Tag Archives: DIY

Don’t Smash That Button

I’ve used this Instructable a few times to revive temperamental remote control buttons, and it is a very satisfying and easy job. Getting the plastic case apart is usually the most difficult part and just takes a bit of patience.

A bit of tinfoil from my hat.
Bonus tip: single use super glues can be used more than once, just stick some Blu Tack on the end and hack off when you want a little dab.

I fixed our DVD player remote yesterday and was surprised to see the original batteries from 2006 were still installed. They feel very light (7 grams less than a Duracell), and look like cheapies, but must be the best batteries ever made.

0% mercury, 100% magic.

∞-in-1

It used to be called a 5-in-1, and now some upgrade it to a 9-in-1, but the uses for the handy painter’s tool really are infinite. Cleaning a paint roller with it will change your life, I promise.

Yesterday I used mine as a handy edging guide while painting our boathouse, and also to nudge a little green bug away from wet paint.

Oven Timer

We bought new appliances when we built our house in 2002. They were plain white and as simple as I could find.

The simple part has (knock on wood) been a blessing as all are still working, with only one minor repair to our washer and a couple to our refrigerator (I replaced the freezer defrost thermostat myself last year!)

Our Maytag MGS 5770 propane range, though, has been another story. Pilot lights have replaced electric ignitors in modern stoves, which saves fuel and lessens the explosion risk, but they seem to wear out every 3-4 years.

The first couple of times the ignitors gave out I called a company from Charlottetown, which meant waiting until they were in our area. After watching them quickly install the $50 part and charging me nearly double that for the service call, I decided I could order the part and do it myself. As we have two ranges (my mother has an apartment attached to our house), this has been a big saving.

When the controller on our range stopped working in August 2016, I called a new appliance repair technician who had just moved to our area. Before he arrived, I did an internet search about either buying a new controller or getting the faulty one fixed. The price for a new controller wasn’t quite the price of a new range, but putting nearly $1,000 into a then 14-year-old appliance seemed a bit crazy.

Then I found ApplianceTimers.com, who repair mechanical and digital controls for ranges, washers, dryers and dishwashers. In addition to having an informative website, their testimonial section is helpfully organized by US state and Canadian province. There was only one testimonial from PEI at that time, and it was, of course, from someone I knew (I had taught her Sunday School a looooong time ago before I became a heathen), so I could easily confirm that ApplianceTimers.com weren’t going to take my money and run.

I contacted the company to see if they might have a rebuilt controller. They didn’t have one in stock, but said they had good success repairing the type from my range, so I waited to see what the technician would say.

The technician spent three minutes looking at the range and said I would need a new controller (thank you), but added it would be crazy to put that kind of money into an old appliance (hey, didn’t I just say that?!). I asked about getting the controller repaired and he said I would be wasting my money as it only worked 50% of the time.

50% seemed pretty good odds to me, so I carefully removed the controller, labelling the wires REALLY well as I went along, and shipped it off to their Quebec repair centre. They replaced a resistor, and in less than a week I had it back, wires reconnected, and the oven back in service. 

The repair plus shipping and taxes totalled $262.31, an investment I hoped would get me a couple of more years from the range.

I’m happy to report that the range is still working three years later. I have since had the spark module that controls the burners replaced (a repair I watched closely and feel I could now do myself) and I replaced the oven ignitor and the door gasket last year. The display might be a bit dimmer than when the range was new, but that’s ok. I’m pleased to have kept an appliance out of the waste stream and saved some money, too.

Three For Four

All four of our hens are laying eggs now. The two new red pullets, Clemmie and Prue, took a while to get going, and their eggs are still small, but things are usually running like clockwork.

One day last week, Clemmie took off when Steven opened the run in the morning and ran to the house. I later only found three eggs in the two nesting boxes in the coop. I had seen Clemmie and Prue checking out the spirea next to our deck the day before, so I had a look there and found a beautiful little brown egg in a sweet little hole Clemmie had made in the soil.

This dash-and-drop went on for a few mornings, so yesterday I threw together a rustic/junky/steampunky outdoor nesting box. The wood came from our old shop floor, which the builders said I should burn but which I have recycled into many garden and chicken projects so far. The roof is the drain pan that used to sit under our ancient water pump for our cottage. The drain pipe had rusted out and left a little hole, so I dug into our bag of recycling and found the snazzy lid from a can of ADL/Dairy Isle evaporated milk (what my 96-year-old mother uses to make fudge, which she did for the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival canteen last week!). Nails and roofing screws were picked up by me from when our house was being built in 2002 and reroofed in 2015. Caulking leftover from repairing our shop siding.

Total cost = $0. And this morning, there was no 5:30 buck-buck-bucking from Clemmie, and she instead left her brown egg in her new box. The chicken books all say “One nesting box is enough for every four hens,” but Clemmie hasn’t gotten to that chapter in her handbook. Or she read the version with the footnote “*except when it isn’t.”