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The last couple of weeks have shown me that what I call an electronic technician is NOT the same as what today's employers call an electronic technician. Today's ET (in too many cases) is nothing more than a salesman/woman dressed in a working person's shirt.

I had a higher end microwave turntable quit rotating. I could not get right on it for a couple of reasons so it was taken to an appliance store that boasts in its ads about how they service what they sell. They did not even try to do anything but simply said they could not get the parts and to replace the oven. Well that didn't sit with me so a few days later when I got free I took a look both at the oven and on the internet. It took only a minute or two of looking to determine that the motor coupling to the turntable had cracked clean. A couple of more minutes on the internet and a replacement part was ordered. When the part arrived a few days later, it took only a few minutes to install it and the oven was back in full service. The part and its shipping came to about $25 while the cost of a new, comparable oven would have been around $250. Some Technician he was.

Then add in a $2500 (1990 dollars) electronic piano/synthesizer quit and went totally dead. The USELESS
"Just Answer" scam "technician" I wrote about a few weeks ago wasted a couple of days of my time. So it was call the area dealer and try to get a service tech to come out. Talk about a useless call! First they said it was so old that you couldn't get parts for it or even a service manual. Then he would only work on it if we took it to his shop. This is a full size piano/synthesizer and weighs maybe four hundred pounds at least. Most of it is in the case weight. I told him I realize that I would have to pay for his travel costs and time to come out to our house and the return time and costs plus the actual service call. He said just buy a new piano. He would not come nor would he promise to even try to repair it if we did get it to his shop.

Well I worked in electronic repairs from the days of vacuum tube TVs up to today's computers and figured I would take a look. Found a place to download the service manual for a few dollars. I had already did a lot of continuity checking and everything checked out okay. Pulled the power supply and did a few quick checks with my trusty pocket VOM and went to the internet to find a replacement for a suspect capacitor. Ordered one on the internet since finding a local parts store anymore is impossible. $1.29 for the part and $6,00 for shipping and tax, a minute or two work with the soldering iron, put things back together and the piano in now filling the house with music again. Yea, some technician he was!

That doesn't even count another tech who told us we would have to replace our noisy (growling/rumbling) clothes dryer because the motor was shot and it was very difficult to repair or replace. Well a few minutes of my time and the drive belt pulley with the bad bearing was found. A few dollars later and the dryer is back to happily and quietly drying clothes again. Yea, another salesman masquerading as a service technician.

If this "new" style of "Technician" is what the schools are putting out nowadays, the amount of money spent to replace rather than repair must be astronomical. But I bet the the "techs" get nice sales bonuses!
 

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I know what your talking about, worked on appliances from a kid till 2000, did house calls by the hundreds over the years, My parents started the mom and Pop appliance business before I was born, started working on washing machines when I was 12, Dad would bring them in and after school I'd tear them down and see what was needed. order parts rebuild take back to the customer, In the 90's appliances really started the toss it if it's broke method, I use to attend service school several times a year from the manufacturer, Newbies where fun to watch trying to work on stuff at school, now this was 20 years ago...... Those school training disappeared and the company we sold got sold off a couple of times, old days are gone,, Stopped servicing in 2000,, these days I am the only family member still running and working the parents business yet,, always did electrical work and HVAC with the appliances in a rural town, been doing mostly HVAC work now, and retirement is getting close...Steve..
 

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Oh man, you hit a nerve! I'm an EE and it's like the living dead out there. I come from the discreet device days when tubes were waining and trace boards were taking over. My scopes and signal generators have never been more valuable to me than they are now. The service industry is filled with "parts-replacers" that have meager diagnostic skills and some with barely more than a pulse. I have no faith in any "repairman". I wrench my own stuff, fix my own electrical, do board-level diagnostics and would prefer to live "off-the-grid" if I could. I wish that was possible.

I salute you.
 

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The industry and our country has done this to itself. Throwaway culture is better for the company bottom line. Minimally trained techs swap a part or two because crappy third world produced parts are cheaper than well trained techs.

If America designed, made, sold and serviced things we wouldn't be having this conversation. Why did our jobs get outsourced? Easy. That's our collective fault. Taxes on EVERYTHING materials & inventory, wages, health insurance costs, Federal, State & local government rules and regulations, "tree huggers" crying about everything a business does, lawyers and ridiculous lawsuits, an education system that has been allowed to become an indoctrination, because stupid sheeple are much easier to control.

That's how we got here. What has gone away is not coming back... sad to say.
 

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pyrdek,

I understand what you are talking about. Things are different. I still put groceries on the table fixing old Guitar amplifiers. It is a good way to work for $10-12/hour. No one can possibly be a tech for a company and make a living on 90% of the jobs. Way too time consuming, and replacements are too cheap to justify fixing the old ones.

In addition, the stuff is not made to be worked on. Surface mount multilayer circuit boards and microprocessor circuits are almost impossible. Even if you are willing to spend the time, the factories do not make available the proprietary software needed to download the proprietary program, even to their own repair centers. Modern Fender does not even make boards available to their own repair centers. If a $400 amp fails under the two year warranty, they just send a new one, after the warranty, they are throw away goods. They really don't care about the customer. (Just ask anyone with a 2000-2005 Corvette with electronic problems)

Like you, I have repaired a lot of things that most would scrap out. It takes about $100/hr income per man to keep a corporate owned shop in business, I still don't know how to do that with consumer goods.
 

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For those of you in need, check out this site, <Core Centric Solutions.com>, largest appliance reapir and remanufacturer in the country. Great people to do business with. may alsp be able to help you locate a qualified tech in your area.
 

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They probably couldn’t get parts for it, being that it’s likely made in China. Chinese products tent to have practically NO parts catalog whatsoever.
 

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There is more money in selling you a new item than fixing your old one.

Employers aren't willing to pay for the skills necessary to make legitimate repairs beyond swapping out parts, so they get what they get for slightly above minimum wage.
More accurately, the American consumer doesn't want to pay for qualified techs or quality products, or anything else.

Just throw it out, buy a new one, is a lot cheaper than paying for a qualified employee.
 

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Mercedes-Benz--The Best or Nothing.

I own a 1982 240D and a 1980 240D, both in immaculate shape. Well maintained to 339,000 miles for the '82 and 132,000 miles for the 1980. Took both to the Mercedes-Benz dealer in Medford, Oregon to have regular maintenance items done. Every time I was told--Sorry, we don't work on those--too old.

They used to do a pretty good job of detailing because the in-house detail shoppe (hi-falutin' spelling for shop) apparently gave a damn about well-maintained older classic Mercedes. Last time I took one of them in for detailing, I was told "We don't do that anymore".

Kinda funny that I can find parts online to do a complete ground-up build, but Mercedes dealership can't get parts.

If you're looking for a nice low-mileage 1980 240D manual transmission sedan, PM me. Got it for the wife, but she's decided she doesn't want to do the manual transmission thing anymore.

Moral of this story is "The Best or Nothing" must mean I have "Nothing" since the maker can't be bothered to work on their own stuff.

Mike Mann
 
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