Introduction: Home Hacks: Restore Broken Home Appliances With Little or No Cost

About: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a…

Every household has some kind of home appliances like washing machine, food processor, mixer grinder, micro-oven etcetera so that the burden of their day to day chores can be considerably reduced. But these appliances tend to break down and we are left with no other choice than calling the service personnel, who charge a heavy fee even for minor repairs or recommend us to buy a new one.

Most of the times, the broken equipment can be brought back to life with little or no cost at all by hacking into their system of functioning. Instead of throwing out or selling the equipment for a fraction of its original cost, go through the equipment and find out the cause for malfunction. You will be surprised to see that the malfunction is due to a minor hitch which can be rectified if you try.

I have restored very old food processor and a wet grinder with small defects at our home with simple methods and brought them back to normal use. Our food processor and wet grinder are more than 20 years old and the models are outdated. So, no service and spares are available for them now.

The 5 year old Micro-oven generated a simple problem. A tension spring (costs less than one dollar) which holds the door in position and activates the on-off switch is missing. The service person told us that it could not be restored and the door assembly is not available as spare. When my nephew visited our home, we restored the equipment by simple hack which he posted in this instructable

Step 1: Food Processor Hack

Our food processor is more than 20 years old. We have all accessories in good working condition. However, the locking lever on the lid of the food processor bowl got snapped off. The lever activates the switching mechanism and unless the lever presses the switch, you can not operate the food processor. The red colored slider on top helps in releasing the lever from the switch. Spare parts for this model is no longer available in the market as it is outdated.

What to do ? Shall we throw away the food processor ? No... The simple solution is to lock the activating mechanism permanently in activated position.

The procedure

  • Press the locking mechanism with a thick needle in position and apply instant glue
  • Then check to see the apparatus is working properly
  • Apply epoxy compound and lock the mechanism permanently

Does it have any safety issues ?

We do not face any safety issue here.. The only problem is the mixer-grinder part of the food processor can not be used now. We are using this equipment for all other operations like slicing, chopping, shredding, pureeing and kneading dough. We use another less-costlier mixer grinder for normal kitchen jobs

Step 2: Wet Grinder Hack

Dosai and Idli are our most favoured Breakfast items we make regularly at home. We use a Wet Grinder to make batter for these dishes. The wet grinder contains a rotating drum in which soaked rice and lentils are placed for grinding. The drum is held in place with the equipment by means of a rubber bush at the bottom over a stainless steel projection, which is attached to the electrical motor. The drum can be removed from the grinder for cleaning.

One fine day when the equipment was in use for grinding the batter, the drum started slipping and did not rotate properly. We had to empty the contents from the drum with out making the batter.

I have opened the equipment and checked the motor and drive belt and found they are in good condition. On examination of the rotating drum, we found that the rubber bush which hold the drum with the drive mechanism is worn out. The rubber bush (costs less than a dollar) is permanently fixed with the stone base and can not be replaced. Spare drum for this old equipment is no longer available. If it is available also we have to spent a fortune to replace the drum.

The solution ?

I have decided to permanently fix the rotating drum with the drive mechanism with the help of "M" seal epoxy compound. It is like Sugru but comes in 2 parts (Base and Hardener)

  • Take equal parts of base and hardener and mix well
  • Apply the paste over the stainless steel drive mechanism as well inside the worn out rubber bush area
  • Place the rotating drum in position and press hard so that it sits in proper position
  • Allow 24 hours for the Epoxy compound to set and fixes the drum in position permanently

The restoration is done. The wet grinder works perfectly now. Only problem is we can not remove the drum from the grinder assembly for cleaning. However we do the cleaning with the drum attached to the grinder

Step 3: Microwave Oven Hack

On a very fine morning, our five year old microwave oven stopped functioning. We could not lock the door of the microwave oven and could not turn it on. We called the service engineer. He found the reason for malfunction, and told us that the tension spring which locks the door is missing. It might have slipped and fell inside. He suggested that the entire door assembly needs to be replaced. After few days when we called him back, we were told that the spare door assembly is not available. The cost of the missing spring is less than one dollar for which the entire microwave oven is to be thrown out or sold as scrap.

When my nephew visited our home we decided to hack the door assembly so that the microwave oven functions again properly.

We removed a spring assembly from a bulb holder and fixed it position. The Microwave oven functions again

My nephew posted an instructable on how we restored the microwave oven at this link.

Step 4: Other Small Restoration Works With Sugru

Epoxy compounds, Epoxy resin adhesives, Instant adhesives like Anabond & Fevikwik and Sugru comes in handy to carry out simple restoration works at home. I always keep small amounts of them in my home for immediate restoration of broken equipment. In the pictures above, you can see restoration of few household items with Sugru

  • The first picture shows a Mixer grinder jar. The handle of the jar was broken and it started leaking from that portion whenever we use it. I have applied small amount of Sugru and sealed the hole. Now the jar did not leak and we can use it normally again with the mixer grinder.
  • In the second picture you can see the handle of small frying pan restored with Sugru. We use this small frying pan for tempering of Chutney and other dishes. The frying pan was fixed with the handle with couple of screws, which fell apart. I have applied small amount of Sugru and restored the equipment.

So guys, next time whenever any of your household items fail, examine and find out the cause of failure, and try to restore it. In extreme cases where it is not possible to restore, you can recover parts. Or you can scrap it and sell for a pittance.

Happy Hacking...

Makerspace Contest 2017

Participated in the
Makerspace Contest 2017