Fixing a Barcode Reader Trigger

A few years ago I bought a barcode reader for use in a school Library. It was a Cino 780BT, Bluetooth, nice base station, glorious battery. It was a really nice unit.
One slight issue: The trigger switch on them sucks.  The first one we warrantied and got a replacement, the second one developed the same fault after a year or so of use too. The first time it happened the switch had come loose from the board, so I resoldered it back on (it’s a SMD switch, so there wasn’t much holding it on).
I contacted the company, they wanted me to send it back to them to fix (and charge me for it), the switch would be $20 + labour to fit it. I figured since it was out of warranty I’d give it a shot and see if I could replace it.

I couldn’t find a decent switch to fit (I tried to repurpose a switch from a mouse, but I couldn’t get it to fit right), so I used a switch from my Mechanical Keyboard sampler kit (it has 4 different types of switches to try out to see which one you like).

So: Little bit of soldering and some hot glue later, I have a working barcode reader again!IMG_1432

Read More to see some in progress pictures!

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Posted by duck in Home, How-To Guides, School, 2 comments

Review: Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Surround Speakers

Right now I’m listening to music… And I’m listening to them with headphones.
Because my favourite speakers, my Logitech Z-5500’s are currently broken, so what a better time to write a review about them 🙂

This review isn’t all bad though, the Z-5500’s are my favourite speakers of all time.Logitech Z-5500s

Why I like my Z-5500’s


The Z-5500’s have 505 watts of power, that’s 5 speakers and a 10″ Subwoofer, which makes them perfect for movies or music. I’ve used these speakers at house parties, running them on extremely loud volume all night long with no hassles at all. I’ve even had people say they could hear the music from over a kilometer away.


The speakers come with a Digital Optical Input, Digital Coaxial Input, a 5.1 Surround Analogue input and a stereo analogue input. This means I can have my MacBook plugged in via Optical, Gaming PC plugged in via Coax and decks + mixer plugged in via the stereo input.


The Z-5500’s are pretty small, perfectly small enough to fit nicely in my bedroom, it has a nice control unit with a big volume knob on it, and can be packed away into a small plastic crate (minus the sub) to take it places.

Dolby 5.1 Surround

Games and Movies all sound 1000x better in Dolby Surround. When the wall shakes from the sound of a rocket launcher or an explosion in a movie, you know you’ve got a winner. One of my favorite scenes to play is the Atomic Bomb scene near the start of the latest Indiana Jones movie. It’s fantastic.

Sound Quality

The sound from the speakers is awesome, doesn’t distort, lets you play it at very high volume without it breaking up (see the below section about what happens at high volume though).


They come with 2 years warranty. See below as to why this is important 😛

These speakers are *the* greatest speakers I’ve ever found, nothing comes close in terms of power and size.

Why I don’t like the Z-5500’s


Control Unit

So far I’ve had the whole set of speakers replaced twice. The first time the control unit backlight had died, the second time the control unit overheated and burnt out (eek, smoke coming from the control unit).


At high volumes, the casing on the 5 other speakers starts to rattle, I’m fairly sure it’s to do with the front and back section of the speaker, as they appear to be vibrating separate from each other, no damage appears to be done by this other than that it makes a bit of a buzzing noise.


If you plug in the power to the sub without all the speakers connected, you’ll blow a fuse. Logitech have acknowledged that there is an issue with the fuse on the speakers.


Logitech can’t seem to pick a nice price for these speakers, I bought mine through my work for $350 and I’ve since seen the price rise and rise as time goes on for exactly the same product. The recommended retail price has gone from $700 down to $400 and back up again to $700 again, currently it is offered for $599 at some retailers.


One of the issues I’ve had with both the control units I’ve had is that it doesn’t detect the input properly sometimes, you will swap to an input or unplug your headphones and get no sound at all. To fix it you have to cycle back through all the inputs to get back to the one you want. While it’s a minor annoyance, it’s just another step away from perfection.


The Logitech Z-5500’s are fantastic speakers, the quality and pricing issues are a bit of a bother, however being virtually the only set of speakers in this sort of category (high power, small form computer speakers) means there is little competition.

Warranty Claims

1. The first warranty claim I did on the speakers was when the Control Unit back light was broken, I contacted Logitech and they arranged a replacement set of speakers through my work where I bought it from. I simply swapped my set over for the new set. Even though the control pod was faulty, they replaced the entire set.
2. I had the speakers running in the morning, I stopped the music and went to work. When I got home the control unit was VERY hot and off. I unplugged the unit from the wall, let it cool down and then turned it back on to find 4/6 inputs were completely dead.
A couple hours later all the inputs were dead and the control unit was warm (not as hot as it was before, but warmer than usual).

5/11/09 – 9:00pm
Warranty claim sent to Logitech

6/11/09 – 5:30pm — 20.5 Hours Since claim started
Logitech contacted me to let me know I had contacted the wrong support line and that they had forwarded the claim onto the Australian Division.
In my defence: It didn’t ask me what country I was from, I googled Logitech and headed to their support section.

12/11/09 – 5:23PM — 6 days 20 Hours since claim started
I finally got a response from Logitech. They asked if anyone had been hurt or anything else damaged. They also said the speakers were covered under a 1 year warranty, but their website says it’s a 2 year warranty. I responded on the 14/11/09 – 1:56PM (2 days late, had a busy weekend) linking them to their own support article as well as with the receipt of my speakers.

16/11/09 – 2:42 AM — 10 days 6 hours since claim started

They apologised for giving me the wrong date (as I had proven them wrong) and gave me an incident number to give to my retailer to get a replacement unit.

17/11/09 – 1pm – 11 days since claim started
Emailed my retailer with all the details to replace the speakers.

Numerous Emails back and forth, nothing happened to get them replaced, this went on for over 2 months. After calling them one day, they complained I was rude in asking them to hurry up and told me to get them replaced by Logitech.

17/1/10 – 7pm – 2 months 11 days since claim started
Contacted Logitech complaining of the treatment I received from my retailer.

18/1/10 – 11am – 2 months 12 days since claim started
Received an email from my retailer letting me know the speakers were on back order and that they were onto it. No reply from Logitech, but I’m guessing they got onto the retailer and told them to get their arse into gear.

28/1/10 – 2 months 22 days since claim started
Replacement Speakers Arrived.

Only took 2 months and 22 days… That’s pretty terrible.

Of those 2 months and 22 days, Logitech took 10 days and the retailer took 2 months and 12 days to get it sorted out.

Posted by duck in Home, Reviews, Warranty

Review: Dells Warranty

So, I have a friend who bought a Dell, I told her to buy a Mac, she said she was going to buy a Mac, then someone at the last minute convinced her into getting a Dell.

No Problem, Dells aren’t *too* bad I figured (despite having 3 friends with other random issues with their Dell laptops).

The problem is, her Escape key broke. Not only did the key break off, but it broke IN HALF. Even with 30 kids in a computer lab for upto 5 hours a day banging away at keyboards, I have never seen a key actually break in half.  Thing is, she didn’t really put any stress on the key anyway, so it appears that either Dell is making their keyboards out of crap, or it’s a fluke that it broke.

She lodged a call with Dell to get it replaced. My first thoughts were that they would either send her a new key to click on, or tell her to take it to an authorised repairer where they will conduct the repair. This wasn’t the case however. She indicated to the person arranging the warranty that she was an intermediate computer user.

Time Line:
12th – Submitted support request via Email
15th – Reply from Dell asking for a photo of the Key – Reply with photo sent off on this day
16th – Email back from Dell saying they will replace the part
17th – Replacement Part Sent
18th – Replacement Part arrived
19th – Taken to me to install for her

Total time: 6 days.   Not too bad really.

keyboardThey sent her a replacement keyboard and an addressed package to mail the return part back in. No instructions on how to install the keyboard either. With no clue on how to install the keyboard, she brought it to me.  I had a quick poke at it to see if it was one of the easy types of keyboard to get it (the pull it back a bit and it just pops out type). But no, it was screwed in somewhere.  I turned to the service manual. (took me a few minutes to find that too…)

Following the instructions I was able to work most of it out, however there was one unclear step:

Disconnect the keyboard cable from the keyboard connector on the system board by rotating the keyboard connector latch towards the front of the computer.

insideAfter scratching my head and looking at the unclear diagram I worked out that the step was wrong. You have to flick the latch to the BACK of the computer (white bit is lifted upwards and swings back).   There’s no way that that is an “Intermediate Computer User” repair job.

Thankfully everything worked fine.


In Summary – How good is Dell Warranty?
Speed: 8/10
Quality of Service: 3/10
Overall: 5/10

Posted by duck in IT Issues, Reviews