Many bad words.

I spent most of today ‘tidying’ the garage. There is no detectable difference so far. This flurry of tidying is because there is a new set of kitchen units coming and they have to wait somewhere until Dodgy Kitchen Guy is available. I didn’t see any point blasting the credit for the posh ones – they are all made of coated chipboard anyway and smooth surfaces are so much easier to keep clean.

The reason I did the tidying today is that I want to keep some of the old units for use in the garage. It’ll still be full of crap but the crap will be behind doors, which must be an improvement. Anyway, I decided to take down three wall units and move them into the garage. I’ll have to empty them all anyway, might as well get started.

Units emptied, now what? How the Hell are these things sticking to the wall? They were here when I arrived, I didn’t put them up. It’s a plasterboard wall so… off to the internet to see how wall units are fixed to plasterboard walls.

First lesson – they aren’t entirely separate units. They are sneakily screwed together by screws hidden behind the door hinges. Off with their doors! A good idea anyway, it reduced the weight. A very good idea to remove those screws and doors as it turned out.

Right. According to the Fount of All Wisdom, the Internet, they are hanging on hangers but because the wall is plasterboard, they are also screwed to the supporting wooden struts behind the wall. Okay, found six screws in the back of the units, two per unit. Those must be the ones. So if I take those out, the empty doorless cupboards will be left on their hangers. Then I just lift them off and the job is done.

I chose to start with the smallest unit which was another lucky guess because… there are no hangers. Only six screws held the whole lot to the wall. Removing the two screws resulted in a frantic dropping of screwdriver and grabbing of falling chipboard box. It also resulted in many bad words.

Nothing broke in the end and those cabinets are now in the garage. Not fixed to the wall, not yet. The garage walls are breeze-block and it was a bit late in the evening to get the hammer drill out. Besides, I’ll have to get the proper hangers.

There is a positive outcome. I have a long straight piece of trim from the bottom of the cabinets that is perfect for fitting a length of OO gauge track onto. At last, a proper engine test bed!

I am trying not to think about the amount of crockery and bottles I had piled into those cupboards, held up only by six screws…


Later, I dusted off my old Acer Aspire One. It’s a little laptop. Well, too small for a laptop but way too big for a palmtop unless you have enormous palms. It was put away years ago because the battery would no longer charge. Having to plug a computer that small into the mains makes it somewhat pointless. Still, it does have a proper (if small) keyboard and would be far more convenient to lug around on holiday than the laptop. All I want is occasional internet access and something to write stories on. It would do – if I could get it to work.

No luck. It works fine on mains power but refused to accept the battery was even present. Pity. It has no hard drive and nothing in the way of real computer memory – it uses SD cards for everything. It does have USB ports which allows the use of a real mouse and an external hard disk (the little Iomega 250GB goes on holiday with me every year, it holds more than I’ll ever need). For writing and internet browsing, it’s good enough.

So. Back to the Fount of All Wisdom to see how much a replacement battery will cost and whether it can be here this week. A new battery with twice the mAh capacity can be had for £17 from Chinese knock-off companies who can send it airmail for four pounds. Now, I know the risks so I will give it its first charge by laying it in the middle of the concrete floor of the garage with nothing flammable in range and a fire blanket in hand. On the other hand, most laptop makers get their batteries from these companies anyway, stick their logo on it and ramp up the price (the kosher version is £60).

The little Acer is expendable. It’s old enough to be worthless and with no battery life, useless enough to be just a thing in the way. It’s worth the risk to get it going again but it’s not worth risking very much cash. I will need the cash to update my desktop when I get back from holiday.

I placed the order, then just out of curiosity tried charging the Acer again.

This time the words were bad enough to make Satan blush. It’s now charging happily. It might not hold the charge for long, we shall see, but the damn thing is sucking the power down like a Dyson in Dust Heaven. I swear it is smiling at me. Smug little git.

I’m now annoyed enough to open the Daily Mail…


9 thoughts on “Many bad words.

  1. Wouldn’t get too stressed over the Oriental battery, Leggy. Got one on my Acer and it works a treat, a solid 8 hours on battery with the added bonus of tilting the keyboard up to a more natural angle. Now I’ve put a proper operating system on it (Linux Mint) it’s become my number one tool when I’m out buggering about with other people’s networks. I recommend the idea to the house ….


    • The beast held its charge today, but even so, the original battery only has about 2 hours’ worth (maybe a bit longer if I use a direct Ethernet cable instead of the wireless). The one I ordered has twice the capacity.

      If I can bring this thing back from the dead, I’ll give it a Linux makeover. It has XP on it, and not much memory, and that involves a lot of waiting around.

      As portables go it’s tiny and hard to type on but for a week or so, I could put up with that. The laptop gets heavy after a while!


  2. The Chinese one will be fine Leggy but you wait a while for delivery though!! Have you ever wondered how the Chinese manage to sell stuff on eBay so cheap? They use their own countries postal system that has an agreement with most other postage companies around the world to deliver. The Chinese postal system is of course way cheaper than ours so they get away with really cheap postage whilst it costs us a fortune to send the other way, that is why things are astonishingly cheap for eBay goods from China, you just need the patience of a saint.

    As for quality of Chinese made goods, it’s way better than it used to be, in fact they make some very good quality stuff these days. 🙂


    • They make a hell of a lot of electronics now – and they don’t give a stuff about copyright.

      The urgency is less now that the old battery has decided to work again. The new one will make the little Acer run twice as long though, which will make it actually useful!


  3. I wouldn’t worry about the hangers for your wall units, LI. As long as where the screws go through there is no gap between the back panel of the unit and the wall, it’s fine. I make and fit bespoke kitchens for a living, so I’m familiar with all this stuff. When I make my wall units, I slot 3mm white hardboard for the back, but 16mm in from the back of the unit. I then fix 16mm Melamine strips behind that through which I screw the units to the wall. I put just four screws in, and it’s very strong. You could fill it with lead bars and it won’t come down. Also, unless you wanted to change the layout of your kitchen, or the cupboard units were damaged, you could have just changed the doors. Off-the-shelf kitchens are standard sizes, and use standard sized doors. The cost of an off-the-shelf kitchen is dictated by the doors and any extras. The cupboard units are all the same – just a Melamine carcass. I believe there are online companies who sell doors only.


    • Well, they were there for the 14 years I lived here and some years before that. So they were secure, it was just a shock to find how easily they came down!

      I considered just changing the doors but then the panel sides would have to change, the top and bottom trim… in the end all I’d be keeping were the plain white interiors and they add next to nothing to the cost.


  4. This may help. I have never fitted any cupboard to a wall without a bearer across the wall to take all the downward weight on the back edge of the cupboard. The screws don’t then have to hold any weight–they keep the cupboard pressed to the wall and thus generate high friction to stop the cupboards sliding down the wall. Which of course they can’t anyway because of the bearer. Well I understand it anyway


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