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Thursday, 07 December 2023


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Meanwhile, my wind up watch from the U.S. Army in Vietnam still works well. Not as accurate as yours and on the 4th or 5th band, but it works.

"Do you have a backup camera?"

Yes. And so does my car.

About Solar Seiko: I bought one about six years ago. It stopped working just as yours did about eight months in. It was repaired under warranty, but I had to wait three months to get the watch back. The watch failed again after fourteen months. I told them to fix it, and the repair bill exceeded the original cost. (I also waited eighteen months to get it back because of Covid.) When it failed again, I returned it to the shop where I bought it. The salesperson told me that Seiko Solar watches were c**p. She would happily sell me a new one, but I could get a new Lorus battery watch (made by Seiko) for a third of the price. I've never regretted my decision.

Hi Mike, I'm a fool... what am I? A fool. I've got three cars, only one of which is reliable at the moment. Battery problems, stalling problems, tyre problems, endless problems (which one is the reliable one? The Honda MDX. No surprise, eh?)

As for cameras, I took delivery of my 17th camera yesterday (13 digital, four film). It's a Sony Alpha 6100. It's to allow me to use my Contax Zeiss G lenses via a Shoten AF adapter with full AF and electronic control. At last. I'll try shooting B&W with this combo and hope for something nice.

But it's summer here and as I tell people, Perth always looks like it's had a fresh coat of paint every day. The air is so clear and the light is so bright that it cries out for colour. That's how I see.

Merry Christmas and Compliments of the Season to ya.

The watch probably needs a new battery. They last 5 - 8 years, I think.

I've just had similar trouble with my heating, this time for the whole house when the main switch for the electric central heating boiler failed. It's been there for the 20 months since the boiler went in, and has been operated maybe two or three times.

For those in the UK, the switch is just the same as the wall switch for an electric cooker, minus the word "cooker' on the front. I'm an electrician, but this is a rented property so I just call 'em in.

When the heating bloke pulled the switch off the back box to have a look, the earth wire fell out; like your heater, my boiler wasn't earthed. Last winter, the fused isolation switch for the heating controls failed; it was just a year old.

Meanwhile, I've been looking for a PIR (movement) sensor to operate some outside lights. They all seem to have a high failure rate, so I might as well just buy one of the cheaper ones and accept that I'll be replacing it in the next few years.

Short lived and wasteful rubbish like the items I've mentioned are everywhere. But while my heating was out of action I kept warm with an electric heater that's close on 70 years old.

Mike, yours is the “Seinfeld” of blogs. You can write about nothing and it’s still a pleasure to read.

That Seiko watch has a small, very small, rechargeable battery inside. Just like phone batteries eventually lose their ability to hold a full charge, so does that. Only worse, because it is tiny. It is a service replaceable part.

Thanks for the update on the watch, I bought a Citizen and a Casio (actually 2 Casio) based on your coverage. I am really interested in following the warranty experience. Maybe you should put a mark on it before you send it in for warranty repair?

Hi Mike,

I have the same Seiko watch. Even though it is solar powered it has to store that power in a rechargeable battery just like solar panels. Every few years the battery no longer can hold its charge. Any rechargeable battery can only do so many cycles of recharging, kinda like camera batteries.

Here's the ($13) replacement battery for the watch: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07B8WZHRT



Mike, regarding the Seiko solar watch: I had a similar experience with one. After two years or so it would not hold a charge and I took it to a generic jeweler who sent it away to Seiko to be fixed (i.e., “have the ‘battery’ replaced”) to the tune of $90+/-. About three years on (this year) and it stopped again. I took it to a specialty watch repair shop (classic, musty old shop with all sorts old clocks on the wall and a cat greeter).

They said it was the capacitor (that stores the solar charge - not a battery) that had failed. And they usually last only 2 to 3 years. Seiko would replace it for about $100 depending on my model. I could send it to them myself if I wanted to. I demurred.

The lesson here is that a solar watch is no better than a battery one with respect to needing routine battery/capacitor replacement. So I went on Amazon and bought a $50 Timex (lots of models and price choices). Its battery can be replaced at most neighborhood jewelers for $10 - $15. So far it loses about two minutes a month… fine for my retired lifestyle.

Anyway, FYI…

You can change out the battery of solar watch yourself. For cheap. And it'll empower you.

Regarding 'The pool shed is possibly the best thing (well, material thing) I ever did for myself'.

Surely "What's the best thing you've ever done for yourself" would get a record number of comments?

Maybe a top 3 list. Each one 25 words or less?

Mine was rejig my life to follow my (not yet wife) to a new State. The biggest leap, so to speak.

No.2 - Get and raise a chocolate labrador. 10 years on she's still a joy, ever single day.

NO.3 - Pay my all time record ($1,700) for a guitar 'setup' from Chris Melville in Brisbane. Tommy Emmanuel owns two of his handmade guitars. That guitar sings to me like an angel.

Mike --

That sounds like a classic capacitor failure, premature to be sure. As best i can tell from a search of your site, this Seiko is but two-and-a-half years old. The good news is that, insofar as i can tell from the Seiko USA website, the Crown Jewelers that you bought from is, in fact, an Authorized Dealer so the three year warranty is surely valid.

I had a pair of solar/Citizen Eco-Drive watches (one was "Atomic"!) that i used for twenty years or so. In that era (1990s-2000s) the capacitors would only last six or seven years and you would have to send them in for a $65 replacement at that point; it wasn't a bad idea anyway since the water-tight seals needs renewal at that point anyway. Citizen now claims that the capacitors currently last a decade; sadly not so for the seals. I would still change them both at six or seven years to avoid the dreaded "condensation inside the case" failure (which ruins any movement). Don't ask me how i know . . .

Your wrist is a semi-hostile environment and the point is that all watches will eventually need maintenance if you wish to continue to use them.

In my dotage i've gone to a few mechanical Chinese watches now, trading accuracy for what i deem to be better aesthetics. To each his own. But, yes, every six or seven years i will have to have a service and seal replacement . . . which will cost more than a capacitor . . .

-- gary ray

Re: Car Battery

Like many things automotive, car batteries have a finite life which means they are guaranteed to fail. What's not guaranteed is that they will fail while you are parked next to an auto store that can sell you a new battery and install it while you wait.

I was rescued from my last battery failure by my AAA membership which sent a truck to jump or tow (depending on which I needed) and was prepared to sell and install a new battery on-the-spot! Not cheap but convenient.

I don’t keep “a backup car” (yes, too expensive) - but for me, in my circumstances, most of my trips are by bicycle - and I do have a backup bike.

My car only backstops the bikes (raining, creek flooded etc.) or gets used for longer trips (such as the 300km trip to my father’s place I drove today - with my bike in the back).


My $7 watch from Walmart is still going well after four years and a $1 battery replacement.

The AAA in Oregon will also answer calls from bicyclists with flat tires and bring them either home or to a bicycle shop.

I've had a Casio MTGM900A 8CR for over 5 years without a problem. It's "atomic" solar, always has the right time. When you work crazy shifts like I do you can lose track of what day of the week it is. This watch displays the day and date without having to push a button. I stopped using wire nuts when I discovered Wago lever nuts.

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