[plug] Hardware Repairs

Brad Campbell brad at fnarfbargle.com
Thu Nov 20 06:03:34 UTC 2014

On 20/11/14 04:21, Onno Benschop wrote:
> Out of morbid curiosity, is there still anyone around who repairs PC
> hardware?
> I have a client who was hit by a power surge last week and they're still
> picking up the pieces.
> Ethernet sockets, USB sockets and other interesting side effects on
> different machines.

We do specialist electronic repairs for clients in dire straits. Usually 
it's only when the units are irreplaceable does it even become 
economically feasible to even quote. An hour of my time to examine and 
quote the repair is often more than the board is worth for commodity 
equipment. It's a bit like forensic data recovery, if you have to ask 
how much then the data just can't be that valuable to you.

Its unfortunate, but electronics are so cheap these days and labor so 
expensive that even if replacement parts are available it's far cheaper 
just to trash and replace.

Things like USB or Ethernet are easily worked around with add-on PCI 
cards though. The issue with lightning or power damage though is often 
there are seemingly unrelated faults that crop up later from damage to 
silicon that is just not identifiable at the outset.

I spent my apprenticeship praying for clear sunny skies, for every time 
there was a thunder storm I knew I'd get into work to a filing cabinet 
full of toasted alarm panels. Anything with shouting distance of a 
telephone line usually went up in smoke. We had a list of semis for each 
model that we would replace whether faulty or not as we knew they 
generally sustained enough damage to die in the next 12 months anyway.

I've seen TV's with a hole blown clear through the PCB's seemingly a 
mile away from the area the lightning came in (power or antenna) with 
the components closer to the source completely unaffected. Surges and 
spikes do strange stuff.

There are plenty of people around who'll do an assessment on a no-fix, 
no-fee basis, but the assessment is generally worth what you paid for it.


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