Monday, September 26, 2016

Is it worth to purchase / provide troubleshooting services online

I guess everyone who does repairs gets those calls sometimes from companies soliciting new accounts they can send customers to.

Or received the emails from and other such sites now offering up to $30 for phone consultation. via their new service

Or stumbled upon a JustAnswer support ticket while researching particular issue like I did today.

So we have in the shop this Panasonic TC-P65ST30 dead as a cucumber and jumping in the deep I went to see what does the cumulative brainpower of the human nation have to say about a dead TC-P65ST30 on Internet.

So I came across this article on

Do not read it, it is absolutely useless unless you want to learn out why you should never go to a generic problem solver if you can help it.

Nothing personal against or the "experts" that work there.

But I've read other such articles - and on other such sites - and it's been my firm determination to resist the appeal of becoming such a provider for the simple fear of getting to sound like them one day.

For example:

1) Given the news that the TV is dead (like ours here) the "expert" says:

"There is a failure on the power supply board inside the TV."

That's dead wrong on two counts, right there: first, this TV does not have ONE, but THREE power supply modules (that gets cleared up later in the conversation); second, a totally dead TV does not automatically mean dead power supply; a dead main board could have just the same effect on most models I've seen.

2) Given the news that customer "got the part" (which part is not clear) and installed it to no effect, "expert" #1 disappears from conversation and is replaced by "expert" #2.

Expert #2 asks customer to ask for presence of power between the power sub-modules and customer delivers a picture with notes on what's available and where (see original article, we're not copying that image which carries important justanswer copyrights and can't be redistributed for free).

After observing the picture "expert" #2 presents the following important question:

Expert #2: "So based on this, it would seem there's no power coming from the sub power supply to the main power supply is that correct?"

To which they receive the following surprisingly accurate answer:

Customer: "I suppose. I don't know what each of those boards are called."

At this point Expert #2 finally realizes the TV has 3 power modules and also leaves the conversation after some generic remark that it is the first time he is seeing that.

My take on the whole thing?

1) When you want to find someone to help you try to find someone who has seen the same problem that you have - same computer model, same TV model, same field of work (if it's a business problem) , same health failure symptoms (that's harder than it sounds).

If you have Panasonic plasma then anyone specializing in repairing Panasonic will be better than a generic TV repairman and anyone specializing in plasma repairs will be better than anyone with lots of LCD or tube experience.

Further on the point, anyone with experience with your exact model TV (or whatever it is) will be better than a generic workshop.

Google is amazing, search for the problem you have!

2) Do not pay for online troubleshooting on sites like justanswer or fixya unless you need help with something extremely simple and clearly defined like how to unscrew something or how to replace something.

As the above article illustrates (and I swear it's typical for what I've seen) experience with the particular model is hard enough challenge for those "experts", but if it comes down to analytical work and actual troubleshooting they just flee.

Do not waste your money!

On the vendor side, I definitely do not want to try to guide people who may or may not be able to operate a voltmeter and may or may not get electrocuted while trying to take a reading. The worse, actually, is that I'll just never know if what they tell me back is result of properly on improperly done procedure.

I know there will be people who think otherwise. I am OK with that and wish them best of luck.

I believe they need it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A common problem when replacing Vizio and other EEPROMs (why charge more)

This issue has come up before, but I today I was reminded of it and would like to remind others too.

When removing the heat sinks on main boards people, including service technicians, tend to use sharp tools they twist sideways or press against in order to raise up and detach the heat sink from the board.

The result is often direct damage to the extremely tiny tracks around the main processor as shown here:
(click to enlarge, you will need it full size!)

The damage is a little to the right of the middle of the picture, just on the left side of R253.

Two tracks have been cut and will need to be repaired, which, while not a rocket science, is reasonably difficult.

There is an even bigger problem elsewhere though.

It is that people, including service techs, do not usually account for or even consider the odds of THEM damaging a board.

Similar to the situation in the previous article (where a customer, on the way to sue us in court, ended up publicly accusing us for selling them an empty EEPROM despite their own claim of having issues with the TV that would highly unlikely be caused by an EEPROM) this board was sent to us by a customer who ordered and installed an EEPROM from us.

The problem was not in the EEPROM, of course, but on top of the problem we had to deal with this issue and it took us much longer than the usual problem for the simple reason it is unique.

The profit in the TV repair business is in efficiency resolving a problem; every problem can be resolved given enough time or money, the trick is to do it for little time and little money.

This has proven possible only if you know upfront what to look for, not necessarily in terms of specific components, but also in terms of actually knowing the board and its functionality so you can exclude certain portions fast enough and focus on others.

Main boards are proprietary computers, though. We reverse engineer them to figure out how they work.

If and when it comes to isolating portions of the board you KNOW you are going to lose money on it; your only chance to make them up is if the same problem happens again in the future and THEN you can actually solve it quickly, charge reasonably (yet more than the time it has taken you to resolve it this particular time) and thus, over time, pay over your initial investment.

Problems like

Problems like this are unique - just as , for example, damages from stacking boards on top of each other or physical damages in transportation.

They are a sure money losers.

Which should explain why we ask for more money (if we at all agree) to service a board that was tampered with or broken in transportation.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

eBay user compsp talks big, promises to sue Coppell TV Repair LLC

So today we've had another one of those conversations exposed in posts from the past.

A full copy of the conversation that went will follow below, here's just a quick summary for those who care:

1) Customer buys a Vizo EEPROM from us on eBay.

2) Customer contacts us saying replacing the EEPROM changed nothing - the TV still blinks - to which we respond that all our EEPROMs for Vizio are tested and it only makes sense that if two EEPROMs cause the TV to just blink that the problem is simply elsewhere.

3) Customer sends the board to us for repair.

4) We test, service test and return the board to the customer (problem not in the EEPROM, as expected).

5) Customer complains that board does not have image on their end and we tell them to send it back so we make a video, the logic being that something else may be bad in the TV or that they may have mishandled it and we want to prove it works.
We explain we don't do videos unless we have to because 99% of the time we don't have to and that's a huge performance cost not included in the flat rate.

6) Customer sends the board back

7) We find the problem with the board - either mishandling/shorting LDVS cable or bad T-CON blowing a fuse - and post a video proof of the working board before sending back; we package and print shipping label for the board.

8) Customer comes back and says the video is not sufficient and he wanted to see the board responding to remote and wheel.

9) We decide to fulfill customer's request, but to charge him $15 for the extra effort. We report that to customer and proceed to making and publishing the video, invoicing them first.

10) While we make the video customer comes back saying he did not ask for extra video and this is bull.

11) We tell customer we refund his original payment and the $15 invoice on PayPal and require them to send a check or money order for the amount of original payment plus $15 for the requested video and give him 3 weeks to receive the check.

12) Customer goes ballistic, calls us thieves, promises lawsuit and even details a close friend already interested in the case.

13) We tell customer we've had enough of this and he is free to do what he wants, but has 3 more weeks to pay and get their working board back. We say we'll only send message when we have something important to say such as time lapse or a tracking number if we receive payment.

14) Customer comes back asking for another chance to pay with PayPal

15) Customer leaves negative feedback falsely stating they received empty/defective IC.

In conclusion:

1) If anyone doubts that we sell empty EEPROMs we'd be glad to make them a dedicated video showing how we test, mark, package and send a working EEPROM. It'll be $15 more.

2) People who get carried away tend to lose more than those who think calmly and reasonably.

3) eBay's feedback forum is a great place for finding out stuff, but just as any other feedback place can also be misleading. Do not believe everything you read, do more research!

4) We are not as user friendly as people want us to be; we are aware of that, but do not try to "improve" the way they want us to. We believe that each party has rights and responsibilities and making excessive demands and accusations, let alone flat out lies is not something that has place in a business.

I'll update this post with the full conversation directly from the service thread as soon as I get it in some form appropriate for pasting here. Modern HTML, while more pleasing to the eye, can be a whole lot harder to move around.

For now I'll just enclose a screenshot from the thread as we have it:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

SAMSUNG PN64H5000AFXZA power cycling troubleshooting and repair (LJ92-02053A)

Today we posted a video about an unusual (for Samsung plasma) behavior where a bad buffer board causes the Samsung PN64H5000AFXZA to power cycle as if the power supply or the main board is bad.

The above pretty much says it all, but in case you want to see the video you can find it here:

Listing for NEW LJ92-02053A board replacement:

Listing for serviced/tested LJ92-02053A board replacement:'

If neither is available we should also post a listing for the board repair or at the very list the shift register ICs for sale. If you need either of the two while reading here please contact us via the website to request them.