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Free is free

Discussion in 'Frugal Living - Making and Saving Money' started by CrealCritter, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Dec 5, 2017
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    So I bought a house to play around with back when the economy sucked. I paid 15k for it - it was a repo from the bank. The last time it sold when the economy was good for 95k and I have it insured for 155k. I mean I really couldn't pass it up. Older house, brand new roof, brand new high efficiency heat and air. It needs some work but I like doing that kind of stuff. I've rewired the whole thing because the existing wiring scared even me.its right in town, I would'nt live there because it's in town but it's good for renting.

    I just had my first renters move out. I went over to clean the place up and touch up some paint and do a few minor things to get it ready for the next renters when I found a pretty new higher end notebook computer and charger in the master bedroom closest.

    Being the nice guy I am I called my previous renters and informed them that they left a notebook computer. They said it didn't work and to please just throw it away.

    Well you know me... I took it home and plugged it up the charger and it wouldn't turn on. So I got out my multimeter and sure enough the charger was not working. A couple of screws and I had the charger open. I probed around in the circuitry with my multimeter and after about a minute I found a bad capacitor. I replaced the capacitor with a new one from my electronics stash and Shazam the charger worked again. So I plugged it into the notebook hit the power button and Shazam again, the notebook came back to life. I charged the battery, wiped the hard drive clean and i'm now loading Ubuntu Linux on it.

    Sometimes it pays off to be curious and try and fix something that's broken, sometimes it doesn't. But I got me a nice "new to me" $800+ notebook computer for about 15 mins of my time and a component that maybe cost a nickel. Needless to say I'm a happy camper... :)

    Share with us what you got or gave away for free or very cheap. I'm sure this will be a interesting thread.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  2. Dec 5, 2017
    sumi

    sumi Sustainability Master Administrator

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    Score on the house and the notebook! :thumbsup
     
  3. Dec 5, 2017
    tortoise

    tortoise Wild Hare

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    Wow! Congratulations!
     
  4. Dec 5, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    Did that years ago with a new looking lawn mower at a yard sale for $10. The yard was a postage stamp and the mower looked brand new. Asked the lady what was wrong with it and she proceeded to tell me that it wouldn't start, took it back to the dealer and they said all kinds of things were bad on it and that it would just be cheaper to buy a new one than repair the old one. Does that sound familiar? I think that must be in the employee handbook anywhere they sell something with an engine....how do folks stand there and lie for a living????

    Anyhoo, I had a suspicion that they'd been had, so I bought the mower and took it home to my folks to tinker on. Twenty min. of work to bypass the electric start function and it roared to life. They used that mower for many a long year.

    Sort of the same thing on a vehicle I bought years ago. It was an SUV that booked for $4300 but I got it for 1K...it was beautiful, good exterior and interior, ran wonderfully. It had a check engine light on it and I think they thought the engine was going bad or maybe someone had told them it was, so decided to sell it rather than repair it. All it needed was an O2 sensor, ran me for years and was a great vehicle.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2017
    Chic Rustler

    Chic Rustler Super Self-Sufficient

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    Right on! Funny how things go when a tradesman gets involved
     
  6. Dec 5, 2017
    Joel_BC

    Joel_BC Super Self-Sufficient

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    CC, that's an interesting story. And good to hear about your windfall.

    I've found some good stuff for free, that's for sure, but I have no real knowledge of electronics. I mean, I do know the difference between a capacitor and a resistor, but don't now how to test them, or how to track down problems in complex circuitry. I can wire a building for 120 or 240, but it's that other complicated, delicate stuff that's a mystery.

    Recent experience: my household's favorite second-hand electric clothes iron. It's got a lot going for it — it's heavy enough to do a good job, got a good water capacity for steam, it sits on its haunches on the ironing board without being tippy. But it stopped heating. I figured the problem might be a stuck relay, so I got my deadblow hammer and gave it a couple firm taps. Starting working like a charm! :plbb

    But that's not really "electronics" (as in computers, radios, etc).

    On another topic... I've always shied away from any opportunity to become a landlord. I've just heard of so many thorny, gnarly situations. But I trust it's working out well for you. Sounds like it.
    :thumbsup
     
  7. Dec 5, 2017
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    The key to renting is vetting! Financial, criminal and employment background checks. Have the applicant pay for the checks and make it perfectly clear that any and all applicants with negative results will automatically be denied. That weeds out the Lions share of deadbeats from even applying.

    As far as electronics... Easy smeasy really - you can go a long ways with just some basics tools and a multimeter (diode/ amps/volts/ohms) checks
     
    Joel_BC likes this.
  8. Dec 5, 2017
    CrealCritter

    CrealCritter Super Self-Sufficient

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    I ended up selling my oscilloscope when we moved from NC to Southern IL. I've been missing it every since then. So I decided I'm going to turn this new to me notebook into a oscilloscope. Linux is a wonderful thing... and with xoscope and a very simple to build electronics gizmo ( buffer circuitry ) I can use the notebook's sound card as an oscilloscope :) why not put this note book to good use? But of course I'll surf SS with it to :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  9. Dec 5, 2017
    milkmansdaughter

    milkmansdaughter Super Self-Sufficient

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    My son knows exactly what you're talking about. :) He loves Linux, and is always rebuilding old computers to make them work.

    I'm better with a hammer or a drill but to each their own. :)
     
  10. Dec 6, 2017
    Joel_BC

    Joel_BC Super Self-Sufficient

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    Up here I don't think potential renters would want to pay for those financial, criminal and employment background checks. You'd have to mask those costs within the rental fee or maybe the damage deposit. But I suppose that might be feasible.

    What I'd dislike, as a landlord, would be scenarios like this: You've got a small family renting your place. The mother loves and does her best to take care of the kids, her spouse has a job and pays the bills but has a recurrent drinking or substance-abuse issue you didn't know about. He goes off the rails from time to time, and damage is done to the property. You get fed up and want to turf them out but the woman pleads, appealing to your more kindhearted side. As a well-meaning woman, she's distraught... and desperate for the kids' and her own welfare. Whaddya do?:(
     
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