DIY vs Professional Repair - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 Old 11-13-07, 05:37 AM Thread Starter
Plain ole user
 
lcaillo's Avatar
Tech Guru
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 11,121
Send a message via AIM to lcaillo
DIY vs Professional Repair

There are many good reasons to attempt a DIY repair. Since the earliest days of radio and television, many hobbyiests and enthusiasts have built and repaired their own equipment. These folks have, IMO, always been important to the electronics industry and are often driving and supporting innovation. Most are early adopters of technology and establish a demand for better performing and better value equipment. In my view, there should be adequate information available for these folks, indeed anyone who choses to try it, to repair their equipment. It is with this view that I provide information to DIYers with respect to electronics repair. For those who would like to find a pro, which is the vast majority of users, a good place to start looking for a good shop is: http://www.tvrepairpros.com/

I have, however, received a great deal of criticism among repair professionals who reject this view. Many feel that as manufacturers make it harder to get parts and make service support and information harder to get, we cannot afford to allow DIYers to take our business. My response to this is that there is no way to give away the skills that make a good technician successful. Information is a big part of what we need, but it is only a tool to be applied with the skill of the experienced tech. If it can be applied without that skill, then let it be so. If our skills are not valuable in the marketplace, then we have no reason to expect to stay in business. The facts are that there have always been DIYers and information is more available than ever to them because of the internet. Most DIYers are not going to come to us for service anyway, but the majority of consumers who are going to pursue repairs will seek out professionals.

For those of you who DIY and wish to get information, I try to provide what is reasonable and ethical. What I am happy to provide is information regarding symptom-repair relationships that should be trivial to an experienced technician that I can recall without doing specific research on your problem, based upon my own experience and troubleshooting. I am also willing to relate information regarding how products work or are designed. What I will not do is try to teach people online with step by step troubleshooting, do additional research for things for which I do not have immediate memory, nor provide advice when it seems that one is beyond his/her skill level in solving a problem. I will not provide service manuals, service bulletins, nor schematics that are copyrighted or restricted in distribution by manufacturers with which I am affiliated. I will not provide tips that I have received on private technical lists or forums, nor anything other than what I have learned through my own experience or found elsewhere in the internet. If information is freely available on the internet I may point you to it, but I will not violate contracts with vendors.

The bottom line is that the advice that I give online is very time consuming and I get a lot of flak from both techs who don't like what I do and consumers who think that I should be an online tutorial for troubleshooting their product. It is simply not possible to please everyone. I post here at HTS more than anywhere else, because folks here seem to be reasonable in their expectations and appreciative of what I can do. I am really grateful to all of the kind thanks that have been posted here and the complete lack of vitriole when I tell people that they are at the limit of what they should attempt to do. For those that are not happy with me on either side, I can happily say, "go somewhere else."

When you do ask for help, please do so with as much information in your posts as possible, such as model number, detailed symptoms, all testing and checks that have been done, and any history of the problem. Please post in a public forum rather than a private message or email. I don't mind getting them, but I will only answer questions that others might find useful publicly. If you have some private matter that is appropriately handled that way, send me a PM or email and I will respond. Otherwise, keep it where others can benefit from the discussion. Again, step by step troubleshooting is not within the scope of this forum and will not be provided and I do NOT provide manuals nor service bulletins.

Always remember that there is a lot more to many repairs than just connecting the dots between the symptom and the fix. When that is all there is, then it is appropriate to DIY. When it requires skills and equipment that you don't have, find a good professional. That can be a challenge in itself these days, but there are ways to do so.
Thanks again for those who have been so gracious with their public thanks and praise.




Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
lcaillo is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 Old 04-26-10, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
Plain ole user
 
lcaillo's Avatar
Tech Guru
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 11,121
Send a message via AIM to lcaillo
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

Once again, I am getting a lot of criticism from other servicers for providing help to DIYers here and elsewhere. Let me be very clear about what I will and will not provide. I will not provide confidential tips and information from other techs, service manuals, service bulletins, nor research specific repair problems. I will provide general information on issues that seem to be misunderstood and where there is already much available online. Much of the information that I provide is not only misunderstood by the public but many professionals as well. My intent is educational and not to take repair business away from legitimate businesses that are already struggling to survive. If one is capable of completing a repair oneself, I see nothing wrong with doing so, but I cannot provide detailed troubleshooting steps nor research problems that one should have a professional deal with.

To those servicers who feel that I am somehow harming the profession, let me point out that if you read through my posts, you will find hundreds of times where I recommend that users go to a professional. Many hundreds of people who otherwise might have tried to DIY have decided to use a pro after getting a more complete and accurate view of what is involved by reading the information here. Other sites would lead people to believe that every repair is just a matter of changing a common part, with little or no troubleshooting and technical skill involved. I have been very careful to point out the many aspects of even a trivial repair that a true professional would attend to. The people that are true DIYers and have the skills to do their own repairs would never use a professional anyway. I would rather help them with accurate information and leave them appreciating our profession than with the disdain (well deserved inm any cases) that many have for servicers. I would rather make them promoters of our sevices to others who they find are not really capable of DIY repairs than to make them detractors who think we are some closed society of wizards behind the curtain scheming to take their money. Most of the users here are DIYers in terms of building and installing their systems yet don't care to try to effect repairs. We need to have good relations with them, not antagonistic relations, nor should we dismiss them. There are enough lousy service shops out their giving us a bad image. We don't need to make it worse, and by participating in forums like this we can let the public know that there are true professionals out there that provide valuable technical services that are far beyond the ability of most DIYers and most "yahoos" with a multimeter and a soldering iron calling themselves technicians.




Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
lcaillo is offline  
post #3 of 10 Old 08-01-12, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
Plain ole user
 
lcaillo's Avatar
Tech Guru
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 11,121
Send a message via AIM to lcaillo
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

Since I have not been in the service business for nearly two years, I don't get the hostility from servicers that I once did. I still participate in several discussion lists for repair professionals and have many friends in the business. It continues to disappoint me that many continue to have a very hostile view of DIYers, but that is their right. The fact is that there have always been hobbyists and DIYers and there always will be. So why do we even need electronics service shops in this era of free information on the web? What is a professional, anyway? And what does service mean?




Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
lcaillo is offline  
 
post #4 of 10 Old 08-19-12, 08:05 PM
Senior Shackster
 
The_Nephilim's Avatar
Gerald
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: 3rd Stone from the Sun
Posts: 254
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

Well While what the Pros Offer is sometimes an invaluable service. There are Guys Like me with a limited income and dont make alot of money but enough to get some cool stuff by saving..

Now I had took a Digital Electronics Class in High School at the Vocational School. Altho I did NOT do well with the Book work I was capable of building the AM radio at the end of the year.. So I did NOT persue that field any further but have retained some knowledge..

I was told it would cost about $150 + USD to get my BASH Plate Amplifier for my HSU Subwoofer fixed..and $250 to get a new one..

Now most might just buy a new one I would have had to wait 3 weeks to get the money saved. So, I decided to take a crack at repairing it myself..Which I took to a Local Music store where the guy has some knowledge on things Electronic.
Now he was going to charge $150 + to fix it as well. So I just asked him where I should focus my attention. Now he was telling me and I found out online that the part was broken has a Nuetral and a In & Out voltage..

Now I did NOT know How many volts it was and when I took it home I checked all 4 Mosfets.. I have a Volt meter and figured I would check the Ohms and see if it is ok that way.. Turned out all 3 would have Ohms but the One I tested did NOT so I took a guess and said that was the one that was bad..

It so turns out it was in total about 15 bucks for parts including shipping I even bought One that I didn't need though it was the wrong one but 15 bucks is more my speed..
Well I broke out my Solder Remover with the Squeeze cap..It came out ok I had a little trouble with one but after about an hour tinkering with it they where out..

I ordered the parts and got them a few days later as the local Radio shack had squat.. Well I then put the MosFets back in and soldered them very carefully and I then broke off one of the Power plugs to the 1 Board so I just soldered it too the back of the CB and still looking for the correct part but have no Idea what it is called?

IT is a Male Spade Push On connector that you can put on a CB it had pins on the one end to connect to the CB and the other end was the Male Spade Connector..

Well After the repairs I installed the CB Back in place and took it over to the sub hooked it up and carefully turned on the reciever.. Well After turning down the volume I popped in a Disk and played it. at first nothing happened as I had it on auto and the volume was probally too low so I switched it to ON and Voila the Subwoofer kicked in and I had a Functional Subwoofer..

I was tickled pink and a few days later and a couple hours play it is still working.. So basically the moral of the story is Why pay a pro if you Can DIY..But for the more complicated fixes a pro is probally the best solution..

Now I was working on a little bit of Knowledge I have from my High School years. So it was definetely Rewarding fixing something like this for a Moderate price..

And especially for folks like me who does NOT have Donald Trump as a Father quite cool to DIY and a Money saving adventure. Not sure IF I would tackle another project but It sure Boosted my Confidence level On possible Future repairs..

Sorry for the long post but hey I am a happy DIY Camper right about now..and 250 bucks in the kitty for my new Subwoofer

Last edited by The_Nephilim; 08-20-12 at 02:44 AM.
The_Nephilim is offline  
post #5 of 10 Old 10-04-12, 02:52 PM
New Member
Ryan McCormick
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

The_Nephilim: Cool story bro. :P

lcaillo: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
I signed up just to make this post to thank you. I find it so appalling that many servicers criticized you for helping DIYers. I greatly appreciate your continued community support and detailed description of your politics.

Personally, I would take it a step further... "confidential tips", copyrighted "service manuals", and secret "service bulletins" should not exist! Information wants to be free. If I buy a product, it should come with access to every bit of information that went into building that product (schematic, layout, firmware-code, suppliers, manufacturers, etc). I am concerned primarily with the progress of mankind as a whole and with not wasting peoples time just to take money from them. Technicians fully deserve their $80/hr for their skilled time, but technical people fully deserve the information that would allow them to fix their own product in less time than taking it to the shop for less money, while learning about their device. Learning is good. Sharing knowledge and information is good. Copyright, IP, authorized access, and anything inhibiting the free flow of information is BAD!

Taking someone's money to perform a service they don't want to do or can't do is great. Taking someone's money to do something they could easily do themselves if you just took <5min to tell them how... that is wrong, immoral, and should be criminal!!! Get paid for your skill, not for keeping secrets!
rpmccormick is offline  
post #6 of 10 Old 10-04-12, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
Plain ole user
 
lcaillo's Avatar
Tech Guru
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 11,121
Send a message via AIM to lcaillo
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

I disagree that copyrights and proprietary information is bad. I also disagree that it is immoral to not tell someone how to fix something. I have techniques that I have discovered for troubleshooting, fixes that I discovered through hours or days of hard work to understand a circuit or design, and skills regarding troubleshooting that make some things trivial to me that might be insurmountable to a consumer without my help. I have every right to use that knowledge to make a living and not share it if I see fit. I also have the right to protect my intellectual property and not be expected to share that which I have created.

There is a balance, however. Not sharing basic circuit and system design information that can assist in repair is different than sharing every detail of every symptom and repair or sharing information that might give competitors the ability to copy a design without investing in the research and development to create a similar product. Making products serviceable is a value to society and to the client. Where a given company draws those lines should be their choice to a large degree. Where an individual servicer draws the line on sharing his expertise should also be his choice.

My point has always been that DIYers are the source of much knowledge, innovation, and skill, as well as much support for the electronics market and new products. It is the hobbyist who is usually first to adopt technology and sort out the kinks. There are many problems that have been solved by hobbyists that techs have no time to spend solving. Many techs were once hobbyists themselves. The point is that while DIYers do work that techs would like to be paid to do, the are not the enemy. Without them we would not have the robust market for consumer electronics that we have. It is simply short sighted and foolhardy for the service industry to treat DIYers like they are trying to eliminate professional servicers. They need each other.




Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
lcaillo is offline  
post #7 of 10 Old 10-04-12, 07:03 PM
New Member
Ryan McCormick
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

Cool, and thanks again.

I know I am an extremist to most. I value your opinion, and commend you for standing up for your beliefs and communicating them with others. I do disagree with your statement "I have every right to use that knowledge to make a living and not share it if I see fit. I also have the right to protect my intellectual property and not be expected to share that which I have created." In my mind, it is nobody's right to not share anything. All the worlds knowledge, information, and art (including information/methods you just discovered or invented on your own) still belong to all the worlds people. Figuring out something great, and then keeping it as your "trade secret" so you can profit off selling it to a limited audience rather than sharing your method with the entire world is simply immoral in my mind. It slows down the overall progress of all mankind. I want to do everything to speed the progress of technology. Many will say that removing profit-protections will slow down progress as people won't make stuff, but with all the open-source projects and custom phone ROMs and everything else I see people contribute for free every day, I simply refuse to believe that argument.
rpmccormick is offline  
post #8 of 10 Old 10-04-12, 07:23 PM
New Member
Ryan McCormick
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

The problem for me is that people do the same work over and over and over again.

If you discovered fixes "through hours or days of hard work to understand a circuit or design", why should so many other people have to put in the same days of hard work? In fact, why should you when you could have easily been saved those days of hard work if the creator of that circuit or design made more information available?

As soon as people stop having to do the same work that hundreds or thousands or millions of people have already done before, we will move into a new age of rapid progress.
rpmccormick is offline  
post #9 of 10 Old 10-04-12, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
Plain ole user
 
lcaillo's Avatar
Tech Guru
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gainesville, FL, USA
Posts: 11,121
Send a message via AIM to lcaillo
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

A manufacturer cannot anticipate every failure and associate a symptom that is easily related with the fix. There are many problems that are not easy to solve even with the best documentation. You underestimate the complexity of modern electronic systems and components. Your view is somewhat utopian, IME, and we have to deal with the hand that is dealt us. The fact is that techs often have to work very hard just to get by and hard won knowledge is not something that they should be expected to share. On the other hand, if a DIYer does the same, and spends time to solve a problem that techs don't have time to spend, techs benefit from the knowledge that gets made public. There has to be some give and take both ways. Your position does not seem to support any middle ground and in that world, no one would spend the time being trained to be a professional technician. As it is we are almost to that point, because it is very hard to make a living at this business.




Looking for me, just google my username. I have used the same one for most sites for many years.
lcaillo is offline  
post #10 of 10 Old 10-04-12, 08:20 PM
New Member
Ryan McCormick
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 4
Re: DIY vs Professional Repair

I do realize that my view is entirely utopian, however I do not mean to underestimate the complexity of modern electronic systems... I worked at Harman Consumer Group (HK/JBL/Infinity) for 7 years as a hardware engineer making schematics & layouts, soldering tssop chips and 0201 resistors, x-raying BGA's, tweaking emissions to pass FCC, inspecting production lines in S. China, working with firmware programmers to debug and bring up PCBs, etc.

In a world where all information was free to everybody, I believe there would be more professional technician's, not less. I love fixing friends broken electronics for free. UTOPIA: Everyone should do whatever they love doing, for "free". There should be no money... everyone is "taxed" 100% and is given anything (within reason) they want for free. A society of abundance for everyone on earth. Things are built to last forever, not planned-obsolescence. For more information on how this is actually possible with todays technology, here are some 2-hour movies you can google:
The Venus Project, Paradise or Oblivion
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward
Zeitgeist: Addendum (more about the evil pyramid scheme we call currency/money/economy... skip the first 10min and it will be interesting)
(I don't believe every word of these movies by a long shot... they're views are even more over-the-top than mine... but it does make you think.)

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world will be as one" - John Lennon.

Last edited by rpmccormick; 10-05-12 at 12:53 PM.
rpmccormick is offline  
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
diy , professional , repair

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now




PLEASE COMPLETE ALL REQUIRED FIELDS BELOW... THANKS!

REQUIRED FIELDS ON THIS PAGE
YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL OF THESE

Username
Password
Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2




User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
PLEASE READ BELOW PRIOR TO ENTERING AN EMAIL ADDRESS!

ATTENTION!

YOU MUST ACTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNT!

Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.

AN INVALID EMAIL ADDRESS WILL CAUSE YOUR ACCOUNT TO BE DELETED!

See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.


Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome