Monday, January 25, 2021

Will this component / repair kit / EEPROM fix my problem?

If not every day then every other day we get asked if a particular component or repair kit or EEPROM we sell will fix a particular problem that someone is facing.

I generally agree there are no stupid questions, but one should at least consider the possibility of some questions opening up the potential of miscommunication and trouble or - in other cases - being asked the wrong way.

A good example of the first kind is "What is this?" - a very simple and usually straightforward question, unless asked in the context of a newlywed husband at the dinner table staring at his dish.

"WHY DON'T YOU JUST TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO KNOW?!?!?!" asked over email by upset customer is an example of the second kind.

The "Can this repair kit / part / EEPROM fix my problem?" question falls in the first category.

It is not stupid, but it is wrong and for a number of reasons.

First, apparently a repair kit or component can not alone fix anything.

Repair kits and components do not fix problems. People do.

So a simple positive answer would include an assumption that whoever is going to be applying the repair kit is going to be doing a good job.

I guess it is natural to assume you'd do a good job doing something or you wouldn't be considering doing it in the first place.

Natural it may be, but it isn't right to assume as experience proves time and again that often enough it is wrong to assume something will work out well. We know it from first hand experience and we are also constantly reminded about it through the boards we receive from customers who have tried - and failed - to do a good repair job.

Second, even if the repair kit or component is properly applied that is still not in any way a guarantee that it will solve a problem that we only know by a symptom.
Once because many times the same failure symptom can be caused by different failures.
For example in most power supply boards there is one major circuit for standby power, another major circuit for power factor correction (PFC) and usually at least another one (sometimes more) for all the power that is needed by the appliance when it is operating (not in standby).

All these circuits have power switching components that could fail due to aging, power surge or overload.
Depending on the schematic it is possible - and quite common in some designs - for the main fuse for the whole power board to blow and render the TV totally dead.

So symptom is "totally dead TV", but the failure can be in 3 very different circuits.

When asking us the question customers sometimes supply additional information, such as "Vs is shorted" or "secondary fuse is blown" or "see busted capacitor C2117" and they assume that would allow us to narrow down and identify the failure.

While certainly better than nothing at all, unfortunately many times this is still not sufficient.

It is because

Third, we can't know for sure the scope of the damage.
For example when a power circuit fails it usually involves a power component shorting out and creating excessive current through a circuit, read through other components.
9 out of 10 times most of the other components may survive the failure, but in 1 out of 10 times the process can continue for just longer enough for something else to fail as well.

And OK, unlike many other vendors (I wish someone interviews me about that where I can illustrate how idiotic some offerings are!) our kits are based on first hand experience, i.e. you are getting components that we have seen fail and actually replaced to successful end.
However our experience is only based on 10, 20, 30 repaired boards. Still better than making educated guesses ("filter capacitors, PFC switching transistors, main fuse and by all means 1117 if there are any on the board!"), but as experience shows a year later the list is inevitably expanded with additional components.

Which means that we're experienced enough to know that we can't possibly know our repair kits will solve your or any other particular problem.

We only know what they have helped us solve and that is exactly what is described in the listing - truly and honestly.

We just can't know what has failed on a board until we can inspect it and if we don't know what is bad on it how can we say that a repair kit will fix it?! 

We do not want to lie to you or to ourselves. We do not want you or us to operate under assumptions.

We disclose what we do know - not all of it, for sure, but then all of it would cost too much and experience shows most people actually do NOT want to hear all of it.

For example I am quite certain that many - probably most - people I send to this page for an answer to their question, would be very bored and will probably not make it to here. 

It's because they don't want all this. They just want a simple answer to what for them is probably a very simple question.

Well for the reasons above I don't think it's a simple question and I am sorry, but I am unable to give a simple answer that I believe has good chance of being correct.

If that means we are losing a sale then so be it...I'd rather have less business with people that think like me than potentially bad business with the rest of the world.


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