Date: 31 March 2014. Project Proliferation.
(Hella fan fixed)
There is a phenomenon in this
country that affects mainly the older folks. I am referring to the
inability to throw out something that is simply broken, because
you are going to fix it and thus, save money. I was raised
by a man who fought in WWII and know that repair is the First choice
when something breaks.
[This is the newest article in the
Becoming Clutter-Free series.]
A nearby boater tossed out this
Attwood bilge pump. After cleaning and testing the unit I put it in
In this millennium many
folks including my own daughter tend to throw away everything. She buys new
when something breaks, which drives my thrifty brain into tizzy. Of
course with the money she earns often it is less costly for her to
work another hour than spend two hours trying to fix a $10 item.
So, if you are of the higher
earning contingent you might not need my advice. However, if
you have a basement or garage filled with broken appliances that are
not repaired: We need to talk!
It is time to clear the clutter.
Every one of us has a collection of good intentions. I
fortunate because in a 23' boat there is not a lot of room for things undone.
The problem with projects easily becomes twofold:
Where to store the items
needing repair. This is the
easiest to resolve when you live in a house with plenty of
room for your projects. Out of sight quickly becomes
out of mind. I found that if I have not fixed it by now, why are
should I still be keeping it? If it is not important enough to fix
immediately, then I do not need it.
Parts required to repair
item. If I have determined the project needs to be finished,
have I the knowledge to know what parts are required?
Do I have a source for those same parts that is
economical? Can I buy a used item cheaper immediately?
This week as you go thru
your home any item that needs repair should be set aside. Look
at it realistically: Will you fix it or take it to a shop for
repair? If not, get rid of it now.
You work your whole life, and to provide
shelter for broken items seems wrong to me. If you've got the
makings for six bicycles but only one works, why are you
keeping the spare parts? There is a thing called
Freecycle (multiple Yahoo Groups -- check for one near you) and
for free you can get rid of all the good intentions ASAP.
This life afloat can be yours too -- but not if you keep
all that does not work.
That said, I do take apart everything on this boat
that breaks. I might not be able to fix it, but I do learn more
about how things work. And sometimes I get lucky and actually
fix stuff that's broken. Like earlier this week when one of my
Hella fans didn't turn
My Hella fan came with no
connector (just the bare wires) and a couple years back I attached a cigarette lighter to make this one portable.
(The base is screwed to a large clip that the termite men use
when tenting a house.)
The first thing I did was
remove the knob to see if that was the trouble. It looked normal
-- or at least nothing appeared broken.
Next I took off the
cigarette lighter and direct connected the positive and ground
wires via alligator clips.
A few years back
a battery charger gave up the ghost. I clipped off the wires and
attached a cigarette lighter so I have a way to test stuff. This
totally icky. The wire is stiff. I have sworn to replace it
at some point, but it works. So, it is still here and likely to
remain so for the foreseeable future. But I do not like it much.
With the power to the unit
I pushed on the part that moves when the knob is turned, and
voila: the fan turned.
That told me all I needed
to do was recheck the old plug.
mistake: I had not first checked the fuse.
Always, and I know this, check the power source. I failed to do
that. The fuse had blown. It was a simple matter to replace said
fuse and reattach the cigarette lighter plug.
One Hella fan
is fixed and
is once again cool on Seaweed.
So my advice to you (ladies too!) is
to take stuff apart. Do not do that until you have unplugged the gizmo from the wall outlet though.
Electricity can be deadly -- so be safe.
And no, at first my repairs were not successful.
After nearly six years out here though more often than not I am able to
revive things. When I am unsuccessful that is okay too. Since the
item is already
broken I cannot break it more. Just maybe I might learn a bit for the next
time something else breaks.
are my most used tool. Practically every project requires them.
Also, start now to accumulate your tools chest
items that you find useful and are comfortable using. Ladies, mine are
smaller versions I have acquired over time. They fit my hands better than
Man-sized tools, and
yours might be similar.
Buy quality hand tools as it's better to spend $5 or even
$10 now than repeatedly purchase knuckle-busters at a buck a piece. If
you have small hands make sure the grip is comfortable -- not all are.
Do you try to repair stuff or are you a toss it and
replace with new?
And, how handy were your parents? (Mine fixed stuff, so perhaps that's why
I try to do the same.)
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In the Bilges,
Unconventional Money Making ~
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