My in-laws’ TV died. It was older, so I wasn’t terribly surprised. Unfortunately, TV is pretty much their main source of entertainment, so they needed a replacement.
We offered the one in our bedroom until they could take advantage of Black Friday sales. We don’t use it much, but it’s in good working order.
So when Tim couldn’t get it to work over in the guest house, he knew something was fishy. Turns out, the input/output cables on the old TV had gone bad.
The biggest clue was that the sound still worked, but there was no picture. If his dad had mentioned that, we might have suggested they troubleshoot it first.
Tim came back into the house, pulled some cables out of a box — where they seem to congregate and breed — and voila! Their TV works again.
Look, electronics are big and confusing and, in some cases, dangerous to toy with. But if you’re going to throw it away anyway… I just like to think that I would have checked the Internet before giving up on it.
Then again, I have fallen down on that in the past. Our old vacuum cleaner stopped picking up much of anything. I cleaned out the roller area, which managed to get matted with hair and, for some reason, floss.
I tried a couple of similar things, but nothing helped. I was tired and stressed (I know, shocking) and Tim was lobbying to just get a new one. I relented.
A couple of weeks later, we mentioned the issue to a friend. He pointed out it probably just needed a new filter. D’oh! (In my defense, I grew up with an actual bag vacuum. I’d really never dealt with filters before. Still… D’oh!)
Anyway, the moral of this story is: Check before you chuck.
My mom gave our toaster an extra 7-10 years of life by just replacing a power cord. She also kept our old VCR going: If it started acting up, she opened it up, cleaned it and it would behave for another couple of months.
One caveat: Know the obvious dangers. For example, never, ever, ever, ever mess with anything near a TV’s cathode ray tube. If it gets damaged, you are going to be hurt. Badly.
So, be careful, but be prudent. As long as you exercise some caution, you might as well try, right? If you’re going to throw it away, it doesn’t really matter if you break it more. And, as with my in-laws, you may just save yourself $150-200 with a $5 set of cables.