Tech Products Are Increasingly More Difficult to Repair

Greg Wheeler
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Tech workers are tasked with keeping many different devices working properly. From routers to personal digital assistants and tablets, tech repair experts must know how to break down and fix or replace internal components. Many major manufacturers are making this process more difficult than ever, however, by using a variety of tricks that can foil all but the most careful tech repair effort. The reasons behind this are likely to arise from a desire to increase profits by cutting corners on more durable construction, to foil tech repair service attempts by those not specifically licensed or endorsed by the manufacturer, and to cut down on competitors' attempts to mimic the hardware—or a combination of all three.

Product development teams at major manufacturers regularly make choices that make it far more difficult for tech repair experts to fix their devices. This can lead to increased costs for repair, making the total costs reach the cost of purchasing a new device. Common methods include the use of proprietary connector hardware, such as screws that only fit one device or have unique heads that require screwdrivers made only by the manufacturer. Fused components, including RAM soldered to motherboards and all-in-one LCD screens where the parts have been intentionally melted together, further complicate repairs.

Other product development choices that can foil tech repair include the use of exceptionally tiny components. This may include proprietary hardware or simply exceptionally small screws and connectors. Companies may turn to adhesives instead of plastic or metal connectors in an attempt to cut down on overall weight and costs, but attempts at tech repair may result in irreparable damage due to applied adhesives ripping apart key components as soon as cases are removed.

Many retail outlets that sell tech from manufacturers who employ such methods have made deals to offer gadget protection plans. Tech workers who have the tools and skills to work on devices that require intensive care and specialized equipment should strive to find retail outlets willing to work with them. In many cases, consumers may save money on the costs of repairs by picking up protection plans at the time of purchase, though waiting up to 30 days until after the purchase is complete will give buyers the time to carefully read through such agreements.

Tech repair companies are likely to determine that work in today's industry requires specific tools and training. Investment in proprietary tools and those designed to work with modern lightweight equipment can give a business a competitive edge in the marketplace. Understanding how the various solvents available to remove adhesives work can allow technicians to remove cases or internal components without causing irreparable damage. Manufacturers are likely to continue finding new ways of doing things that complicate tech repair attempts, and it falls on retailers and tech developers or repair companies to stay abreast of these changes.


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