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Throwaway Parts

people have to open up things to see how they work. I had an old Telefunken tv in for repairs many years ago which had a 40W light bulb in it which was used to drive out moisture and prevent the light touch channel selector panel from dancing around when first switched on – yep, if they had cleaned the panel it would have been OK too but 1 000 kudos to this guy – he didn’t get the solution on Google. He used a bit of initiative. The next time I made a house call the complaint was that the tv has stopped working. Ummm, this time someone has told him he could economise on electricity by driving the light bulb by wrapping a couple of turns on the LOP-T.  (I believe the reasoning here was that the tv would power the bulb Cool).  Good one there…

The older television receivers were always a bastard to repair – the chances of a secondary failure within a month or two was always high (hey, these sets were up to 18 years of age) and the downtime to fix it – mainly owned by pensioners who could not see the merit of replacing a set when they were going to die soon anyway Surprised used to confuse me – used to be more of a menace than good practice. Yes, I used to give a guarantee of 90 days on the workmanship but an 80 year old to buy a new set? No ways!

Modern computers are a different story, or is it?  Hardware related issues are sorted out within 20 minutes – slap a new memory module in and off you go. And you make 100U$ on the repair because the registry is corrupt. What a way to earn money – watch XP load itself while you earn a dollar an hour sucking on coffee.  Hang on, is it that easy? Of course not. Recently I had my dad’s PC in for a repair. Nothing much wrong with it – could not boot. As luck would have it I work for a company which sells hardware – had one of the guys check the board out (an old 478) and alas it had failed. Anyhow, the decision was that I would not put another 478 unit in to save some money – got another 478 board from kin and set to work. The board was an old Intel la Crosse which was way too big to fit into the old man’s chassis – what to do, what to do? Exchanged the board from a system I had and in the process burnt out two flash drives. Yep, the header of my chassis was not matched to the Intel board which I had claimed. (for ethical reasons no manufacturer names shall be mentioned). The system for my dad had other issues a) the hard drive would not load XP – he used to have 98SE but could not get into device manager except under safe mode and would freeze normally, even with most of the drivers disabled – something strange going on here? b) XP essentially told me there was something wrong with the drive. You guys have all seen this so I won’t elaborate.  Luckily I had another drive which was given me with the faulty system – blow me down same problem. Both drives with MBR problem. It was at this stage I heard that my young nephew – a computer genius in the making had been doing some fine tuning on this system.  So with a power supply which had to fixed, no biggie – only the fan, MBR issues, reload of software – problems with my own PC because of the header problem and subsequent XP activation (how can I activate XP without a LAN driver – thanks to Toshiba notebook I sorted that one out) blah blah blah I had my dad’s system running in about 6 hours.

The process above is no biggie – suck on a couple of beers, try different permutations and eventually you’ll get it right – but the problem here is the time taken to administer the repair. 6 Hours – that’s quite a bit of money if you had to equate in business terms.  Where I work we distribute a new PC with XP home on it for about 450U$ – with a monitor. The lesson to be learnt here is that fixing old computers and fixing old television receivers leads to the same conclusion:

Buy – don’t fix. (salesmen/women love thisMoney mouth)

A new entry level OEM system can carry a price tag of around 450U$ (actually lets talk local currency of about R3K) and it carries a carry in warranty of between 12months to 3 years – why worry to fix?

A 51cm entry level television receiver costs 200U$ – why bother to fix? 

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