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January 18, 2024

Ryobi and Skil Charger Repairs After Overvoltage Condition

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:39 pm

Recent repairs for a friend. 7 separate devices (6 tool battery chargers -5 Ryobi units and one Skil charger) and an oven controller were brought to me after having failed due to an extreme overvoltage condition in an off-grid cabin.

All of the chargers are fixed now, after a significant number of fairly straightforward component replacements.

In this case, the “defensive”, sacrificial components in the circuit designs -mainly varistors, current fuses, and solid state thermal fuses – sort of did what they were designed to do and blew into open or shorted failure as designed, but not quickly enough to save a significant set of early stage power supply components. There were some spectacularly blown electrolytic capacitors and varistors, a fried transformer, and some failed switching ICs, but everything past the power supply stages of the circuits turned out to be OK.

Repaired Ryobi Fast Chargers

November 1, 2023

Repair of a Samsung Flex Duo Convection Oven

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:32 am

Another repair of a remarkably common appliance problem -a failed solder joint at a high current relay terminal. In this case, the patient was a 4 year old Samsung oven, model NE58H9970WS. The oven was not heating, but all 3 heating elements for the oven -broil, bake, and convection – all checked out OK with resistances of 10-50 ohms. No error codes were shown from the onboard diagnostics.

Upon deeper inspection, the problem turned out to be a failed solder joint on the main PC board at the back of the oven, on one terminal of a high current relay that drives the elements. See the red circled area in the last board photo. Easily repaired with some heavy gauge copper wire plus large cross section soldering to handle the high currents. However, this is a problem that I keep seeing across a large set of home cooking appliances. I’ve previously seen it on multiple Instant Pots (including one also of Kyle’s!) and other devices and notified the manufacturer in that case. Worth being on the lookout for.


October 3, 2022

Repairs of The Carver Receiver 2000

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:57 am
carver unage

One of the more complex repairs that I’ve done lately was of this Carver Receiver 2000 that a climbing friend brought my way. This is a rare piece of high end audio gear, manufactured in late 1980s. As received, the unit had no left channel output, and no A speaker output. B output and headphone output was fine for right channel.


July 1, 2022

Fixing a Popcorn Machine for the Campbell River Museum

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:35 am

I fixed a couple of items recently for the Campbell River Museum. The most interesting and unusual one was their popcorn maker, apparently a popular device for the young visitors (and some older ones). This is a Nostalgia brand unit. The machine was described as having a stirring motor that wasn’t working, but inspection revealed that the problem was that a solid state thermal fuse inside the heating pot had failed.


November 24, 2021

Fixing a Stuck Zoom Mechanism on a Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:22 pm

The Canon 15-85mm is one of my favourite EF-S mount lenses to use on a Canon cropped sensor body such as a 90D. It’s sharp, with nice bokeh, is lightweight, and covers a great walkabout range (24-136mm) with great optical characteristics. Although not being touted as a pro grade lens, it actually employs Canon’s famous ED glass and performs well as you can see in many of the galleries at of the past few years. However, my 15-85 began showing mechanical problems a few months ago; it eventually would not zoom wider than 35mm due to what felt like a mechanical blockage.

Fortunately, despite what I’d seen in some youtube videos about this lens, fixing the problem in my case did not require full disassembly of the lens.

Canon 15-85mm lens fully assembled

Fixing a Janome 1110DX Serger

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:43 pm

Recently, a local friend from previous repairs brought over a Janome Serger that wasn’t working. The symptoms in this case were that the unit was completely “stuck” in that the manual handwheel could only be turned a few degrees, and the motor would not cause a significant rotation.

manufacturer's image
Manufacturer’s image

July 25, 2021

Repair of a VacMaster VP215 Commercial Vacuum Sealer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:50 pm

the sealer unit, all fixed

One of my neighbours brought over a nice vacuum sealer that wasn’t sealing bags properly. The model is a VacMaster VP215. Vacuum operation seemed to be OK, insofar as the pressure dropped and stabilized after several seconds of pump operation. However, appearances were that the bag seal area wasn’t being heated uniformly, so I first tried replacing the nichrome heater wire, but the problem persisted. After more careful observation, I realized that the unit was releasing vacuum before applying heat to the seal rather than afterward. (more…)

January 16, 2021

Viking Fridge Compressor Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:15 pm

The compressor in our Viking Professional 36 inch fridge had failed. It had been in service for about 12 years. Replacement of this compressor is non-trivial. Don’t try it yourself unless you have some familiarity with vacuum systems and refrigerants. First, the specific Embraco compressor is no longer in production. I found a suitable replacement, by Sikelan, with approximately the same electrical and mechanical specs (1.7 runtime amps, 10.9 LRA locked rotor amps, 1/4HP).

Failed compressor, before removal

Steps to replacement:


2007 Subaru Forester – Neutral Start Switch Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:58 pm

The neutral start switch, AKA inhibitor switch, on the transmission of our rough road vehicle, a 2007 Subaru Forester, was failing intermittently. Symptoms were that the car would not start (engine would not turn over on start) intermittently, but wiggling the transmission shift lever sideways would get it to start again. The starter motor had checked out OK. I found a new replacement switch, same part number, on ebay for about $100.

Failed Inhibitor Switch, removed


December 14, 2020

Microwave Oven Repair: Another Interlock Switch Failure

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:39 pm

the failed switch -note the depressed button

Over the past several years at Campbell River Repair Cafe events and elsewhere I’ve seen at least a dozen microwave ovens need repair because of failure of a specific component -one that is inexpensive and easy to source and replace: a door interlock switch. (more…)

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