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Mechanically inept. Replaced a lamp on/off switch.

"I have no mechanical skills," I say ruefully. "My Dad was an engineer who never fixed anything." Broken items piled up on his workbench at home.

"How can I fix anything when my workbench is always covered with stuff?" he joked.

With no role model, I felt mechanically inept. But I'm a great problem-solver like Mom.

Lamp switch was stripped inside.

"My bedside lamp is broken," I thought sadly. "The lamp switch doesn't work. I'll have to buy a new lamp."

For a week, I did a workaround with a mini-flashlight on the bedside table to see the remotes while watching Netflix. That got old.

Looked it up on the internet. Took the worn-out lamp switch to a hardware store to get the right size. Asked for help, of course.

"They are all the same size," the older male clerk said when I showed him the little black switch. What a relief!

The lamp switch took one minute to replace. I feel so proud.

[hunker.com]

LiterateHiker 9 Jan 19
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23 comments

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6

utube videos are the go for when something brakes. I learned how to change a washer in my shower and how to cut my girlfriends hair. She is very happy with the job.

5

It seems like the current way of handling broken appliances is to toss it out and buy a new one. My Samson big screen TV would not stay on. My son who has no electronics repair experience made the comment "sounds like the power supply". I told him "You can have it if you want it". He looked on Youtube bought a new power supply on Amazon and wala! A virtually new TV. Really proud of him.

4

So often we believe our long practiced internal messages. You just disproved one of yours.

Kudos !

@evergreen

Good point. Thank you.

4

See, your not as mechanically inept as you thought. This will give you confidence to tackle other repairs😎

3

I was raised fixing everything. It would never occur to me that I wouldn't be able to fix it. Some things are made so cheaply today, however, that it's made to throw away.

3

YouTube is your friend!
It’s just a matter of gaining the knowledgeπŸ™‚

3

You can accomplish anything with a little effort, just takes the will to do so. The Internet is a wonderful resource to look at how things work and how to repair things. Glad you fixed it and did not give up. The landfills are full of things that just needed a little effort to fix.

3

Molodets! I am not the most skilled at such repairs but with YouTube and patience, you can do some basic repairs.

@skeptic70

What does "Molodets" mean?

@LiterateHiker Molodets means terrific, outstanding!

3

Yay!

3

I call shenanigans.
I doubt anybody who sews seriously could be mechanically inept.

I think you're just inexperienced in some things. And that's not a bad thing. Likely it means you take care of your stuff so it doesn't break often and you don't have to spend a lot of time fixing it.
The Sherlock Holmes character in his first story talked about trying to keep details he didn't need from cluttering his mind. You only attend to repair work when you have to.

@RichCC

Can't pound a nail without bending it. Usually strip screws.

Last time, with a sharpening stone, I sharpened the nail point so it would pierce hard wood. Unbelievable.

Are nails and screws made of weak metal?

@LiterateHiker
Some screws - particularly those made of brass are inherently soft. The key to installing them successfully is drilling properly sized pilot holes.
Rubbing soap or wax on the threads will serve as a lubricant and ease the installation.

I'm not a natural handyman myself but I agree with you.
For nails a small punch to make a starter dent in the wood comes to mind.

@LiterateHiker Nails and hammers take skill to use, practice, and you will be able to do a better job. Screws in wood most of the time take a countersink, a drill that is large enough to allow the shank of the screw to pass but small enough to allow the screw part to grab the wood and hold fast. Most people do not know that a screw is like a clamp, the hole in the piece to be held, large enough for the screw to pass through the hole in the piece the first is to be anchored to small enough for the thread to secure the pieces together. This is the procedure I use when woodscrews are required. Most of the time, people think they can use the screw and force to drive into the wood, getting a screw to work; this rarely works for me. Countersinks are expensive, get a set of drills (1/16) increments, drill a practice hole in another piece of wood, put thread (I know you have this for sewing) wax on the screw before driving it in. Use a screwdriver, not a driver in a drill, so you know how tight the screw is going to get. If they are too tight they can snap off. If that happens, get the next larger drill bit.

@Haemish1, @RichCC

Thank you for your helpful suggestions. Must go buy smaller drill bits.

@LiterateHiker
I figured out sewing my daughter a Dolly Madison costume in third grade - you’ve got this!

@LiterateHiker sounds like me

@LiterateHiker Big hammer is for big nails. Small hammers are for small nails.
Predrill everything if you have problems.
HINT: If you strip out a wood screw, get a small dowel punch it in the hole and glue it. You can put the screw in right away after that.

@LiterateHiker And, if you find yourself using the same size nails, you might want to buy a brad gun. The are cheap and fast.
On the subject on screws, there are different pilot drills for tapered screws. You might need a tapered drill bit. But I never used them. As Dale stated, they are expensive.
And don't use galvanized nails unless they are outside. They are they dull looking ones with the bumpy finish.
There are self starting screws if you look. It depends on the type of material you are using. Also, old dried wood is a real pain in the butt.
Too much to go over here.

@LiterateHiker One more item. Hickory is crap. Mahogany was a nice wood, full of oil. When it stopped being imported, hickory is what is used now. If you can avoid it, use another type.
Wood selection is everything.
And, if you use a power drill to drive them screws, use quality screws, phillips head with the right size bit.

@PondartIncbendog

What the heck is a dowel punch? I'm not a carpenter.

@LiterateHiker
I'm pretty sure he means force a dowel into the screw hole.

'Let's eat, grandma' vs 'Lets eat grandma'. Lol.

3

You did a good job. I'm like this myself and would rather repair than replace. I do find in time certain things have to be replaced. Our technology sometimes requires this of us, but I hang on to what I know as long as I can.

3

Good for you!

Sure that new computerized sewing machine doesn't have a "replace lamp switch" mode? Sounds like it does everything else. πŸ˜‰

1of5 Level 8 Jan 19, 2020
3

Awesome honey way to go

bobwjr Level 10 Jan 19, 2020
2

I've always wanted to be a car mechanic but found lifting and dragging a heavy piece of muffler or even a tire can be way too hard for me. But I'm kind of a small engine mechanic cuz when I was unable to lift my mower into my Subaru I had to fix it myself. Utube I love you.
I fix my sewing machine, the mower, know what's wrong with my vehicles before some guy gives me a list of what I need to fix. I call my mechanic from NH and say the mechanic said this....blahblah . but I think he's lying and it's just this. My NH mechanic says yes he's lying. Whenever I leave an area I always want to bring along my vet, my mechanic and my doc. They never want to come with me tho and I vetted them for years.

2

I used to be really good at fixing small appliances.
Saved more than one blowdryer and toaster from an immediate trip to the trashcan.
If I had to fix the same item more than once though, it got replaced.

Nowadays, I don't see well enough to even try.
I also tell myself that I deserve something new, just to make myself feel better
about not fixing the broken item.
πŸ˜›

2

You cook, you sew, you are mechanically capable, don't disrespect yourself or your skills. How is that for being assertive?

1

Good for you ,Women have a lot more mechanical skills then they think and most women are very logical and practical in there thinking,Biggest problem is most will not try orreally wantto try but those who do and with some trial and error,,guys are like this too,,they suddenly find it was quite easy to do and saved themselves a lot of money and time,So very happy you took the plunge, A lot of womens skills when really looked at are similiar skills to guys just in a different form Te example i like to give most is the one for mudding drywall ,most guys are lousy at it and if a women trys iit she usually shows them up,Why she in voluntarily is using all her skills from putting iceing on a cake πŸ™‚

1

You're better than whoever wired an old lamp I had kicking around.

I was given what looked to be a home made table lamp a couple years ago. It was what most people would call weird (or at least my sister LOL), but I liked it. Had an orange and brownish ceramic base, with both colors blended together. The shade was brownish, with leaves glued around it. It had a nice fall fibe, and I liked it. Fall is a season in which I associate with good times.

I used it for over a year, then comes a fire inspection. The inspector tells us that by law, extension cords should NEVER be a permanent power solution. Which at the time was a giant PITA since the landlord had never rewired any of the 2 prong outlets short of a few he was likely mandated too.
Being sick of dealing with this nonsense, I asked the landlord for a solution. Naturally, he suggested a multi-outlet adapter with the ground snapped.
Knowing that was a BIG no-no, I decided to go with a 2 to 3 prong adapter. Ah, yes. That was the solution which was given to me by the fire inspector.

Imagine my surprise when the employee in the Home Depot electronics department tells me that don't stock such an item anymore. Because they are illegal. Guy who wants to duck tape it Mike Holmes style can't make it right. BECAUSE THE INSPECTOR DOSEN'T KNOW HIS OWN FUCKING ELECTRICAL CODE.

So, I decide to follow his advice to the letter. Since I knew from both an electrician (my then co-worker who was in school, at the time) AND a tester that the plug was NOT grounded to the box via the case, I used an adapter that my dad just happened to have kicking around. I plugged into it, a $50 GFCI pigtail, which I plugged my power bar into. I knew my stuff was toast in a lightning strike (meh. I have insurance), but I felt a little less prone to being the path of least resistance to a faulty tower PC. My dads whole kitchen had faulty ground, and I damn near put a spoon though the window because of it. It was in my hand, but not after I touched the stove with the other one lol. My hand snapped back, and the spoon kept going. thankfully, into the open cupboard door.

That house was likely a death trap 0_o.

Either way, I plug my lamp in and turn it on. All my stuff shuts off. WTF.
Start the process of isolation. TV. Apple TV gen 1. PC. Moniture. Laptop. then, lamp. It was my lamp.

Figuring something was VERY wrong with it, I put it in the closet. There it sat for a few more months, the shade getting wrecked by stuff. I had way too much stuff.

Until spring comes along, and the purge begins. Since I wasen't using it and didn't know how to fix it, out it goes. Well, until the guy living downstairs took it out (he was a hoarder). But his cat ended up breaking it anyway, so off it went anyway lol.

I was later told that someone may have wired the socket in reverse. How the GFCI pigtail would detect that is beyond me. But it made me feel a lil bit safer.

RIP Orangy hutterite made lamp.

1

Congratulations. My dad was an accountant and a WWII vet. There wasn’t any building or repair job he wouldn’t do or try to fix. However, cars went to a mechanic.

1

You should be, I personally suck at doing anything that a handy man does with eyes closed!

1

Doesn’t it feel awesome to do something for yourself that you didn’t think you could do?

@A2Jennifer

YES! I feel proud and happy.

1

When I was a Boy Scout there was a merit badge called "Home Repairs". Replacing a lamp switch was one of the requirements.

1

There is much to learn on the internet, Answers in Genesis is the best! Please don't shoot me!

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