DIY Tools

DIY fixes i made in times of Covid

Yes COVID is here to stay and its made most of us bat shit crazy. Motivation is down, productivity is worse. Some days just getting out of bed is challenge. But can we make use of this down time/ alone time/ time for good?. Can we fix things in our lives?. So that things are easier or more efficient. We have become such a consumerist society that we seem to have forgotten how to fix things. We seem to have become obsessed with use and throw. So I used the downtime to go against that flow. Here are X simple fixes I made during COVID to make life easier

1. Replace the thermal paste on your Computers Processor/ Graphics card

All summer long I’ve been irritated with my computer heating up. When it gets hot the system fan comes on full blast and makes quite a racket. Plus the surface where you rest your hands becomes really hot. I don’t mean warm. I mean hot. As in uncomfortable to touch. It’s a slightly older machine (over three years old) and so I did what any self-respecting geek would do. Pulled off the back cover and cleaned the fan. Surprisingly quite a bit of dust bunnies evacuated the heat sink. And there I thought all was well but the stupid thing was still running too hot with the fan whining away like a banshee. What with the lockdown happening I decided to do something about it. Hopped on to the net to research what might be causing the issue. Turns out most companies use really cheap thermal paste on their computers to cut costs on the production line. To make things worse. Thermal paste goes bad after some time. It hardens up and cant transmit as much heat as it should. The result of that  your system runs hotter. Causing the cooling fans to come on more often. Plus if the fans cant cool the system fast enough the bloody thing starts thermal throttling. Affecting performance badly. So off we go online order some new thermal paste. I think I bought Arctic silvers MX -3 paste. Looked for the systems guide online ( I use an old dell m6800) and went about replacing the paste. You do need ome amount of skill and some specialty screw driver bits ( you can buy one of those all in one kits online). And maybe an hour or two of uninterrupted time. All said and done my system now runs up to 5 degrees cooler and the fans come on way less. Music to my ears and a pleasure to use for my hands. A win for me. All hail thermal paste

2. Fix old Led Bulbs

Do you find it funny how LED bulbs usually seem to kick the bucket right after their warranty period runs out. If you have a 2 year warranty a couple of months after 2 years they’ll start that random blinky thing they do that will make you think your house is a disco. Heck jokes a part sometimes it feels like they can trigger an epilepsy attack with all the strobe efect. Now you’ll say well its lived its life and chuck it into the bin. But is it?. Plus this puppies are expensive. A ten watt led bulb can set you back a couple of hundred rupees easy. Add the hassle of having to order a new one or have to go to the shop to get another.  Well break out the nerd hat, your multimeter and your soldering iron and watch this video.  I just had a fused led chip on the bulb. Check each of the leds using the multimeter, desolder the bad LED. Solder a LED over from an older bad led bulb and your back in business. All of 15 mins work. Probably would take me longer to go to the electrical shop and buy a replacement. Enough said. I am now the proud owner of a refurbished LED light bulb. Less thrash in the bin and more money in my pockets.

3. Replace your ceiling fans to BLDC

Ive covered how BLDC fans are revolutionizing my life. With a power consumption of 30W odd as compared to 75 ~ 150 w of traditional fans, the power saving potential is incredible.

 Plus with the current pandemic most of us are more than likely to be spending time at home. So ipso fact more usage of the fan. So moving to BLDCS saves you even more money bringing your break even cost down. Amazon is a good place to buy from. I like the atomberg fan range because I’ve personally used them for over a year now. Sometime you gotta spend some money to make mo money.

4. Clean your AC filter

This is one of those how to claw back some free money. It takes all of 10 to 15 mins to do and can potentially cut 2 to 4 % of your electricity bill. This advise remains valid for mini split AC units or window units. If your confused about how to go about it there are tons of YouTube videos on how to. Plus you’ll get better filtration and cleaner air in a sense. Dirty filters are a lovely spot for bacteria and other stuff to grow. Leave them alone long enough and they add some lovely aromatics to your room. So do yourself and your family a favor just clean the damn things every 2 months. P.s If you have a mini split having a ladder is a great idea here.

5. Clean your washing machine Filter

Did you even know your washing machine has one of these? Most front loading machines do. What is that you say you don’t have a front loading washing machine? Ive written about how wonderful front loaders are. If you want to you can read about that here. So get out there are get one. Save the planet one wash at a time. But jokes apart even if you have a top loading washer you’ll most probably have a filter somewhere. It captures a ton of gunk over time and also small objects like coins and other metal bits that don’t do you or your clothes any favours. Clean clean clean. Refer to your washing machines owners manual to figure out where it is how to get to it and how to clean it.

6. Clear your PC of Junk

So I have been using this period of lock down to skill up in some fields that I haven’t been active for for a long time. This includes re learning CAD and running energy usage simulations. Anyone who knows anything about CAD will tell you how resource intensive it is. Well When I just started trust me I was so frustrated with my old system being devilishly slow. ARGGGHhhhh. But then I realized it wasn’t so much a system issue as it was of all the junk that was piled up high. Back in the day the easiest solution to most tech problems was to reload windows. That’s because over time a ton of junk from all the programs you installed and uninstalled stayed back. Don’t even get me stuck with all the junk in the temp folders and a clogged up registry. Long story short a clean windows install with a reload of only what was essential. And then a ruthless culling of all those old movies and games you always thought you would come back to but now you have Netflix and steam. Bye bye. Result. A systems that can not only handle cad but boots faster, runs better and I’m happy with overall. Possibly put off having to buy a new laptop by at least a year. A penny shaved. A Penny urned

So that’s my list of some DIY things ive managed to crack over the lockdown. Further going by each one of these things saves me time or money now as well as in the future, definitely worth the effort of having gotten them done. What’s been your experience? Are you getting shit done or are you more like me waiting for the right moment.

Pic Credits Eugen Str






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