Introduction to the "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of..." Series


[Document Version: 1.21] [Last Updated: 05/25/1998]

1. About the Author & Copyright

Introduction to the "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of..." Series

Author: Samuel M. Goldwasser
Corrections/suggestions: | Email

Copyright (c) 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
All Rights Reserved

Reproduction of this document in whole or in part is permitted if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. This notice is included in its entirety at the beginning.
  2. There is no charge except to cover the costs of copying.

2. Introduction to the Introduction

The most up-to-date public versions of these articles which constitute a major
portion of the Sci Electronics Repair FAQ currently reside at:

  • Keep this in mind if you are reading this elsewhere as your versions may not be the latest. Major new releases come out every few months but minor corrections or additions may appear at any time.

  • 3. Purpose of the "Notes"

    The "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of..." series was developed to
    provide a resource for the hobbiest, tinkerer, engineer, weekend mechanic,
    housewife, dentist, and poet.  For you, I am doing this because I would
    like to help provide information that is not always readily available.  The
    sincere appreciation I receive via personal email is generally enough of a
    reward to retain my interest.
    The purpose of these articles is not only to help you repair your CD or VCR
    but more importantly, to educate.  Therefore, they are not quite 'FAQs' but
    rather complete maintenance and repair guides.  What this means is that you
    cannot depend on every problem to show up in the index.  For example, if you
    have a problem with say, a breadmaker, but there is no entry for it in the
    guide for small appliance repair, think of what is inside such a device: power
    supply, controller, motor, heating element, etc.  Then, find the sections on
    something similar.  It is difficult enough to provide coverage for every
    type of device ever marketed in this sector of the galaxy let alone the more
    remote parts of the universe :-).
    If all you want is a quick fix, the various 'Tech Tips' databases may be better
    alternatives.  They will likely list the most common problems and solutions for
    your equipment.  However, these seem to deal mostly with TVs, VCRs, monitors,
    and microwave ovens.  For anything else, you are largely on your own.  A quick
    fix may be possible but you will not learn much that can be applied to other
    problems in the future.  In addition, you may end up replacing many parts that
    are actually good since you will have done little or no testing.
    With the Notes, a quick fix may still be possible but you will have to do some
    leg work (or at lest finger and mouse work) on your own.  How much you will
    benefit will be a direct consequence of how much effort you put in - but there
    should be a significant amplification or multiplication factor.  Wherever
    possible, explanations of the equipment operating principles and likely causes
    of failures are provided.  You will gain at least some understanding of 'what
    makes it tick' and be able to carry over general troubleshooting approaches
    from one brand to another and even one type of device to another.
    I realize that not everyone will have the capability - or desire - to actually
    apply the information in these Notes towards a repair.  However, awareness of
    the likely causes and remedies for a particular problem goes a long way toward
    being able to make an informed decision with respect to repair or replacement
    options.  If you do take the unit to a service center or repair shop, this
    knowledge will enable you to deal with the sales droid or technician from a
    position of strength.
    For those of you who are professional technicians in business for profit, much
    of the information contained in the Notes is no doubt familiar.  However, if
    you are routinely referring to these documents, I expect that you consider
    them beneficial in some way.  This probably means some combination of savings
    in terms of time and money - which translates to increased profits.  I would
    hope you feel some minimal obligation to show your appreciation in some
    concrete way.  I am not sure what form this should take but you must realize
    that maintaining this continuously evolving and expanding site is a very
    non-trivial and time consuming task for both Filip and myself.  These Notes
    and other articles do not grow on trees or spontaneously sprout from the
    bowels of the Web server at this site!

    4. Why do I do this?

    I am an electrical engineer by profession.  I have spent significant time
    in both academia and industry teaching and designing in the areas of the
    architecture and implementation of digital systems.  The development of one
    particular special purpose high performance image and graphics processor with
    three of my students led to the creation of a business plan.  I have done the
    startup thing, been taken over by a big company, spent some time there, and
    become bored with corporate life.
    I also have always had a passion for fixing mechanical and electronic devices.
    As a kid, household appliances represented the beginning of my fascination with
    technology.  It wasn't long before the workings of the TV were of more interest
    to me than the mostly stupid shows.  Naturally, I had to see what was inside
    nearly everything.  Mechanical clocks seemed to suffer the most at first but
    fairly soon I figured out that getting things back together again was generally
    not that much more difficult than disassembling them in the first place.  This
    insatiable curiosity and unending search for challenges continues to this day.
    So now, I am an independent engineering consultant but spend much of my time
    helping others on the Internet newsgroups, writing these guides and other
    articles, providing free repairs for those who cannot afford professional
    service, going to garage and tag sales in search of interesting technology
    to repair or restore, and bicycling when weather and time permits.  For now,
    this is more fun and much more rewarding than a real job.  Only the future
    can tell what will come next!
    --- sam

    Written by Samuel M. Goldwasser. | [mailto]. The most recent version is available on the WWW server [Copyright] [Disclaimer]