We are in the REPAIR business. We do not sell new cameras, camcorders, TVs or VCRs, but yet several times a day we try to discourage our customers from repairing their older equipment. For many, this is a tough pill to swallow. We hear all the reasons: "It was working fine last time I used it, so it can't be serious." "It's nine years old, but we have only made about 5 tapes." ..and of course: "It cost over a thousand dollars."
The simple truth is that electronic components age from the day they are made. Some, especially electrolytic capacitors age even faster when not used. Shop labor is expensive due to the equipment and training we have to have. Many old and / or inexpensive items just are not economical to have repaired.
That camcorder you paid over a thousand dollars for 10 years ago, used top quality, state of the art components, but state of the art components from 10 years ago are failing today. Some camcorders use 50 or more surface mount electrolytic capacitors. When they begin to fail, not only do their electrical characteristics change, but they may leak. The chemicals inside are corrosive and can damage nearby circuit board traces and other components.
These capacitors are not trivial to replace on densely populated boards that are sandwiched closely together. The components cost a couple of dollars each, but the labor to change all of them, clean up circuit boards and realign the equipment will approach or exceed the price of a comparable new model,,, and you will still have a 10 year old piece of equipment..
We could replace just the components that have failed, but you will be back to see us in a few months as more fail. Our recommendation on eight year and older camcorders, generally is to replace rather than repair.
VCRs have become completely disposable. Many new units are not field serviceable. If they fail, you send them to the manufacturer for an exchange.
Sure, it cost $800 ten years ago, but you can buy one that does everything yours does and more for under $100. You can get a really fancy one for $200. Typical repairs on VCRs can exceed $100, and since few people are repairing them any more, parts are getting hard to find at an earlier and earlier age..
Halle's Service, Inc.
Last modified: March 31, 2007