Repairing a broken microwave keypad

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[Alexandre Souza] needed a microwave pretty badly, but he didn’t have a lot of cash on hand. He located one for a great price, but once he got home he found that things weren’t working quite like they should be (Google translation).

After some investigation, he narrowed the problem down to a bad keypad membrane. Unfortunately for him, this model of microwave was never sold in Brazil (who knows how it got there) and the only membrane he could track down had to be shipped in from the US at a cost of $80.

Rather than pay such a high price for a simple membrane, he opted to fix the microwave himself. He dismantled the control panel and thoroughly traced the keypad matrix to get an understanding of which pins toggled which functions. With a piece of protoboard and almost two dozen push buttons in hand, he built his own keypad and wired it directly into the microwave’s control board.

With labels written in marker it might not be the nicest looking thing you have ever seen, but it works a treat and is a great money-saving hack.

Breathing new life into a broken iPod

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[Craig] had a busted 2nd Gen iPod Nano that was well out of warranty. The play/pause button no longer worked, leaving him unable to play or pause music, nor power off the device. He didn’t want to scrap the iPod, so he figured out a way to add an external play/pause button instead.

He ordered an iPod dock connector from SparkFun and found that it had just enough space inside for the electronic components he would be adding. He consulted some online references for pinout information, then got busy cramming an ATiny13 and a pushbutton into the dock connector.

To minimize the drain on the iPod’s battery, he puts the ATiny into sleep mode when it is not being used. When the button is pressed, it wakes up the microcontroller and sends the proper signal to the iPod. Based on his estimations, it would take nearly 250 years for the ATiny to drain the iPod’s battery completely, so he’s pretty comfortable leaving the dongle attached at all times.

If you have an iPod with similar issues, he has made his source code available so you can save yours from the trash heap as well.

There I Fixed It: A blog about hacking, poorly.

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Thereifixedit.com is a site filled with dubious innovations. Some of them are cool, some of them are clever, and most of them are terrifying. Anyone who has ever stood in front of a broken household appliance with a roll of duct tape, one screw driver with a bit chipped off the flat part, and determination will laugh themselves silly browsing through this site. Maybe some of the ghetto hacks we covered before should be in this list.

[Thanks for the link Dad]

Robert Crumb ghetto hacks

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[Robert Crumb], the celebrated artist who created the commonly recognized keep on truckin, Fritz the cat, and mr natural can be seen here doing a ghetto hack. His record was warped, so he had to melt it in the oven to flatten it out. While [R. Crumb] may not be the epitome of celebrity and wealth, he got us wondering, what celebrities do ghetto hacks? More importantly, what ghetto hacks do you continue to do, even though you could afford to just simply replace the item? In case you missed the ghetto hacks thread, here it is.

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Ghetto electronics repair

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After hearing that his video card might be repairable by heating it up to reflow it, this user did just that. He stripped it down and tossed it in his oven. It’s amazing how often this type of hackish repair works. We’ve heard of people using candles on ibooks, tossing video cards in oven,s and wrapping an xbox 360 in a towel and running it for 30 minutes to get it hot enough to reflow itself. Why even bother with controlled temperatures and exact measurements? What other crazy fixes have you had to employ? We had a Playstation that only worked upside down.

[via engadget]

LCD repair

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[Andrew] sent us this great breakdown of an LCD monitor repair. After his wife’s monitor developed an issue with rippling in the picture, he was forced to decide between trashing it, or fixing it. He decided for the latter, possibly to his wife’s disappointment. The rippling image could easily be attributed to a failed filter in the power supply. Knowing that capacitors are a prime suspect in these cases, he tore in, looking for failures. He found that there were, in fact, 2 bad capacitors on the back light circuit. After replacing them with newer, higher quality ones, the monitor was as good as new.