Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mechanical Ordeals

AKA Long Elaborate Post About Nothing

[Note: I was born to watch and assist other people to fix things, not to do it myself! In fact, the best place for me when something needs to be fixed, is in the other room! I always have the wrong tools or else try to turn screws and bolts the wrong way or otherwise fail to figure out how to disassemble or reassemble some damn thing until the second, third, or fourth attempt! That said, here is my latest plebian tale of mechanical incompetence and the resulting brain damage!]

Here's something dopey, but practical. My mother's remote control for her garage door opener gradually got worse until it was nearly dead. Sometimes it would work, but not on a predictable schedule. It got to where she'd walk around the house and come in the back door. Then she'd open the door from inside using the wired control on the wall. I searched around town for a "universal", but it appears that there's no such thing to be found easily (as with TV remote controls). At any rate, my luck was bad. Sears had several, but they appeared to only be "universal" for a variety of their own door openers! Unfortunately, Mother's unit was a Ward's from back when they still had such things. I got sick of looking around town and searched for it on the Internet. Almost immediately I found a bunch of them. The only words I'd ever seen on the remote control didn't say "Ward" or anything familiar; it said "Linear"!

"Now what the hell is Linear?!" I thought.

Though that garage door opener (and the remote) must be 2 or 3 decades old, I promptly found "Linear" remotes everywhere on the Internet! I read up on it and it described something fairly familiar, talking about on and off switches under the battery cover. I had a printer long ago that had to have what they called "dip" switches turned on and off. I set it once and never touched it again, so I couldn't be absolutely confident about the ease of ordering one of these and getting it to work. But I just fucking did it.

The remote was cheap to start with, only $11.95 but then there was postage to pay and that made it 17.95!!! Not too bad. It would be worth it if it worked! I ordered it just a few days ago and it came in the mail today. With my usual mechanical ineptitude, I took half an hour to figure it out. I had trouble loosening the Phillips screw that held the clip to the unit, but eventually I got it loose enough to get it out of the way and could open the battery cover. I didn't expect to see a battery in it, so that was gravy, I guess. I looked at the switches and could see them pretty well. They were all in the "off" position. When I put the old remote beside the new one, I began to panic. I don't know why anyone would have had cause to change those switches more than once, but they appeared worn or dingy--at any rate, somewhat hard to see whether the tiny switches were up or down. Were they "on" or "off"? My depth perception was not good enough! Eventually I stopped trying to look at the switches straight on. I was more nearly able to see them when I looked at them from extreme left or extreme right. I didn't get them all right at first; I felt sort of panicked when the first two switches proved to be non-functioning. More staring at the tiny switches resulted in my concluding that there were FOUR switches in the on position. So I copied that, punched the button, and I could hear the garage door opening while I was still in the house! Hallelujah!

Gatehouse Supplies turned out to be prompt, efficient, and their product must have been blessed by God. My usual experience of mechanical stuff had me prepared to find it already broken or incomprehensible or the wrong item was sent, or all three--but it was Okay! I guess I'm just always amazed when anything anywhere works as it was intended. I don't know if it's a product of my negative thinking or of my experience; it's too goddamn late in life to bother with figuring it out. I'll just have to plug along...

1 comment:

  1. Now that is a sweet feeling... when it all comes together and it works!!!


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