Monday, December 19, 2011

Electronics Repair

I was trying to make a copy on the fax.  "Intellifax" its called, a moniker contraction of intelligent facsimile.  Each time I hit "copy" the paper would pass halfway through, a tone would chime, progress would stop, "check paper" flashing on the screen.  Yes, I did check the paper.  Many times.  I checked and rechecked, I removed, reinserted, I unplugged and reset the machine.  Still the same, each time.

  "Check paper"

My friend Angie has long held that the most efficacious treatment for mildly recalcitrant electronic devices is a sharp rap.  I've tested her theory and found it sound for all manner of electronics, digital cameras, CD players, whatever.  The Intellifax is a little big to rap against something so instead I rapped it with my fist.  I've been boxing since 1989.
"Check Paper"

Keep in mind, I've a long history of therapeutic repairs with electronics.  Together with my brother, an electrical engineer, we've helped many devices attain second life as entertainment when less resourceful persons would have simply discarded them.

I would not recommend readers try these techniques, I was under the watchful eye of an electrical engineer, after all.  Cutting the power cord off an old appliance we'd expose the wires.  Then my brother would painstakingly identify capacitors, resistors and the rest and affix the exposed wires at appropriate locations.  With the plug taped to a yardstick to eliminate chance of shock, we'd run a little wall current through the circuit hoping unclog impedance.  We were always careful not to breath the colorful smoke.  Such remedial efforts graduated to placing digital cameras under a 2X10 plank and compressing them with the truck.

So when "check paper" continued to display, I considered tapping with the blunt side of a cruiser's axe (also called a Hudson's Bay) - a tool midway between hatchet and ax.  But first I gave it a final drop onto carpet from a modest two or so feet.  On landing the phone handset rebounded towards my face with a lighting-like snap.  I managed to dodge it.  The Intellifax was fighting back.

And now, rather than "check paper" the machine endlessly cycled through various modes.  I'd made progress of sorts but was no closer to getting the needed copy.  I was also out of time.  Instead of continuing to nurse the fax towards recovery, I opted to return it to its dust cover and get the copy elsewhere.

But next time I need to fax, I'm ready.  The cruiser's ax is still leaning in the corner.

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