Google Analytics

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Old Wires

You do odd jobs, you accumulate all sorts of bits and pieces, and you them keep because they might come in useful one day. You buy things and they wear out but you keep the bits and pieces that go with them because they might also come in useful one day. And, fifty years later, you have boxes full of all those bits and pieces, some of which may have come in useful but most of which didn’t. 

Here is part of my lifetime’s collection of wires and plugs. Funny what memories they bring back! 

I found the plug, socket and cable used to make an extension lead for the fluorescent light I fitted under the eaves of my loft room in the shared house in 1972, a short length of ring-main cabling from when I installed several spur wall-sockets after moving into our current house thirty years ago, and some left-over heat resistant cabling used to wire up an electric immersion heater around the same time. Then there were the transformers from old computers, printers and scanners, and their plugs, sockets and adapters. I can still identify them: RS-232, Centronics, VGA, S-Video, Ethernet, HDMI, DIN. There was even an old cordless telephone system. 

And where on earth were the following electronic components from? It might have been one of the kid’s Design Technology projects at school, involving transistors, capacitors, thermistors, a photo-resistor and light-emitting diodes. They remind me of my brother’s nineteen-sixties electronic engineer’s kit, or my nineteen-seventies home-built Heathkit stereo. 

How many of the following does one really need?

  • spare 3, 5 and 13 amp fuses
  • spare mains plugs and multi-socket adapters
  • travel adapters for various kinds of power supply
  • transformers for long-gone printers, scanners and computers
  • cables for printers, monitors and keyboards
  • USB cables
  • ADSL micro-filters for connecting broadband to telephone lines
  • SCART leads for video recorders
  • mono/stereo audio/video jack plugs, DIN plugs, HDMI leads, S-video leads
  • television aerial cables
  • lawn mower cables
  • electric kettle cables
  • time-switches
  • wall sockets, light fittings and light switches
  • wiring of various lengths and thicknesses

If I don’t sort them now, someone else will have to do it. This is some of what will be going to the electrical skip at the recycling centre.  


And the rest? Sorted into smaller boxes, labelled and back in the loft in case they come in useful one day.

44 comments:

  1. I guess this is an issue in most homes. We have many wires and plugs and sockets etc. gathered over the years, never to be used again. I could fill a laundry basket with the stuff. It is a matter I would never have thought to blog about because when the jumble of stuff is hidden away, the illusion of "out of sight out of mind" tends to kick in. Kudos to you for confronting your demon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh golly gosh! Not for one moment was I suggesting that!

      Delete
    2. I'm in part suggesting that myself. I recall you wrote a post about the mugs in your cupboards.

      Delete
    3. Not the only place you find mugs!

      Delete
  2. It's hard to throw things out that "might be useful someday," but as you note, the truth is they probably won't ever be useful and sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's cheap enough to buy new ones too, just not as convenient.

      Delete
  3. That all looks just like my "might be useful" junk box at home.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The ones you keep will never be needed. Those that you throw out, there will be one of them you need. Do your children a favour and throw them all out.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am amazed you can identify it all! I would give it away. It is never the one you need if you have it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why don't you try to sell them at a carboot sale perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm impressed you can name all these items. Also at the extent of your collection. It sounds as if the electrical skip is the right home for a lot of it. Tech has changed so much that connectors often don't any more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You may have put your finger on the reason it rarely does get used.

      Delete
  8. I had a bag of cords. I could not identify them. I finally got rid of them. It took me approximately a week to discover I'd tossed something that I needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, dear! I hope you are not suggesting I keep it all.

      Delete
    2. No. As irritated as I made myself, I came to one conclusion. If I hadn't used the appliance for all the time that the cord was tossed into the bag of cords (who knows when that was!), well, then I could probably do without the appliance as well. Out the door that went too. A cathartic experience, actually.

      Delete
  9. PS: I'm awfully glad to see you back, Tasker.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, I have had collections of cables and they all had to go and they went. I no longer keep any redundant cables. I cleared 80 years of wiring, torches, keys etc etc from my parents cupboards and drawers and I thought never is anyone going to have to do this for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There does come a point where we have to be ruthless. 80 years worth must have been quite a correction.

      Delete
    2. And we had workshops to do outside too.

      Delete
  11. Welcome back. Scrambling about in the loft must have been quite an expedition. You and Mr B must have gone to the same school of philosophy. The electrical spare parts lurking in our place drive F nuts - and we move every few years and turf stuff out. Mr B just treats that as an invitation to buy more gadgets....then the gadgets get replaced by new tech and join the dust gathering junk in the loft. When you need the bit you threw out you need to understand that it is more efficient to go and buy it, than spend 3 days scrabbling through the junk to see if you had one, then going out and buying it anyway, only to discover a week later that you had safely stored it in a divferent place. Enjoy your loft time, Mr T

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I truly have a ridiculous quantity of stuff in the loft, and so one else will thank us for it. I don't want to have to open a branch of Screwfix.

      Delete
  12. Oh my, have you been in my basement? Most of your pictures look much too familiar! How wise you are to sort through this now. I have over 40 years of accumulated things I need to sort through soon and I really dread it. I hope you are feeling much better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you start to look through everything it's a bit of a nightmare.

      Delete
  13. It you have not used in in 30 years, you probably never will.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just keep one of everything and send the rest to the recycling place.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have boxes and boxes of components and parts and spares... most of it lies unused for years. And yet every time I have a clear out I seem to need that exact same thing a few weeks later. Oh well, I don't hoard much else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm terrible. I seem to hoard everything.

      Delete
  16. After reading all the other comments, I have changed my mind. Ditch the lot.

    ReplyDelete
  17. *The Age of Wire and String* by Ben Marcus.
    Stories published 1995: Dalkey Archive Press.
    Republished, Granta. 2013.
    To be read in your attic on a rainy day with background music by Janelle Monae: *Say You'll Go* YouTube.
    Reviewed in Bookmunch online by Fran Slater.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have an incredible knowledge of books.

      Delete
    2. One should run with those slightly faster than oneself as Ursula once said : I can hear Bette Davis or Dotty Parker saying it.
      Ursula and Ben Marcus run a lot faster than me and so do you, Tasker.

      Delete
  18. You would think that the manufacturers could have made one type of connector to fit all the many things we get through in life. Funny thought just struck me, all those plugs and connectors are absolutely no good without electricity, which we seem to be rather short of now...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect manufacturers only agree when forced to. Yes, where will we be with Blogger if there are power cuts?

      Delete

I welcome comments and usually respond the same day (unless it looks like you are trying to advertise something).