Is consumer electronics repair obsolete?

timbaker0365

Joined Aug 11, 2020
32
So a little background: I'm an older guy now, mid 50's, I have a decent job right now which may or may not be long-term. I'm a pretty handy guy and worked in the construction trades for several years, some carpentry, masonry, remodeling. I've always wanted to learn more about electricity/electronics and so a few months back instead of wasting my 'spare' time on nothing important like browsing the Internet reading a bunch of useless information or unimportant around-the-house tasks like repairs & upkeep (the woman doesn't agree) I enrolled in an electronics course to learn a few things. I have a little workshop and my thinking was I might learn some electronics to give me something to tinker around with and maybe someday in the future supplement my income fixing some things for people, etc.

Anyway, for now, I was looking for something else to do (learn) once I finish the program I'm in and I was looking at a more advanced program in electronics, but, I also don't want to spend the next 2 years or so (time is much more meaningful when you get older) studying something that really doesn't have much of a future from what my perspective is. A little more on that: I'm enrolled in the Electronics Technician program at Penn Foster which is perfect for me and I'll probably learn more there than what I need to know to do what I want, and I was looking at the Electronics Engineering program at CIE - not that I want to be an EE at my age, but I thought the challenge/knowledge would be worthwhile and I'd pick up some more advanced math skills (calculus and such) along to the way so I could take some other classes I was looking at too. So anyhow, I'm interested also in learning some HVAC and am considering taking that instead of the EE. My thinking is, later in my semi-retirement years if I might do some handyman-type stuff and the HVAC knowledge would certainly be useful. On the electronics side, in my semi-retirement years, it would be ideal for me if I could find enough things to fix so I could work at home out of my workshop, and, it would give me a reason to continue with the EE knowledge which I'd really like to do, however, I don't want to make a 2 year or so mistake...

So after that 'brief' background, intuitively, realistically speaking, there really isn't going to be much of a market or opportunity to repair consumer electronics is there? With the continued miniaturization and inexpensive electronic devices, not to mention the fact they become obsolete every year, the future looks bleak for someone interested in that type of work. First, you really aren't going to be able to repair at a component level, and nobody is going to pay much to fix a $300, 3 year old TV that that they can replace with a new one for$200. Am I correct? I also thought, well, a lot of people will be throwing away TVs, etc., because of this and maybe I could fix them up and sell them for a little, but are they even going to be repairable? Thanks for your thoughts.

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,273
TV and most consumer electronics not so much. There are smaller niche markets you’ll have to find if you’re looking for this type of repair business. High end audio, pro audio, smart phones, industrial.. of course if we can expand this in that direction medical, commercial, municipal and others with cost sensitive and or time sensitive requirements. The days of fixing tube TV because they cost a multiple of a paycheck appears to be over. I’m sure there are businesses that will appear that will have to service electric vehicles and solar panels and inverters... we have to stay current.

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
16,086
With any economic activity, a consideration of viability involves capital investment and time (labor). There was a time when the cost of an item far exceeded the cost of time in such a way that there was some utility in spending time and investing in tools to repair an item. Modern manufacturing techniques have reduced the cost of many items by a factor of 10 or more. The first large flat screen TV I bought cost nearly $4000.00. The one I bought last week was$498.00. I gave away the original TV and I seriously doubt that I will ever pay to have the new one repaired.

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MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
8,711
Breaker panel work can be a bit tense if the mains are still live. But replacing a breaker panel with the mains disconnected is not tense, mostly tedious. The cheating trick is to clip to the open terminals just below the meter and run in an extension cord so that I can have plenty of light.