Fixing a set of clippers

Hidden screws

At various times of my life, I’ve had a short haircut, usually doing it myself and resorting to a set of clippers. More recently, I’ve been a bit more civilised. During the lockdown period, it has been impossible to get a hair cut at a barber. A couple of weeks ago, it seemed the right thing to do to get the clippers out and take all the hair off.

Unfortunately, the clippers did not work as well as I expected. They would not hold a charge for more than 10 minutes, which is not enough to sort my hair out. On this occasion, I wanted the challenge of fixing them myself.

It took me a little while to get into the clippers. There are two visible external screws that remove one of the cutters, but in order to actually get into it, one has to remove two plastic plugs to reveal the screws. In doing so, I damaged the plastic but I’m not in this to win awards. There are tools out there that will get into these devices without causing too much damage – I don’t have them. Once into the clippers, I discovered that all that is powering the motor is two regular AAA rechargeable batteries. It is no wonder that the clippers aren’t holding their charge anymore.

I then spent half an hour investigating a fix to replace the batteries. The biggest worry about replacing batteries is that soldering them can result in the batteries overheating and exploding. I soon found that you can buy replacement AAA batteries with metal tabs on the end which reduce the likelihood of this happening.

That said: if you attempt this at home, use eye protection and get proper advice. Batteries like to explode. This was my first adventure at soldering and I got away with it. You might not.

One soldering iron and 2 new AAA batteries later, I desoldered the old batteries, soldered the two batteries together using a piece of electrical wire, then attached them to the correct terminals in the clippers. The motor worked straight away – the batteries had been charged in the factory.

It was not a perfect fix and it took me a little while to get the case back on, but the clippers seem to be working fine again. They’ll probably last me another couple of years. Although the cost of the soldering iron and batteries is approaching the cost of a set of new clippers, there are environmental reasons for repairing goods. Also, there is a satisfaction in repairing something yourself.

 

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