How many people can fix electronic devices?

MichaelDP

Nov 18, 2014
7
Ok I just got started in this mostly as a hobby, but I wonder sometimes how many people could actually fix most electronics. I just got a 24 inch pc monitor that would not turn on, opened it up replaced a bad cap and works perfect sold it for 100 buck spent like 2 bucks because I actually just replaced most of the caps on the board. Just seems like people give up or think they could not fix it themselves.

Frenoy Osburn

Nov 20, 2014
64
Hi Michael.

I've not spend a lot of time repairing things, but I like reading the repair section here. And from what I gather, most systems have very common faults.

As you said, if a monitor doesn't turn on well, open it up and check the caps, if the display is dim, check the inverter and then maybe replace it (well almost certainly)

For an amp, if it blows a fuse, then check for obvious component failures, if not then it's mostly the output transistors that have shorted.

I don't mean to over simplify things, but I believe you are right. If you know how to solder and check some few components then it's possible to repair a lot of things. But today's electronics have a lot of digital circuits with not-so-common ICs. They are not only complicated, but spares are difficult to find and you would sometimes need a scope or logic analyzer to determine what's going on.

But if the problem is fairly analogue in nature, it seems easier to debug and get fixed.

Nov 25, 2014
192
Unfortunately repairing one part of a circuit may only give you a short expanded life of your electronics. I have done similar stuff for people and they have worked fine afterwards. It is also common for the part that failed to actualy weekend other components in the circuit or only be a symptom of a much deaper problem. It is not uncommon to repair one component just to have another further along in the circuit fail shortly after. This makes it very hard to guaranty your work if you are doing it as a business. Most electronics are fairly cheap enough that paying for repairs just doesn't make sense.

Doing what you did though, by repairing the item then selling it can be quite lucrative.

KrisBlueNZ

Nov 28, 2011
8,393
Unfortunately repairing one part of a circuit may only give you a short expanded life of your electronics. ... It is not uncommon to repair one component just to have another further along in the circuit fail shortly after.
In my experience, that IS uncommon. It does happen occasionally, but not often.
Most electronics are fairly cheap enough that paying for repairs just doesn't make sense
It depends on what factors you ignore. Some good reasons for repairing equipment that you are ignoring are: reducing environmental impact (e-waste); learning how things work; practice with soldering, reading schematics, fault-finding etc; the sense of satisfaction that comes from fixing things; sometimes, saving money.

Nov 25, 2014
192
Yeah that's certainly true. I have a friend who is bringing me a pellet stove controller to look at tonight. A new one costs $500! The stove only cost$1200 brand new. I've fixed other ones in the past, so hoping I can figure this one out for him.

MichaelDP

Nov 18, 2014
7
I was mainly talking about why do most people not even attempt to fix stuff when it breaks. Is it they think its to complicated, or technical.

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
5,701
Perhaps because they just can't be bothered.
A bit like those who don't use correct spelling or punctuation.
Mostly though, technology moves at such a rate these days and most demand the latest.
In the 50's, technology doubled every 10 years or so but in the 70's, this became every 6 months.
Anyones guess what it is now.
Also, labour costs to repair make it unviable, not to mention most equipment is made not to be repaired.
Try to get a cap out of a motherboard these days and you will see what I mean.
Resultant effect of the above is there are fewer people who can indeed do the repairs.
Checkout the meaning behind "consumerism".

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
Moderator
Jan 21, 2010
25,505
Most electronics are fairly cheap enough that paying for repairs just doesn't make sense.

Well, that, and the fact that manufacturers would prefer you buy another one rather than getting the old one repaired.

This means that equipment that lasts beyond the warranty period might be considered a potential sale lost.

Nov 25, 2014
192
So I'm working on this pellet stove controller. The original issue with the stove actually had nothing to do with the controller but the thermal overload. The connections where corroded. So now that I have the stove trying to start the igniter is toast. The igniter gets power from a MOSFET that is switched by an opto isolator which is triggered by the micro-controller. The reason the igniter is toast is because the output is never off. Even when the stove should be in shutdown. It is not the micro. So most likely or common is it the opto or the MOSFET?

I would assume the MOSFET as the opto is very unlikely. Right?

(*steve*)

¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd
Moderator
Jan 21, 2010
25,505
Is the mosfet shorted? This could also take out the opto too.

Nov 25, 2014
192
That's what I think. The MOSFET is most common to short right? Wouldn't think it would take out the opto too but I suppose it's a possibility.

Haven't tested it yet just wanted to get some fead back.

Fish4Fun

So long, and Thanks for all the Fish!
Aug 27, 2013
471
@MichaelDP....&...."how many people could actually fix most electronics".....I would guess the literal answer to that question is likely "none"; that is, I doubt seriously there is anyone who could fix most electronics simply because any one person, even with remarkable technical skills, would never live long enough to "fix most electronics".....but obviously your question is likely, "How many people are capable of repairing a broad range of electronic devices?", and the answer to this question is "a large number".....which then begs the question, "why are there so few electronic repair shops//repairmen?" And the answer to this question is actually quite complicated in some respects....and quite simple in other respects....The simple answer is: "Repairing electronics is not generally an economically viable pursuit."

You might argue that you, "made \$100 for less than an hour's work! Obviously that SEEMS like GREAT money!" And obviously if you could repeat that task 12 times a day you would be well on your way to making a good living....but there-in lies the rub....even if the vast majority of electronic repairs were "simple" there are at least two other components to the rubric: 1) Acquisition of "broken" electronics 2) Selling the repaired products after they are repaired. So if you look carefully at the skill sets requisite they now include, 1) Electronic Repair Skills, 2) Acquisition of Appropriate Materials 3) Sales...but assuming this is a business you would also need to add 4) Accounting Knowledge and 5) General Business Knowledge/Skills....While the last two skill sets may seem trivial, they are the second leading cause of small business failures in the US....the first being the various governmental agencies associated with levying and collecting taxes and enforcing various "consumer, employee and environmental oriented regulations/laws"...which are arguably a result of lacking requisite skills #4 & #5....Most people find it difficult enough to master just one of the a fore mentioned skills and generally spend their working careers earning a living with that skill....

But you didn't directly ask, "Why aren't there more small businesses repairing electronics...", you asked, "how many people could actually fix...." to which I responded, "a large number"....but a large number in no way implies a "large percentage". Assuming even one in a thousand people has the skills to repair electronics this would imply one million people per billion....or, as of 2014, roughly 7 million people....obviously the accuracy of this number is predicated on the accuracy of 1/1000 which is just a SWAG used to illustrate that the fact that you might not have ever met anyone who has the skills to repair electronics does not imply the number of people with the skills is "small". I would also estimate that perhaps half the people included in the group have little or no formal education in electronics, but are "self-taught".... Hobbyist if you will....

And, finally, "Who are these people with the skills?" And, "Why don't I hear more about them?" While I stated likely half the people included in the group have little or no formal training in electronics, the other half are almost certainly highly educated/trained specifically in electronics with the vast majority of them having engineering and/or military backgrounds. I would also estimate that a large percentage of the people in the group w/o formal training acquired the skills from parallel interests in radios/computers/RC/Automotive etc hobbies/careers...or in some cases simply because they like to "tinker" with things and over time have added electronic devices to the list of things they "tinker" with. As someone who has a long history of dabbling in electronics, I will say attempting to talk to people who don't have any background in electronics about electronics is much like trying to explain the nuances of a poem to someone who doesn't speak the language the poem is written in...it wastes your time and irritates them. Even worse, if people who know you, KNOW that you "work on electronics", they assume you can fix anything from a toaster to a motherboard and that it would be "simple for you to take a look at it for them." Speaking for myself, I make every attempt to disavow any rumors that I know anything about electronics to "casual acquaintances" and at times even good friends simply because I don't want to waste my time on their problems....but despite my best efforts I occasionally still get suckered in....lol....and the old adage, "No good deed goes unpunished"....slaps me in the face

Have Fun!

Fish