A small victory in Japan

One of the things we brought to Japan from the US that we’ve really enjoyed is a small hydroponic garden


But recently the LEDs that provide light for the garden stopped working. What to do?

A call to the manufacturer was no help. “Out of warranty, your tough luck” was pretty much their reply. Of course we could always buy a new one and have it shipped from the US. Meh.

Next stop was a search on YouTube to see if anyone else had this problem. Sure enough, we found someone who had the same garden, and the same problem. Seems they determined that 3 capacitors on the circuit board had blown. And they provided some handy instructions on how to fix the problem.

After a quick disassembly we found the circuit board. Should be an easy thing to take the board to Akibahara – Tokyo’s electric town – and get a repair.

Well, sort of easy. Finding the right shop amid the hundreds of electronics places turned out to be challenging, especially with our limited Japanese language skills. “Kondensa okikaeru” got us some blank stares, but eventually we found someone who knew what capacitors we needed. Unfortunately, “can you install” — anata wa insutoru dekimasu ka –didn’t lead to any results.

So, capacitors in hand, we returned home and proceeded to un-solder the old capacitors and install the new ones. Not being terribly proficient with a soldering iron, this had its challenges.

But a few solder connections later, we were ready to try out our newly repaired – we hoped – LED panel. Plug in the cord … step back to arm’s length, just in case something blows up.. and YES!… the panel lighted up just as it’s supposed to!

So we’ll keep an eye on our light panel for a few days, just to be sure everything is working right. But for now at least, a small victory in our life in Japan.


Published by


My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s