Replacing Electronics for Big Iron

      Here's a tip: shop around for parts or components before you buy a whole new touch screen, display, controller, or similar electronic element for shop machinery. You could save a bundle. January 2, 2012

The economy being what it is, I recently became the reluctant owner of a two year old Komo router when my casework supplier went out of business. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The LCD monitor just went out for the second time in two years. It's not under warranty. They want $3,200 for a 17" touch screen.

Itís something to think about if you're considering purchasing a router, new or used. Did the company make good decisions in designing their machine, or did they think it was a good idea to use $3,000 touchscreens with 12 month life spans? I wonder what other good decisions await me in the years to come.

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor K:
Did it blink before it went? I just repaired two Samsung LCD monitors with blown capacitors on the power supply circuit boards. The parts were a couple bucks. It's a well documented problem of bad capacitors in major electronics that spans a decade. I always Google the part make and serial numbers of everything I have for problems, repairs, replacement, you name it.

From contributor C:
We have a lovely $150K 3 head sander from a well known German manufacturer. One of our guys let a piece of EMT pipe slide off a wall and it bounced off the touch screen. Well, the machine still worked but occasionally burped. The sales company cheerfully told us that they would have to replace the entire computer, not just the screen, to the tune of $12K. When I recovered, we took the unit apart and got the details on the screen component. We found the manufacturer in Italy and located the US sales office in California. The part was $90. (I ordered several), took two weeks. Point of story: find the component. Sometimes you get lucky.

From contributor L:
I always try to find an alternative for parts rather than the dealer or OEM. I've replaced the screen on both our panel saw and router with off the shelf parts. I am currently doing a control redesign for an overly complicated control system on a German made machine. It will cost me less in components than just the temperature controller from the importer of the machine. From now on I'll be able to replace any failed part for very little by comparison. And I can easily read my schematics and parts list.

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