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MST Radio Episode 26: Repairing Electronic Control Boards

Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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The Samurai and Mrs. Samurai share some highlights from the inaugural Appliantology Peer Group meeting. One of the topics discussed was the idea of doing electronic control board repairs as part of an appliance repair business.

 

To hear just the audio portion, subscribe to the podcast: http://mstradio.com/

 

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I agree with you that it is no longer intelligent or a monetary benefit to repair boards for all the reasons that you described. But, I spent some quality time alone in my workshop hunched over a bench with an unfolded paper schematic, looking through a magnifier , inhaling those leaded solder fumes. Of course with a wife and 5 kids I needed a place to hide. I think some of my inspiration came from those b/w Frankenstein movies, with the dungeon and noisy equipment with sparks buzzing everywhere. Trying to bring a dead board back to life.

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dave316

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 Thank  you  as well!!

Edited by dave316

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dave316

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Thank  you  as well!!

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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@Samtech - ezzacly right. I think playing with an arduino kit or something like that as a hobby or self-teaching experience is awesome and I do alot of that kind of thing myself. Some of it even has insight implications for what I do in the business of troubleshooting and repairing other people's appliances.

But offering board repair that as a service to customers is penny-wise and dollar-dumb. Someone who does this may get jazzed about the buck two-eighty they made fixing someone's control board. But, if they're looking to build and grow an appliance repair business, they're trading the bigger vision-- a low volume, high margin, multi-tech appliance repair company-- for navel gazing and chump change. 

@dave316 - Thanks for watching. Hope it gave some thoughts for planning your own business. 

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BoardFruit

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Wise Samurai.  It's very challenging to make a business out of this even when you do know electronics.  In fact, knowing electronic theory may only be half of what's needed to make money and happiness out of repairing electronics.  The proper Facilities and Equipment are a major investment, and you'll need Qualified, Competent Personnel (expensive) to turn over the Volume fast enough to maintain Customer Satisfaction.  You need to cover Logistics: shipping and receiving boards from all over the country/world.  And none of it matters if you can't get your name out there, so you need to be good at Marketing.  And you have to be constantly innovating and researching to expand your service portfolio in order to keep the volume up.  

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Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Great comment, @BoardFruit- thanks for confirming my perspective and sharing your insight and experience in this business.

I hear some appliance techs talking about repairing electronic boards in terms of "beating the manufacturers at their own game," as if the engineers are deliberately designing in failure or somehow making a game out of it. Anyone who's worked in manufacturing and engineering (I've done both) knows that this is just silly nonsense. Engineering departments have a budget they have to work within. Meeting that budget means making some hard decisions about hardware and software. There is no nefarious plot or conspiracy to defraud the customer or make the lives of repair technicians a living hell.

For appliance technicians, the most sensible and cost-effective thing to do (from the appliance repair company's perspective) if a board has provably failed is to either replace it with a new OEM board or have it professionally rebuilt by someone like your company. 

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