直しました naoshimashita—fixed

Since arriving back in Ireland, we’ve mostly been getting by without a car, while awaiting the arrival of our car from Japan. However, for the past couple of weeks we’ve benefited from the generosity of my stepmother, who has been kind enough to lend us her car while on holiday in Canada.

The car had one minor problem which she asked me to look at if I had the chance: the mileometer/odometer display was faulty.

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It’s an LCD 7-segment display of the kind used in calculators, and I’ve seen calculators with the same fault. The calculation works fine, but the display is faulty.

I figured that if I could get at the connectors at the edge of the display, I could inspect them and clean them and see if there was any obvious problem, such as a short circuit due to dirt or condensation, or dry (cracked) solder joints.

First I had to remove the instrument panel from the car. This turned out to be quite easy and straightforward.

The instrument panel plastic surround is held in place by three screws (Phillips #2) along the underside of the upper shade.

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This plastic surround is connected to the plastic upper cover of the steering column, which is held in place by a clip on each side and is easily removed using a flat-bladed screwdriver.

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The plastic surround contains the electric boot release switch, so this had to be disconnected before it could be pulled free.

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Now that’s out of the way, the instrument panel itself is held in place by another four Phillips screws – 2 at the bottom and 1 each at the right and left.

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Once these screws are removed, the whole panel can be pulled out and forward, allowing access to the wiring connection at the back. It’s probably a good idea to turn off the ignition before disconnecting the instruments.

The plug is secured in place by an ingenious clamping arrangement, released by sliding the black plastic clamp to the left.

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Now the whole instrument panel can be lifted out. Good idea to put it face down on a newspaper or cloth to protect the lens from getting scratched.

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The back cover was held in place by 2 screws (Torx 10) and 4 clips around the outside. Removing the back cover exposed the printed circuit board (PCB). You can see a lot of brownish corrosion around some of the connectors, especially in the area directly behind the LCD display (top right of this picture).

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The front cover (including the lens) is only held in place by plastic clips and is easily removed, exposing the gauges.

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At this point, before removing the needles from the gauges, I took the precaution of taking a photo of the position of each one, so that I could return it to the same position. Another idea would be to mark the position with tape.

After removing the 4 needles (temp, tach, speed and fuel), and 5 more Torx screws holding the front panel in place, I was able to lift off the front panel, with the intention of accessing the faulty LCD.

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With the front panel removed, it looked like this:

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Unfortunately, at this point I was not able to make any further progress in dismantling the LCD unit itself. My intention had been to inspect and clean the connectors.

However, I was able to clean the back of the PCB by spraying it with WD40 and rubbing with cotton buds. This was effective in removing a lot of the visible corrosion around the connectors.

I also used a hairdryer on the PCB for a few minutes – partly to dry it off and also with the idea that it might help to repair any dry solder joints. Although a hairdryer probably isn’t hot enough to reflow solder, I thought even softening the solder might help somewhat.

Finally, I reassembled the whole thing and mounted it back in the car. And to my very pleasant surprise, it works!

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ソファ Sofa

So, last time we saw the sofa, it was being lowered out of our window on a rope.

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and driven away in a van, along with 15 boxes containing the rest of our possessions.

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That was almost 3 months ago, and almost 10,000 kilometres away.

Today, at long last, our sofa was delivered to the driveway of our new home in Ireland.

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The journey had taken much longer than we expected.

We received a notice that our goods had been loaded onto MOL Excelsior in Kobe. Nowadays, you can track any vessel in the world through a system called AIS, so I excitedly logged on to marinetraffic.com to follow the path of our personal effects as they made their way from Japan to Ireland. But during the next few weeks I became confused as I watched the ship shuttling back and forth between ports in East Asia. Why is it going back to Japan with all our stuff? That’s the wrong way! When is it coming to Ireland?

Unbeknownst to us, our boxes had been unloaded in Singapore, and on 2nd June they were loaded onto MSC Irene, which delivered them to Dublin on 28th June, having successfully eluded the pirates of the Straits of Malacca and the Horn of Africa.

It took a further 12 days for our personal effects to clear customs, in what must have been an impressively thorough scrutiny of a pile of used clothes and kitchenware. Part of the reason for the delay was a bottle of wine and a couple of half-empty bottles of spirits. They were in our kitchen when we were leaving, and we put them in the boxes to bring home. Had we known they would cause a problem we would have just dumped them.

I was very impressed with the bespoke cardboard container that WorldTrans had manufactured for the sofa. A lot of time and care, not to mention ingenuity, had gone into crafting it, cutting each piece of cardboard to shape.

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To be honest, I hadn’t really thought that the sofa would survive the journey intact. It’s a white leather sofa, and I expected that at the very least it would be badly scuffed, if not completely ruined. So I was pleasantly surprised to find it swaddled in masses of bubble-wrap and safe inside its protective cardboard cocoon.

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Our rental house came furnished, and it will be a bit cluttered when we add our own sofa. Especially now that the house is full of boxes waiting to be unpacked.

So for tonight, I’ve left it outside. We’re having a spell of warm, dry weather in Ireland right now, and there is something appealingly decadent about having comfy indoor furniture outdoors. If the weather remains fine over the weekend, we can sit outside in the sunshine.

We wonder if the dogs remember the sofa from our home in Japan. Perhaps the smells remind them of their life there.

So now only our car remains on the high seas – it is currently aboard the Opaline en route from Rotterdam, and due to arrive in Dublin on Sunday morning. But that is another story.

Local History – Shankill

This is an extract from “A Hundred Years of Bray and its Neighbourhood From 1770 to 1870 by An Old Inhabitant”. This little book was published in 1907. It’s an interesting read for anyone familiar with the area; not only for what it tells us about the 19th century but nowadays also for the light it sheds on the attitudes and concerns of the time it was written.

For those readers unfamiliar with the places mentioned, it must be of limited interest, for which I apologise.

About a hundred years ago [i.e. in the early 1800s] there were a good many cottage farmers on Shankill.

[Note: The place referred to here is not the present village of Shankill but “Old Shankill”, on the hillside about a mile to the west of the present village, and now deserted.]

They were a hardy race, though they seldom tasted butcher’s meat. The women were so strong that they carried incredibly heavy loads of corn down to the Bray mill to be ground, and returned with the flour, and their few purchases in Bray shops added to the weight of this. If the traveller wandering over the slopes of “Catty Gollagher” (Carrickgolligan) asks how people could have made a living out of such a poor soil, I can only say they did it.

[It’s interesting that these small-holding tenants were growing wheat, rather than potatoes. It may explain why the people of this part of the country were relatively unaffected by the Famine. The mill was near Bray bridge, in what is now the Maltings development of townhouses, about 2 miles from Shankill.]

Although I and may others remember when Sir Charles Domvile turned them off Shankill, I have not been able to fix the exact date. One person I have consulted says 1856, another 1864 or 1866, a third 1868. My own impression is that it was early in the 1860s.

[The event described here is the Clearance of the land where tenants were evicted from their homes and land, usually to replace them with sheep. This caused great hardship and massive displacement of people throughout Ireland and Scotland in the 18th century. Sir Charles Compton Domvile had inherited the lands at Shankill and Rathmichael in 1857 with 95 tenant families. Almost all had been evicted from their holdings within 10 years. The area is still largely deserted.]

Sir Charles, at the same time, evicted a Mr Tilly, who held a large farm from him. One of Mr Tilly’s fields near the Shankill station was let out in small lots, and the people who had lived on Shankill settled down there. This was the beginning of Tillystown.

[Tillystown, to the south of where Shankill Church now stands, developed into the present village of Shankill.]