Parenting Hacks

parenting-hacksParents have a lot of gear. Some of it is necessary to the survival of baby. Food, water, shelter, clothes, bottles, formula, safe place to sleep, etc. Some of the gear is helpful but not required. For us, that would be the Fisher Price My Little Snugabug Cradle ‘n Swing.

This swing retails anywhere from $130 to $165. And that’s important because the whole thing can fall apart thanks to a tiny motor that costs way, way less. So a couple of weeks ago when we put Gibson into his swing, we turned on the soothing music and then turned the swing option up to four before giving the whole swing a little push to get it started. After a few moments, the swing stopped moving. We turned the speed option up to six and pushed again. Eventually the swing slowed to a halt once more.

We thought, “That’s it. Gibs has hit the weight limit for the swing. It can no longer swing the boy.” But then we tried the swing on speed option six while it was empty, and it slowed to a stop as well. Though Gibs is a chunky monkey, he’s not quite that chunky.  For the record, the swing’s weight limit is 25 pounds.

Mom to the rescue! I began researching online how to repair the expensive swing. Apparently the motor goes out on these things ALL THE TIME. And though you could get the maker involved in fixing the swing, by the time you went round and round with them, you’d be paying at least half the cost of the swing in repairs. To be fair to Fisher Price, I never contacted them and do not know for sure what the cost of a repair kit would be through them. I’m only going by the hearsay of other parents on the internet.

While I was researching I found this very informative video. In about nine minutes, this father shows how to disassemble the plastic casing, reach and then replace the motor. But here’s the clincher. Instead of buying another motor online or at a hobby store, you can simply steal the motor out of a Airwick Freshmatic Ultra Spray Dispenser! The motors are almost identical and the price is hard to argue with. We bought the dispenser at Target for about $8.

Unfortunately, you need at least a beginner’s knowledge of diodes, capacitors, basic electronics, oh and access to a soldering iron PLUS, you know, the ability to solder. Guess what I have? NONE OF THOSE THINGS!

Thankfully, I have friends with those abilities. And with very little persuasion, I was able to talk my co-worker into helping me replace the motor during his lunch break. Thank you, Ray!

I know this looks like another shady tutorial on the internet that may or may not work for you. But as a slightly-less-shady mom blogger, I can say that it worked for us. However, I will tell you that the swing is slightly louder now. It always made a click when the swing changed direction, but now that click is just a little louder. Not annoying to us though. And the benefits of the swing outweigh the noise any day. Plus you’ve probably listened to the cheesy midi lullaby music programmed into the swing a thousand times by now. Compared to that, the click of the swing is nothing.

Ultimately, I found the whole project as exhilarating as when I used to take apart my Easy Bake Oven (and later my Creepy Crawlers Oven) when I was a kid. And this time there was smoke and melting metal! If you have some basic electronics knowledge and access to a soldering iron, I’d give it a try. Failing that, I’d get in touch with a really cool friend who maintains a workshop. Now when nothing works to soothe our baby, I have an ace up my sleeve again. HACK THE GIBSON!

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3 thoughts on “Parenting Hacks

  1. Pingback: That’s What I See… | Hungry For Motherhood

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