I’m in the midst of cleaning up the shop after a winter of avoiding the too-cold basement. The best way I’ve found to pull this off is to pick up each object, do whatever’s needed to put it away, and move to the next object. Trying to be clever leads to paralysis, so I devote a few days to fixing up gadgets and putting tools back in their places. After a while, it gets to be rather soothing.
Some months ago I snagged a power screwdriver from a discard pile; while it didn’t work, un-bending the battery pack connector solved that. It runs from a quartet of AA cells, which means I can use alkalines and it’ll always be ready to go. It’s not a high-torque unit, so I’m using it for case screws and similar easy tasks.
But it quickly became intermittent and finally would turn only clockwise. Onto the to-do heap it went…
Power screwdrivers consist of a battery, a motor with a planetary gear reduction transmission, and a cross-wired DPDT switch in between. Not much can go wrong and, if it turns at all, most likely the problem has something to do with the switch or wiring.
Opened it up, pulled out the motor, and, lo and behold, one of the wires has broken off the switch. As nearly as I can tell, pushing the switch that-a-way forced the solder tab down on the wire and made the connection, pushing it the other way pulled the tab off the wire.
While I had the hood up, I replaced the wires with slightly thicker and longer ones. Soldered everything back together, mushed the grease blobs back into the planetary gearing, and it works like a champ…
Now, fairly obviously, there’s absolutely no economic sense to this sort of thing, given that the driver probably cost under ten bucks, but I just can’t stand to see a perfectly good gadget wind up in the trash.
I’d love to do this sort of thing for a living, if only I could figure out how to avoid going broke while doing so. Maybe I can get me some of that my economic stimulus money that’s sloshing around these days?