Guide to Troubleshooting and Repairing Consumer Electronics Without a Schematic: Introduction

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0. Contents + Introduction (this page)

1. Servicing methods without a schematic

2. How to locate, test, and repair

3. Troubleshooting and repairing audio amps, large and small

4. Troubleshooting auto (car) receivers

5. Troubleshooting cassette tape players

6. Troubleshooting/Repairing CD players

7. Troubleshooting the CRT TV chassis

8. Troubleshooting/Repairing power supplies

9. Troubleshooting/Repairing stereo sound circuits

10. Troubleshooting/Repairing AM/FM/MPX stages

11. Repairing VCR and TV/VCR combos

12. Repairing remote control units

13. Repairing DVD players

IMPORTANT NOTE: While much advice in this guide applies to modern electronics, a significant portion of it is targeted at older/ legacy gear (e.g., VCRs, B/W TVs, CRT TVs, cassette players ,etc.). We feel legacy electronic gear provides the perfect learning aid: it's cheap and does not require a microscope to see components with your naked eyes! So grab this old "junk" from eBay or garage sales ... practice and learn on it using this guide ... and, then, use your skills for any troubleshooting/repair job -- vintage or modern -- that may henceforth come your way!

In this thoroughly updated new edition of this Guide, our prolific authors provide experienced, hands-on information and advice on how to troubleshoot and repair a wide range of electronic units--when you don't have the benefit of schematic diagrams.

Our authors, some who actually ran their own successful radio and TV repair business for more than 50 years, show you how to diagnose and solve the circuit problems that commonly occur in audio amps, auto receivers, TV chassis, cassette decks, CD players, AM/FM receivers, VCRs, car radios, stereos, boom-boxes, and more.

Included are more than 400 detailed drawings and photographs that illustrate the most efficient methods for locating, testing, and repairing defective components. In addition, this guide offers:

  • A list of typical mechanical problems that can crop up in each type of electronic unit.
  • A corresponding chart that points out where to check for those problems in a given unit
  • An abundance of all-new case histories that demonstrate how repairs have actually been made
  • Instruction on how to tackle "tough dog" problems

Indispensable to today's professional electronic repair technicians, this gold mine of practical guidance will also prove highly useful to electronic engineers, sophisticated hobbyists, and advanced students of electronics.


The need to troubleshoot and repair consumer electronics without a schematic occurs every day in the life of a busy electronics technician. The technician who repairs all types of electronic equipment must make quick and practical repairs; otherwise, he or she will be out of the business within a few years. It’s difficult to have every schematic of the electronic product that appears upon the service bench. Remember, these technicians turn out hundreds of electronic repairs each week, month after month, without a schematic.

Even the largest and best-equipped establishment cannot have all the schematics required to service every piece of equipment that crosses the service bench. The more experienced and better informed the electronics technician is the more productive in troubleshooting and repairing consumer electronics he or she will be. This guide will help the beginning, intermediate, and experienced electronic technician service and repair different types of consumer electronics without a schematic. Besides servicing tips and valuable information, practical case histories are found throughout the guide.

The purpose of this guide is to provide practical service experience and methods for servicing electronic equipment without a schematic. Of course, repairing certain types of electronic products cannot be accomplished unless a certain schematic is available. There are many repairs you can make without a circuit diagram. The tough dog and intermittent service problem are difficult to find without a schematic.

Most repair centers cannot afford every schematic on consumer equipment. Others simply don’t have room for them. In addition, some schematics for import models are difficult to obtain. It might take weeks or months to get them, and the electronic product sits for days, in pieces, until the diagram arrives. Sometimes the schematic never comes; they are no longer available.

Guide to Troubleshooting and Repairing Consumer Electronics Without a Schematic begins with servicing methods. Section 2 shows you how to locate, test, arid repair the electronic product. Repairing audio amps, large and small, are given in Section 3, with the list of required test equipment, symptoms, and methods of servicing these amplifiers. Section 4 is on servicing the auto or car radio receivers.

Troubleshooting the cassette player is found in Section 5, with the various symptoms, tips, and actual case histories.

In Section 6, you will learn how to repair the black-and-white TV chassis. Section 7 shows you how to service the compact disc player, found in the boom box, table-top, auto, and CD changer. Troubleshooting the color TV chassis is found in Section 8 with the many different circuits and troubleshooting tips. Repairing power supplies is covered in Section 9, which covers all power sources found in the many electronic components. Section 10, on servicing stereo sound circuits, covers most stereo audio circuits located in the many electronic products within the consumer electronic field.

Troubleshooting AM/FM/MPX circuits is located in Section 11. How to service VCR mechanical and electronic problems is covered in Section 12, which provides various symptoms, VCR problems, and actual case histories. Section 13 shows you how to test the remote control and the infrared receiver circuits. The many service problems within the boom-box cassette and CD player are given in Section 14. Last but not least, 20 tough-dog symptoms and repairs are found in the Section 15.

Of course, in a guide this size, it’s impossible to show how to repair every type and model of consumer electronic products. However, information on how to troubleshoot and repair audio amplifiers, auto receivers, cassette players, black-and- white TVs, compact disc players, color TV chassis, stereo units, AM/FM/MPX circuits, and VCRs is found throughout the various sections, without schematics.

Don’t push that electronic unit aside and wait for the correct schematic. Apply the methods within this guide to turn out more repairs and fill up that cash register. Electronic products collecting dust provide no income. Troubleshooting and repairing consumer electronics can be fun and quite rewarding, even when the schematic is not available.

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Updated: Monday, 2019-12-30 20:00 PST