Whats wrong with the Electronics field where is the repair shops and trade?

Discussion in 'Technical Repair' started by JohnVladEasternTiger, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. JohnVladEasternTiger

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 27, 2010
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    Hi gang, I love electronics and working and learning with breadboards and making circuits, working with components and using various testers.

    I am a newbie in this hobby and Im wondering where are the television and electronic service and repair shops we used to have in the country? Im speaking for the UK but im sure its the same in the USA Canada and Australia etc.. I remember about 10 years ago I went in to a great service center and they were 3 guys working on monitors and had a full supply of televisions computers and other electronic devices to repair, they were highly skilled in their trade, so where is it all and how do you put your electronic hobby and skill you have to use in a trade where you can make money from it?
     
  2. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    mass manufacturing has rendered those shops obsolete. The 'computer repair guy' came after, but they have all but dried up. On a hobby level it's all about personal satisfaction.

    'Make money at it' is something all together different, now your talking professional. Industry still has a ton of old stuff, and all the new stuff. Instrumentation or any of the maintenance trades will put you on the right block
     
  3. JohnVladEasternTiger

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 27, 2010
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  4. retched

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    Dec 5, 2009
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    Most repair shops are just shipping points now. They return the product for a new one. As for actual repairs, the big chains have some, but they are usually huge warehouses.

    IE, Ritz camera has a camera repair service. It is a huge warehouse with 300 employees fixing cameras. There is no public access.

    Its a shame, It was great fun, 25 years ago, watching artists at work. I remember wondering how in the world they knew what to do. I thought it was a born talent. I didn't know there was enough time in the world to learn all that was needed to understand IC's and the such.

    Now there is Radio Shack. And now I would have to forget everything I know (except how to sell cellphones) to work there.
     
  5. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    Did you guys see yesterdays 3/10/10 comics in the paper? The BLONDIE strip was talking about this:D
     
  6. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Theres really no use for them anymore. You can buy a new tv now cheaper then you can repair them. A friend has an electronics recycling business with tons of HDTV's. He says each one has the exact same thing wrong with them and its a board in it that heats up and fries it out. Problem is the new board is like $129 and you can buy the TV on CL for $130. Then add to the fact that electronics are getting more and more complex, and the normal mr fix it of the neighboor hood is way out of his league now when he opens up a flat panel TV.
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Actually I have several TV repair shops (and general electronics) in a 5 mile radius. It has a lot to do with population density I suspect.
     
  8. Duane P Wetick

    Active Member

    Apr 23, 2009
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    Look back at the history of Heathkits to understand what has happened to electronics and communications in the world today. This trend will only accelerate with 3DTV the next big thing to come. More to follow, stay tuned...
    On another note, one of my friends is a software guru, who has worked all his career on software development. Everyone he has worked for has gone belly-up or the software license has been sold or it has been rendered obsolete; (usually the last). This trend is also accelerating today.

    Cheers, DPW [ Everything has limitations...and I hate limitations.]
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  9. retched

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    Dec 5, 2009
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    I think I would rather change the channel.
     
  10. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    Alot of times in industry, it's not about saving money on repair, it's reducing down time, hence a proficient troubleshooter is in demand. At some point, board level repair may be deemed inefficient, but your understanding of the failure will empower you to make good choices.
     
  11. rjenkins

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 6, 2005
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    The industrial side is partly about down time, like doing a repair on the spot rather than sending something away for repair or waiting to get a replacement.

    The other side is that large machines tend to be in service for decades, often long after the makers of the electronics (or even the machine) have gone out of business.

    We (my company) maintain a lot of machines built in the 1940s - 1970s. In some cases the makers don't exists, in others they want stupid amounts of money for replacement parts, like circuit boards.
    [Yes, 1940s electronics - some started out with valve (tube) amplifiers controlling amplidynes to run the servo motors. They have been replaced with thyristors drives now.]

    From experience, you know some gear is unreliable when it gets old and is best replaced, other things can be repaired at the component level just about forever.
     
  12. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Where I grew up, there were three appliance/electronics stores and across the street or on the same block of each was a repair shop. All three of the repair shops had men in their 60's working in them, usually alone. Joe's TV Service was next to a Lucky's Superette that my mom frequented for mid-week grocery shopping. While she was shopping, I would go watch Joe, and bug the hell out of him with my questions. After four or five visits, I told him I wanted to work there when I grew up. He said he can't even get his own kid to step foot in the place. His kid thought of it like a Sanford and Son junk dealership where only the poor went because they couldn't afford a new TV.

    I don't know if that was a general consensus with repairmens' children or the 'cool' youth in the early 1980's, but I never saw someone 'dark-haired' working in any of them.

    When Joe died, the shop was sold. It became a liquor store. So I started drinking instead. ;)
     
  13. theoldwizard

    Member

    Jul 17, 2005
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    Digital television is another big blow to the old TV repair shop. Old NTSC sets are typically not worth repairing, especially since there are no "Over The Air" signals and all cable companies must "broadcast" any OTA channels in digital (typically HD) at no additional charge !

    I had a nice 27" Sony die on me awhile ago. I found a shop that "only" charged $75 for bench testing/diagnosis (other were $50-75 higher). Blown/shorted flyback transformer was going to cost over $250 to replace. Another friend had a 32" Sony Bravia, about 10 years old. when it quit he found out that the parts are no longer available.

    Sure the HD replacement cost me a lot more than fixing that set, but man, does it have a beautiful picture !
     
  14. Mike33

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 4, 2005
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    Another 'problem' (at least for folks like us) is "SMD technology". Surface-mount devices. A bit beyond most Mr. Fixit's skills to troubleshoot, remove and replace these microscopic pieces of #$*&!! 1 tiny problem can render a very complex, expensive piece of equipment totally worthless, and a new board is the only solution.
    Too bad.
     
  15. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
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    oh, man...
    When I was in school, a part time job I had was as a house call tv repair man.
    I would travel the streets of Milwaukee with a tube caddy, a fist full of transistors, a few capacitors and resistors, a couple generic transformers, a tool pouch, a soldering gun, and an Eico VTVM. There was virtually nothing that could not be repaired on the spot. Rarely did anything require being sent back to the shop or parts having to be ordered.

    Now....


    planned obsolescence has left it's mark.
     
  16. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Planned Obsolescence

    You have GOT to love marketing.
     
  17. Mike33

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 4, 2005
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    VoodooMojo, you're making me jealous!!
    Once in a while I'm the 'guy on call' for dead amps and whatnot, but more and more often I am having to turn away, shake my head and say "Can't fix that, boys" when I get into a microelectronic mixing board, say...
     
  18. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

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    It sure isn't the good ole days. I remember being able to open up a mixer, follow traces, yank parts, test, replace, and problem solved. We had a 24 channel Trident that we rebuilt channel by channel. And it was good. Now-a-days that is not gonna happen. It takes longer for a human (being paid a humans wage) to show up, open a board, find the problem, order parts, and repair then it does for the pick and place machine to build a whole new board and to ship it. If its under warranty, your getting a replacement, if it's not, your getting screwed.
     
  19. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
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    It is kind of funny that I ran into a situation yesterday that had to do with "disappearing" repair shops:

    I have a couple of pallets full of some used 3/4 HP Single Phase AC motors... they have different things wrong with them ranging from output shaft bearings to the start capacitor... anyway, there is this electric motors shop down the street from my shop so I went down there to see if they wanted these motors to refurbish and sell as used (since their sign said used and new electric motors...)... The shop owner went on an on about how he doesn't do anything with repairs anymore since parts are so expensive and most people would just buy new instead of having something fixed... it was kind of sad to learn his father has been running this shop since the late 40's and it has just gone downhill from there, he said that companies like Grainger started contacting his customers directly and completely cut them out of the loop...then he started going on and on about the same thing has happened to small appliance repair shops.... cheaper to buy new, than have old one fixed........ I guess you can say we have finally reached the age of disposable electronics and appliances.... pretty sad really...... Just like now I have a microwave that has a turntable motor gone bad in it.... to buy the new motor to replace it $85.00, to buy new Microwave $120.00, so guess what, we are picking up a new one..... (but now I have more parts for my parts pile! :) )

    B. Morse
     
  20. VoodooMojo

    Active Member

    Nov 28, 2009
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    Back in the day I used to bang away on the Vox Jaguar. It was a piece of cake to work on. Individual oscillator circuit boards for each note and octave shift circuits that actually had discrete components that could be accessed by a soldering iron.
    I did a lot of repairs on mixers and amps, keyboards and light shows (if thats what you want to call them for as lame as the technology was back then. Basically just multi-channeled sound organs).
    Keyboard wasn't my primary instrument back then (sax) so after the fad (Doors' music and Inna-gadda-da-vida, baby!) passed I abondoned them and returned to the sax.
    Years passed.
    Playing the sax for personal enjoyment tends to piss off people in the same room that might want to see/hear something else as I always play RDLoud.
    So (sometime in the eighties) I decided to get another keyboard. I could use headphones and the annoyance factor would be gone.
    I bought a Korg M1.
    After the normal day or two of enjoyment, it was time to "tweak the oscillators" for my own "special" sound. I knew I could change the parameters of the voicing a bit with the on-board display but still wanted more.
    I opened the cover and holy crap!
    That was when I learned it was time to get to know "the new stuff".
    "Tweaking the oscillators" is done with a PC instead of coils, capacitors, and resistors. "Don't you know anything, old man?"
    I remember also the first time I opened the cover on an Alesis mixer. Monolithic this, you .....!
    I was used to working on mixers that had actual components that could be replaced easily....nope, throw-away....
    Now I, like you, must disappoint people that were hoping to get gear repaired.
    Financially unrewarding.

    I will say this though.
    Lugging the old gear up and down the stairs will give one an appreciation for lighter weight equipment.
    Now if only they could make speakers and the power transformers in the amplifiers lighter!

    Building specialty things for people is where I find enjoyment now.
    Repairing and rebuilding vintage test equipment and electronic gear is still a rewarding passtime.
    Work keeps me humping with digital logic and interfacing, PLCs and PIDs, but that falls short of the fun stuff.
     
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