My home alarm remote control had seen better days. After more than six years of abuse, the case wa finally cactus, as can be seen below. My wife's fob was in better shape but it's days were also numbered.
At work I'm quite spoilt, there is an abundance of equipment in the labs, and if I need, I can borrow something for home use. Very handy when ding something specific (like the thermocouple I used here) but it comes with a down side.
If I realise I need something, it means dropping work for a few days until I can borrow the equipment (if it's in use at work, I can't have it until it's free) and as I catch the train, it also means bringing the car in if it's too big to fit in my backpack.
When it came to powering my projects, I have a very basic dual rail Power Supply (I built one just like in in Uni, tortured it to death over the coming years by running a car amp from it in my bedroom) that I inherited from a guy-who-got-it-from-a-guy-from-a-garage-sale deal.
The updside: It's got dual isolated rails, 1.25V to 15V range and 'up to' 1A output.
The downside: It's so old the pots are scratchy, so setting an output voltage is a chore, and there isn't any current limit. And you need to whip out your multimeter to set the voltage / measure the current in use.
The other day I scored a TV to fix. It also came with a remote that needed some attention. The volume buttons didn't work nor did 'Channel Down'.
This is usually due to the conductive pads on the rubber membrane wearing out. You can buy conductive paint to rejuvenate the buttons, but that stuff isn't cheap, and probably isn't lying around when you want to fix something RIGHT NOW.