July 15, 2024

This Week in Amateur Radio

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Hackaday

via HACKADAY: How to Repair? The Death of Schematics

There was a time when, if you were handy with a soldering iron, you could pretty easily open up a radio or TV repair business. You might not get rich, but you could make a good living. And if you had enough business savvy to do sales too, you could do well. These days there aren’t many repair shops and it isn’t any wonder. The price of labor is up and the price of things like TVs drops every day. What’s worse is today’s TV is not only cheaper than last year’s model, but probably also better. Besides that, TVs are full of custom parts you can’t get and jam-packed into smaller and smaller cases.

Case in point, I saw a “black Friday” ad for a 40-inch 1080p flatscreen with a streaming controller for $98. Granted, that’s not huge by today’s standards and I’m sure it isn’t a perfect picture. But for $98? Even a giant high-quality TV these days might cost a bit more than $1,000 and you can get something pretty great for well under $500.

Looking back, a Sears ad showed a great deal on a 19″ color TV in 1980. The price? $399. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that today that would be about $1,400. So with a ratio of about 3.5 to 1, a $30/hour service call would be, today, $105. So for an hour’s service call with no parts, I could just buy that 40″ TV. Add even one simple part or another hour and I’m getting close to the big league TVs.