Having some sort of a reputation for taking toys apart, a friend contacted me asking if perhaps I might consider doing some restorative surgery on a pink fluffy thing which used to giggle but now no longer does.
She'd searched and searched for a replacement, however "but 'pink fluffeh what giggles' isn't a very helpful search term...".
Let's see if we can solve both problems.
Step 1: Identifying Your Pink Fluffeh What Giggles
This pink fluffeh what giggles had a label that you'd have thought would have provided some sort of clue about identifying exactly what it is and locating a replacement:
ALL NEW MATERIAL
REG. NO. PA638(TW) MAINE 576-ST
MASS MA0421 OHIO PA638
© MTY INTERNATIONAL CO. LTD.
MADE IN CHINA
And on the other side:
DANDEE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
UNIT B22 CLARENCE MILL, BOLLINGTON.
MACCLESFIELD, CHESHIRE, SK10 5JZ, U.K.
PLEASE RETAIN THIS INFORMATION FOR
YOU ARE ADVISED TO
RETAIN ALL INFORMATION
RELATING TO THIS PRODUCT
FOR FUTURE REFERENCE.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN
UNDER 18 MONTHS DUE TO LONG FIBRES
So, pink fluffeh what giggles originate from somewhere between Ohio, Taipei and Macclesfield. Good to have narrowed that down a bit, but looks like we're going to have to go the toy hospital route...
If that hasn't given you a positive ID, then if your item is pink, fluffeh and used to giggle, chances are you have a pink fluffeh what giggles.
Let's get started.
Items used during this surgery (you may or may not need them too):
Small cross-head screwdriver
3 x AG13/LR44 batteries
Needle and thread
Small snap fasteners / poppers
Soldering equipment and electrical wire, insulation tape etc
8ohm 1/4 watt speaker or similar
Step 2: Make the Incision
The label area's probably as good a place as any to open up some of the seam and see what's inside...
You shouldn't need to make too big a cut - just a couple of inches and then you can flip the critter inside out to get at the gigglebox.
There'll be some wadding, inside which is a small cloth bag which has got the enclosure that houses the electronics inside it - that's what you want to get out.
Step 3: Batteries?
First thing to check is if the batteries have run down or not.
I used a multimeter to check the voltage across the 3 AG13 batteries and it wasn't particularly low, but I did notice some corrosion around one of the compartment terminals so I cleaned that up and swapped some new batteries in anyway.
Step 4: Investigating the Electronics
It would have been nice if this was the solution, however the pink fluffeh still wasn't giggling, so it was time to take a look at what was inside the gigglebox.
Easy enough to open up - just gently squeeze in the sides to release the catches and lift the top off.
I couldn't see anything wrong - no shorts, no burned or damaged components etc. I used a the multimeter again to check that the 4.5ish volts from the batteries were reaching the board and that a signal was reaching the speaker terminals. It was.
I swapped the speaker over for a similar one that I'd salvaged from a circuitbending victim, but still no giggles. Time to leave it be for a few days and see if inspiration struck.
I was just about to pick up the phone and pass on my condolences to the fluffeh's next of kin, when I decided to give it one more try. This time I held an LED in place across the speaker terminals (LEDs are directional, so try connecting it both ways) and it flashed in a distinctly giggly manner so I felt sure that the problem lay in the speaker. I had a rummage and tried a few different ones in the circuit.
The pink fluffeh was giggling again! PHEW!
I selected a slightly beefier speaker than the original (16 ohm) but that still just about fit inside the gigglebox and allowed the switch to operate. I soldered it in, taped up the connections to prevent any short circuits and reassembled the gigglebox.
Step 5: Stitches
I'm not the best seamstress, but there's barely a scar visible when everything's fixed together. It could probably do with a trim of the burned bits (are the patterns cut by laser?) to neaten it up, but I'll leave that for the parents to decide and quit whilst I'm ahead!
Hope you have similar good luck when trying to make your pink fluffeh what giggles giggle again!