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Computer schematics

The Hon. rawaudi@frugal.com (Robert Wheeldon) said:

> >If it were me, and they told me I had a "dead" $3200 computer, I would take
> >it to a TV/VCR or computer repair center with tools to diagnose and repair
> >the thing
> I cannot imagine anyone approaching the repair except on a hobby basis.
> Where would they get documentation for it?  Simple things like a schematic
> and parts list.  How many custom or semi-custom parts are installed and
> where could you get replacement parts.  If a person was blindingly lucky,
> the processor would have failed and it would be a standard chip without on
> chip program storage.  If the MCU has failed, you best hope is to salvage
> one from a wreck or find a technician or engineer willing to tinker around
> with it for an indeterminant time.

Related rant:

This is one of the real problems technical advancement has created.  
I work with a radio/TV engineer who would be fully capable of 
dismantling a computer, diagnosing the problem and replacing any 
components which are not proprietary (and most are not).  But first, 
he's gotta have a schematic for the d#*n thing!!  Bob has this 
exactly right.  One could spend many, many hours and *maybe* find 
a component problem without having a schematic.

BUT - there are no schematics available!!  Why??  (Here's the reason 
for the rant...)  Three reasons:

1)  Car manufacturers are NO longer in the business of repairing 
parts which fail.   They are in the business of *replacing* parts which 
fail.  BIG difference.  I can rebuild the fuel pump on my 1958 Fiat 
1200 Sypder, but not on my 280ZXT or Audi 200.

2) Car dealerships in the US cannot hire technicians who are 
*competent* to take apart a car's computer, diagnose a problem and 
repair it.  This requires sophisticated training, and mechanics don't 
have it.  I'm not calling them dummies, BUT pay scales for mechanic 
work at dealerships are so far below pay scales for competent 
computer technicians that it's not worth discussing.

3)  Dealerships cannot afford and have no interest in acquiring the 
diagnostic equipment required, even IF they could hire people who 
knew how to use it.  They are ALSO in the business of "old parts out, 
new parts in"...and as fast as possible.

I regret that this is the case.  If the manufacturers would actually 
release the schematics, they would be doing responsible owners and 
technicians a real service.  But remember, they don't want to take 
responsibility for UNauthorized modifications, either.

And so it goes....

Al Powell, Ph.D.                 Voice:  409/845-2807
107 Reed McDonald Bldg.          Fax:    409/862-1202
College Station, TX 77843      

"Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the
sun...but I have never been able to see the numbers."
             [From 5th/6th grade essays....]