Ebay Tinkerings – part 1

Regular readers and followers of my blog will likely realise I tend to have a little ebay rant every once in a while.

This past month I’ve been a particularly avid shopper on the popular ‘auction’ website, although I tend not to bid (even when sellers label their ‘Buy It Now’ items as such). I’m now going to list here what’s been going on since things have escalated somewhat, and I need to keep track of my purchases and why.

It all began with an iMac I was working on for a client. I ended up searching for replacement parts, and a complete replacement computer to swap parts with… and when that ended up not being the correct version, I found another! In the end I found the part I needed (with the help of the friendly ebay seller who sold me the first iMac), and now have two working and upgraded iMacs to sell (I replaced their hard drives with SSDs), along with a spare inverter board and a faulty graphics chip complete with heatsink assembly and wifi module. That was a fun job disassembling and reassembling the iMac.

Another project I delved into was ‘recapping’ a motherboard. I’d never done this before; basically it entails replacing capacitors that show signs of failing. I’d gained the confidence to give it a try after seeing it done on Youtube numerous times on tech videos. I ordered replacement ones and got to work.

In the process I noticed the board had other damage; someone had broken the USB sockets on the front of the computer and, due to the short, this had burnt out a related component. It was so burnt out I want sure what it was, but after comparing with other motherboards I have now ordered what I hope will be the correct part.

The hunting down of iMac parts lead me on a search for other projects. One of these was a Sony eReader. I already have one of these that I replaced the battery in last year. The one now for sale on ebay was listed as not holding charge, so I guessed it needed a new battery too. I actually have a spare battery for mine due to a problem with that order, but it seems (from searching for batteries) this other one takes a slightly larger battery (perhaps the smaller would work and would simply mean slightly less capacity compared to the original).

When the eReader arrived the battery was indeed flat, but I was able to charge it successfully. It didn’t have any leads or charger of its own, but I had that covered. Once fully charged I was pleasantly surprised that it worked well, however some proper reading from it will reveal how well it holds charge, it also has a nice purple case. [After a week of not really using it, the level has already dropped so I think it is clear it would benefit from a new battery]. I intend to write another post about these Sony eReaders as I have a little more to say.

As if one tablet device wasn’t enough I found a good deal on an ‘iPad’. A brief bit of research from the model number that I could make out from one of the pictures revealed that it was actually an iPad 2 and it seemed to be in nice condition. Could I resell it for a profit? I have bought a new case for it, cleaned the USB lead that was a bit grubby, and checked it over. It’s a shame that even though it’s in such nice condition it’s pretty much obsolete in my books; it’s not compatible with my Fitbit’s app for example, otherwise I might consider using it myself and selling my current tablet that’s worth more money.

Not all ebay purchases this past month have been plain sailing. I have bought a few SSD drives, such as to upgrade the iMacs with, but one of them arrived faulty. The seller quickly sent out a replacement though. I also bought a compatible keyboard for use with the iMacs but the first one ended up being with Windows keys instead of the Apple-specific ones, and the second one from another seller, after confirming with them that it was what I wanted, never arrived and ebay had to refund me. In all it took a good few weeks for me to get what I wanted.

I bought another tablet device, an Asus Transformer Pad that was listed as faulty that I thought I might be able to persuade into life, but as yet I’ve had no success. The seller had listed a few of them as faulty, so I can’t quibble, but upon removing the cover it was evident that someone else had previously done the same, perhaps with similar ideas to my own. I had to buy a USB lead specific to these tablets in order to try and charge the device, and I have since ordered a specific charger that I have read can sometimes overcome the charging issue as it carries more voltage.

One has to be careful when buying items that are listed as faulty, spares or repairs, for parts only, or in particular “untested”. The latter usually means it’s known to be faulty. You can often determine this by looking at what other things the seller sells.

Another issue I find is with some sellers stating that they don’t accept returns when they’re stating the thing works. I can understand that they don’t want to provide a warranty for a used item they don’t know the history of, but attempting to wiggle out of any come-backs seems to be contrary to ebay’s terms; if someone sells something as working, but it turns out to be not, I think they are obliged to either accept a return or provide a refund – I’m pretty sure ebay would agree.

As a seemingly random purchase compared to the above so far, I ended up buying a book. Since I needed an additional USB lead for the eReader eBook reader (so that I can sell one with its lead) I ordered the necessary lead from a seller who was selling one cheap that was used but otherwise fully working. As I often do, I looked at what else the seller was selling in case they had anything else that took my fancy. They only had odds and ends, but I noticed this book ’30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary by Norman Lewis and Wilfred J Funk’. It was also going cheap so I thought, “Sure, I’ll give that a read.” and purchased both items together. It seemed to be more efficient, carbon-footprint-wise for the postman to be delivering one parcel instead of two.

Back to searching for more computer-related computer things I found a couple of motherboards going cheap… but I’ll save this for another post. Ebay have repeatedly presented me with this error when trying to view my purchases:

“Sorry, we couldn’t compete your request.”

Perhaps I have too many ebay tabs open in my browser (I’m clearly a hoarder by nature)… usually refreshing the page solves it but it has been getting more prevalent.


  1. You gonna stock up on solar panels and chargers for when the CME takes down the grid? You’ll have the only operational computers in the country. Make sure you download and save a copy of the Wikipedia. Might be a few terrabytes but well worth the notoriety when the apocalypse arrives.

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