 6.00p.m., having used the grill (which became a minor oven in itself) to deal with the trimmings, hence saving opening the oven door too often.

dave
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 2:32 pm   #39
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

Afternoon all. One day I got a phone call from my mate Gaz. His record player was making some "flatulent" noises on bass peaks. Could I bob round and have a look? I think the record player was a late 60's HMV if memory serves (this is 30 years ago) and upon inspection it transpired the speaker had been replaced a few years earlier with a rather nice 6"x9" Altai twin cone with a foam surround. His uncle, the original owner, had fitted it. Predictably enough, the foam had rotted. "Ah, it needs a new speaker" I said. Gaz asked if I had a replacement lying round. I didn't and Gaz looked so crestfallen I had to try something. I nipped back home (it was only 5 minutes away) and got my tub of Copydex. Treating the surround with the Copydex was a good enough measure to allow the speaker to live for another 5 years until Gaz bought a separates system from me.

I've also found Copydex to be ideal for when the coating of a pleated surround dries out and I've resuscitated loads of speakers with it and saved a fortune over the years.

Before that I used to use rubber solution from a puncture repair kit but it's less flexible than Copydex when set and must surely restrict the movement of the cone. Rubber solution seems much heavier too.

Regards, Paul
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Old 19th Feb 2014, 10:57 pm   #40
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Default Re: Improvising with Household Items.

In the studio we had a pair of Tannoy Little Golds in the main room and one day we had a group of young learning disabled folk in on my day off. One of them had stuck a broken drumstick into the surround of one of the cones which left a nice 1/2" tear in it

Copydex and a piece tissue paper to the rescue and all was well luckily. The repair was still going strong after about 10 years when I retired, despite the Tannoys regularly getting a good thrashing at the end of many a mix session
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