Getting DIY Repair help - READ THIS BEFORE POSTING - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 2 Old 02-06-08, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Getting DIY Repair help - READ THIS BEFORE POSTING


This is a common refrain on sites where people ask for help. If you want the best assistance possible, post as much detail about your product, the related system and application, the symptoms, and the CONDITIONS under which the symptoms occur. Any LED indications, effects on menus or controls, different symptoms under various operating conditions, resolutions, or inputs can all be very important to identifying what is going on. Don't be offended if you get asked what appear to be simple or obvious questions. One of the first things that a good service tech learns is to never assume anything and that even very smart people (like us) can miss the obvious.

I have found that many people do not have a good understanding of what is involved in troubleshooting and repairing problems with electronics. Most of the regular DIYers seem to, but the novice who comes to a forum like this often seems to think that repair is simply a matter of giving a symptom and some generous tech telling them the secret part to replace to fix the set. The truth of the matter is that many repairs are much more complex than this. Many people are not good candidates for completing a DIY repair safely and effectively. If you are not very confident in your abilities, don't make assumptions. Find a professional to repair your set.

I have received some private messages and emails lately that indicate that some people think that they have some right to expect me or some other tech to hold their hand and lead them through the steps to repairing their product. Not only is this inconsiderate and, IMO, lazy, it is simply impractical and unreasonable.

There are some types of repairs that are what I consider, as an experienced technician, to be trivial symptom repair situations. In these cases, a novice may be able to fix a problem as described above. Beyond those common and easy repairs, however, experienced troubleshooting is often required. In these cases, there is often a lot of information that an experienced tech acquires by examining the set that a novice might not. There is also a great deal of value in the experience that directs where to look for a problem. It is usually nearly impossible to talk someone through the process of troubleshooting via the internet if that person does not have that experience.

The bottom line is this. Don't expect a tech to talk you through the troubleshooting and repair of a problem that is not a simple symptom-repair situation. It would likely take far more time than doing it himself, which he gets paid to do. I provide lots of advice for many problems and some repairs online. I am criticized severely by many techs for doing so, but am happy to be able to help with basic problems. I cannot afford the time to sit down with a service manual and figure out problems for people online who lack the skills to do so for themselves. If a fix is obvious and all of the info is commonly available on the internet, I will be happy to provide or discuss it to assure that you get correct information. Just don't expect skilled troubleshooting online for free. There are lots of resources online that I am happy to point people to and lots of other people who might have a simple solution to a problem that I may not have handy. Do the homework and research, you might find the solution. If you don't, then you have to decide whether you are going to scrap the product or hire a professional.

Please read ALL of the stickies that have anything to do with your situation. You are likely to find many answers to your questions before you post. You may also discover that repairs are not something that you want to bother with yourself and there are good suggestions for finding the best servicers to solve your problem.

Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
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post #2 of 2 Old 11-29-08, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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re: Getting DIY Repair help - READ THIS BEFORE POSTING

Beware of well intentioned web sites that have mistakes and not-so-good advice.

Here are a couple of examples of guys who are trying to be helpful, but lead people to make mistakes that many techs learn early to avoid.

Both either recommend of link to Electronix for the ICs, and one praises them. Be aware that buying cheap parts that are not from a vendor that verifies the source quality can be a large waste of time. Electronix is NOT of the vendors that I recommend for ICs.

It is usually not necessary to remove the anode lead to complete most repairs. This gets lots of folks into trouble. The Pioneer connections are very robust and easy to deal with, but other brands are not so DIY friendly.

Again, these guys are just trying to be helpful, and there is some good info there. Just be aware that there are lots of possible problems and you need to have the whole story.

If you see popular threads on the web that may unintentionally (or otherwise) create a misunderstanding of important concepts or information, please PM or email me. I may included these on a watch list and privately inform the owner that they may be leading people astray. Several well known forums and sites have incorporated my suggestions. I may also list some as examples here or start a cautionary thread.

Things are sometimes not as routine and easy as some would lead you to believe. There are good reasons that repair shops exist. The experienced tech will observe and check things that a DIYer would never think about or know about. Sometimes, things can be easy, but you have to be prepared for the worst. Don't assume that every problem is the same and that every set is going to need the same service or procedures.

I also strongly suggest staying away from sites that claim to offer fixes for a few dollars. I know techs who have participated in these to find out what they are all about and the research has shown that the vast majority of information is either readily available for free elsewhere or simply bad advice. Or both.

Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
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