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Repairing our gadgets
Old 09-11-2015, 05:18 PM   #1
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Repairing our gadgets

Here's an interesting article (probably behind a pay wall) on repairing our gadgets and electronics versus just tossing them and buying a new one.

We Need the Right to Repair Our Gadgets - WSJ

The author's friend had a TV break and an estimated $200+ repair bill. A similar new TV was about $380. However, he found a kit on the internet that was aimed at repairing exactly what was wrong with the TV.

Quote:
Enter Plan B: I found a ton of people talking online about this TV’s broken capacitors. There were even a few folks selling DIY repair kits. The parts cost…wait for it…$12.
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:41 PM   #2
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Just ordered a new hose and hand-piece for my Waterpic. Hose broke right at the hand-piece and I was going to toss the whole thing and buy new, but the gal said "can you repair it"? I scoffed, but there are repair parts all over the place. The Waterpic company is sending me the new parts for $12.94 shipped, less than 1/4 what a new Waterpic would cost. Also less than the $16 Amazon wanted for the same part with "free" Prime shipping. I can manage to turn out and in the two screws required for the repair.

Thanks to my reading here I was able to tell a friend about motor capacitor replacement for his home air handler - he was by the other day and happy about the major bucks that simple replace and repair had cost.

Then there is T-Al, who shames us all. Remember his cordless toothbrush battery substitution? May be mistaken, but didn't it involve #16 copper wire and a Honda CRV battery?
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Old 09-11-2015, 05:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
Here's an interesting article (probably behind a pay wall) on repairing our gadgets and electronics versus just tossing them and buying a new one.

We Need the Right to Repair Our Gadgets - WSJ

The author's friend had a TV break and an estimated $200+ repair bill. A similar new TV was about $380. However, he found a kit on the internet that was aimed at repairing exactly what was wrong with the TV.
Those pesky capacitors are always the first thing I check. Or just get a new wall wart sometimes.

Great if you can replace them yourself, but probably not much cheaper if someone has to come and do it for you. I also replaced all the caps in my MIL's TV and that didn't fix the problem, so all for naught. Though only out $16 or so plus my time.
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Old 09-11-2015, 06:06 PM   #4
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Pretty good article, but I think he misses the point on a few things.

For many, many issues, doing field repairs just isn't practical. If the problem is a high-density IC, replacing that takes very specialized, very expensive equipment, and very specially trained operators. Those parts are soldered en-mass on the production line, and removing and replacing just one of them is not simple.

So you can't really expect manufacturers to have repair shops set up, just to handle the repairs that are do-able. Couple that with people actually do want the newer wiz-bang features, and repairs are less practical. Your repair is competing against the new product. And with all that specialized equipment and training, expect an analysis/repair to cost $100/hour.

And I just can't see the manufacturers providing repair guides for the average Joe. Those cost money to create and keep up to date, and support the inevitable questions. And product cycles are very short these days, so they'd need to constantly be doing this.

But things certainly could be better than they are. More modular designs so that a bad module can be swapped out, etc. Before I bought the last round of Apple MacBook Pros for the family, I verified that t was pretty easy to get to the hard drive and memory and fan - things you might be likely to replace or upgrade if you keep your computers a while. But the more recent ones look pretty bad in this regard - soldered on memory chips, no swap/expand, etc.

Sure, the average person will just buy new, but I will keep trying to find laptops with easy to replace modules (and load Linux on them).

An example: I bought Sonicare toothbrushes. The instruction say that when the battery no longer holds a charge, wrap it in a towel, and (I am not making this up!) hit it with a hammer to crack open the case. Then disconnect the battery, and recycle it.

That sounds pretty bad. But OTOH, if the battery has an expected 10 year life, and the motor/actuator/thingee has a similar life expectancy, maybe it's not so crazy?

-ERD50
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