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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 4:23 pm   #41
Radio Wrangler
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Default Re: End of an era.

I'm afraid they will soon have to put up a board explaining what the word 'repair' means in any future museum with a repair shop exhibited in it!

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Old 2nd Mar 2018, 5:45 pm   #42
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Default Re: End of an era.

Quote:
Let's accept the fact the game is up with the TV repair trade.
It certainly seems that way. Only a couple of weeks ago I was asked to repair a 42" LCD set, it just required a couple of caps replaced on the PSU secondary.
So the set was duly fixed, but the customer then phoned to say that they have decided to buy a new one!

I was told I can keep the set. That is three sets in as many months that have been dumped on me!
At least I can recoup my outlay when the car boots start up in the spring

Some customers complain at paying £30-40 to have their set repaired, even if it is less than 5 years old, how things have changed...

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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 4:46 pm   #43
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Default Re: End of an era.

"Some customers complain at paying £30-40 to have their set repaired, even if it is less than 5 years old, how things have changed..." Hi Mark, Agreed. £40 is about the maximum figure I can ask for to fix any LCD TV. It's worth bearing in mind that some garages charge £100 per hour to service cars.
Also, LCD sets are pretty reliable anyway so that'll be the reason why so there are so few enquiries about repairs.
The last CRT sets were pretty horrible, when did you see a Vestel 11AK47 model. It's ages since I was asked to fix a CRT set.

DFWB.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 5:17 pm   #44
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Default Re: End of an era.

In many cases customers can't wait for the receiver to break down so they can justify buying the latest model with that special 'plug'.

During my last year at the shop [2002] I was lucky to get £25 for the repair of a very expensive model. 18 months earlier it was a completely different story.

I could see the writing on the wall and decided to wind the business down and I have never regretted this. Service engineers even to this day are not valued, the public thinking that their services should be provided for free.

Those same people would think nothing of spending £1500 on an up market car service.

I very much enjoyed my working life but the last 18 months was a misery. The change was VERY rapid, at least it was in London. John.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 5:26 pm   #45
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Default Re: End of an era.

I'm amazed at the numbers of halfway decent, big screen, LCD sets in charity shops here, rarlely for more than £30. And even at that price, they often hang around for a few weeks.

You still get the very occasional easy one though, as mentioned previously. Our household telly (32" Samsung LCD) came from the bins over the road and just needed the faulty pushbutton assembly unplugging and a new remote control (genuine one from eBay, £4.99). It's used evey day by all the family and has never missed a beat.

But if I were in the trade, even if I had an endless supply of "no brainer" sets to repair, it seems that I would struggle to sell them.

N.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 6:20 pm   #46
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Default Re: End of an era.

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In many cases customers can't wait for the receiver to break down so they can justify buying the latest model with that special 'plug'.
I have had customers ask me to set up new TV's for them, in every case their old set was working fine & once the new set was installed they were more than happy to let me take away the old one!

It has to be said that these things are getting bigger & bigger, the last one I installed was a 60" monster, in a 12 foot square room!

Quote:
The last CRT sets were pretty horrible, when did you see a Vestel 11AK47 model. It's ages since I was asked to fix a CRT set.
It must be at least three years in my case, apart from one elderly customer, I never see any still in use. Even the pile at the tip is all flatscreen stuff!
Although I still use a little 14" Panasonic in the workshop


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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 6:34 pm   #47
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It has to be said that these things are getting bigger & bigger, the last one I installed was a 60" monster, in a 12 foot square room!
Yes, it's getting seriously daft. Given the size of your average modern lounge, there is no way you can view at the distance from those beasts that makes sense. If you try and explain this to people, they give you that "look" reserved for "out-of-touch ol' farts !"
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 6:56 pm   #48
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Default Re: End of an era.

It's got more inches so it must be better. I'm surprised they don't quote the size in cm to make it sound about 2.5 x as good!
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 7:16 pm   #49
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I don't understand why projection is not more popular amongst those who like big pictures - we have a small-ish TV set, but watch films with the kids using a data projector on a blank wall. There are hundreds of the things, really cheap on ebay. I guess it's 'only' svga, but it's good enough for me, and it goes away in a small cupboard!
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 8:04 pm   #50
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Default Re: End of an era.

One of the problems John had was people not collecting repaired sets, so about ten years ago he started charging estimates.

He would charge between 20 and 30 euro, which would then go on as credit if you went ahead with the repair. Generally they would go ahead.

That really picked out the time wasters.

John Joe.
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 9:59 pm   #51
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Default Re: End of an era.

I had a repair shop in the mid eighties, and I thank my lucky stars that after about five years of trading, I saw the future and decided to get out, whilst I was still in my late 20ís.

It was becoming, even then, more difficult to get service info and certain specific parts for a lot of gear, unless you were a Ďdealerí.


As a one man band, you had to be prepared to tackle almost anything that came through the door.

Whilst I enjoyed the faultfinding and the general process of the business, it was becoming obvious that things werenít going to get any better....
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 10:04 pm   #52
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Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
I'm afraid they will soon have to put up a board explaining what the word 'repair' means in any future museum with a repair shop exhibited in it!
The last time I visited the Science Museum, there was indeed a repair shop on display as an exhibit! All right, it was more a kiosk where a man had repaired mobile 'phones in Cameroon, and had been lifted lock, stock and barrel from where it had stood, but what more proof do you need that repair is being touted as an alien concept?
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Old 3rd Mar 2018, 11:56 pm   #53
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Default Re: End of an era.

HKS wrote: "Those same people would think nothing of spending £1500 on an up market car service."

Hi John,
how about this? Aston Martin service charges. 45K DB7 V12 service £1,670!
One TV service call today. 47inch LG with a damaged screen, the bairn had thrown something at the screen.

DFWB.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 1:12 am   #54
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Lovely story!
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Originally Posted by ben View Post
One initiative that I have seen talked about is 'repair cafes' - though mostly for computer/software problems and bikes rather than electronics at component level, at least it shows some increased awareness out there for keeping things going instead of buying new.
I've been a volunteer repairer at two Repair Cafes for nearly two years, and we get very few computers or bikes. We do actually get lots of portable radios and cassette recorders which I repair at component level, and large numbers of small domestic appliances, portable power tools, clocks and table lamps. Our 'success rate' is around 70%, and we are starting to see regular 'customers' returning time and again. Repairs like this are only really viable these days when volunteers do the work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by linescan87
I wonder if there will be a mock-up of a noughties repair shop in somewhere like the Black Country Living Museum in fifty years?
Yes, there will, if I have anything to do with it! But I'll be 115 years old by then... however the Black Country Living Museum is currently working on plans to recreate a 1959 radio & TV shop, including a small workshop.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 1:43 am   #55
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Default Re: End of an era.

It may be that the reason for few TV repairs is that that technology sector is in flux at the moment, in a way it wasn't in the TV heyday of, dunno, the 60s to 80s, when change was fairly slow (a new TV channel being a huge national event). Recently when my father passed away I literally couldn't give his TV away because it hasn't got enough HDMI sockets to interest anyone, even my brother in law who is in his late 60s dismissed it for that reason.

Plus, more and more pixels. "HD" is now low-resolution, heh.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 1:58 am   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thermionic View Post
I had a repair shop in the mid eighties, and I thank my lucky stars that after about five years of trading, I saw the future and decided to get out, whilst I was still in my late 20’s.

It was becoming, even then, more difficult to get service info and certain specific parts for a lot of gear, unless you were a ‘dealer’.

As a one man band, you had to be prepared to tackle almost anything that came through the door.

Whilst I enjoyed the faultfinding and the general process of the business, it was becoming obvious that things weren’t going to get any better....
This is more or less my story. By the mid 90's I quit. After that I have some times been given defective sets that I have repaired and sold, more or less for "fun". The last set I sold was last year. It was a 42" LCD that polish guy picked up for 30£ after being advetised for a while.

I still work with repairs, but now on equipment that costs 2+ millions £. Even on this equipment the customers think the repairs (and maintenance) is expensive. (We charge less than the car garages for our services.)
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 9:43 am   #57
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Default Re: End of an era.

For some there was still money to be made in the 80ís and into the 90ís, but I saw a lot of TV shops and repair shops struggling by the 90ís. I still had contact with a few in the trade around 1990 and shops that had been the mainstay of sales and repairs in this area were closing down.
I left the trade in about 1980, perhaps I could have stayed longer and reaped the benefits of the 80ís but in hindsight it turned out very well for me, I was lucky, many were not.

We still have one very local privately owned white goods and TV/radio shop, does repairs as well, so any thing I need in that line I use that as my first call, donít usually need to go elsewhere.
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Old 4th Mar 2018, 10:55 am   #58
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Default Re: End of an era.

I thought I was doing well to last in the trade until September, 2005.

The general public purse-strings were being tightened in the early 90's (also a recession around that time), by the mid/late 90's the general public were a lot less inclined to spend say £35 on a repair including service (VCR for example) when they could buy an unknown brand from their local supermarket for an additional £20 with a years warranty. Trying to explain, this is their machines first repair in 10 years & with my efforts would last a further 10, fell on deaf ears. Yet a few years before, replacing £300 video heads on £1200 machines was an 'every other day' occurrence. The amount of S-VHS/HiFi machines we saw, were clearly be used heavily, & they were happy to pay.
Needless to say, later on, 'they' seemed happy to buy new equipment every couple of years when a new 'must-have' featured appeared. Radio repairs were non-existent by then, we saw lots of TV's & VCR's, even HiFi as we know it was going out of 'general' favour, space & 'cheap as possible' being the order of the day.

Contract work in the commercial audio/visual sector kept us afloat, we too saw items coming in from the public, giving free estimates & then sets not being collected! Inspection fees where soon introduced, the cost of which offset against the final repair.

For us the closure of Willowvale plus SEME diversifying was a blow to our 'to hand' spares acquisition of TV/video recorder service spares. Obtaining service information & special test jigs for later models from big name brands was nigh-on impossible in the end, as these were essential items for camcorders/surface mount equipment/double sided piggy-back PCB's ... we could only fight for so long ...

The escape room here at home takes me back to those earlier, halcyon days of yore, whistling line stages, crackly radios, lots of volts, hot valves, old solder and occasionally, a nod to health & safety

I wish John a happy & fun-filled retirement

All the best,

Mark

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Old 4th Mar 2018, 11:03 am   #59
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Default Re: End of an era.

For white goods and radio/TV we still have Andrew Thomson's shop on Dunfermline high street. I think they still have their repair workshop out at Wellwood. All the others have gone apart from one huge Currys a mile and a half outside the city centre.

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Old 4th Mar 2018, 11:03 am   #60
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One TV service call today. 47inch LG with a damaged screen, the bairn had thrown something at the screen.DFWB.
Do you believe that David? More like deliberately smashed to claim on the insurance in order to obtain the latest model with the right 'plug'.

Amazing how many Betamax and Philips 2000 vcr's 'fell down stairs' or Cameron just happened to spill his orange juice into it....

I have been very lucky in life that I have never done a job I have hated. Don't get me wrong I have done some of the hardest manual work, filthy dirty, potentially dangerous, long hours and arduous labour to say nothing that I have done outside the television trade since the age of 12.

Money is not always the reason for hard and tedious work. Of course bills have to be paid and funds have to be set aside for a few simple luxuries of life. My last holiday was in 1961 when I was 13 years old and I certainly don't miss them. I managed some long weekends away towards the end of the shop days, travelling to France on my old Harley Davidson. Often a sense of self satisfaction is worth more than monetary gain, and that can be very small at times!

I used to love to open the shop, never late whatever the conditions and flick the master switch of the workshop. Service is all about just that, SERVICE.

Receivers had to be diagnosed quickly and reliably, a quote in my case given, [nothing annoys a customer more than receiving a higher bill than the so called estimate] Popular manufacturers spares had to be stocked in huge quantities if you wanted to supply the customer with same day service.There were a lot of popular models around in the 70's and 80's.

Repairs had to be executed in a professional manner, safe and reliable. I must admit I had very few problems but of course had one or two returns mainly due to intermittent faults. I never charged for extra work in these cases. They were rare and could easily be absorbed into the high level of turnover.

Then in the late 80's surface mounted components raised their ugly head.
This produced a time consuming procedure with tiny components that were difficult to actually see!

I hated the ICC series chassis produced by Thompson and so it appears did every other engineer in England and France including the Thompson service dept! At least I was not alone.

Most of the British manufacturers owned the Rental Companies. It was in their interest to produce chassis that were very easy to access and service.

Thorn probably produced the most easily repairable chassis, they owned most of the Rental Companies. As rental began to collapse so did the easily accessible chassis. Servicing was becoming much more expensive and difficult task.

You have to add to this the vast reduction in prices of the finished article.
The Toshiba 14" portable without remote control or teletext was over £300 in 1974. By 1998 it was around £150 with T and R and credit was handed out with the free newspaper.

The inevitable end was staring us in the face but many refused to believe this and soldiered on under very difficult conditions. Even the matter of simply parking you van outside the shop to unload repairs resulted in parking tickets and towards the end I paid a few for my customers.

We were now in the position of having to cope with construction of receivers that did not give themselves to straightforward CHEAP service. Spares and service data were becoming difficult to obtain and with the increasing apparent 'wealth' of customers and the massive reduction in cost of the actual equipment, it was obvious that the repair business would collapse.

After all if it were profitable, Sainsburys would have a repair branch on every street corner.

I'm not complaining. I had a very enjoyable working life in the television trade and outlasted many of my friends and even the large multiples.

We go by way of the village Blacksmith and many others that have faded over the last 50 years.

No demand for service, no demand for component suppliers and all the staff and industry that went with it.

Engineering is a dirty word in Britain today.

I used to have many Indian families as customers. I would ask the young lads what they wanted to be when they grew up. 'An Engineer' was always the answer, not Media Studies. Keep smiling, John.
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