Money saving tips

With over 30 years of award winning electronic servicing under our belts, We are always happy to share our knowledge by offering a few money saving tips.


We recommend clients seek advice immediately a problem occurs as even minor faults can turn into larger more expensive repairs.

– Keep user instruction books safe when purchasing appliances.

– Television Tuning: If you unhappy about the reception quality, fine tuning may improve it, especially if only one channel is effected but beware, fiddling without knowledge or the instruction book can be very time consuming to rectify.

Many TV sets have onscreen menu displays to operate the functions, the first option in the tuning menu is often AUTO. Pushing this can erase all the preset stations & search for new ones, this will find all the encoded channels and interference signals and load them as active channels, way out of the normal sequence you had before.

If the signal is ghosting or poor, the auto function may not even lock onto the required channel, manual tuning has to be performed.

With the increase of new channels, an efficient UHF aerial is usually required to be added to the existing VHF one. Rabbits ears are a compromise and generally not suitable for good Teletext and Nicam reception due to phase shifts in the signal, corrupting the data signals transmitted along with the picture.

– Plasma / LCD / Freeview – Sky Digital reception: A perfect picture does not mean good TELETEXT or NICAM SOUND reception which are both created by digital signals within the Analogue TV Transmission. Digital transmissions between studio & transmitter sites or satellite to set top decoder can exhibit picture muting (blue screen), pixelisation, picture freezing or lip sync problems, nothing can be done by customer control tuning to rectify this problem, the picture quality issues are usually only very short duration and not a major problem.

– Freeview Digital: See the Digital TV menu for more Freeview TV information.

– Digital Sky decoders can produce some strange effects, if you have sound distortion out of 1 speaker, make sure the volume is up on the decoder & down on the tv, locking up or strange effects can often be reset by turning off the mains supply to the decoder and repowering after 30 seconds, This is not a sky problem but quite normal with digital equipment. Sky pictures can differ in quality also, once again not a sky problem but a result of picture standards conversion from outside broadcasts from overseas countries. Adjusting the sharpness ot turning on noise cancelling features may help if fitted to your TV.

– Check with a neighbor if you suspect your TV reception may be the cause of your problem before you call a technician, this will help them and ultimately could save lots of money.

– Flat panel TV pic quality. Modern Plasma or LCD panel TV’s are capable of producing a very high resolution picture like that of a DVD disc. If normal analogue TV reception is viewed with a “less than perfect” signal, the reception can appear to be quite poor compared with the old tv it replaces, this is not a failing of the panel but simply reporting as a picture every piece of snow / noise / ghost it sees in the signal applied to it. You may have to get a technician to judge as this appears most noticeable from new before the customer has got used to the new technology.

– LCD Picture “smearing” with fast movement is not a failure but a design criteria, Only a few people will observe this and it’s not a problem, the lower the refresh rate quoted in milli seconds (mS) the less the slight picture smear effect but this feature comes at a cost, you get what you pay for regardless of brand. Turning off picture Noise Reduction settings can improve solarisation effects in places like peoples faces also.

– CRT Television colour problems, A lot of colour faults are due to the internal metal plate (shadowmask) behind the glass becoming magnetised, this can occur naturally with time due to the earths magnet field, putting speakers too close, childrens toys or switching on the Tv & rotating to view from the dining room table for instance. Mains “brownouts – where the mains dips lower for a couple of seconds” can also cause this effect where the tv does not fully shut down during tempoary mains failure.

Should this effect occur, turn the TV off overnight by the mains switch to be sure (NOT the Remote Handpiece) and the automatic degaussing circuit in the TV should clear the errors when powered up from cold the next day. Excess magnetisation of the picture tube may have to be removed by a technician if unsuccessful.

– DVD / PlayStation games, Make sure your discs are clean & as scratch free as possible. DVD discs use a shorter wavelength laser than audio Cd’s and are very critical to things like thumbprints & scratches, keeping your expensive discs safe and clean will save lots in maintenance costs.

The data on all discs is in the top layer under the Label, not the shiny lower surface.

It is important not to scratch the label or write on it hard with a ballpoint pen, this can damaged the data surface, felt pen is a better option if you have to.Scratches on the lower shiny level can cause the laser beam’s focus to changed & not read the data at the top of the disc under the label.

– Blu-Ray players, These suffer from thumbprints & scratches like DVD but MUCH worse due to the shorter wavelength laser and the considerably smaller “pits & lands”required for the higher density data on the disc.

For reliable viewing, keep you discs VERY clean, look at the disc reflections in the light, you will be amazed how marked they get.

Discs can be cleaned with a warm water damped, slightly soapy soft cloth, cleaned from the center to the edge, NOT rubbed around the disc, as any potential scratches will be too long for the laser to infil the lost data while spinning around.

Finally all laser products use optical lenses to focus the laser light, these can become corrupted in the atmosphere (like glasses and bathroom mirrors) and can become faulty after time – even if never used -often due to environmental effects like smoke, dust & moisture.

– CD cleaning discs have an “eyelash “type brush that will sweep the excesss dust from the lens but WILL NOT clean the blued surface of the lens or dichroic mirror in the laser assembly itself. More importantly excessive dust to be blown inside the optical unit creating a worse effect after running the cleaning disc. We have had instances where the upper optical lens has become dislodged after use of a cleaning disc, but in fairness they may have not been firmly attached, but still created an expensive repair.

– CD / Audio units / Speakers, same principles as DVD cleanliness, but audio units will often “skip” or jump tracks when the optics become dirty giving low laser light reflectivity off the disc, especially when the unit is subjected to excess vibration from speakers sitting on the same surface.

This will have to be a workshop cleaning job where knowledge is required to prevent expensive damage.

It is wise to mount the loudspeakers away from the center unit which should be mounted on a solid surface, (preferably not on the same shelf) to prevent skipping through mechanical vibration.

If speaker cables have to be joined, Make sure the joints are solidly connected (not twisted together) offset in each leg and well insulated. Likewise, where cables connect to the stereo, the terminations must be firm & no strands of wire exposed to short out, this can cause very expensive output ic failure which may not be covered under warranty.

100 watt speakers connected to a 10watt amplifier can still burn out! It is generally caused by the amplifier clipping, where a dc current is passed through the voice coil causing it to heat. The speaker coil may end up rubbing in the magnet or go open circuit, even fail a while later when the hardened copper wire can become brittle through heating with age & break.

It is also unwise to put speakers next to a CRTTV because of magnetisation effects causing coloured patches on the picture.

Some speakers are magnetically shielded but can still induce impurities after a while if within 1.5 metres of the screen. Some later tube type tv’s have a GEOMAGNETIC control function in the menu to tilt the picture slightly to minimise the purity patches due to the location. See the Television section above.

– Remote controls are more complicated and often vital to the operation than they appear, often having controls / menu functions not available on the appliance they accompany. Modern products are commonly set up from special service modes only accessible from the hand piece. They should be repaired by knowledgeable professionals as they can be very expensive to replace, often becoming unavailable from the importer with age.

Using an aftermarket universal remote often does not allow access to special codes should service ever be required, so don’t throw away the old broken remote, store it in the drawer and yor tv will never need adjustment!!

– Video Recorders are rapidly being made redundant by recordable disc and Hard drives, but most of us still have family footage archived for that rainy day.

The answer is to archive your precious memories by getting copied to DVD via a recorder or computer, but don’t forget you will still need a good working VHS VCR to play them on. The process is straight forward and can be done easily at home by customers but don’t think about doing it until it is often too late, causing extra expense.

If you intend keeping your working VCR until the very end,it should receive a preventive maintenance check every 12 months depending on frequency of use, as components can wear and cause damage to those valuable tapes or memories.

(Because the vision head drum revolves very fast, dirty heads can occur instantly. The tape passes over several surfaces / guides as it travels from one spool to the other, VCR’s that have been cleaned recently can require recleaning quite quickly if a corrupt or damaged tape is replayed, the contamination can also be carried to a perfectly good tape if played after a corrupt one. Everyone does this “just in case it was the tape”

VCR’s with internal head cleaning devices only polish the head shell area on the drum as it rotates during loading, THEY DO NOT CLEAN THE TAPE PATH and are a get you going mechanism.

– Microwave ovens can develop harmful radiation leakage, and should receive an electrical safety check “warrant of fitness” every 2 years, especially if the door or cabinet becomes damaged, to ensure you and your family’s ongoing safety.

Replacing a blown lamp is sometimes possible through a small customer access cover, but most ovens have to have the outer case removed, this is best done by a technician who has the tools to check electrical safety and radiation emissions once reassembled.

– Fax Machines often send poor quality, risking loss of valuable information. Very often no one will tell you until it becomes unreadable. Try copying a blank piece of paper, it should come out clean. Only certain parts of the fax’s optics are accessible to the user for cleaning, try and keep the machine as dust free as possible.

– Printers, It is wise to use the Manufacturers consumables, especially toners & inks, There is nothing wrong with some of the aftermarket ones that don’t leak but, should you have a major problem out of warranty, the supplier will be more favorable to possibly assist with the problem.

– Computers do not necessarily have to be replaced to be updated for performance. Storage capacity, internet access, games networking and multi – media capability are just some of the upgrades that can be done affordably if a major increase in speed is not required. Use your old computer as a workstation on a home network for the children as they get older and into higher education….There are lots of parental guidance solutions if this a concern to parents.

Make sure you have a good Anti-virus protection program and update with the latest definitions regularly, good free programs are available but yo get what you pay for. It can be time consuming & expensive to sort out later, often losing data in the process.