PS-77CS Shredder

After around 7 or 8 years of some tough abuse and shredding my Fellowes PS-77CS Shredder has finally given up the ghost and failed on me.

The machine is getting power, but it doesn’t run the shredder motor. There are signs of power going to the device, because it detects win the bin is open and lights up the red light to say it’s open. The light goes off when you push in the Micro switch so this tells me the sensor circuit was working fine and the problem was more electrical as opposed to mechanical.

I did some dismantling of the actual equipment. Fairly simple, lift it up and remove about 10 screws. Open the lid then disconnect the wire attaching the motor to the PCB. I did a quick look around the circuit and couldn’t find any specific issues.

I finally identified the problem, I went to remove the PCB so I could look up the schematics and when removing it the transformer was literally hanging on a couple of threads of copper wire. So it came off easy enough (picture below)

DB-0812D Transformer

The busted transformer which failed. Also seems to be a common problem – not supposed to come off the circuit legs like that. It’s meant to be attached.

I decided to remove it, as it was evident to me the transformer is what caused the problem. For those who don’t know, a transformer receives an incoming voltage in a circuit and then alters it for the output side (either by increasing or decreasing it). In this case, it’s receiving an input voltage of ~220v and outputting it into ~15.6v from what I can find online (these are the specs). I’ve wrote them below if anyone finds them useful.

Input Voltage : 220V
Output Voltage : 15.6V / 15.6V
Dimensions ???? : 8*11 (On other sites, this number translates as “specification” – so I think it’s the size)
No Idea???? : 3+4 (On other sites, this translates as “stitch / work type” – not sure if this means the number of pins)

Now, when researching online, it seems these transformers are commonly fitted to the Fellowes shredder models and seem to be the weak point of them. The point of failure is usually when the shredder falls over or gets banged about a bit. The transformer / PCB are mounted upside down in the shredder motor. So if the unit falls over it can damage it. Essentially it’s dangling on it’s own internals.

A common fix suggested by one user seems to be fitting an M2730 transformer, which is slightly bigger then hot glue it in place so it doesn’t damage it if it falls. I looked up this product and unfortunately it’s a discontinued product. So I may try places like eBay or Farnells/CPC in the UK to try and source one.

In the meantime I have emailed Customer Support at Fellowes to see if they stock spares. I’m more than happy to fit the equipment myself to get it up and working again. Failing that I’ll source one online if they cannot supply. The equipment by Fellowes is amazing. It’s stood up to some tough abuse from myself, but I’d rather not pay £100 for a new shredder if I can fix it myself for around £20

I’ll update this post as I go, hope some of you find it useful and helps you on your quest with your Fellows PS-77CS Shredder or others.

PS : If your from Fellowes, I’ll happily receive a new shredder from you if you offer me one. I wouldn’t complain 🙂

Views – 1640

Paypal Scam Emails

Every now and then, you get the occasional idiot who tries to scam some poor user out of their account information by showing information affiliated to the company in question

I received an email from “Paypal” support

I already knew it was dubious from experience, but decided to carefully investigate it. The user in question owned a website (hosted by godaddy) and had a blog with a purposely hidden upload link with a redirect onto a fake paypal login

They’re getting smarter and smarter, but when displaying links to unknown pages, always hover your mouse over them and check out the address first. It should always match the domain where it’s coming from

Needless to say I hate scammers. So I reported the domain abuse to godaddy and rackspace, and I’ll also be reporting them to paypay, eBay and the local authorities

Views – 923

Electronic Payslips

Recently I’ve been having problems where I work regarding my pay. As such I’m constantly digging around for my old payslips. After long and hard looking for them I finally got sick and decided to make good use of the scanner I had lying around home and convert all my paper ones to electronic payslips.

Not only can I scan them into an electronic format, it means that with electronic payslips, I can also create my own archiving system for storing my information at a glance. This makes them easier to find, and I know should I need important information it is there straight away.

It’s a slow process, but something I’ll only need to do the once. The benefit is when it’s converted, I’ll be able to input all my salary details into a sheet straight away. Open them up or send on information as requested.

I’m also making good use of my printer which rarely gets used anyway. Now I can scan them and put them somewhere where I’ll forget them. The only important thing I’ll need now will be a secure USB pen to store them on like the datAshur which I will be buying next.

 

Consider doing it yourself, work smarter, not harder..

Views – 900

iStorage datAshur SSD now FIPS Certified

I received an automated email as I’m subscribed to newsletters from datAshur to inform me that their current USB pen is now certified to FIPS Level 3

FIPS is a military grade encryption system which is certified by the US Government. For a manufacturer to achieve this level of security with their USB pens is great, as it means their tech is highly secure and minimises the risk of confidential information falling into the wrong hands

Here is the essential information on the PEN:

The datAshur SSD has been certified as FIPS 140-2 Level 3 having undergone the process of validation to meet the U.S. government standards for information technology and computer security. NIST FIPS 140 is the cryptography standard program required by the US federal government for protection of sensitive data.

The datAshur SSD’s FIPS 140-2 validation covers 11 areas of its cryptographic security system, including physical security, cryptographic key management and design integrity. Available in four levels, the datAshur SSD’s FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certification encompasses both the datAshur SSD’s physical tamper-resistant features as well as its identity-based authentication. View the FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certificate here.

Military Grade XTS AES 256-bit Hardware Encryption
PIN Activated 7-16 Digits – Alphanumeric keypad use a memorable number or word for your PIN
OS & Platform independent – compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome, Android, Thin Clients
and Embedded Systems
Super-fast USB 3.0 – up to 195MB/sec read and 162MB/sec write
FIPS 140-2 Level 3 Certified
IP58 Certified – dust and water resistant
Capacities – 30GB, 60GB, 120GB & 240GB

I myself will be getting one of the datAshur pens because I love them, you can also buy one from their website

Views – 799

Limited Company Checklist

OK, this will be an ongoing post which I’m updating as I go along after starting up my new LTD company (TYNEWEARTECH LTD) giving advice for anyone else wanting to go the same route as I did without going self employed. Personally speaking I should really have gone self-employed and then did a self-assessment each year until I was fully established. I however wanted the company number so I could come across as more professional in image. I also wanted the company to be separate to keep my accounting simpler.

If there are errors found in this document, please feel free to highlight them to me. I am not an accountant I am a first time business owner. This is something I’m using to advice for questions and confusing things I encountered when I was first registering the business starting up

There are companies which do this all for you for around £125, and to be fair, the headache I had it’s probably an option if you have the money. I wanted to do it with as little as possible however so did everything myself.

Things you should consider as part of a Limited Company Checklist when you are starting up and the reasons why I consider them: – I have also listed the order I’d personally do them. So everything is setup (before hand)

  • Branding
  • Accounts & Finances
  • Business Insurance
  • Financial Software
  • Business Incorporation
    • Companies House Registration
    • Corporation Tax Registration
    • PAYE for Employers Registation

1a) Branding

With social media popular these days and all the rage, have you thought about consistent branding. It makes it easier for your customers to find you if all your pages had the same name. It took me a while to find the business name I wanted. I originally had another name planned, but the domain name was taken, so had to adapt and improvise until I finally settled on one.

You need to consider your business model, I didn’t personally want to have a lot of social media pages as I have a business to run, but I wanted enough social networks so that I could get adequate coverage. In the end I settled for social network branding pages covering what I deemed the important sites and ones which I would be using the most.

(Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Google+, eBay, Amazon)

I didn’t bother registering my domain name against a .com address, since I am UK based I have no interest for commercial branding. Although I may secure the domain for a later date. I made sure these were all available at first, by using sites which can check for branding across multiple networks. You can find these at sites such as knowem.com username checkers

 

1b) Business Incorporation

The first thing you will need to do when you register a limited company before you can start trading is register you business name with companies house this is so you are officially recognised as a company and will be treat as such. It also does a couple of additional things which are required for the business. When your business is being registered, you need to provide a one time payment fee of £15 to companies house to start-up your business. After you have successfully met all the requirements for starting up a business. When you have filled in your company date it will be submitted to HMRC. After a few days, you will receive a confirmation the business has been registered with them giving you details of your date of incorporation and also your all important company number

1c/1d) Corporation TAX and PAYE for Employers Registration

The problem you have when you are a limited company; is that you can’t just withdraw money from a business bank account and pay yourself when you feel like it as you could when self employed. When self employed it’s easy, all you do is a basic self-assessment every year showing your income / outgoings and as long as it’s listed properly it’s OK.

When you start up a LTD company, the business is a seperate entity. Which means even if you are a single person company, you have to register for TAX/PAYE because you need to pay yourself as an employee of your own company.

There are multiple methods to do this, I won’t go into detail in the exact steps but make good use of the GOV.UK website because it gives you all the information you need when doing so. Basically you log in and tick the check boxes for services you want.

Once your information is submitted, you will then be sent two letters within 10 days

CT41G -This contains your company UTR code (needed for Corporation Tax)

HMRC PAYE Form – This contains your payroll code to pay employees

You can’t do one without the other, once you have both, you can supply information to your payroll software and then generate payslips / make payments to your employees via RTI submissions.

Additional Services

  • Activation Code (PAYE for Employers) – you will need to logon to Government Gateway to activate your PAYE service, other wise you will need to re register again. It uses the same details as the HMRC information

Views – 1111

Business Bank Account – Bad Credit

One of the major problems for myself, after registering my business. Is that my own “personal” credit score is rubbish. I know what caused this.

Now after registering my business, technically they’re separate entities. Unfortunately the major banks don’t see it that way. They only see it as debt you can’t look after. I applied for a business bank account with my existing provider and they rejected me.

Now, I know my business won’t be fully established for possibly 1-2 years, but I wanted everything separate so that it would make my finances easier to manage when it comes to the yearly tax calculations. So any basic account I could load up with money for outgoing payments (such as buying business supplies, stock) and receive incoming payments would do

 

In the end I went with Cashplus for my business bank account because they don’t do credit checks. When I eventually get a good enough credit rating I’ll swap to a major bank which offers better options for me and is more established. For now I can’t argue though. There will be a lot of work required. It is however really exciting at the same time. I haven’t felt this excited since I did contracting work

Views – 928

Playstation 3 – Overheating – Flashing Red Light

I was recently asked by someone to look at a PS3 fault. Their childs PS3 wasn’t booting up and they couldn’t eject a CD. Playstation and XBOX consoles suffer from infamous Red Light of Death (RLOD) and Yellow Light of Death (YLOD)

This specific Playstation had the RLOD, when booting up, it would quickly have some HDD activity and then it would shutdown and 3 Red Lights would flash on the console

This is a common issue where the console shuts down to protect itself because of an overheating issue. The processors and connected to the motherboard by a BGA array. A large amount of small solder balls which heat up oven time and solder cracks. This builds up temperature, drying out the chips and thermal paste causing the consoles to shut down to protect themselves

I documented a video of the repair on a Youtube video which you can watch

I had never actually carried out a console repair before, so when I was finished I actually had 2 screws left over. Still haven’t worked out where these were from, so if I ever receive the console back I’ll replace them. Otherwise I’ll use it as a learning experience.

I intend on going more full time with console, phone and computer building and repairs, so plan on improving myself each time in order to develop a better procedure and overall a faster turn around time

 

Views – 891

Fraudulent bank activity

One of the benefits of having a smart phone, I tend to be very religious when it comes to checking my bank statements through the app. As I’m working on reducing my outgoing expenses and paying off debts; I always tend to track my money.

I always have done it, but there was a recent activity on my credit card statement that made me a bit suspicious, it looked as if it was a fraudulent bank activity. It seemed that someone cloned the card.

I was about to call the bank today when I realised what it was. I made an on-line shopping order with my card for Tesco’. The store they were delivered from was the one which the purchase was made, I didn’t know this at the time however.

I only just realised whilst I was ringing my bank to let them know they may have to cancel my card. Good thing I remembered at the last minute

So while the action was completely unnecessary, it always helps to be vigilant and keeping an eye on your expenses. As sometimes the most normal action could lead you to horrible consequences without realising. In this instance my finances were fine it was just me being an idiot.

 

So, further forward, if you have a memory like a sieve like me, it may be worth jotting things down as a backup in a diary. So if you make a purchase, you can go back to it. I’m thinking of using a calender of a sort, so if I do something I can write down the value and go back to it at a later date.

We live in an age where it’s easy for people to steal your card details without you even realising it, better be safe than sorry.

Views – 716

Speeding

After driving for 10 years, I’ve finally been a bad boy and believe I was caught speeding. Stretch of road when playing taxi, going up a hill behind lorry and a few other cars I decided to overtake them because I was impatient.

I know the stretch of road to be honest, and I know it’s regularly policed with speed traps so it’s my own fault. I know speeding is dangerous and risks lives, I’m just impatient and need to calm down my driving.

I’m not worrying about it until I get my summons / NIP through the post. Although I’m expecting around 6 points and a £200 fine, I’m crossing my fingers at the opportunity to be offered a speed awareness course.

 

It feels weird to me, I’ve been driving 10 years and wanted to hold a clean license. I know these things happen it just bugs me.

 

I’ll update the post when I receive more information.

 

UPDATE :

I received a letter with an option for 3 points / £100 fine, or take it to court and contest it. I’ll be surrendering my license this weekend to get points on it then updating my insurance. No point contesting it, the court will just slap me with a larger fine and more points

Views – 910

AA Breakdown Renewal

Received my obligatory renewal letter through the post from the AA that I had been with for 11 years now. I do still like them, but the prices are making me think otherwise. I used to call them out at least once a year, but personally don’t think it’s worth it at the moment when I can put the money into savings

 

The letter I received

To make your Gold Membership even better value, why not choose one of our great offers? Take a look at the details on the flap below.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to take advantage of a special offer, simply check your cover details overleaf and the enclosed Terms and Conditions and we will collect payment of £230.44 on or around 21st of May 2015. AA membership may cost a little more than some others, but to the 14 million people we look after, we give unrivalled peace of mind

 

Now, when I first joined AA I only paid around £50 membership for everything, which went up to around £130 on renewal. Fair enough. The policies have been increasing around £20 each year and for those people who pay by direct debit, if you don’t remember to ring up, your paying an extra £20 more each year on top of your cover.

If AA have 14,000,000 members each paying around £130 that is £1,820,000,000 or in other words (£1.82 billion) per year. If all the members only paid £50 each every year, that would be £700,000,000 (£700 million) per year they would make

I highlight doubt they’re suffering their losses and simply ripping people off. I’ll make rough estimates on their expenditure

10,000 Call Centre Agents @ 20k P/A – £200 million

4,000 Vans @ 20k P/A – £80 million

1,000 Recovery Vehicles / Driver @ 30k P/A – £30 million

4,000 Technicians @ 25k P/A – £100 million

Miscellaneous (CEO’s etc) – £100 million

All the above totals £510 million per year

 

I don’t know all the figures for AA, although they are posted on the website, basically they’re ripping people off who aren’t wise to following their money.

I’m not going to bash AA for their service. I think they’re amazing. They’re reliable and I’ve never had issues. I am going to bash them for their practices and rip off prices. If they want to attribute their rising costs to running costs then design a business model with a fixed fee and use it!

 

Anyway, I went on moneysupermarket and took  out some new cover @ £50 and cancelled my membership. I got a bit heated on the phone with the agent so I apologise to the agent which is why I become so blunt.

 

Anyway.  Would I join AA again.. Yes, without question, but at this moment I am trying to save money and can’t afford to pay lump sums of £140 in one go when I pay bills. Nor do I wish do be charged monthly

So they have lost 11 years of my business because they pissed me off basically

Views – 868

1 2 3 4 5 6 38