Infocus Blog

Anything broken or in need of adjustment of cleaning?

I’ve known for a long time that quality electronic and camera repair in Japan was far superior to the same in America or perhaps anywhere else in the world.  In the 1980’s I used amateur radio HF equipment from Japan and this gear sometimes required repair or adjustment.  I’d already experienced the long wait times and high prices not to mention the poor attitudes of such repair centers in the states so the 1-3 day turnaround time, reasonable charges, and attention to detail from the Japanese repair centers was very welcome.  Knowing the Japanese work ethic and their penchant for precision I wasn’t surprised.  Over the next decade I had many more radios repaired, cleaned and adjusted and even started doing the same with my high –end stereo gear.  Often in Japan you could get a $400 item repaired for $20-$30, while in the states the minimum service charge of over $150 made the equipment not worth repairing from a financial standpoint.

Several years ago I had the occasion to try out the Canon Photographic Repair Center in Bangkok.  Some drunk knocked my brand new Canon G9 from my hands to the deck of the ship we were on and ruined the lens and a few other things.  Canon Thailand accepted my USA CPS (Canon Professional Services) card for a 30% discount and had my G9 repaired overnight with a brand new lens assembly, total cleaning and adjustment, for a very reasonable fee.  I immediately brought them all my Canon DSLR bodies and lenses where they cleaned and adjusted each one for baht 400 each, and then applied my CPS 30% discount!  For a DSLR this included cleaning the mirror box, sensor, and exterior.  For the lenses this included cleaning the filters, lens surfaces, clearing the dust from the interior, and then aligning the autofocus adjustment to the individual camera body I specified.  A great service and the equipment looked like new when finished.

A few months later a electronic motor in an appliance burned out.  A quick trip to Chinatown and 600 baht later I had the original motor rewound and working like new.  They did it right on the street from a vendor cart while I watched.  The replacement cost for this motor was baht 14,000!

Last year my uncle visited and one of his hearing aids went bad.  He was upset because in the states you must take the broken hearing aid into the repair center, pay the minimum $179 service fee upfront, and then wait 2-3 weeks for it to be sent out and repaired.  If you were lucky they’d loan you a loaner hearing aid.  The only service they did in the “repair center” was battery replacement and cleaning and for the cleaning you needed to make an appointment weeks in advance and then you could wait while they did the cleaning.

We were in Pattaya when the hearing aid broke and less than 100 meters from our hotel we found a repair shop.  They repaired the hearing aid while we waited, cleaned both of his hearing aids, replaced the batteries, and charged him baht 400 each.  He was elated and super happy with the service.  He asked while they couldn’t provide the same service in America?

Three days ago both of my Viewsonic professional series monitors went bad at the same time.  I use these side by side in a dual monitor stand.  They were both purchased at the same time and were two years out of warranty.  I’m running a UPS so a power surge didn’t take them out, not sure what did.  Professional image monitors are very expensive so I called around for a repair center in Bangkok.  The Viewsonic repair center was less than 1km from my home.  The technician thinks he can have both repaired by the end of the week, all he needs are two rectifier bridges shipped from Singapore.  He estimates the total cost at about baht 1200 for the both of them.  I have no reason to think he won’t be able to repair them within his estimate.

Asia is a great place for camera, electronics, and appliance repair.  Instead of throwing out that broken cellphone, camera, printer, or blender.. consider finding a repair center and saving some serious money.  I think you’ll be very happy with the results.