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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Don't Throw Out that Broken Piece of Crap Electronic

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Don't Throw Out that Broken Piece of Crap Electronic

My neighbor's son has just had a fit. His PS2 just stopped working. After further prodding, come to find out, one of his little sisters tried to stick something in there that didn't belong. Well, no wonder then. Mom was getting ready to throw it out...wait, hold on there. With a purchase of $30, my other neighbor fixed it in all of two minutes, and it works as great as the first day they bought it. How did he do it? How did he know how to do it? How do you know when to trash, fix or sell something electronic? Here goes...

Gotta love the internet. I've bumped and tripped my way through getting things fixed (or deciding to trash them) a few times. My first step is always to google the the error message or what your device is doing. Eight times out of ten, I've solved the problem that way. You are never the first person with that problem...almost 99.9% of the time.

If that's not doing the trick, and you can't find the answers that way, check to see if your item is still under warranty. Always save sales receipts so you can prove when and where you purchased the item if need be. If you don't want to save old receipts, scan them and put them in a folder on your computer (be sure to back it up too).

Next, google the company and find their service or customer support webpage. Follow their procedure, whether it's by phone, email or message board on how to get help. I once emailed a small toy company, complaining about a remote controlled helicopter's rotors that broke the first few minutes we used it. I made sure to put my mailing address in my signature line. Before I knew it, I got a package of two new replacement rotors at no cost to questions asked. I've also returned mp3 players....twice...and once got a repaired one back and the other time a brand new one...all within a two week timeframe. Always start with the company first.

If that goes nowhere, start googling message boards. You want to look for message boards for fans of your device...the more fanatical, the better. Some of the folks on there live and breathe for that device. You want to detail exactly what your device is doing and then follow their advice. Again, I have gotten many answers myself this way, knowing next to nothing about electronics other than where the plug and "on" buttons were. One thing to keep in mind though, if your item is still under warranty, some of the tinkering the "experts" recommend might void that warranty. So again, always start with the company first!

Still with a broken device? If someone told you, you need a such and such repair part, check eBay first and also google the repair part. The PS2 above needed a new lens. All we did was do a search for "lens repair kit" before we hit paydirt. A friend told me about Rapid Repair and if they absolutely can't repair it there and send it back (they specialize in iPods), then sell your broken stuff on eBay or Buy My Tronics and save the cash towards the purchase a new gadget.

Before closing, there's one more thing to try. If that all gets you nowhere and you're just not ready to give up yet, then just get out your local yellow pages. Remember those tv repair people...the guy who has a shop down in your local strip mall? They do more than tv repairs. Most repair almost anything electronic. I've even seen some who will warranty their own work! Bring in your item and get an estimate from them. If they can't do it, get their advice on what they would do with it. Your item may still be able to be saved!

What have you done with your broken electronics lately?



Blogger Linda said...

I have to be honest...if it's a CHEAP appliance/electronic item, I will get rid of it (usually thru freecycle, because someone always takes broken stuff to play with/learn on!) my son's CD boombox/cassette/radio. Just got it at Christmas. Paid $25 for it. My son decided to put his finger on the lens. Repair kit would have been more expensive than a new CD player. So, I freecycled the boombox, got a new one. the case of my hubby's iPod, we could not get it to turn off. I googled "can't turn off iPod" and found message boards galore...had to do some digging, but found out how to reset it...and discovered (while reading) that it might have to be reset several times...good thing I read thru several times!

I've gone to the company for lots of things, and you're right, they'll send you what you need, usually without a problem.

One thing I did discover. If your appliance/electronic item is obsolete, or the item/company is no longer, DON'T give up! I needed a battery for my cell phone...took awhile, and I checked out over 20 sites but got a battery for $12.99. The next cheapest site was over $35. And I needed a manual for a bread maker I picked up on freecycle. The company no longer made appliances and had no manuals available. I checked eBay...someone wanted $20 for a PDF I kept digging. After about 20 pages, I found a FREE downloadable manual....

The biggest thing, I think, is to KEEP TRYING!

April 29, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger tootie said...

Thankfully, my husband is pretty handy, so he can fix most of them.

I never thought about googling a problem with electronics. Good tip!

April 30, 2008 at 12:17 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Thanks for the extra tips!

May 1, 2008 at 5:08 PM  
Anonymous JHS said...

Great tips!

Thanks for participating in this week's Carnival of Family Life hosted by Riley at All Rileyed Up! Be sure to drop by and check out the other wonderful submissions included in this week's Carnival!

May 4, 2008 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Be sure to check out other great posts at the Carnival of Family Life at

May 5, 2008 at 4:51 PM  

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