Page last updated at 17:23 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 18:23 UK

Broken gizmos: Your comments

broken smartphone screen

Phones, laptops, MP3 players... almost everybody has a tale of a favourite gadget that has met with an unfortunate end. But once damaged, do you try to repair them or consign them to the dustbin? BBC News website readers have been telling us their experiences.


I can't get rid of ANITA - A New Inspiration To Arithmetic - one of the first electronic calculators, even though one of the keys is missing. Made by the British Bell Punch Company from an era when Britain led the world in technology.
Ian Baldwin, Hingham

I don't keep broken equipment. I dismantle them, retrieve the useful bits for use elsewhere and bin the rest. There is a surprising amount of bits that can be salvaged from almost any broken gizmo!!
Ishkandar, London

I have a Nokia N95 that has a broken volume button and so the only way to turn the volume up is to plug in the headset and use that set of controls! Now that it is out of warranty I gave it to my Mum, so she still has a phone, camera and GPS device, it's just limited as an MP3 player.

Mobile phone from 1980s

I have loads of stuff that for some reason I still keep, mobile phones is always a weird one, despite being able to buy a better phone today for probably around £10, I still have my original "brick", not the 1980's style "breeze block" affair, but still chunky and heavy enough that you would never forget you were carrying it. I suppose it reminds me how much technology is progressing, even in just a few years, the phones have got smaller, lighter, cheaper, and have vastly more functions than those of only a couple of years ago. It will be something to show the future generations, to watch them stare in wonder when you try to explain that in the early days "a mobile phone was just used for telephoning other people".
Mark, Whitehaven

I hoard. I adored my Sony Erricson mobile and the screen cracked so that I could not read text, but it was such a good alarm clock I have kept it running. I have also stored my steam generator iron. When it worked it cut down the ironing time by at least a third and the results of my toil were there for all to admire. But limescale destroyed the innards of the iron. That's life.
Jacqui Peacock, Bognor Regis

I've still got quite a lot of gadgets left over from my computer building projects. The thing is they're not actually broken, they're just obsolete. If I wanted I could build a fully working PC from what I've got. I even salvaged two scrap laptops and made a working one from the bits, so there's one less on the scrap heap. As with mobile phones, I've got three, all from previous upgrades. Each time I was asked if I would like to give it away for recycling. My answer "Not bloomin' likely". I may as well give them £300 worth of 50p pieces for them to file the corners off to make 10p pieces. We're now in the digital age, what a recycling headache this has caused, especially with waste CRT TVs. The offset caused by the disposal of these old sets surely must negate the actual merits of saving the planet by going digital in the first place?
Mick, Suffolk

I still have a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48K with rubber keys that works, despite all the characters being worn off the keys, and having replaced the RF out box about eight times. I still have the thermal printer too, but I don't know if this works because it's really tough to find thermal paper that fits it.
Toby Johnson, Hastings

My MP3 player has broken buttons and is out of date. And several of the buttons on my phone don't work properly, and it has never liked sending picture messages. But I won't replace them unless they are unusable.
Alistair Berry, West London

I'm an engineer so when some gizmo breaks and it's out of guarantee then I invariably have a go at fixing it. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. I still think I learn from each attempt though. The classic was the "not to be opened, no serviceable parts" electric toothbrush that would no longer hold its charge. Fifty pounds for a new one, so I took it apart, replaced the dud NiCd rechargeable battery with a NiMh one bought for one pound and it's still working well two years later.
Paul, Oakham

I have a broken water pressure cleaner, which I don't want to get fixed now we are on a water meter. I have a petrol strimmer, which could be mended and serviced, but never seemed to go for long and was a bad starter, I have a washing machine and a few TVs waiting to go to the tip. The digital change over must have put 10,000 working TVs on the tip. I have about four old mobiles that were simply too bulky, so the progress of technology makes things obsolete before they are worn out that's where much of this consumer society are pushed into this extravagance.
Andy, Teignmouth

I have a very old laptop (LCD screen) which I have tried to get repaired. But I also have two electric kettles, three toasters, two electric steam irons and three black electric clocks. None of them work. Why do I save them? Because they're much better designed, more sturdy and better to look at than the modern streamlined white/purple over-designed plastic models. You just can't get well designed kitchen equipment these days which lasts and which is repairable. I used to be able to get such things repaired in the back streets of Manchester; but sadly no longer. I have had my CD player repaired at a Sony workshop nearby. Great!
James Gibson, Cheshire

In recent years I've fixed film and digital cameras, games consoles, laptops, tape decks radios and so on. Unfortunately I drive the wife mad, having specialist tools all over the place, and an attic full of "still to be repaired" kit! Of course absolutely none of this makes any economic sense, it just breaks my heart to see something thrown out, which is capable of being returned to as good condition as the day it was made. Does anyone know what to do with an IBM XT with 10 megabyte hard drive, monochrome monitor, a cassette interface and a mouse that cost £300? (I've still got the receipt!)
Graeme Dobie, Edinburgh

Two PCs with their huge monitors, several printers, one a dot matrix printer all taking up space in the loft. Tucked nicely next to an old VCR and my old cassette boom box. None of them work anymore. And in the kitchen, a drawer full of mobile phone chargers (but no phone to go with them).
Vic, Chatham

I have three PCs in the loft which experienced the "blue screen of death". Don't know how to fix them, so I replace them!
Steve, London

I have an old 486 computer that still works that I cannot bring myself to throw out. Its been used as a footstool at my desk for at least eight years.
Sandra, Kirkdale

I have kept all my mobile phones, from the first flip Erriccson, to the huge Nokia Communicator. Recently I saw in the Manchester Museum one of the old flip phones I first had. It's amazing how old it now looks, but quite nostalgic at the same time to look at it with other artefacts from that era. I may donate mine to a museum eventually, or show them to my grandkids. How strange they will look to them.
Dave Nelson, Blackpool

I bought an expensive Minolta 135mm camera in 1979 on which the rewind has broken, despite having had several cameras since I have still got it.
Paul, Aberdeen

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