Tips

by admin on October 15, 2017

As I think of tips I’ll post them and once I get enough, I’ll collect them on a single page so that they’ll be easier to find.  You may have noticed some random part numbers appearing on the site.  Since I’m always taking things apart and figuring out what they do, I’ve decided that I’d start posting any of the datasheets that I research on my website.  I don’t intend to be a “one stop shop” or complete repository, but as I figure things out, I’ll post the datasheets here.

First Tip:

As you take things apart, photograph them with a digital camera.  Do it with good lighting and, if appropriate, write yourself some notes:  “…when I pulled the back off the three screws across the top were longer than the four across the bottom.”  I’ve been doing this ever since I got my first digital camera.  It only had a 480 x 640 resolution and had no screen to see how the image turned out, but still I used it.  It has been indispensable.

1a. As you’re disassembling, if you don’t want to write yourself notes, use a voice recorder, your cell phone, MP3 player or any other device you have that allows you to record your voice.  My cell phone is a TREO 650 that I installed a voice recorder program on.  I set the file naming to include the date and time.  I don’t even have to think about what I’m doing.  Press a couple of buttons and I’m recording.

Moving parts

Tip 2 relates to moving parts.  I had a CD changer that would become difficult to open.  What I did was dis-assemble the case and then arranged it on the dining room table with LOTS of light and I set my VHS video camera up on a tripod over the mechanism.  The camera had a “high speed” mode which I engaged.  I then cycled the CD player until the mechanism stuck.  I was able to play the tape back and figured out what was causing the problem.  Mind you this was a 1989 vintage consumer camcorder, so high speed wasn’t like the ones they use on Myth Busters to catch the bullet tearing apart the crash test dummy.  So anything you can buy today will probably work.  Give it a go!

Saving screws…

For tip 3 you need to do a little assembly.  You’ll need:

  • Shoebox lid (bigger is better)
  • Some super-strong rare-earth magnets
  • glue
  • 3×3 Post-it notes
  • pen, pencil or marker

Glue the magnets to the top(outside) of the lid several inches apart, at least 4.5″ apart.  Hopefully you have big feet and can get six or more magnets on the lid.  After the glue dries, turn the lid over and mark where the magnets are.   You’re ready to go.  The next time you take something apart, write on the post-it note where the screws came from: (top cover, bottom cover, HV shielding, power supply mounting, etc.)  stick it over one of the magnets and then put the screws on it.  The magnet should hold them in place, on the post-it note until it’s time to put it back together.  Other things you can do is number the post-its to correspond with the order, you could name the parts they go to, you could write down the inventory of screws for that step.  Remember, the more information, the better.  After reassembly, you can throw out the post-its.  OR, if you’re really clever, you’ll save all the information you wrote down into a notebook (database) so that you’ll have the information for the next time that make and model comes in the shop.

A simpler alternative is to use either a muffin baking tray or an empty egg carton. These have the advantage of being very easy, but it’s somewhat harder to categorize and classify information about where the screws came from.

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