How to disable a light switch

How to disable a light switch

Sometimes you need to disable a light switch, such as when a light switch turns an outlet on or off and you want to plug something other than a lamp into that outlet. Here’s how to disable a light switch.

The good news is you can do this in such a way that it is completely reversible. If you want to replace the light switch at any point in the future, you will be able to.

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Dyson vacuum cleaner repair/rebuild

Dyson vacuum cleaner repair/rebuild

Our Dyson DC-14 pet vacuum started making a terrible loud, high-pitched noise one day. It still worked, mostly, but the noise was obnoxious enough that you wanted hearing protection while using it. And when I investigated further, I found the vacuum brush was not spinning either. I finally got around to fixing it.

A Dyson vacuum cleaner making a loud noise, a high pitched squealing noise, and the vacuum brush not spinning are all symptoms of the same 1-2 problems. The clutch is engaged and possibly damaged. It’s also possible the filters are clogged.

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Prong stuck in an outlet? Here’s the fix.

Prong stuck in an outlet? Here’s the fix.

The other day we went to unplug a lamp so we could plug a vacuum cleaner in. But something didn’t quite feel right. When we looked at the plug, we could see why. One of the prongs was missing. When we looked at the outlet, the prong was still there. There’s some bad, or at least time-wasting, advice out there on how to fix a prong stuck in an outlet or socket. Here’s how we fixed it.

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Cheap closet doors

Cheap closet doors

It’s not uncommon for fixer-upper houses to be missing closet doors, or have irreparable closet doors. I’m not sure why people beat up on their closet doors, but it seems to happen. I do know a legal bedroom has to have a closet with a door. If you need to fix a missing or busted door fast and cheap, here’s just the thing. I’m happy to share what I do when I need cheap closet doors.

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Take apart a Hot Wheels car without a drill

Take apart a Hot Wheels car without a drill

I get the question all the time how to take apart a Hot Wheels car without a drill. This trick doesn’t work on older cars with metal bases. But you can indeed take apart newer cars with plastic bases without drilling the rivet. The trick is to use a soldering iron to heat up the rivet and the plastic base enough to let you take it apart. So here’s how to open a Hot Wheels car with a soldering iron.

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IBM PS/2 vs PC

IBM PS/2 vs PC

The IBM PS/2 line was a fairly radical departure from the older IBM PC line. This was deliberate, as IBM wanted to disrupt the clone industry, which it saw as a threat to its business. Here’s a look back at the IBM PS/2 vs PC, the line it replaced.

IBM succeeded with the PC because it created an ecosystem, not just a PC. IBM’s misstep was creating an open architecture and then trying to close it back up after the fact with the PS/2. In IBM’s defense, it’s not clear whether they knew this at the time. If nothing else, in the case of the IBM PS/2 vs PC, IBM created a classic case study of open architecture vs closed.

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Wash an electric toothbrush in a dishwasher

Wash an electric toothbrush in a dishwasher

We bought our kids electric toothbrushes. They aren’t expensive and they seem to help our kids get fewer cavities. But how do you clean them after they’ve been sick, or one of them uses the wrong one? You put a regular toothbrush in the dishwasher. But what about an electric? Here’s how to wash an electric toothbrush in a dishwasher.

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Replace a Lionel RW rectifier disc with a diode

Replace a Lionel RW rectifier disc with a diode

Vintage Lionel transformers activated the whistle using a rectifier disc. These discs tend to degrade over time. You can expect to pay about $5 for a replacement disc. But a modern diode is much cheaper, works better, and is more reliable. Here’s how to replace a Lionel RW rectifier disc with a diode.

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Lionel KW diode installation

Lionel KW diode installation

Lionel transformers use a selenium rectifier disc to produce a jolt of DC voltage to activate their train whistle. These discs degrade over time, so a decades-old transformer often produces a pretty anemic whistle–even one of the bigger transformers like the 190-watt Lionel KW. Replace the disc with a diode for a cost effective and reliable fix for that wimpy whistle. Here’s a step by step guide to a Lionel KW diode upgrade.

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