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May 20 2010

The kindness of colleagues

Several weeks ago, our only two-years-old but no-longer-under-warranty DVR (Digital Video Recorder) stopped working. And when our cable company refused to even take a look at it despite our willingness to pay them to do so, we found ourselves searching for some trustworthy advice as to whether or not it was even worth repairing. (The cable company obviously didn't think so…but then again it's in *their* best interest to sell us a new one.)

Dr. Darling opened the box up to find that it appeared to have blown a condenser. And when a bit of web research indicated this was common problem in this particular model of DVR, a very cheap part to buy, and also fairly simple to replace for someone with the right knowledge and a soldering iron (AKA her brother), the spendthrift Swede was determined to give it a try and began making plans to organize a trip up to Halmstad.

But then Post Danmark called with a job offer starting in a week's time, which had the ironic effect of making the DVR repair both more urgent (we were heading back to a 10 p.m. bedtime) and more difficult to schedule (much smaller window for a road trip to the family electronics workshop in Halmstad.) Quite frankly, I was ready to go out and buy a new one just for convenience. But neither one of us really wanted to spend that much money without talking to someone knowledgeable (and neutral).

It was then I remembered that there is an R&D Dept. full of electrical engineers at my office that I could ask for advice. Duh! So, armed with the photograph Dr. Darling had taken of the guts of the DVR and the fried condenser, I asked some colleagues if they thought it was repairable, and if so…could they recommend a reputable electronics shop in Malmö?

And then, in true electronic-geek-who-loves-to-tinker fashion, they said they'd be willing to take a crack at it…which was way above and beyond the call-of-duty. They promised me they would only work on it in their spare time, and I promised them I wouldn't be disappointed if it turned out that there were more problems than just a blown condenser.

They handed it back to me this afternoon with assurances that the new condenser was performing as it should, but without hooking it up to a TV and inserting our digital card, there was no way for them to tell if the box was actually working properly. But tonight, when Dr. Darling hooked it up, it sprang to life as usual and appears to be operating perfectly! SCORE!

So now I've got to figure out something really nice to do for my colleagues, who wouldn't even let me pay for the part they replaced. I'm so grateful for electronic geeks who love to tinker! And I'm even more thankful I don't have to watch live TV anymore!

Feed my ego!

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