Friday, June 8, 2018

Working on teletypes, laptop and refrigerator repair


With my disk cloned to the new 1TB drive and swapped into the machine, I could apply maintenance, remove items I don't want and get this system ready for my use. I have the original 250GB hard drive in an external case to protect all my daughter's files.

At noon I noticed that the machine is reporting only 2GB of RAM, insisting that one of the two memory slots is empty. Perhaps dust was in the connector, which might explain the problems with the memory upgrade that I have already sent back for replacement. I cleaned a bit and restored both RAM modules, now the system is back to 4GB, while I wait on the substitute to arrive.

Finally the new modules arrived, but exactly the same results were experienced. Neither module will be recognized in either of the two RAM slots, while both of my 2GB modules work fine. I guess I will abandon hope for an 8GB upgrade and return the new set of boards for a refund.


At Marc's on Friday to work on the teletypes. Our objectives were to complete two tasks, stripping wiring from the desk of the model 19 and checking out the keyboard assembly.

After we found the complete wiring diagrams for the desk, we were comfortable removing all the wires and receptacles. This took almost three hours, since the wiring is a rats nest of crisscrossing cables, quite a few routed through armored cable with 90 degree caps.

After unsoldering just two wires, we were able to wrestle all the rest out of the desk and complete the stripping down of the table in preparation for repainting. We looked at the large number of parts, wires, sockets, cable trays and switches from the desk, in addition to the large pile of parts from the teletype equipment that sat atop the table.

All the metalwork is loaded into Marc's car, ready to be delivered to the restoration shop which will sandblast and powdercoat everything. The most likely color is black, the same as the military version, but all options remain on the table until the shop begins work.

The keyboard and perforator mechanism is relatively simple and probably can be restored adequately without complete disassembly of all parts. We separated the printer, keyboard/perforator and the motor baseplate units. These come apart easily, held in by thumbscrews and sliding apart immediately.

Rotating the keyboard/perforator mechanism by hand, we confirmed that it moved easily and that the keypresses were converted properly into serial bits as well as setting up the perforator pins as parallel bits. There is dirt and mild corrosion to be cleaned up, but we think this can be cleaned entirely by dunking in Simple Green and scrubbing. If there was resistance or erratic motion, indicating solidified grease, then we might have had to disassemble every part for cleaning.

The motor baseplate also looks good. It has both DC and AC power connections, with the DC line used to operate the 60ma 120V solenoids in printers and reperforators. The AC line simply spins a synchronous motor that will provide the impulsion for both keyboard/perforator and printer operation.

The baseplate is also dirty and will be cleaned. There are some current limiting resistors to clean up and check, but with a freely rotating motor, this is likely to work perfectly as soon as we power it up.


Our kitchen has a 42" wide Kitchenaid built-in refrigerator, with panels on the front that match the custom cabinet work. Because of the wood panels, which are cut specifically to the size of the year and model refrigerator I own, I couldn't use them on a replacement refrigerator. To maintain the look of the kitchen I need to keep this machine operating.

Several years ago it began to report errors and didn't keep the freezer and refrigerator sections at their target temperatures. The repair service sent by Kitchenaid informed me that the maker of the mechanism, Whirlpool, does not stock replacements for these boards although they fail often.

A refurbished unit was placed in the refrigerator and that restored operation until recently when I began to see the temps climb in the freezer portion. Rather than maintaining the 0 F target temp, it would climb to 6 or 7, go back to zero, then soar to 22 or as much as 42 when it began beeping its alarm.

Shutting it down for 15 minutes would sometimes get it to cool back down, but anytime it got into the mid 70s or higher outdoors, this would start again. Lots of food had to be thrown out each time it let the freezer get too warm. We scheduled a repair service, hoping that they still had refurbished units to install.

Today the repairperson arrived, swapped out the board and restored the unit to proper operation. I know that I have a reprieve of at least a year, since they offer a one year warranty on the fix. 42" wide built-ins run from around $7,000 to well over $10,000, in addition to losing the wood panels that match the kitchen cabinets.

For just a bit over $700, I deferred a much larger expense, hopefully for quite a few years. The repair service was well worth it. There are internet based repair services for less, who will refurb the board but I have to remove it, mail it to them and wait for it to return; all during that time the refrigerator will be inoperable.

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