Electronics Rigging & Repair
Background

Electronics often need repairs for them to function properly. While the only electronics that I tend to repair for other people are computational devices, I have had many experiences with repairing my own other electronics and rigging them to perform in the way that I desire. I have been confronted on multiple occasions with situations in which I don’t own or have with me the necessary cable for charging or communicating with a device.

In one instance, I wanted to make an internet call and talk to a friend, however the one microphone that I had available was a part of a 4-contact auxiliary cable meant to be used with headphones, and my computer would only accept 3-contact microphone connections. After a bit of research, I found that the first and third connections on a 3-contact jack corresponded to the first and second contacts on a 4-contact jack, so I wrapped small copper wires between the contacts and was able to use the headphones.

I used a similar method when testing a speaker that I had pulled from my car, since it wasn’t working when I operated the car’s stereo. I brought the speaker inside and tested it directly through another device which confirmed that the issue was not in the speaker itself, but in the connection to the speaker or the stereo system. In 2015, I was faced with a missing proprietary charging cable for a Wii-U gamepad. In order to charge it without the cable, I looked up the power and data pin locations online, found the correct charging voltage and jammed bare wires down into the pinholes, allowing me to charge the gamepad.

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In one of my favorite moments of desperation, I needed an external battery with which to charge my phone while walking around. My phone’s battery at the time had so far deteriorated that it would barely last through an hour of normal use. Since I didn’t own an external USB lithium ion battery, I improvised with the batteries that I did own. Another project that I was working on at the time called for multiple 4-cell lithium ion polymer batteries, so I had a few of those available to use as a power source. I figured that the circuitry in a car cigarette lighter USB charger was designed to handle slightly higher voltages than the 12 volts normally expected from a car battery, so I tested my theory and wired one up to my 16-volt LiPo battery. Using this configuration, I was able to charge my phone multiple times on a single charge of the LiPo battery without risking damaging my phone with overvoltage.

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I’ve repaired many other electronic devices ranging from flashlights to keyboards, hair dryers to cameras and drones. I haven’t found anything broken thus far to which I was completely incapable of finding a remedy, of course barring physically damaged devices with no replacement parts available to conduct a repair. The challenge of searching for the culprit component in a failing device is always entertaining and educational, and the reward for finding and repairing failed systems is always worth the effort.

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