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At what point do you give up on a repair?

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  • At what point do you give up on a repair?

    I don't repair amps for a living and only occasionally repair an amp for a friend. Therefore, I am not under the same pressure to repair equipment as some of you. That said, when is it time to give up on a repair? How do you know when you are done?

  • #2
    I'm extremely stubborn when it comes to repairing things.
    Takes a lot for me to give up, esp when there is no paying customer breathing down my neck.

    That said, I have been beat by some repairs.... but usually when I know I'm in over my pay grade
    or the thing is just extremely broken beyond fixing.

    Full disclosure, I'm not a trained electronics tech, just an amateur hobby guy.

    Usually the tough repairs go on the FP (future project) pile and get looked at later.
    Sometimes later means months or even years and sometimes by then I have more experience
    or i have come across some tech info (from a great forum like this) in the interim that reminds me of the FP and I get back to it and solve the problem.
    If it ain't broke I'll fix it until it is...
    I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous...

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    • #3
      Just gave up on one this week. From a guy at work. They said the fan stopped working, but they kept using it. Now there's no sound. No schematic, said "Behringer" "1000 watts"

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      • #4
        i stop when the probable cost of the work exceeds the replacement cost of the unit.
        Experience is something you get, just after you really needed it.

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        • #5
          As said by others...

          When I dig in and find I'm in too far over my head. I've bitten off more than I chew before and worked my way through it too. But it can be unfair to the owner to wait around while I learn something new. This is usually only an issue if there's a deadline.

          When I dig in and find that the cost of the repair is greater than the value of the item.

          That's about it. I never give up just because I'm stumped as long as I have time to try and work things out.



          "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

          "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

          "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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          • #6
            I don't take in outside repair work, just work on the (many) project amps I have acquired. I usually give up when the parts needed exceed the value of the amp. If I get stumped on something it will go back on the shelf for a while. Sometimes I will sell off a project on ebay if it has some value and I just get sick of looking at it.

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            • #7
              I gave up on a Crate solid state head for a family member. It was all PCB with stuff running everywhere and solid state is a bit of a mystery to me. Checked the basics, poked at it with a multimeter for a bit, fiddled with knobs, and so on.

              A good effort was made. A few hours were spent, but it all ended with a shrug. I'm always willing to try though.

              Time is precious and way more important than my pride.
              In the future I invented time travel.

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              • #8
                I always consider value - and that depends on who is paying. But it is one thing to stop a repair because we can see, for example, it needs both transformers and a set of tubes and all the pots have broken shafts and and and... But I think the spirit of the OP was when do you give up on a problem you can't figure out.. I am helping a friend learn this stuff, and he has asked me that exact question a couple times when we worked on a tough issue. He was baffled and had no clear direction to continue. Well I don't give up so easy. I stay with it, I try one more tactic. And sometimes just put it aside for a day or two. Another trick us to turn the chassis 180 degrees. Start looking at it from the front instead of the rear, or vice versa, My time is the value lost, not parts. Took me a long time to figure out a hum in an AMpeg GS-10. What it took was moving one ground wire to the other end of a ground feeder wire - about four inches. PArts cost? Zero.
                Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Enzo View Post
                  I always consider value - and that depends on who is paying. But it is one thing to stop a repair because we can see, for example, it needs both transformers and a set of tubes and all the pots have broken shafts and and and... But I think the spirit of the OP was when do you give up on a problem you can't figure out.. I am helping a friend learn this stuff, and he has asked me that exact question a couple times when we worked on a tough issue. He was baffled and had no clear direction to continue. Well I don't give up so easy. I stay with it, I try one more tactic. And sometimes just put it aside for a day or two. Another trick us to turn the chassis 180 degrees. Start looking at it from the front instead of the rear, or vice versa, My time is the value lost, not parts. Took me a long time to figure out a hum in an AMpeg GS-10. What it took was moving one ground wire to the other end of a ground feeder wire - about four inches. PArts cost? Zero.
                  Sort of the same thing I was eluding to. The troubleshooting process can be a real tense, headache inducing grind. But coming up on the other side is SUBLIME! My wife has learned to see that when I'm cussing at my bench and pacing around the house that I'm actually having some fun. It helps me greatly that she asks that when I'm in the throes. "Are you having fun?" Then I have to consider if I'm actually enjoying the difficulty. Since I'm not usually on a tight deadline it's easier for me. But I actually like a corker. That said... I HATE when I don't find my way to the other side of it. But we take the good with the bad. NEVER give up on a personal goal. Defining that is your own business.
                  "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                  "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                  "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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                  • #10
                    In that context (not counting parts cost), I'm often guilty of spending too much time on a difficult repair. I don't think of it that way, though. I think of it as continuing education. Something I learn from that occasional difficult repair will make me a better tech and make it easier to figure something similar out next time. Then, I can make up for the loss............ sort of an investment. Aside from that, it's just my personality. It's tough for me to accept defeat- especially from a box full of assembled parts that do nothing more than control the flow of current.
                    "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

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                    • #11
                      For every puzzler I get to learn from that takes way too long, there are plenty of times just experience and systematic thinking get me to the solution is VERY short order.

                      Experience counts in many ways. MY pal invited me and the wife over for pizza one time. WHen we got there instead of a dinner plate, in front of me on the table was a Peavey Classic 30 chassis. HAving previously boasted I could have the boards out in a very few minutes, he called me on it, said I had to prove it for my dinner. The first one I ever did was a pain, but after a couple. a snap. SO six or seven minutes later, voila boards out.
                      Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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                      • #12
                        I often know fairly quickly whether I'll throw in the towel on a repair or not. Once I've figured how to open the unit (which in some cases have been made overly difficult by the mfgr), if I see nothing but mass-produced multilayer PCB's loaded with nothing but SMD parts, switching supplies, Class D amps,,cheap PCB, and essentially 'throwaway' technology, plus a street price for a new one that is less than two hours of my labor charges, I'm not going any further. Or, as is the case with the small collection of Line 6 amp products in our rental inventory....these are all owned by Line 6 a stone's throw up Hwy 101 from us.....the only servicable entity in those is the power amp section. Everything else is high-density SMD with wide ribbon cables, not serviceable without factory fixtures and such......I'll pass there too. Life is too short on some of these things.

                        But, on the well-engineered, well-built products made for years of service, while misbehaving in a way I hadn't seen before.......I see those as a new adventure in the 'classroom' to pursue. Always something to learn, and education on the job is something I've spent a lifetime doing and pursuing. When something that ends up taking you 17 hrs to arrive at a solution, for example, I'll bill for what a job like that should cost had I the insight to see up front what the problem and solution was. Cost of personal education for me. I won't always go down that road, if I see quickly I won't have the time when it's popped up, and there's a lot more work behind it that I can crank out and get paid to keep me alive...I'll set it aside to resume the pursuit when time permits. And, of course, let the client know what the issues are, and he'll get it at a respectable cost when it's thru.

                        I've had to give up on a good many repairs. All part of the road we trudge upon. Those are far and few between all the successful adventures in the shop.
                        Last edited by nevetslab; 10-29-2020, 04:23 AM.
                        Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence

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                        • #13
                          Well I find that sometimes a tough repair can teach me something that I never knew before...but when it comes to this throw-away equipment where the cost of repair greatly exceeds the value of the unit, then it is time to stop...and I find that most people will say....I don't want to spend much money....when I hear that, I explain to them what is involved in sourcing information, parts, etc....I even show these people some of the SMD boards so they can actually see for themselves what they are like and I explain to them what some of the parts are....then they seem to understand my side of things.....and I don't give free estimates...I charge for them.....that usually weeds out some of the repairs that are not worth looking at....and if I spend a long time for a repair, I do not bill the customer for every hour.....I will also explain to them that it took a long time and I don't feel right in charging for all the labour so I cut it back for them....and they appreciate that....and apparently some of them come back when something else needs repair...and everytime I do get in a jam I check here on this forum first.....I have learned a lot from this forum....

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                          • #14
                            The question is how far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go for a customer? Many times the problem is that you don't necessarily know it's a rabbit hole until your already in it and by then it feels defeating to turn back. My rule of thumb is if the item is for a close friend or something I own then I pursue deeper into those head scratching repairs. I have had a few customers realize that some piece of gear is just a lost cause and they give me the unit for spare parts. For those customers there is a new appreciation that is created by this interaction and they learn real quick not to bring certain repairs in the first place. I can name four amps that caused me trouble... Crate GT200D, Reverb tank squeal on a Vox Cambridge amp, Epiphone EP-800, and Line 6 Spider II. Those were my rabbit holes that I ran out of time or had to give up on the repair. The Epiphone is still sitting around and I may open it up again to work on it. Also I still have the Line 6 amp and will give it another look soon. I might just gut the digital preamp stuff out on that Line 6 amp and just install some sort of simple preamp to feed to the working power amp, just for fun.
                            When the going gets weird... The weird turn pro!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Enzo View Post
                              For every puzzler I get to learn from that takes way too long, there are plenty of times just experience and systematic thinking get me to the solution is VERY short order.

                              Experience counts in many ways. MY pal invited me and the wife over for pizza one time. WHen we got there instead of a dinner plate, in front of me on the table was a Peavey Classic 30 chassis. HAving previously boasted I could have the boards out in a very few minutes, he called me on it, said I had to prove it for my dinner. The first one I ever did was a pain, but after a couple. a snap. SO six or seven minutes later, voila boards out.
                              That is awesome.

                              This isn't just the case in amp repair but in everything. There is a point where salvaging the original isn't worth it - unless the owner has an unlimited budget and an emotional attachment to it. In IT it is typically 40% of the purchase price is the cutoff. After that it doesn't pay to fix it.

                              If you have an amp like a Blackstar I worked on quite a while ago that burned several components it can be a challenging decision. When I was unable to get the schematic for it to identify the parts needed and couldn't get info from the company (it was well out of warranty) I returned it to the owner. I wasn't going to guess, especially with a circuit board that was questionable. I'm sure the owner wasn't happy that the amp he spent a lot of money for would have taken another lot of money to fix because of restrictions by the company.
                              --Jim


                              He's like a new set of strings... he just needs to be stretched a bit.

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