Post by Jason W
I'm not helpless and I can solder it myself. My soldering skills suck
but I'm not afraid to work on it.
If your soldering skills suck, then you SHOULD be afraid to work on
it, at least if you expect it to work again after you finish your
hacking around. If this was an old tube amplifier with point-to-point
wiring, I'd say go ahead and practice your repair skills. There's
plenty of room around every solder joint so if you slip you won't do
any more damage than perhaps scarring the insulation on a wire. But
when working on a multi-layer circuit board with surface mounted
components, things are packed pretty close together. You can do damage
in the vicinity before you can say "oops."
Post by Jason W
I'd RATHER work on it myself since
I don't want to ship this thing back & forth.
I understand that well. I change the oil in my car myself because I'd
rather not take it to the shop. But I don't have to ask anyone how to
do that. And if I did, I'd look at the job closely before I decided to
take it on. And if there was something stupid in the design that make
the job more difficult than I thought it should be, then I might cuss
about it, but I wouldn't complain. If I wanted to deal with it, I
would, and if I decided that it was too much trouble, I'd pay someone
else to do it. It took me a long time to realize that my time (and the
safety of my gear) was more valuable than the loss resulting from
making a dumb mistake.
In fact, my car DOES have a stupid design involving changing the oil.
In order to remove the filter, you have to remove a belly pan. It's
plastic, it's in two pieces, and it's attached with a mix of sheet
metal screws and those expandable-shank plastic button fasteners. It
takes two hands and a nose to get them back into place. And the
plastic buttons break occasionally and they aren't a stock size, so I
have to buy replacements at the parts counter of the dealer at about
$2.50 a piece. The whole job takes me about 3/4 of an hour, not
counting the time to change my clothes before and after and dispose of
the old oil. $20 at the gas station up the hill looks like a pretty
good deal. (but $40 at the dealer doesn't)
Another example - the pilot light on the gas water heater in my house
goes out every couple of weeks. It always re-lights and works for a
while, and the house is in no apparent danger of blowing up, but
every now and then I take a cool shower in the morning. That's fine
in the Summer, but come Winter I'm going to have to get it fixed. I
suspect that the problem is that the thermocouple that holds the
pilot gas valve open isn't up to par and occasoinally it decides that
the flame has gone out and it shuts off the gas supply (which is
just what it's supposed to do). I've figured that much out. But I can't
measure the output of the thermocouple. Nor can I figure out what's
supporting it at the burner end. I can see one screw that I can't reach
without taking the cover off the heater, and I can't figure out how to
do that. I have the manual which gives me the part number of the
thermocouple, but if I buy another one (they can't be very expensive)
I'm not sure I'll be able to figure out how to install it.
If I could take it to my bench and study it out, I'm sure I could
figure out how to replace the part, but it's two inches off the floor
in a corner of my basement, firmly attached to the house by a gas
line and a flue. I think that when I decide that relighting the pilot
every couple of weeks is too much trouble, I'll make a call to a
repairman and let him lie on the floor, diagnose the problem, and
fix it. I expect it to cost $100, but I could waste a day on it and
still not fix it myself.
People who are "qualified" service personnel get that way because
they have access to documentation that we mortals can't easily
obtain, they've often worked with someone who's shown them
how to to the common jobs and how to gain access to the insides.
And sometimes they make mistakes and screw up the workpiece
and have to replace some parts that weren't broken when it came
in. This is what's covered in the $50 charge for the ten minute job
to replace a $3 battery. Sometimes it's worth paying for their
specialized knowledge and experience. Other times it's not. And
it varies from person to person and equipment to equipment.
I'm really Mike Rivers (***@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo