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November 24, 2021

Fixing a Stuck Zoom Mechanism on a Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:22 pm

The Canon 15-85mm is one of my favourite EF-S mount lenses to use on a Canon cropped sensor body such as a 90D. It’s sharp, with nice bokeh, is lightweight, and covers a great walkabout range (24-136mm) with great optical characteristics. Although not being touted as a pro grade lens, it actually employs Canon’s famous ED glass and performs well as you can see in many of the galleries at of the past few years. However, my 15-85 began showing mechanical problems a few months ago; it eventually would not zoom wider than 35mm due to what felt like a mechanical blockage.

Fortunately, despite what I’d seen in some youtube videos about this lens, fixing the problem in my case did not require full disassembly of the lens.

Canon 15-85mm lens fully assembled

Fixing a Janome 1110DX Serger

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:43 pm

Recently, a local friend from previous repairs brought over a Janome Serger that wasn’t working. The symptoms in this case were that the unit was completely “stuck” in that the manual handwheel could only be turned a few degrees, and the motor would not cause a significant rotation.

manufacturer's image
Manufacturer’s image

July 25, 2021

Repair of a VacMaster VP215 Commercial Vacuum Sealer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:50 pm

the sealer unit, all fixed

One of my neighbours brought over a nice vacuum sealer that wasn’t sealing bags properly. The model is a VacMaster VP215. Vacuum operation seemed to be OK, insofar as the pressure dropped and stabilized after several seconds of pump operation. However, appearances were that the bag seal area wasn’t being heated uniformly, so I first tried replacing the nichrome heater wire, but the problem persisted. After more careful observation, I realized that the unit was releasing vacuum before applying heat to the seal rather than afterward. (more…)

January 16, 2021

Viking Fridge Compressor Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:15 pm

The compressor in our Viking Professional 36 inch fridge had failed. It had been in service for about 12 years. Replacement of this compressor is non-trivial. Don’t try it yourself unless you have some familiarity with vacuum systems and refrigerants. First, the specific Embraco compressor is no longer in production. I found a suitable replacement, by Sikelan, with approximately the same electrical and mechanical specs (1.7 runtime amps, 10.9 LRA locked rotor amps, 1/4HP).

Failed compressor, before removal

Steps to replacement:


2007 Subaru Forester – Neutral Start Switch Replacement

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:58 pm

The neutral start switch, AKA inhibitor switch, on the transmission of our rough road vehicle, a 2007 Subaru Forester, was failing intermittently. Symptoms were that the car would not start (engine would not turn over on start) intermittently, but wiggling the transmission shift lever sideways would get it to start again. The starter motor had checked out OK. I found a new replacement switch, same part number, on ebay for about $100.

Failed Inhibitor Switch, removed


December 14, 2020

Microwave Oven Repair: Another Interlock Switch Failure

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:39 pm

the failed switch -note the depressed button

Over the past several years at Campbell River Repair Cafe events and elsewhere I’ve seen at least a dozen microwave ovens need repair because of failure of a specific component -one that is inexpensive and easy to source and replace: a door interlock switch. (more…)

November 14, 2019

Ultrasonic Humidifier Repair – The Unoscillating Nebulizer

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:01 pm

One of the items that was brought in by a friend to a recent Repair Café event in Campbell River was a non-functioning portable humidifier, a Honeywell model HUD-200. I didn’t have time to get to it during the Café afternoon, but was able to fix it afterward. These devices are based on an ultrasonic “nebulizer”, basically a piezoelectric element in a high frequency oscillator circuit generating ultrasound waves in water, and thereby causing droplets to form and flow out in an airstream from a fan. The symptom was that water was flowing through the device, but no moisture was being created.

the nebulous humidifier


November 7, 2018

Circa-1993 Bose Clock Radio Repair

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:44 pm

One of the most interesting and challenging repairs to come my way at the recent Repair Café in Campbell River, BC was a Bose clock radio. This radio had no audio output other than a loud buzz from the speakers when turned on.

Bose Clock Radio, post-repair


Repair of a Hot Water Tub Pump Motor

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 7:08 pm

Recently my neighbour’s hot tub wasn’t functioning; the water pump motor would not start. This is a fairly common symptom, with a number of possible causes. In this case the pump was a “Century LASAR Pool/Spa Motor” part number 7-177783-02 by A.O. Smith and Company. The repair required both freeing up seized bearings, and cleaning contacts in the starter capacitor circuit.

May 12, 2017

Repair of an "Instant Pot" Pressure Cooker

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:39 am

This post is about another case that reinforces my claim that “most repairs are easy” -especially when you know what to look for! One of my neighbours recently brought over a pressure cooker that had ceased to function. In quick initial tests, the unit powered up normally, and panel display and controls seemed functional, but the device heater did not come on. Other key observations were that the relay that supplies AC to the heater could be heard to “click” as expected. This relay is of a common type used in many appliances and electronic thermostats to supply relatively high currents to resistive heaters.

the patient, chest cavity opened


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