Friday, December 9, 2016

"Do you always replace capacitors with better ones" and other naive questions from the always right customers

Question: Hi I have a Samsung PN64E533d2F that needs a new power supply. It has been replaced once last year and has burned out again. I was reading that Samsung didn't put strong enough capacitors in these models. Do you repair them with better capacitors so this doesn't happen again?

This is hot from the support account and comes to illustrate a few points I've been pushing through here ever since I write:
  • Customer is not always right
  • Customer is often confused
  • Internet is dangerous learning source
    (my wife agrees with that, BTW, especially when it comes to adult websites; nothing about real love can be learned there, she says, and why half the world's population is periodically checking them is simply beyond her, just as it is beyond me why the other half is so damn occupied making selfies or dying to tweet their emotions in the open; but that's off topic!) 
  • You should not trust Internet experts more than you trust people on the street selling you expensive watches
    (for example authorities on the same above referenced websites where, I hear, they offer to enhance one's anatomy at will until one's wife stops questioning the benefits of vising said websites)
You see, while lots of power boards tend to develop problems with capacitors over time, that doesn't necessarily mean that all power supply boards will develop them, let alone that those will be the first / most common issues a certain model or family will have.

And the family BN44-00513A, BN44-00514A, BN44-00516A, BN44-00445B, among others, are a perfect example.

Those boards have a design and manufacturing problem, which develops way before any electrolytic capacitor issues, at least in all our experience so far.

Meaning we've fixed a few hundreds of this generation of power supplies from Samsung and we are yet to see a SINGLE bad capacitors on them.

Which doesn't prevent the customer from asking if we'll replace them with better ones...

Another common mistake customers do is trying to micro-manage us and ask questions like

"What capacity and voltage are your capacitors because I read they need to be higher [than the original] to live longer?"

While there certainly are situations where the question is valid (where a design or manufacturing mistake have indeed placed improperly rated capacitor on board and it needs to be upgraded), the vast majority of time the question is asked in context of 5-6 year old TV where OEM capacitors were more or less just fine and replacing them even with lower quality ones, let alone same or better, would give them more life than the rest of the TV is practically guaranteed to not match, i.e. it is practically certain that something else will fail in that
TV before the new replacements.

In other words, the question is not of any importance.

And that's leaving aside that like with every other product it's not just the ratings that matter: there are higher and lower quality brands, there are series optimized for durability or size or tougher conditions and finally there are simply manufacturing issues which may have caused one batch of otherwise excellent brand and series to have been released with lower quality...all those are real life factors not to be ignored.

What I am getting at is that customers will often do MUCH better by focusing their attention to choosing a reliable vendor and then going with their offer without questioning it.

Please understand, you can't receive the answers you want (or education you need!) on a $10 repair kit is just not possible, especially when you want simple and reaffirming answers and not education!

And you know what's ironic?

There are lots of vendors out there who will not just answer, but tout the features of their kit's qualities: brand, breakout voltage, shelf life and what not...all the info from the manufacturer's product catalog...
and only one problem: those parts may not even ever go bad on the actual board.

But it's a free market and if people want repair kit with capacitors they get it!

ShopJimmy sells kits containing parts that I have never seen fail in all the boards we've serviced, along with the parts that do tend to fail, in about 1:5 ratio. In other words you pay $20 for a component that costs about $2, but get lots of extras too.

eBay seller zemtronix[-com] takes that further and sells repair kits with components all of which I have never seen fail on the Sanyo main boards they sell them for - three voltage regulators 1117A and two capacitors; the same voltage regulators are known to fail on a certain Vizio family of main boards, but I repeat NEVER on the Sanyo main boards they are being sold for and I say that with the claim that we have likely fixed more such Sanyo main boards since 2010 than all eBay vendors combined.

I am not to pick a war with anyone here, too small for that, I am to illustrate how customers are wrong and being taken advantage of.

Hell we ourselves sell Vizio EEPROMs on NAND Flash memories, OK? They fail a whole lot less often than people seem to think and - you can check that - we have incorporated a language in the listings that explains that and warns against experimenting - and yet people still keep on buying them!
Sure some report success and sure enough sometimes they fail...but we do A LOT of board repairs and I can freely report here for everyone who has made it this far that people buy disproportionately more EEPROMs than we see failing on those boards.

I'll leave you with the conclusion that it's more important to know how to handle information than to have information.

And if average layman knows how to handle information I'd recommend focusing their attention to evaluating the source of information prior to processing the information itself.

Find a reliable source, verify it once or twice and hold on to them, still periodically evaluating them.

I wonder if I am not coming condescending here. (recently learned the word from a customer and practicing now, sorry!)

Maybe people already know all that.

If so then maybe that is why the stronger half of the world keeps revisiting certain websites.

Control is the key :-)


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