Author: John

Storing HDDs – is it bad for them?

I have often experienced problems with disk drives that have been stored for a few years. They may work perfectly well when put into store but after sitting in a drawer for maybe 5 years they are kaput. And so I’m wondering if it could be due to the strong fields from the magnets either side of the voice coil—they are sitting just millimetres away from the platters. In normal use the orientation of the platter to the magnets is continually varying and so there’s no significant polarising effect but after a few years of standing motionless in this magnetic field I suspect the data fields on the platter could start to get polarised – effectively wiping the disk. Any physicists out there willing to...

Read More

Whirlpool Maytag Admiral fridge flashing panel

This is a problem that we had been living with for a while now: when using the ice dispenser a solenoid bangs away all the time the delivery motor is running. The front panel and the light also flash at about 10 times a second. It does eventually dispense ice but VERY noisily! Recently the problem got worse and the front panel lights started flickering and there was a ticking noise on the front sounder. This is caused by sub standard capacitors on the front panel circuit board. It’s quite an easy repair but not so easy to find...

Read More

High Sierra and flakey Wi-Fi

High Sierra has just been pushed out to unsuspecting Mac users but it definitely creates problems with WiFi connections to BT’s Home Hub. After waking from sleep the connection is lost and will not reconnect without some intervention. Although that’s not quite true, it may connect but will not receive an IP address – it then immediately disconnects and tries again, giving up after several attempts. Sometimes at this point you can manually select the SSID from the menu bar and it works but not always. After a reboot it may simply refuse to accept the WiFi password saying...

Read More

The Eclipse from Helen GA

As totality approaches and the sky rapidly darkens, everyone realises that they are about to witness something special. …this is how people react to the sight of a total solar eclipse!

Read More