A Word About Estimates.....
Of course you want to know how much it is going to cost to repair your equipment. Unfortunately, electronics repair doesn't work like auto repair. In most cases, the failure in a car is obvious and easily determined - the brakes, muffler, belts, alternator, etc., and an estimate is simply a matter of looking up the necessary parts and time required for a typical repair.
In electronic equipment, the cause of the problem is not usually obvious. When electronic components fail, they don't usually look any different. If a component does appear burnt, it is usually because something else failed and caused too much current flow through that device. In addition, often one component fails and causes several others to be damaged, none of which 'look' bad.
Diagnosing the failed component(s) in a piece of electronic equipment is a lot like the process required of a detective in solving a crime. The criminal never has "MURDERER" stamped on his forehead, so the detective must gather information and fit the pieces together to figure out whodunnit. Likewise, the electronic technician must gather information by taking voltage readings using test equipment and interpret those readings to figure out what is happening in the circuit. It is a process of putting clues together to solve a puzzle. Since even the simplest equipment may contain hundreds of components, it is not practical to remove and test each component. Doing so would take hours and would probably cause more damage than the original failure.
In most cases, in order to figure out how much it will cost, the technician has to essentially do all the diagnosis and repair the unit before an amount can be determined. All too often, after replacing one (or more) defective components, the unit still has problems that were masked by the earlier failures. And then most people wonder why there is an estimate fee!
Generally, about the best we can do is to test the operation and try to determine if the problem is obvious, such as visible broken connections. We check for damaged expensive items, to see if it will be an expensive repair. Then we try to guess how long it will take to find the problem. If no expensive parts were identified, we can make a guess as to what parts might cost. From this we can get a range of cost for the owner.
The best scenario is for the customer to be aware of the typical range of costs described on the previous page, and tell us how much they can live with for a repair cost. If the actual time and costs are less, the bill will be less. If it looks like it will go above that amount, we will call the owner.