Repair or Replace

We live in a throw-away society, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A while back my 1970s vintage stereo receiver starting losing one channel intermittently, mostly on the ‘B’ outputs that power the speakers in my office. Eventually Natalie and Ian commented on it and I mentioned that maybe it was time to replace it. It’s fun to shop for new electronic toys (is this a guy thing?) so I basically got permission to go shopping.

I visited the big box electronics places and came away unimpressed with the offerings. They’re happy to sell you 5- or 7-channel home theater receivers but the 2-channel stereo receiver offerings were meager at best. I then visited a couple of independent audio/video stores in Bellevue, where at least there were more choices. Anything I would be satisfied with was several hundred dollars and the nice stuff was considerably more. I came home and did some web research and in the course of visiting several sites decided that I should just get my old Tandberg serviced. I tracked down a service manual for it from Stereo Manuals and a few days later had a copy of the book and schematics. Given the behavior of my unit I decided the problem must be in the output switch so I opened the box up and squirted a little contact cleaner into the switch. When that didn’t fix the problem I took it into a local repair shop. It turns out that over time the heating and cooling of the circuit board from the power amp cracks solder joints. The 4k tech touched up a bunch of solder connections and I picked up my receiver today and hooked everything back up. To my chagrin I still had a missing channel. The very simple solution was to reattach a wire that was loose inside the DIN speaker connector. Maybe that’s all I needed in the first place, but now I have at least some assurance that the whole receiver has been checked out professionally.

I’ve got my music back and that’s good. By servicing my old receiver I saved hundred of dollars and have a unit that’s probably built better than most of what’s on the market today. I also kept electronic trash out of the landfill.

So what did I do with the money I saved? I bought a Slim Devices Squeezebox so I can stream my favorite internet radio stations to my stereo.

The next stereo repair job is to refoam my Large Advent speakers. I’ve got the kit and just need to make the time to do the work. Then I’ll tackle my turntable, which probably just needs a good cleaning and lube job, as well as a new belt.

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