Re: Cheap pinpointer
For the guys that want to try their hand with the harbor freight pin pointer, here are the "fixes" I found on another site:
<span style="font-weight: bold">That dirty rotten switch...</span>
This was the first thing that I had trouble with on this unit. After several hunts in the dust, the switch got dirty and would only operate intermittently. It's not a sealed switch, so dust and moisture will get in it and cause problems. Not a big deal, the switch can be cleaned. After taking the battery out, open the unit by removing the four screws holding the back on. They are small screws, but can be turned with a 3/32" Phillips screwdriver from a precision screwdriver set. Carefully pull the back off, being careful not to pull it apart too much so you don't pull the wires to the speaker out.
Hold the unit so the switch is facing down. Put a folded paper towel under the switch. Apply drops of ordinary rubbing alcohol to the back of the switch where the contacts enter the case and start pushing the switch up and down on the paper towel. You should see the alcohol work its way into the switch through the gaps where the contacts go into the case. If the switch is dirty, you'll start to see dirt and gunk flow down around the red button and onto the paper towel as you work the switch. This dirt was fouling the switch. Keep doing this over clean sections of paper towel, adding more drops of alcohol until no more dirt comes out. Once it is clean, keep working and shaking the switch without adding more alcohol. This will help get the excess out. Then just let the whole thing sit out for a while to dry before reassembling it.
My switch gunks up a lot, so to make cleaning easier, soldered wire extensions on the switch and insulated the connections with heat shrink tubing. This makes it easier to clean the switch without having to deal with holding the pinpointer case. I simple remove the switch from the case and clean it as explained above. One of these days, if I come across a cheap sealed switch, I just might install it.
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Hey, the tip isn't waterproof!</span>
The tip of this unit is press-fit into place. It isn't waterproof. I waterproofed mine by gently prying off the tip, being careful not to break the coil wires. The coil is glued to the inside of the tip of the probe, so if you pull the tip too far, you might break the wires. Clean both surfaces with rubbing alcohol, let them dry, and apply a coating of silicone caulk to the part of the tip that fits in the probe. Press the tip back into place and wipe off all excess silicone. Allow it to cure for at least 24 hours. Now your tip should be waterproof.
<span style="font-weight: bold">My probe is loose!</span>
Only after months of abuse, the screw holding the end of the probe to the inside of the case wore through the inside of the case and was loose. Simply replace this screw with a small bolt, lock washer, and nut. Just be sure the head of the bolt is bigger than the hole in the back of the cast that the original bolt fit into. Use a washer under the bolt head if it isn't.
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Hey, there's gunk in the speaker.</span>
One other thing I noticed. The speaker hole kept getting gunked up and the screen eventually tore. After cleaning the case, I covered the hole with a piece of blue masking tape. It keeps dirt out and you can still hear the beep.
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