Do It Yourself?
Can You Fix It?
Fixing Your Own Appliances
As usual, several things in our home have decided to die at the same time and we would need to get them fixed. The problem is that if we take all of them to someone to have them repaired it will cost us several hundred dollars. My husband has a degree in electronics, but works in the petrochemical industry. He can look at anything and fix it, but we can't seem to find the parts. Does anyone out there know where we can go or who to call about parts for VCRs, laser and deskjet printers and such? We have called the companies and they only seem to want to refer us to a "local authorized repair person". Argh!
I have found many parts are available through Sears Repair center http://www.searspartsdirect.com/. Many people are not aware that Sears Now will repair & sell parts to almost all maufacturers appliances. You will need your model number & manufacturer's name. IF you happen to have the part number that will also make it easier BUT they can get you any part (unless the manufacturer is out of business). I do not work for Sears in any aspect but I do love their new service repair center. It's a one stop repair shop.
I can sympathize with Tammy's husband's problem. As a Electronics Engineering Technology student, I wanted to tackle more challenging repairs, but was stalled by parts unavailability. Now a computer and printer repair technician, I've found a few good sources.
If you're in Canada, Princess Auto sells all sorts of neat surplus items, whole and disassembled from a variety of equipment. They have a variety of new and used stuff.
Also, a lot of different laserjet printers are built on the same "Canon engine." So different brands like Apple, Brother, HP, QMS, etc., especially in earlier models, may have swappable parts.
Buying from HP retail can be expensive, especially since they only sell some parts within assemblies. E.g. You must buy a new or refurbished fusing assembly instead of just a roller, in some cases. Try www.printerworks.com (American) for laser printer parts; they sell parts down to the individual gears. They also have great teardown diagrams!
For home electronics repairs like VCRs, you may find newsgroups like sci.electronics.repair to request information on finding parts.
For my own use and for obtaining electronic parts for others, I use a Mail order company called MCM Electronics. Their number is 1-800-543-4330 for a free catalog of parts for everything from VCRs, TVs to Microwaves and Computers. They delivery is fast and they are reasonable in cost, the only downside is that they have a minimum order quantity of $25. I highly recommend them though I priced them against local parts distributors and they were lower.
All those parts can be ordered from Sears at 1-800-4-my home.
I also have a degree in Electrical Engineering, and I do fix things as a hobby. I found http://www.repairfaq.org extremely useful for repair hints, and for sources for parts. I get most of my electronics components from MCM electronics http://www.mcmelectronics.com.
For mechanical repairs, I found epoxy and super glue to be extremely useful. Normally I find that buying parts from the manufacturer to be expensive. However on one occassion, the company that made the power paint roller that I was repairing, sent me the replacement part I needed for free.
Like most tinkerers, I hate to throw stuff I can't fix away. There has been many occassions where I managed to cannibalize parts. And what I do throw away, I usually strip the stuff for useable parts.
We have found that authorized repair services are usually happy to sell us the parts when we want to do the repairs ourselves.
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