Rabbit Trails

Wahl Corded Trimmer.
Image: This was purchased to replace a very old AA battery powered cordless trimmer.

"You Get What You Pay For"

. . . or so they say. But sometimes you don't even get that.

My old Wahl AA battery powered beard and mustache trimmer was on its last leg. It had endured leaky Duracell batteries and numerous trips across the country by land and air (not sea). It had been disassembled twice for internal adjustments to keep it going.

I received the above image in Signal from my spouse. She knew I wanted to try to find a corded version of the trimmer, and she spotted this one in Target. For $15.00, it was a no-brainer. "Yes" was my reply.

First use was disappointing. It did cut hair, but not very well at all. If I squinched my eyes, I could see what I thought might be the problem. When I put on my Optivisor, it was verified.

misaligned cutters
Image: It's no wonder this trimmer will barely cut hair. These cutters are way too low to make contact with hardly anything.

As far as I could tell, there was nothing I could do about the cutters. I tried the screws holding the bottom cutter on, but there was no adjustment there. So I decided I would just cannibalize the 2.8VDC wall-wart from the new one and solder it into the old one. I knew that would work, and the end result would be the same.

I figured I'd shoot a few pics, and use the experience in a blog article about overcoming adversity or something.

I disassmbled the new clippers to see if there was anything special happening in there that I needed to be aware of. Nope, not really. They had used a PCB on/off switch assembly in this one. In the battery powered one, they just wiped a sliding contact over the body of the motor, which was soldered one of the motor leads. But I had no interest in using the PCB, and I was just about to clip the wires when something caught my eye.

An anomaly. Something didn't look right. There was a slot cut laterally across the inner face of the bottom blade. Manufacturers don't do that without some good reason. There were also two plastic pegs that appeared to be about the right size to fit in the slot and they were attached to the top moving blade. This was the real problem!

A bit of prying with a right-angle pick, and the pegs fit into the hole designed for them. Now isn't that amazing!? Not really.

So what's the point?

The point is this, chasing a rabbit resulted in the best solution being discovered. Edward de Bono might have called this an instance of Lateral Thinking. Allowing yourself to move off-track can often yield unexpectedly positive results.

If I had stubbornly stuck to my plan, I'd have an old, modified battery powered trimmer with a cord. Because I allowed myself to run down a rabbit trail, I was able to repair the new trimmer. That's the better option.

Project Gallery. Warning: Some images may be considered disgusting. Reader discretion advised.:

The broken new trimmer is now a Thing That Works, and so too are the rabbit trails.

Just don't forget to come home in time for dinner.

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