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Hallo! I live in the middle of nowhere, in a place called Wendover. The town is 120 miles west from Salt Lake City (SLC), 120 miles East of Elko, Nevada (which also has a WalMart). The problem with living in the middle of nowhere is you have to do a little bit of everything to survive.

I have a Bachelors of Science in Computer Information Systems, however since I graduated in 2002, this got me little work. By circumstance I ended up in the middle of nowhere, and even though I've left a few times, I keep coming back! I work on electronics, computers, and of course make t-shirts, signage, and a few other odds and ends in addition to running a gift shop.
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How the Mighty have fallen!

Posted September 6th, 2008 at 02:48 PM by joeshaul
Updated September 6th, 2008 at 03:04 PM by joeshaul
Well, it's been a minor issue for the past few weeks, but I see the writing. One of our mighty press is dying!

Well, it's not quite that bad. Past few weeks it has been acting strange, you flip it on and it takes a minute before the LED's and such kick on. Sometimes you have to play with it, shut it off, then back on, wait a minute, then try again.

Today I decided to finally take it apart though. I left it sit for thirty minutes, played with it for about 5 more minutes, then got the tools. Since I left it sit for thirty minutes on the on position, I knew it wasn't just the lights having issues, since it didn't heat up at all.

I have no formal electronics training, but I've always liked to take things apart and repair them. Broken circuit boards are my favorite, since it's like completing a puzzle. I've done some reading on the subject, but am more of a practical person. My first thought is that the switch could just be worn. So I took it all apart to see what was inside. I decided to take some pictures and post what each thing does.

Electronic switches are fairly simple in nature. You can test them with a multimeter without having the equipment plugged in, which prevents a lot of damage (both to you and the equipment). Since the heat press is all about high wattage, I had it unplugged. When the switch is flipped to on, the circuit is completed and you have continuity on the legs, when it is off, the continuity is broken. So I just had to flip the multimeter to continuity check, and touch the two wires connected to the switch. At first I had nothing, so I toggled the switch and tried again. Still nothing, tried it once more. Got continuity! So indeed the switch is on death's door. This is a really cheap fix, hopefully will find one next time I head into town at a Radioshack. I want something with some heft to it, since there is a lot of current on the inside, otherwise I'd just rig up one of my little jobbers that I have sitting around. In the meantime, since the switch is on, I can get by with physically unplugging the machine, when I plug it back in, it'll immediately kick on.

Now here's what else is actually in there, as well as what can possibly go wrong with the innards of a press.

What's inside:
Starting with what can be seen from the outside of the press:
Three lights, power switch, timer controls.
Inside: An alarm buzzer, control module for the timer, a relay, and of course, wires.

I didn't have problems with the platen, so I didn't take it apart, however I imagine it is primarily just: The heat control knob, the outside analog thermometer, an internal thermometer, and the heating element. I'm unsure how the innards of the heating element works, but electricity and heat are close brothers, so they may just be running lengths of electrical wire throughout the top. The platen appears to be nonconductive even though it's metal. So the wire possibly heats up and transfer that heat to the platen. Since it's nonconductive, it doesn't make electrical contact thus you don't get electrocuted when you touch it.

What could go wrong:
The wire is a pretty thick gauge, with cheaper presses they may use thinner gauge wire though, which could fry/melt in some conditions.

The relay could become worn. When Ifirst opened the press up, that was my first thought "Oh crap, it's got a relay, please don't be fried". A relay is similar to a switch, although it activates on a wide variety of other methods rather than you pushing the button in. Vehicles have all kinds of different relays that operate on electricity, air, liquid, and etc. The relay in the mighty press is essentially the brain. The relay controls when heat is supplied to the heat press, it also controls electricity to the lights, which means it being dead has the same diagnostics as the switch being dead.

Other than those two things, I don't really see anything that would impact it not working on that end. If dropped or something, the wires can become loose. There's a small panel where wires are jumpered together via screws and such, I checked those just to make sure they were nice n tight.

I was pleased to see that adding a silencer to the buzzer should be nice and easy. What I'll do is just splice a simple toggle switch into the Alarm module, when it's on, it will function like normal, when I flip the switch, no more annoying noises when I press tiles. Plenty of room on the inside, so wiring shouldn't be a problem, but I will need something to modify the metallic sides of the press, which saddens me.

Anyways, that's the Mighty Press!
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's Avatar
VERY COOL. I'm tempted to pick you up a swith and send it to you since we're so close.

Also, where exactly in Wendover are you???
Posted September 8th, 2008 at 07:25 PM by CoopersDesignCo CoopersDesignCo is offline

's Avatar
We gutted the entire wing of the Western Motel (not the Western Ridge) on the main boulevard. We have a bunch of signs out front, stuff I should probably redesign, but we're across the street from "Taco Poblano", and in between the Days Inn and what used to be a Sinclair Gas Station, but is now... an ice cream shop and Carrillo Brother's Auto repair! Our company's "Specialty Gifts & Designs"

P.S. I went to Mighty Press's site, which apparently is ran by Imprintables, so I contacted Josh, he forwarded me to Hotronix, and they want around $17 for the switch. The guy that I talked to was decent about it all, said that I could probably find a replacement at an electronics store and stuff. $17 ain't much, I've seen companies rake you over the coals for much more. It's more or less a convenience thing right now and I can probably save $10 on it by just biding my time and waiting to go into a ratshack.
Posted September 8th, 2008 at 10:09 PM by joeshaul joeshaul is offline
Updated September 8th, 2008 at 10:17 PM by joeshaul
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