Paper Shredder Repair

Now is probably a good time to mention that I have a paper shredder. When I was shopping for a shredder, the basic requirement is that it must be relatively “secure”. Straight cut shredders (that produce long straight strips) are definitely not secure.

Ultimately I settled on the CARL DS-3000 personal paper shredder. The DS-3000 is a cross-cut shredder which produces “particles” no larger than 2mm x 4.5mm and this meets DIN security level 4. These days, the NSA mandates 1mm x 5mm “particles” for classified documents.

At this point, it’s probably helpful to show you what my shredder bin looks like:

shredder confetti

From the particles, you can make out various truncated words such as “A/C”, “exp” and the number “5”, but it’s almost impossible to reconstruct any bank balances or personal information from it.

This particular model was the right balance between my budget and the level of security. Plus, the shredder is compact enough to sit on your desk. I bought it in 2009 and I use it every couple of months when I have accumulated enough material that needs to be destroyed.

I was in the middle of shredding papers when it suddenly stopped working. Now the shredder does not respond when I stick paper into its slot. The LED indicator looks dimmer than usual when it is turned on.

But I’m not ready to give up on it just yet…

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Repairing an Akira DVD Player

This was my first time trying to really repair something, and I’m forced to do it. It’s an Akira DVD player that is used as an audio CD player.

When I received the unit, I plugged it in and turned it on. Hmmm… nothing happened, so I opened it up to see what’s wrong. Apparently it has bulged capacitors, which is quite a common problem.

I guess the main cause was the 100μF smoothing capacitor that’s placed directly after the rectifier bridge. You can see the rectifier chip to the right of the large capacitor.

There were also some that were around the board that may not be related, but I just replaced them all at one go anyways.

I tried to remove the solder using a spring-powered desoldering pump but I couldn’t remove the solder from some holes. Instead I just pushed the component lead through while heating up the solder, which is a really bad way to solder but hey, any more heat I apply could just damage the PCB traces.

After replacing the capacitors, the unit managed to power up. However, the LED that was powering the LCD screen backlight was flickering. I found that odd actually, but I really didn’t want to investigate it. Also, the springy audio connectors for the speaker wires at the back were also broken, but I have no idea where to find a replacement for it.

The amount of work required? The capacitors totaled to S$6, but I made 2 trips to get the components (because I missed out some capacitors), and I spent an evening replacing the capacitors. If I had to spend more time figuring out the problems, it would have been longer.

I think such repairs are really not worth it because you have to spend time understanding the circuit before you can really fix the problem (in the case of the LED backlight). If it was something antique and worth fixing it wouldn’t have been so bad, but this is just some cheap off-the-shelf audio system you can buy easily.

Oh well, at least it’s done and I can get it off my hands.