[general advice]If the manufacturer is still around, go to their Web site and find the closest factory authorized service center. You won’t get warranty repairs (duh), but you’re likely to get a vendor who does a bit more than pull and replace. I found this out the cheap way–a relatively new Onkyo receiver died, I got it repaired under warranty, then sent another, older unit in for repairs. Not prohibitively expensive.
I did a little electronic repair just before Thanksgiving, and I’m feelin’ pretty good about it.
The specifics: a 1997 Ford Explorer. The right headlight and fog lamps aren’t working. Test the bulbs, all fine. Test the fuses, in the passenger compartment and in the power distribution box. All fine. So, I do some more digging and reading, and discover that the power for the headlight is routed through a “light out module” that’s located under the center console computer.
So I pull out the console computer and remove the module, only two screws and connected to the main computer by a cable. The left light goes through pins 1 and 11, so I test those and find continuity. The right light and fog lamps are on pins 12 and 13, so I test those, and discover no continuity at the pins, but continuity on the bottom. So, there’s a solder joint busted on one of those pins, even though they appear fine. I heat up the joints and try to ease a tiny bit of fresh solder in there. Let it cool, test pins 12 and 13 again, and we have continuity! Put it all together again, and the lights are working fine. It was just a tiny thing, but that repair saved me about $60 for a new LOM and who knows how much in labor. And since the vehicle isn’t one I want to put any more money into anyway, it was money well saved.
I had my TV repaired in 2001 (it stopped working on Sep. 8, the repairman took it away on Sep. 10 and brought it back on Sep. 12, so I had no TV on Sep. 11) and it worked for another 9 years. I had my stereo repaired about three years ago and it is working fine. The guy (who works out of his basement) told me that most things that go bust do so because they manufacturers use the cheapest capacitors and they blow out. That’s interesting because when I was doing electronics, capacitors (we called them condensers) lasted forever and we replaced vacuum tubes incessantly. That was about 55 years ago.
I’m sorry sir, but the use of a Multi-tester is against TSA policy. You’re going to have to surrender the offending equipment and register as a terrorist.
ETA: I repaired our DLP TV a year or so ago. The bearing for the colorwheel started to make noise. What’s funny is: If you know anything about computers, the Color Wheel sub-assembly is nothing more than a hard disk motor with a tinted glass platter.
There are a couple of places around me thyat will do it. It’s certainly cost-effective to repair a huge screen TV rather than replace it. Unfortunately, for a lot of smaller devices, it’s often cheaper and quicker to simply replace it. If my iPod breaks, any repair will almost certainly exceed the cost of a new unit.
polarized capacitors have a shorter lifetime than nonpolarized ones. electrolytic capacitors will have lifetimes depending on their quality, size (both electrically and physically) and use in the circuit. they are the fastest failing nonmoving components whether in tubes, transistor or IC circuits.
Just echoing some comments above. Absolutely electronics repair is alive and well. Maybe not troubleshooting a short on a big nasty-looking PCB, but replacing caps, sourcing fried chips (if you can) and all that is stuff that a surprising amount of musicians go through to get their ca. 1970s synthesizers up and running. Not professional techs, just ordinary musicians who figured out some of tricks of the trade and don’t mind getting their hands dirty (and saving some repair bucks).
You’d be probably surprised at what info enthusiasts have on the internet to help people out, especially if your gear has something with a bit of a cult following.
If you can’t find or figure out a schematic and use a multimeter (at the very least), you might not be able to suss out what’s wrong, but +1 to finding an instrument guru. Loads of people specialize in fixing up guitar amps and such – as in, that’s the main part of their income. You’ll pay, but it might be worth it rather than learning basic electronic theory and practice with its complications, if your piece has some value to you.
Jaledin’s statements are absolutely correct. The Defender Cab I restored…well, I was prepared to go as far down the rabbit hole as necessary, but it turns out a ‘script’ that solves 95% of the problems with that Arcade Machine has already been written. I got to step 3 before the problem was solved (Step 1: Good power, Step 2, Good ground to diagnostics buttons, Step 3, swap the RAM that self-tested bad.)