Don’t bin it…get it repaired

Of course, I have a personal interest in seeing televisions and other electronic items getting repaired, but consider this:

We are constantly being told to save the planet and recycle, every week I seperate all my recyclable rubbish into paper and card, plastic and glass etc. and feel I’m doing my bit to cut down on the amount of stuff that ends up in landfill. Then I consider the amount of electronics that are thrown in the same landfills every day. There are mountains of unwanted televisions, dvd’s, hi-fi’s, mobile phones, computers and tablets out there, the sad thing being that most of it could be repaired. In fact I’d be willing to guarantee that a lot of it is not faulty at all and is disposed of on a whim in favour of the latest 60″ 4k television, or smart hard drive recorder.

Another thing to consider is the increasingly poor quality of new electronic equipment. Every week I get at least one tv with faulty led’s in the backlight, mostly tv’s that are only a couple of years old, but worth the repair because the ever cheaper replacements are of an even worse quality, all done in a bid to reduce prices. As an example, I went to a six year old Panasonic tv, it needed some replacement parts in the power supply. On giving the quote to the customer they said they had seen another 32″ Panasonic in Argos for £180. This would be fair enough if they were getting a tv of similar quality but when I explained to them that it was a Panasonic badge on a Turkish television (the same applies to Toshiba, Hitachi, JVC etc) they showed a bit more interest in having their genuine Panasonic repaired. It’s now on test in my workshop and looking far better than the latest offerings from Argos.

Talking of quality, I recently had to repair a 50″ Toshiba, it was just a couple of years old and I remembered installing it for the customer. At that time I was shocked to be able to see circles of light being caused by the led’s in the backlight, the cheap and poorly designed diffusers were doing a very bad job of spreading the light evenly. Apart from that, when I picked it up I could almost feel the whole thing flex in my hands. I thought back to the early 50″ tv’s offered by Panasonic, LG and Samsung, they would need two people to move them, they were packed full of properly designed electronics and many of them are still going strong…and are still worth the cost of repair.

Another customer I saw this week had a seven year old Panasonic, a lovely tv, oozing with quality, it was quickly and easily put right. Then they explained to me they had just bought a new Panasonic for the bedroom and were very disappointed with the picture and sound, not to mention the poor build quality. I told them that’s just how things are going in this industry.

It seems the manufacturers are hell bent on killing off the repair industry in an attempt to sell more of their products. Years ago I could get a circuit diagram for  every make and model of tv, and spares were easily available for them all. Now if any service information is available at all it’s usually just a block diagram, leaving it up to the skill of the engineer to work out individual circuits. When led backlit screens came out they were considered to be an unrepairable item, but we found a way to repair them, much to the annoyance of the manufacturers. I often wonder how long it will be before the arrival of the sealed tv? Hopefully I’ll have retired by then!

In the meantime most things are repairable down to component level, not always easy but if it’s keeping these things out of landfill then I feel I’m doing a good job. At the moment I have on my bench one 50″ Panasonic waiting for an led drive ic, a Panasonic dvd recorder on test having just had a replacement ic on the RAM drive board, another Panasonic dvd recorder which is waiting to go home after having a new video processor chip fitted, a Toshiba tv waiting delivery having had some new led’s fitted in the backlight and another Panasonic 32″ waiting for some parts to arrive. All of them were considered worthy of repair by the customers, meaning they’ll end up back in the living room for a few more years rather than ending their days early in landfill.