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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Once again, I have been the target of repair techs who believe that I am doing harm to their businesses by providing help to DIYers here at Home Theater Shack. The owners of two forums dedicated to repair techs helping each other and sharing information have been forced by a handful of angry members to ban me from their forums.

There always seem to be those in any field who are short sighted, want to blame their problems on others, resist change, and are closed minded. The repair business certainly has its share. To those in the business who hate DIYers so much, let me remind you of some of the reasons that many people choose to fix things themselves:

*The reputation of repair shops is often that they rip people off. The fact is that many do. Many people have had bad experiences before and generalize that repair shops are going to take advantage of them. Some do, some do not, but we all know that there are lots of lousy techs who are lazy, poorly trained, don't do their homework, and are just plain sloppy or dishonest. WE go behind them all the time and have to clean up their messes.

*Many areas have very limited options for service. As everyone in the business is aware, shops have been going out of business rapidly for years. There are but a fraction of the number of servicers that there were a couple of decades ago.

*Many shops give up front guestimates or have service call and diagnostic fees that are so high that people will not even consider trying to repair a set. Some shops do this when the product is one that they don't want to bother with because they are not sure that it will be profitable.

*Many repair shops do work that is sub-standard compared to what many experienced consumers expect. Many techs are satisfied to just get unit working and do not spend much time calibrating or refining the performance. Many DIYers actually know more about getting the most out of a product than they repair person.

*Many DIYers fix everything themselves, not just electronics. They get satisfaction from doing so and like to be very attentive to details and make sure things are done right. I fall into this category with all of my products, like appliances, cars, and home.

*Service can be expensive. It may be that even a reasonable repair charge is more than is of value to the DIYer, so they are going to either replace the item or try to fix it themselves. They feel that they have nothing to lose by trying.

*Some folks just like to tinker with things that others throw away.


There are many more reasons. The point here is that most of these reasons, whether created by the service industry itself or that have nothing to do with servicers, are perfectly reasonable and are not going to change if I do not provide the information here at Home Theater Shack. Most of these people are NOT going to pay a tech to fix their product anyway, so to accuse me of hurting the service business is silly.

In fact, if one reads the sticky that everyone is supposed to read before posting, it is clear that I do not provide help for most repairs that are beyond the ability of the typical DIYer anyway. There are many threads where I refer people TO professional repair shops and suggest that they NOT DIY.

It is many of the same critical techs that I see posting in tech forums that do not understand how to calibrate a display or audio system and never bother to adjust gray scale, focus, or convergence. These same techs would never dream of cleaning the lenses or mirrors in a RPTV, nor understand how most of the equipment in a modern home theater is hooked up or operated.

They have chosen to attack me for giving people accurate information to assure that they don't have to rely on much of the nonsense and ripoffs found on the web. Those DIYers otherwise would never have someone tell them to go to a professional if they need to, unless they came here. They also are less likely to botch a repair then take it to a tech who has to deal with the mess.

These techs who have been my critics are simply closed minded and poorly informed. I would be happy to debate the matter of help that I provide to DIYers here or anywhere else if they have the integrity to publicly make their points. They seem to prefer to operate behind the scenes and pressure the owners of forums and technical groups, however, in some foolish and ill-adviced attempt to protect their trade. Their perspective is the equivalent of a subwoofer maker being irate that we provide a forum to discuss building your own subwoofer instead of buying one already made. The arguments are similarly nonsensical and wrong-headed.

The fact is that DIYers push the envelope of performance in consumer electronics, are usually early adopters of technology, and feed many talented people into the industry. Some of the greatest names in consumer electronics and repair started as DIYers. DIYers solve problems that techs never have the time to delve into with the specificity that someone trying to solve their own problem can. DIYers are the hackers and refiners of technology. They are the ones who demand higher performance and the industry responds. They have created industries of their own and created categories of services that professionals provide. Most techs are themselves DIYers on other kinds of products. The whole idea that someone who provides perspective and basic information to DIYers is harming the industry is so foreign to me and to many other techs that it baffles us when the vitriole that has been directed at me keeps coming up.

Fortunately, most techs agree with me, and most are thankful for the resources that I provide that help them as well as DIYers. The thanks from hundreds of both DIyers and repair techs so overwhelms the criticism that there is no way that I will stop what I do. So to those techs who are my critics, I say, bring on the flamethrowers. You will only embarrass yourself.
 

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I agree. DIYers are the folks that start the next small business that turns into the major provider of the next generation. My software was built by 1 untrained hacker that has now turned it into a very robust provider of service.

I've actually considered starting a custom sub company once I get the shop. Purely for the fun of it.
 

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Leonard i am very surprised that some weak minded forum owners and moderators have opted to ban you from those boards. As a new member i have personally benefited from your knowledge and advice but you did not hold my hand as i was soldering and desoldering. You do exactly what a learned person is supposed to, help teach people how to fish... Not give us fish.

Please continue to do what you have been doing.... No... We need you to double down on providing people eager to learn with your knowledge.

I know i appreciate you and people like you who help those who are less knowledgable.

Keep up the good work sir.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Many repair people don't get the fact that hobbyists drive much of the market. They have no idea how much they contribute to understanding the products and just fear that diyers take their business. It is a very short sighted perspective.

I am no longer in the repair business, but am still on some lists and forums with some of the best techs in the world. Most of them get it.
 

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With the prices of electronics dropping faster than ever before the price point where a consumer will spend hundreds in repairs vs buying another unit is lower than ever.

Hobbiest who repair their own products should be the least of their worries.
We arent trying to take their business, we are trying to save our hard earned money.
We arent trying to setup a repair shop in our basements and pass ourselves off as CETs, we under take these projects because we are men and we are not easily intimidated or dettered at the sight of a challange.

Their objection to you offering your knowlegde to those who are thirsty for the knowledge is like a mechanic getting mad at you for telling someone how to change their own oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, it is more like a mechanic giving advice to a guy who builds out a car to take to the races on the weekend. The point that most repair folks miss is that these are not jobs that would ever go to a repair shop anyway. The also miss the fact that DIYers play a large role in driving innovation and design in the industry because they create knowledge that helps everyone, including repair shops. Look at the calibration business, for instance. Repair people completely begged off on that area and it developed in spite of their derision and ridicule, resulting in a movement that has had great impact upon the product quality that we now expect.
 

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a bit late but i agree 100% with your thoughts on here. at one point in time i made a living in auto repair. i never had an issue giving advice or sharing my knowledge with those who ask (most often friends and family). i actually often got "roped" into helping and sometimes doing the repair. i done this on the principal. i felt the repair shops charge to much for the labor and parts. i actually was known for dramatically undercutting shops and doing good work which led to people being referred to me. the case with electronics repair is a bit different but very much the same. when you charge $300+ for the convergence board repair i made on my set, it's to much. an experience tech should have done within an hour. bottom line, they're cutting their own throats with prices. especially knowing the prices that electronics are being sold for new. thanks again for helping us diyers.
 

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There are enough people out there that don't know how to fix stuff and will take it in to be fixed. Just like you said if you think they don't have the know how you suggest them to go and get it repaired.

The thing that gets me is they blame you and others that provide info on how to fix things but they don't look at the big picture. Warranty's and big corporate repair company's is what has really killed the industry. In my opinion not DIY. People
 

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The info is freely available in book form, what are they going to do next? Burn libraries with the justification, that they are doing harm to their business?
 

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Re-opening an old thread (sorry Leonard).

But this comes from a customer I had last week. And a trend I've noticed a few times lately.

Some of the more recent "DIYer's" feel that my service business should provide an estimate including what is wrong and were they can purchase parts. Providing a parts breakdown is NOT part of an estimate. An estimate for repair is just that, how much it will cost for MY shop to fix your electronics. Expecting a service business to do the diagnostics so you can swap parts is not DIY.

Everyone that comes to this board needs to know the valuable resource Leonard has provided for you. He has put years of training and experience here for you to use and learn from. USE IT. But this requires you to put forth some effort. Don't expect a professional to do the effort so you can have the benefits. It won't happen. But if you are willing to learn, I am also happy to share my experiences here and elsewhere.

Thanks,
Jim


PS..Now go read all of the FREE stickies at the top, there are many years of valuable experience there!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No problem opening the discussion if you have something to contribute. I understand exactly what you are saying. Some people expect you to do all of the work for them and not charge for it. It takes a great deal of time and experience to troubleshoot down to the component level. It also takes a great deal of time to find parts at the best prices from reliable suppliers. All of that knowledge and time should have value. As a business owner you get to decide its value. If your service has value to consumers you stay in business. If it does not, you don't. People need to realize that if you can't price your service so that you make a living, there won't be any shops to go to when you need help.

I agree completely that I don't mind helping those who are willing to do the work themselves and learn what is needed. I point people in the right direction, point out the pitfalls that they may encounter, and give them the resources to learn what they need to know if they have the motivation to DIY. I won't do research down to the component level for someone too lazy or unwilling to figure things out for themselves. I learn a lot from DIYers and they contribute much more than most servicers realize to the industry and to our knowledge. There is always a balance in sharing knowledge with value, however. Each of us has to work out that balance for ourselves.
 
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