I'm re-reading this in 2014 and deleting most of the original information, and must now advise potential customers that I only repair the following items... all delivered to my workshop.
(a) Old radios (Around £30 to £75 plus parts)
(b) Computers (guide £30 to £50 plus parts if required)
(c) Commercial or industrial items (£150 per hour plus parts)
I no longer repair domestic stuff
Bearing this in mind read on..
"Can I afford to have my old radio restored?", must be a common question phrased by the owner of a battered example of an AR88 "boatanchor" or a near pristine Roberts from 1968.
The "Low Cost Repair Centre" rarely turns down a restoration job.
Usually I'm asked for a quote and sometimes a price guide for doing the work. I usually rely on my experience but will sometimes carry out investigative work.
How much will you charge for fixing my computer?
How long is a piece of string? Mostly a computer will have developed lots of faults before the owner looks for help. Sometimes it may just be a virus that has managed to get past an out-of-date anti-virus program. Whatever the problem, I can usually make a measured response based on experience.
The following should help as a guide....
To repair or restore most, but not all, Roberts sets is a very labour intensive exercise. The most common failing is the old Mullard transistor type AF116 or AF117 used, for example, in the IF amplifier. The IF amplifier module in a lot of Roberts sets is intimately connected into the wiring, demanding the identification and cutting of literally dozens and dozens of wires (some with coloured sleeving and some just bare tinned copper). It can take an hour just to identify the wires so that they can be replaced later. To get at the transistors requires the removal of the IF module and extraction of its printed circuit board. Then the numerous AF transistors have to be removed and tested. Any that are faulty will be replaced but the majority prove to be usable once their ground wire has been cut. For reasons of stability I prefer not to replace an AF transistor, but sometimes this is inevitable. It can take a lot of time to complete all the work. Finally, once it is reassembled, I align the set so that sensitivity is restored. This task also is labour intensive. All things considered, it is not feasible to charge a commercial rate for labour, unless the value of the finished item is very high or it has a special sentimental value.
I only repair commercial items but if I have a slack period, or find myself having to wait for parts, I can fit in repairs such as Roberts radios. Usually I can find an hour or two now and again. To complete a specific job such as this can take 5-hours but these hours may be spread over many weeks.
Mostly, computer repairs take an inordinately long time. This is because installing software can be a slow business and demand Internet activity to deal with updates and drivers. Fortunately I can leave a computer to it own devices while I get on with another repair. For example, to recover data from a damaged hard drive can take 36-hours. Clearly it would not be right to charge per hour for this as I'm not generally sitting in front of the computer for 36-hours.
Over many years I've established realistic times for doing most of the jobs on a computer, and it's on this basis I'll estimate the charge for the work.
I now never make a site or home visit.
I find that a problem computer will usually be misbehaving because of a software problem or a hardware fault. Is there anything else you may ask? Finger trouble, not reading the instructions and forgetting a password.
A hardware fault is usually a single fault in a specific module. This may range from the power supply, through the motherboard to a plug-in card or RAM. Also, one must not overlook other things such as a cooling fan on a graphics card or the one on the processor completely clogged up.
Identifying the faulty hardware is sometimes quite tricky, and demand lots of experimentation.
Software faults are the most common and can range from a fault induced by a virus, for example, to a programming error. Programming errors are usually difficult to fix and will require the use of the Internet to discover if anyone has published a report describing the problem, and offered a means of sorting it out.
Replacement hardware is priced at whatever it costs me plus a mark-up to reflect identification, sourcing, handling, and carriage or collection.
95% of my work is for businesses. Usually I repair printed circuit boards or electronic units for large machines, escalators or industrial plant of one kind or another.
In this category I also have to allow for rework or time spent discussing the problem and isolating the fault, not just time taken to remove and replace a twopenny resistor.
Older equipments are generally not particularly complex in their electronic design. A rule of thumb here is that if an equipment pre-dates the computer chip, there will be some way to get it back into service.
The more valuable the finished item, the more scope there will be for finding a solution to the replacement of a part. If an item must be put back into working order then it can be restored or repaired is a good general purpose rule, as often money is no object. Think about the cost of replacing a lift, made by a manufacturer that went out of business ten years ago.... maybe £9,000. An expensive circuit board repair is bound to be miles cheaper than the cost of a new lift.
back to the original question... "How much will it cost?"
The first step is to ask my advice.
e-mail me at allan$radiomuseum.co.uk but replace the $ with an @ (this is to avoid spamming)