A Story About Making Repairs


   This is going to be different from the blogs I’ve written in the past. We’re going anecdotal for a bit. 

    My picker truly amazes me. He always finds me the best stuff. Every few months he makes a trip down, we live a bit apart so he just comes around when he’s in the neighborhood. Just recently he brought me an old 16mm film projector, along with several movies. He said he didn’t know if it worked, he wasn’t brave enough to plug it in. 

    Neither was I. That cord was all kinds of corroded, and I wasn’t about to plug it in. So Brent and I sat down and started discussing it. We took the socket for the light bulb out, took off the motor, looked it over.

    So all these parts all over the place and Brent says “I think I can fix this.” So, trip to Lowe’s and Walmart to pick up a few supplies. I was just a bystander in this situation, I took 1 day of shop class in high school and that is the extent of my knowledge on electricals. 

    We spread the projector parts out on the kitchen table. I got a scotch pad and some WD40 and started cleaning the rust and the rats nest out of the projector. We sat like that working in silence.

    After I’d been scrubbing for a bit I hear a “Hmmm.” I look up and Brent is holding the socket the light bulb screws into. “Hmmm what?” I asked.

    He held the thing out so I could see. “These wires are all soldered.”

    “Back to Walmart?” I said.


    So, Walmart trip #2 we picked up a soldering kit. 

    Back at home and some more scrubbing, I’d now moved on to some water, a drop of soap, and a toothbrush. 

    “Can you hold this for me?” Brent was trying to hold wires with both hands and solder. This was the best help I could offer. I held the solder wire into the tip of the gun to melt it. 

    “Think this’ll work?” I asked while Brent was positioning wires and soldering and I fed the solder wire.

    “I don’t know, but we’re no worse off.”

    Which was true. We didn’t know if it worked or not because I wasn't about to stick that corroded mess of a plug into the wall. 

    After everything was put back together we went to put the motor and socket back on. From behind me I heard an “Oops.” I spun around, probably more dramatically than was necessary. “What? Oops what?”

    “I put the motor housing on backwards. The screw hole is on the wrong side.” I sighed in relief. So Brent took the motor casing back off, oriented it correctly, and put it back on. This time the screw hole was in the right place. We put the springs back on the spinning parts, put the film reels back on with no film. I wanted to make sure it worked before putting a movie in it. 

    We stepped back and surveyd our handiwork. “Well,” I said holding the newly replaced plug in my hand. “Shall we plug it in?”

    “I guess so.”

    So, I plugged it in. I guess the switch was already in the “on” position, because it came right to life. 

    Not going to lie, my jaw dropped. I looked back and forth between Brent and the running projector. “I’m impressed!”

    “I’m pretty handy to have around sometimes.”

    “Wanna watch a movie?”

    We watched two of the movies, a Popeye cartoon, and some kind of totally bananas art film that was filmed upside down. We have some westerns that’ll be in the lot as well. 

    Now, we could have left it alone, sold it with the movies as it was. But I know it’ll be worth more if it works. Now what we did wasn’t a full on restoration by any stretch, I’d call it updating.

    Wether or not to try and fix, or update, something completely depends on the situation. If you're capable, and you won't be any worse off than you were before, do it.