Tuesday, October 26, 2021

How long does a BGA reflow or replacement last?

We are sometimes asked how long does a repair that includes BGA reflow last and isn't it better to have the IC re-balled or maybe even replaced rather than reflown. The one true answer, in my opinion, is "It depends". There are pros and cons for each of those approaches and my goal here is not to get into them, but merely show a picture of a board we've done almost 3 years ago that was merely reflown versus re-balled or replaced:

Well as can be seen in this case the repair has lasted 3 years.

It doesn't mean that every reflow will last 3 years. If it was replaced it would not have meant that every replaced BGA would have lasted 3 years (or 5 or whatever) either.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Processing delays due to global Texas power crisis

 As you may have heard the great state of Texas (in the approximate middle of which happen to be based) is experiencing one of the worst power crisis on record caused by definitely record breaking low temperatures and associated power demand.

As a result today, Monday February 15 2021 we had power from 12 AM to 2 AM, then from 2:30 AM to 3 AM, then from 3:30 to 4 AM, 12 PM to 2 PM and 9:50  PM until well, I don't know how long.

 Believe it or not the power stopped while I was finishing the above sentence.

 So since Sunday we have power for about 40 minutes ever 5-6 hours.

I think once we had it on for like 5 hours during the night.

Considering the prognosis is for negative temperatures to continue until next Friday I hope it is understandable when I say you should not expect much done from us this week.


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Accused in false advretising by Thomas Wiegandt

This is going to be another one of those facts versus claims article.

Earlier today we received a Google review of 1 star and two words for the description:


It was left by Thomas Wiegandt.

After some digging in our reccords we found that someone with that name - we'll assume it is the same person from now on - has placed an order from our eBay store a few days earlier.

This is the record from our online administrative system (click to view)

And this is the actual eBay order from eBay's website (click to view):

The listing for the order can be on the following eBay page (click to open in a new window):


Now, Mr. Wiegandt has not bothered to specify what exactly is the "false advertising".

Until he gets kind enough to elaborate I will first point out that it can not be related to the qualities of the advertised repair service for the simple reason that the purchase was made on January 27th and today is February 2nd, which means that even if the board to be repaired has been somehow magically transported to us on the 28th it would still be in the processing queue along with all other packages from 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 1st and 2nd.
This is also confirmed by the lack of communication from us since order was placed and a notification with reminder to send the board was sent.

I'd also dare to presume the board was not magically sent to us overnight.

I think the reason for Mr. Wiegandt's review is the fact that he just became aware that the listing (advertisement) is for REPAIR SERVICE and not for an actual physical board.

This is the most common issue we see and the reason why most repair listings for all repair service vendors on eBay have pictures which, in total violation of the eBay listing requirements (no text in pictures!), do include text in the picture. It is usually THIS BIG and says "REPAIR SERVICE" or something to that extent.
Here are a few random pics from the first page resulting in a "REPAIR SERVICE" search on eBay:

 Bose Wave Radio PROFESSIONAL REPAIR SERVICE for Model AWRCC1 AWRCC2 (See Photo) MAIL-IN REPAIR SERVICE FOR VIZIO  D55UN-E1   POWER SUPPLY   PLTVHU401XABVRepair Service For Whirlpool Oven / Range Control Board 4452890

 Of course our listing also says REPAIR SERVICE in the picture as you will see if you follow the above link.

It also says REPAIR SERVICE in the title of the listing.

It also says "You pay us to service, test and return your own module. Please read the listing!"  in the "Condition" field, right under the title.

The same in the "Seller notes" field that is in yellow, just above the description.

It also is listed in the " Specialty Services>Restoration & Repair>Electronics" category eBay has for the purpose (which BTW many repair vendors do not use, but that is another story).

It also says, at the very top of the description,


Coppell TV Repair LLC offers a REPAIR SERVICE for the power supply board  DPS-280LP / 0500-0407-0680 shown on the picture and used in VIZIO VO47LFHDTV30A LCD TV and possibly others.

REPAIR SERVICE means you have to send us your board, which we will test, service (if necessary) and return back to you.

And because in past years we often got calls and messages asking how does the repair services work (this is America, people have been taught for generations to use and throw out, not to repair), we also have a section titled "HOW DOES IT WORK", which explains it in plain, long, no-fine print English.

On top of all that we also send an email after purchase with shipping instructions.
You can see that in the picture from our site at the beginning of this page.

And on top of all that we also send a snail mail via USPS for all sleepy heads who have somehow missed all of the above. The snail mail is mostly to bring their attention to the fact that they've ordered a repair service and we are waiting for them to send a board for repair. This is the USPS tracking number from the screenshot from our website.

Now, looking at the tracking information I see Mr. Wiegandt has received his USPS notification today:

Having probably expected a board he was probably disappointed he didn't get one, but a piece of paper instead.

The piece of paper is tricky enough to point him to the actual listing where he could see for himself that it is extremely plainly and clearly explained what is being sold and how it works.

Some people only get more agitated when they see that. Probably because it pretty clearly indicates the source of the problem being themselves.

Some would try and find justification for their action while others would simply march to the nearest computer and post a negative review, possibly after calling us on the phone and screaming at us.

Some would say that the page included terms like "Item" and "Items available" or "Delivery date".

While I can't disagree the eBay terminology is confusing in the context of repair services I also think that is a poor excuse. It's like saying that all people are lairs just because you've been had once.

Or thinking that all women are cold just because you've been rejected once.

There are a few confusing terms eBay has placed on that page (and refused to change; we just gave up trying) out of about a THOUSAND words. Most of them are very very clear and detailed.

It's just not right to seek excuses there.

And even if would have been right then the complaint should be targeted to the eBay's reviews page, not at ours. 

We can't control how eBay lays their pages. God knows we tried. Fact.

Look at our own website, for example.

This confusion could not possibly happen there. We just do not take money upfront for any repair service, so you could not have paid mistakenly for one.
You have to send us a board to repair and you won't do that if you want to buy a board.
And if you can buy a board at our website you will be shipped a board.
No room for confusion.

So, if my assumption that the bad Google review is due to confusion on the customer side, it is unfair, since the advertising is extremely clear, at least as far as we are in control of it, and second, it is misplaced, since the ONLY part that may be attributed to some confusion, is an act of eBay and their wording and elements on the page (their mobile pages are also confusing because they omit a lot of the stuff for the sake of simplicity and easier conversion).

If anyone can add arguments for Mr. Wiegandt's view I'd like to hear and address them.

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.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Finding truth through fact checking and exposing contradicting statements

(The title of this posting was "I can't stand liars contradicting themselves and still arguing", but it was rightfully pointed to me that it doesn't present a seller in a good light to call customers liars, so I changed the title.
Nothing in the article was changed, though, nor, I think, its relevance or validity - a factually incorrect claim/lie  is still a factually incorrect claim/lie.)

 In the light of everything the political life brings us lately in America (but which has been brewing for a long, long time) I thought I just had to disclose this, which would throw some light for those wondering what kind of company we are that doesn't thank and worship his honesty the Customer as has been historically adopted as a norm of behavior in the good old western world of Capitalism.

This is not about Capitalism, however, nor for best and worst practices for creating and maintaining customer confidence.

it is about something deeper than that - the human decency and sticking to right and wrong.

There are plenty of people I do not agree with on all kinds of topics, but that doesn't make them my enemies, only my opponents.

There are plenty of people I don't think are telling the truth, but they are not necessarily liars - some of them just believe what they say is true as much as I believe what I say is true - we just see the world through different paradigms.

And then there are people who contradict both their own statements and apparent indisputable facts.

No, this is not about Donald Trump, but for this type.

So the latest negative feedback we got on eBay states:

"Sends unproperly packaged items and when damaged takes no responsability."

Spelling issues aside, this sentence makes two claims:
1) We send poorly packaged items;

2) We take no responsibility for doing so.

Below is the full , unedited exchange between us, which happens to address both of those (bold and underline are mine).
As can be seen in our FIRST response we take responsibility for resolving the problem the customer has by instructing them to return the item they are unhappy with for prompt refund or replacement - entirely in line with normal business practices and eBay requirements.

And as can you see further down customer himself states the item has no signs of damage in transportation, which, according to his own logic (bold, underline) means it was well packaged.

There may have been an oversight in the first place - something to which we again clearly admit in the messages - but that is not referred to as packaging.

I do not know what the truth is here. I believe the customer has indeed received a damaged item.

Whether we didn't see it when we were packaging it or whether it got damaged during shipping is impossible to find and hardly relevant to the extent that even if we could so,ehow manage to prove that USPS damaged the item that would still not award us with absolutely anything since there is no coverage with items sent via First Class.

I will point out I do NOT agree with the logic (bold) that if a package is damaged then it means it was poorly packaged. If that was true there would be no need of claims against carriers ever.

In conclusion, this buyer got something that was somehow not meeting their expectations, complained as they should, were told to return it (seller always pays for that) for exchange or refund and for some reason did not like that option.

Not sure what other option were we supposed to offer. Money back?

But everyone could make such a claim and everyone can bend feet and send picture. Who are we to say who is honest and who is not?

And how to believe this customer was honest when they left review which is flat out lying in us not taking responsibility?!



I finally received your TSOP48 adapter, and when I first took it out of the package and removed the pink anti-static foam from the pins immediately noticed that there where 4 really very badly bent pins (down to almost 90 degrees) in one row, and 3 more way out of shape pins in the other row although not as badly bent as the others. There was no apparent damage on the outside of the package, and as I said before the anti-static foam was in place although only very loosely put against the pins. I do not understand what happened here, if this was shipped this way with the damage already in place, or it got squashed during shipment. But in any case this adapter is pretty much in bad shape as I am sure one or more pins will break off if I try to straighten them up. I took several very detailed pictures of the damage that I can send so you can see the damage. Will await to hear from you. Thank you.


Coppell TV Repair LLC:

Well you have seen that the legs are in foam and you should be aware that
if legs were bent we would not have been able to put it in the foam in the
first place.

No need of pictures, just use eBay's function for returning
items for refund or replacement.

As someone who does electronics for
years, though, I very seriously doubt any type of bending, as long as it is
one time, could affect the legs in any fatal way - I'd just straighten them
and use the socket.

Not advising you to do that, I already told you what
to do; just sharing my reasonably solid experience using such things.

Well as I mentioned the bottom pins where actually NOT stuck into the foam, as I received it the foam was just loosely placed behind the adapter inside an anti-static bag. I meant to ask if you did pack this personally, as given the absolute lack of any sign of damage on the outside of the package, in other words that this might have been packed by a third party that did not bother to check it before sending it off. So unless the former is true, in any case the fact that this happened during shipment clearly shows that it was not properly protected. And the 4 pins being bent almost to 90 degrees (basically almost flat) with respect to the bottom of the adapter and all the other surrounding pins are just fine that tells me that it had to be quite a localized blow which I would think would have left a visible mark on the outside of the package, and there was none. I've been in electronics for the better part of 40+ years, just so we are clear here that I am also very experienced. And BTW sorry but I am not going to mess around with it or bother to return a $10 item as it will cost me more in my time and expenses than that. I will post the pictures online and send you a link a bit later so you can reach your own conclusions based on that. Thank you.


Coppell TV Repair LLC:

I did package that personally.

And frankly - no offense - I think you are paying way too much attention to it.

It is certainly possible - however unlikely - that I have not placed pins through packaging material
even though I take them off one roll to put the one being shipped into  another, thicker sheet, which I then cut around.

Whatever the case mistakes happen and while I don't think I've made a mistake neither the
value nor the time of resolving the issue are worth spending time looking for how it happened.

Just send it back for refund or exchange as I said before.

No system is made to be perfect, let alone one that deals with $10 tickets.

Whether the system is good is determined not by whether it makes mistakes, but by how many mistakes it allows per total number of operations and how it handles them.

All those are metrics followed by eBay and we offer the fastest and easiest solution in this case - return at
our expense and request credit or exchange.



I am paying too much attention, this is what you say?????

I received an adapter with badly bent pins and you say I am paying too much attention????

Again, want to make sure this is really what you are saying????

WTF buddy.


Coppell TV Repair LLC:

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

You were told instantly what to do to resolve the problem and instead of doing so you keep on focusing on something being bent.

That's not going to make it less bent nor will it establish with any reasonable certainty why was it bent; it does not help you or us or anyone to keep on staring at it.

This is a transaction that involves multiple parties - yourself included - and there is a protocol for resolving issues.

We are playing by this protocol.

You appear to be more interested in establishing the reason for the problem in the first place.

Nothing wrong with that as long as you do it on your time, but don't expect us to have the same focus on why something has happened rather than how to fix it.

And if that sounds wrong - because frankly in other circumstances I have to admit it would sound wrong to me too - then let me clarify: there is clearly no way to prove which party was at fault.

If there is to you there isn't to eBay , let alone USPS and because we work with them for many years there also isn't to us.

So, instead, for a third time: if what you received does not meet your expectations you are not only allowed to, you are expected to return it for prompt return or refund, just as the listing advertises.

At our cost.

There is no system that guarantees you trouble-free first time experience. We don't advertise it because we know it isn't in our power to deliver it.

We only do what we can do and under the circumstances this is to receive the faulty part back and exchange it or refund you.

Everything else is, for the last time, looking in the wrong direction.

Unless you share my opinion, which I still hold, that no one time bending would severely affect the pins of this socket. I know because I've seen way more sockets and bent pins in my life than I care to count and I have a pretty good practical experience of what they can take.

But I do not expect you to take that view, I just share it in case it helps.