Save money and hassle by making common electronics repairs at homeBy Sarah Aires
There's no feeling quite like the horror that ensues when you drop your iPad in a sink full of water, or your phone flies off a table screen-first onto a hardwood floor. But are you destined to spend hundreds on repairing or replacing the device? Fortunately, no. There are plenty of ways to solve common technology blunders cheaply and easily. Check out what to do when there's an issue with your digital camera, eReader and more-and the two fixes you shouldn't try at home. Photo by Thinkstock
The Problem: "My camera won't turn on."
The Fix: This common camera conundrum is easily fixable, says Chris MacAskill, co-founder and president of SmugMug, an online photo sharing and storage site. "It's likely a battery issue. Make sure it's charged and properly inserted and the battery door is closed. Many cameras design the battery and compartment to allow the battery to be inserted only in the correct way, but check the alignment anyway."
The Problem: "My lens cover won't open."
The Fix: Tempting as it is, don't forcefully pry it open. "First, try powering the camera on and off to dislodge the lens cover. If that doesn't work, try gently moving it with your finger or a small, blunt tool, being careful not to scratch the lens," suggests MacAskill.
The Problem: "My screen is blank."
The Fix: A blacked-out screen could be more serious, but "try resetting the camera by removing the battery and memory card for at least ten minutes. Then, power up again," MacAskill says. No dice? "Be sure the battery is neither too hot nor too cold, since this can affect the power-on capabilities." And if that doesn't work, you may need to contact a pro or return the camera to the manufacturer.
Related: Check out 9 innovative kitchen accessories.
The Problem: "My screen is cracked."'
The Fix: "Depending on how deep or extensive the crack, a scratch remover cream may help," says Jay Moller, a project manager with wireless carrier MetroPCS. "Since it focuses on smoothing out the glass, which could reduce the clarity, follow the directions on the cream carefully. But if the scratch limits touch capability, take your phone to a professional." As a preventive measure, cover your phone in a protective case or consider a phone with Gorilla Glass, which is more scratch resistant and harder to crack than standard screens.
The Problem: "My laptop won't keep its charge."
The Fix: "The more charge cycles a battery goes through, the shorter it'll last," says George Otte, president and founder of Geeks on Site, a tech repair company. To lengthen a laptop's battery life, "wait until the battery is completely empty before charging it again."
The Problem: "My computer is so slow."
The Fix: Otte says these three steps can improve laptop speed and performance:
1. Keep the vent shafts clear of dust and dirt.
2. Limit software installations to only programs you need, avoiding downloading free games and software that claims to clean up your computer.
3. Update software whenever you get a pop-up from your computer's operating system (like Apple or Microsoft) asking you for permission to do so.
Related: Discover 9 buys that are actually cheaper online.
The Problem: "My songs keep skipping."
The Fix: "The latest iOS, Apple's operating system, has lots of problems that may be fixed with a full system restore," Otte explains. "Back up your songs and videos before performing this operation."
The Problem: "My iPod's battery drains too quickly."
The Fix: "Adjust the screen brightness and network options," suggests Otte. If setting these to the minimum battery-draining amounts doesn't resolve the battery-life issue, ask a pro to replace the battery, he says.
The Problem: "A letter on my keyboard is missing."
The Fix: "Most eReaders have two keyboards: onscreen and hardware. If you're having difficulties with your onscreen reader, you can reinstall it online," says Otte. Missing key on a physical keyboard? Bring that to an authorized dealer.
The Problem: "My color eReader only displays black and white!"
The Fix: "This is likely caused by damage to the screen," says Otte. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do yourself. "If the device is under warranty the screen may be replaced for free. Otherwise, have the device repaired or replaced."
The Problem: "I dropped my tablet in water."
The Fix: Follow these drying-off steps, which also work on waterlogged cell phones.
1. "Make sure the tablet is properly turned off," suggests Moller. Removing the battery is even smarter.
2. Fill up a large bowl or plastic container with uncooked rice.
3. Place the tablet in rice, making sure there's about one inch of rice covering all sides, and let it sit overnight.
4. In the morning, the rice should've soaked up the trapped water, leaving your device in tip-top shape again.
Related: Learn the best body language for every situation.
Don't try this at home, folks! Gaming devices like PlayStations and Xboxes are some of the most difficult to fix. There are tons of tiny parts, and most of the issues these consoles face are internal. Ken Blum, founder and owner of Gadget Guru, a tech repair company specializing in cellphones, computers and game consoles, encourages gamers to take their prized possessions to a professional.
"We know where all the secret screws are hiding and have the right tools and training to do the job," says Blum. And they can usually do it in a day. If you can't resist giving the repair a go yourself, be sure to put all the little pieces in a bag, so the pros can bail you out if the fix doesn't go as planned.
You Might Also Like:
7 Quick Mood Boosters
15 Clever Uses for Household Items
10 Surprising Facts About Orgasms