Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fix it - don't toss it

 I have had this handy dual power (solar/battery) Radio Shack calculator for decades.  Recently it started producing weird results - reminding me of my series of artworks that deliberately satirize our implicit trust in electronically represented numbers.  Here's an example of a recent one:
"Digital Numeric Relevator Mk XXXIV - Hexadecimal Blues"
My "Relevator" series all look like Sharper Image products from the Twilight Zone and they just show senseless numbers that dance, fade, or de-construct in interesting ways.

It is disconcerting when a calculator shows wrong results!  So I opened it up to see what I could learn/do.  All it took was a miniature Phillips screwdriver:
... and there in the corner was a replaceable watch battery!  
It turned out I happened to have a spare battery laying around and "Presto!" it worked fine and the display was even more readable than it had been.

Being a geek, I always test a calculator by entering 22 / 7 since pi is a good exercise for the electronics and I happen to have memorized the first 5 digits.  So it's working fine now.

The point of my sharing this simple repair story is that it is often much simpler than you think to repair something.  So I saved this little item from the landfill and expect it to last a few more decades.  This is the essence of living sustainably.

Previous posts in this series showed:

How I repaired a broken torchiere lamp base

How I repaired my microwave oven

How I repaired my trash can lid

These repairs were simple and easy to do repairs, requiring minimal tools and basic ingenuity.  You can often find detailed help for repairing just about anything on the web and YouTube.