11. July 2016 · Comments Off on A Guide to Buying a Cheap Smart TV · Categories: electronics · Tags: , , ,

So you’re thinking about buying a Smart TV? Of course you will be spoilt and maybe confused by choice.

What then is a Smart TV?

Without going into miniscule detail it is fair to say that a Smart TV is any TV that comes equipped with its own inbuilt internet connectivity. This allows access to the mind-blowing range of on-line services; including web browsing, social networking, films, BBC iPlayer … oh and television broadcasts.

A Smart TV will bring the wonderful world of the internet to your front room.

The price of Smart TVs has steadily fallen over the past few years; now is the time to buy. Technology has advanced at a pace, so much so that the more information we have the more we are confused.

Do we go for LED, OLED, HD or 4K screens? Should the screen be a flat or curved design?

Tip –Read all the reviews, get confused and then use your own eyes to make a final judgement.

Thankfully this guide represents a technical and jargon-free zone!

Before setting your budget there are a few things to consider:

Which size screen should you choose?

Bigger is not always better, a huge TV in a small room can be overwhelming, a small screen, insignificant and totally underwhelming. There are guidelines as to screen size relevant to viewing distance … please! Common sense based upon your previous experiences should be your guide.

Some screens have more magic sprinkled inside than others, one screen may just simply be sharper and crisper than another. Go to a decent retailer for honest advice and have a look at the quality before you commit.

Tip– When assessing a TV take a look at the screen from a variety of angles in order to see if the colour and vibrancy varies or degrades significantly from the head-on view. You may have the plum spot in your front room, but spare a thought for the children, each condemned to a corner … it’s always the children who suffer.

What features should you look for?

Quite frankly look for the features you want; there’ll be plenty you don’t.

Well first off connectivity to the web, how easy is the web to access and navigate? Ask for a demo from that keen young man on a sales bonus.

Perhaps you may like to link another device to the tele, such as you iPod. If so make sure the Smart TV has Bluetooth.

More likely you’ll probably want to link a Sky box or a Blue-ray player, in which case you’ll need HDMI connections. Or, if you’re intending to link your steam driven VHS player, then look around the tele for a scart connection.

Maybe you’d like to link some USB devices?

Tip – Think about what you want, tell the lad and he’ll advise.

Some sound advice; Always check out the quality of the TVs sound output; it’s important! Muffled dull sound will ruin your entertainment experience. Ask for the set to be turned up, is the sound still crisp and clear?

Also check out the sound settings in the menu; you’ll no doubt find a choice of setting to enhance your listening pleasure.

Is there an option to activate a surround-sound system? A fine experience and a great way to get your own back on the neighbours with the barking dog!

How much should you pay?Quite simply pay only what you can afford, although don’t skimp and stick to known brands. The top four TV manufacturers are LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic; competition is fierce as prices continue to fall.

Tip -Shop around and keep your eye open for a TV that is about to be, or has been, superseded by a newer model. You’ll more than likely get a Smart TV with more features then you could shake a stick at and a bargain to boot!

 

01. April 2016 · Comments Off on 7 Tips For Buying A LCD Television · Categories: electronics · Tags: , ,

Buying a LCD televisions can be a daunting task. With so many makes and models to choose from its difficult to know what’s features are important and which brands offer value for money. The following article provides several tips to consider prior to spending your hard earned cash.

Tip #1: Use Consumer Reviews. If there is ever a chance to separate the wheat from the chaff, reviews are a great place to start. You’ll discover which models are proving to be a hit, where to find value for money and which models have potential problems. This can save you the heartache of buying and lemon and help you get started in the right direction.

Tip #2: Consider a refurbished LCD TV. You can experience savings of between 50 and 70% depending on whether you choose a factory refurbished or third party refurbished model. You need to investigate the options here. Some products come with an extended warranty. However, the factory refurbished models are usually the only models that come with a manufacturers warranty.

Tip #3: Consider whether you want a plasma TV, straight LCD TV or high definition LCD TV. Plasma TV’s offer the best image detail but are not as bright as LCD Tv’s. High definition LCD TV’s basically double the image rate at which you view the image in a second, which means you’ll experience a higher quality picture. You will need to examine the options here and make a choice.

Tip #4: Avoid buying a LCD Television at auction until you determine whether your purchase will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. In some jurisdictions, despite the fact that the product may be new and you are purchasing at a discount through a retailer, the manufacturers warranty may be void by law.

Tip #5: Consider the size: You will need to put some thought into your viewing environment to determine the size and shape. If you have a large room and seating is dispersed, you will need to consider what size is appropriate for the room.

Tip #6: You will need to consider the light levels of the room. Different models may be appropriate depending on the light intensity levels. Brighter TV’s will enhance the viewing experience if the environment is dark.

Tip #7: Consider your budget. This will help to refine your options. There will always be price, feature and size trade offs. Once you know your limit you can confine the options. You should consider researching online to find the best bang for your buck. You may be lucky enough to pick up a great deal through a sale.

Consider the above advice and do a little research online. You’ll be a more informed consumer and make a wiser choice. You may even save yourself considerable money if you happen to find a great deal.

23. March 2016 · Comments Off on Tips For Organizing Electronic Files Efficiently · Categories: electronics

Does your desktop display look like mine, as if a folder exploded on it and dumped files all over the screen? If it does, you will know how frustrating it is to be unable to find a file. What makes it even more frustrating is that all the directories you’ve searched through have turned up nothing.

One way of organizing your electronic files is to group them together by type. These can be stored within a single folder. Of course, you’ll have to remember which folder contains what, so be sure to name them appropriately. Organizing your files this way ensures that all your image, word or slide files are kept together and minimizes the time you spend looking for them. Files stored in this manner can be accessed alphabetically or based on when they were last modified.

Creating folders within folders is another way of organizing electronic files to create less clutter. A master folder can contain all files of the same document type. Each sub-folder can, once again, be categorized alphabetically or chronologically based on the date it was created.

It’s easy to let old, unused files languish on your desktop, so make it a point to clear out clutter periodically. Clutter in this case refers to files for which you have no use because the information they contain is obsolete or the matters they deal with have been permanently resolved. As one of the major tips for organizing electronic files, doing so frees up valuable storage space on your computer as well. If you’re not sure about deleting things, a good rule of thumb to follow is that if it’s not been used in 5 years, it’s safe to delete it.

Organizing your files helps you find information quickly and efficiently. It also lets you keep track of the information you have on your system and whether it’s still needed.

18. March 2016 · Comments Off on 3 Helpful Tips When Purchasing Surplus Electronic Components · Categories: electronics

There are times wherein electronic components become obsolete. One of the reasons is that manufacturers probably invented a better design that is more efficient so they decided to stop producing the parts that you are currently looking for. However, you do not have to worry about anything because there are still shops that sell such electronic parts. You just have to search on the net to be able to find the supplier that can provide your needs. Let us discuss some helpful tips that can serve as your guide when purchasing surplus electronic parts so you can get the best deals for the right parts.

1. You have to make a detailed research on these surplus parts. You have to understand that not because it is surplus it does mean to say that it is no good. There are surplus parts that can last for years. You just have to inspect the things that you are buying so as to make sure that you will be able to get the value of what you are paying for. Remember, no matter how desperate you are into getting the part that you need, you still have to examine it closely. You cannot just go ahead and purchase the first part that you see on the internet. You have to look at your options and weigh things carefully to be able to make the right purchases.

2. It needs to have a warranty period. This is will give you the assurance that you can get your money back or have the electronic components replaced just in case it breaks down. There are online shops that offer a warranty period for the items that they are selling on their websites. Some even offer a one year warranty. You just have to clear this out with the person that you are dealing with so as not to have any problems later on. Before you receive the merchandise, you have to make it a point that the warranty issue has been discussed with them so that when something happens to it after a few months, you can get back to them and make the necessary claims.

3. It is important that you research on the credibility of the store that you would want to deal with. How was the experience of their past clients? Were their clients happy with their purchases? Are they really selling genuine parts? These are just some of the things that you have to ask yourself when making your surplus parts purchases. The store needs to have the right credibility in order for you to trust them. This will ensure that all of your purchases will be worth it. I am pretty sure that you do not want your gadget to break down again after it has been repaired, right? So, it would be better if you will spend some time researching on the store’s track record before you make the necessary purchases.

Indeed, buying surplus electronic parts is already a gamble. You do not know how long these parts will last. That is the reason why you need to be wise enough when you make your purchases. You have to make sure that the money that you will be spending for these parts are worth it. So, what are you waiting for? Start researching now so you will be able to find the surplus electronic components that you are looking for.

10. March 2016 · Comments Off on 10 Smart Consumer Electronics Tips for the Home Environment · Categories: electronics · Tags: , ,
  1. Plan for HDTV now – High Definition TV is the new digital standard for 
enhanced picture quality for TV broadcasting. If you’re buying a new TV or video projector, make sure you’ll be able to enjoy the incredible sound and pictures that are part of HDTV.
  2. Wire for everything now – if you are building or remodeling your home, 
wire it with a plan for future needs. While no one can guarantee what the future will look like, CEDIA Professionals make it their business to stay current to offer good advice about technologies that are on the horizon. Best of all they can help you sort out the hype from the reality.
  3. Insist on integrated systems – As you buy new electronic components, 
make sure you shop for equipment that can be hooked up together and operated with one, easy to use control system.
  4. Don’t buy yesterday’s products (often what is in stock) – Many stores 
purchase large orders of all equipment and sell it at discounted rates. Shop with a dealer than only provides you with new equipment and technologies.
  5. Consider integrating lighting control with your home electronics system –
Lighting sets the mood for home theater, entertaining, or just a quiet night at home. You can control your home lighting from the same remote that you use to control your theater or music system.
  6. Think with your wallet, but lead with your head. Quality and long-term 
dependability are the most effective attributes that you can build into a home.
  7. Buy an experience, not a box – Find a dealer that allows you to test drive
the entire system or at least experience the thrill of a high performance system. Few people have the time to research and evaluate all the hardware choices. It’s smarter to focus on the end result and make your choices based upon overall performance and value.
  8. Don’t think you have to put up with hard to use, multiple remote controls –
Easy to use, all-in-one remote controls are available for any system. You can even have them custom programmed so they make perfect sense to you.
  9. Consult a professional – Designing and installing reliable, easy to use 
systems that add real quality to your lifestyle is the goal of CEDIA professionals. Check to see if the company you’re considering has CEDIA Certified Professional Designers and Installers on staff.
  10. Increase your service expectations – Your home electronics system is a
big investment. Automated Solutions professionals will provide you with extensive options, comprehensive designs, complete installation and especially, in-home service for your systems.
01. March 2016 · Comments Off on 15 Tips for Creating a Strong Digital Marketing Strategy around Your TV Commercial · Categories: electronics · Tags: , , ,

1. Create a Landing Page

Create a dedicated landing page frkg-digital-strategy-for-tvor your campaign. This page should be the home base for your television commercial content and offering. It will help interested TV viewers find your site and learn more about your campaign.

2. Optimize It

Make sure the content on that landing page matches how users would look for the content from your TV campaign. Optimize meta elements, include on page content that informs users about your campaign, and encourage prospective customers to learn more about your brand and your offering.

3. Be Mobile Friendly

Make sure mobile users can access and digest content. Mobile is a strong medium for potential customers to access your site, make it easy for them to find and interact with your brand.

4. Earn High Quality Backlinks

Just like you have to market your product or service, you need to market your campaign online too. Earning backlinks from influencers in your space will take that campaign content from “just there” to “everywhere (you want to be)”.

5. Close the Gap Between TV and Digital

With a little planning, you can close the gap between your TV ad and the digital world. Include searchable content in your TV ad like a landing page URL or unique hashtag. This gives prospective customers clear direction on how to find you and interact with your brand.

Keep the Conversation Going on Social

6. Engage

When a user engages with your brand on social, send personalized responses that reflect the voice of your brand. Social is an excellent medium for building relationships with your customers. Use their interest in your TV campaign to bring them into your social circles and use great engagement on social to keep them in your client base. Growing your social audience also gives you a strong community from which you can draw future content strategy ideas.

7. Keep the Conversation Going!

Transfer offline ideas to online conversation. Introduce the idea of the campaign on social media and keep a conversation going around hashtags, your brand, and your campaign theme.

8. Introduce Unique Content

Give social its own flavor. You may have started the campaign in your commercial, but continue that idea on social. Include related content or creative additions to that TV ad in your social posts.

Drive Direct Response with Paid Search, Display, and EmailPaid Search

9. Plan for Full Keyword Coverage

Advertise on your brand and any non-brand terms related to your campaign. Paid search lets you pay for the top spot in the SERPs and capture that valuable traffic you’re driving from your television ad.

10. Connect Ad copy and Landing pages

Coordinate your ad copy and landing pages with your TV campaign. Make sure you’re referencing commercial content in your ad copy and sending users to your dedicated landing page where they can learn more about your television campaign and brand.

11. Don’t Forget about Mobile

Mobile searchers make up a big part of site visits. Figure out their true value (taking conversions, cross-device conversions, and in-store traffic and purchases driven by mobile visitors into account) and bid mobile ads appropriately.

12. Customize Like Crazy

Use display advertising to push out the message in your TV campaign to your most promising prospects. Place a pixel on the dedicated landing page to retarget customers that have already visited your page. Also consider using prospecting to get your ad in front of customers that are in market for your product or closely match your target demographic, even if they haven’t found your site yet.

13. Re-affirm Your Message in Display Creative

Coordinate display creative with your TV ad and send users to that targeted landing page to pull your very best prospects back onto your site.

14. Send it

Include your most engaged customers in your campaign by reaching out to them directly. Send an email with your campaign’s value proposition and how to take advantage of it to your existing customer base to drive strong direct response.

15. Customize and Optimize

Make sure your content is viewable no matter how readers are accessing it. Mobile-friendly emails are a must for getting a great response. Also customize your message to your unique users. Tweak your message or its presentation so it resonates with each unique group of customers’ motivations and interests. Get more bang for spending those big bucks on TV. Use these simple tips to make your television campaign resonate in the digital world.

22. February 2016 · Comments Off on Tips for Buying a Cool TV · Categories: electronics · Tags: , , ,

A Short History of TV: The Magic of 3 Colors — RGB

TV has advanced together with our knowledge of how light can be generated. Since Scottish inventor John Logie Baird introduced the very first mechanical TV in 1925, marvelous advancements have been made to TV technology. But the foundation of color TV—the primary colors Red, Green and Blue (RGB)—is still the same as it was the first color transmissions were developed back in the 1930s and 1940s.

In fact, the emergence of the latest TV trend—thin, flat and sometimes curvy—started only about 10 years ago. In the history of TV, CRT TV dominated the market for a long period during the 20th century. It may be surprising that inside every cathode ray tube are electron guns. The TV functions when the electron guns fire three electron beams (one for each color) through a vacuum tube at a glass plate covered with a phosphorescent screen, causing the phosphors to emit light.

Despite being the dominant display technology for so long, CRT TVs have several limitations. Because the electron beams need to be the same length to all parts of the display, the screen curves away from the viewer, creating an uncomfortable surface for viewing. Additionally, a certain distance between the display and electron guns is essential, resulting in difficulty in making CRT TVs thin, and the glass screens were thick and heavy. As a result, CRT TVs have lost popularity as new display technologies arise.

TV has advanced together with our knowledge of how light can be generated. Since Scottish inventor John Logie Baird introduced the very first mechanical TV in 1925, marvelous advancements have been made to TV technology. But the foundation of color TV—the primary colors Red, Green and Blue (RGB)—is still the same as it was the first color transmissions were developed back in the 1930s and 1940s.

In fact, the emergence of the latest TV trend—thin, flat and sometimes curvy—started only about 10 years ago. In the history of TV, CRT TV dominated the market for a long period during the 20th century. It may be surprising that inside every cathode ray tube are electron guns. The TV functions when the electron guns fire three electron beams (one for each color) through a vacuum tube at a glass plate covered with a phosphorescent screen, causing the phosphors to emit light.

Despite being the dominant display technology for so long, CRT TVs have several limitations. Because the electron beams need to be the same length to all parts of the display, the screen curves away from the viewer, creating an uncomfortable surface for viewing. Additionally, a certain distance between the display and electron guns is essential, resulting in difficulty in making CRT TVs thin, and the glass screens were thick and heavy. As a result, CRT TVs have lost popularity as new display technologies arise.

The Rise of the Flat Screen
Beginning around the year 2000, the CRT era began to give way to lighter, flat screens. Before this time, it was difficult to imagine hanging a TV on the wall, but with PDPs and LCDs, wall-mounted TVs dramatically changed the interior of people’s homes.

The first alternative to CRTs to gain popularity was the PDP TV. As the name suggests, PDP uses plasma to generate light, making it thinner. Plasma is one of the four fundamental states of matter, but is not a solid, liquid or gas. It refers to the electrically neutral state when the number of positive and negative charged particles, or ions, is equal. The northern lights in the Arctic and lightning are two natural examples of plasma light. A PDP is made of two glass plates surrounding millions of phosphor-coated, gas-filled cells. When electric stimulation is produced, gas is discharged and light is emitted. Because PDPs use inert gas, there is little risk of explosion from this unique chemical reaction. There are two panes of glass, in front and behind, that protect from leaking gas. This makes PDP TVs slightly heavy, but safe.

PDPs were successful in making flat screen TVs more popular, due to a clear picture quality that was great for watching movies and sold at reasonable prices. Now, the number of PDP models is on the decline. PDPs use high voltage when discharging gas, resulting in high energy consumption and heat generation. A rather dark screen required additional power. Issues of longevity required even more voltage to generate a brighter picture. Limitations such as these made way for the next evolution in TV displays.

LCD displays addressed the disadvantages of PDPs, and have become the latest trend in TV technology. Almost 99 percent of TVs sold globally today are LCD-based TVs. Unlike PDPs and OLED TVs, which produce light on their own, LCD TVs use a backlight in the rear panel that passes through a color filter to produce a range of colors. The liquid crystal layer is located between the backlight and the color filter, blocking any color that must not go out.

Because LCD TVs use a separate backlight, the screens are brighter without sacrificing the lifespan of the TV. The human eye is more sensitive to brighter screens than darker screens, which is a major reason LCDs have become the most popular type of display today.

As for LED TVs, the explanation is fairly simple. They are simply LCD TVs that use small, long-lasting LEDs for backlight. It’s hard to believe that a fluorescent lamp is inside each display. Previously, LCD TVs used parts in the shape of fluorescent lamps for backlighting, such as cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL). But these days, most LCDs use LED backlights, so the terms are almost interchangeable.

OLED is a technology that emerged more recently in the TV market. It uses millions of RGB organic LED pixels to generate light without the need of a backlight, producing more precise and deep blacks and colors. OLEDs can also be made flexible and just a few millimeters thick.

Why then do OLED TVs make up just a little over 0.1 percent of the market eight years after launching?

RGB OLED is very useful technology for mobile devices and today is most commonly used in smartphones.But OLED TVs currently in the market use white OLED (WOLED), a deviation from the RGB OLED. OLED displays produce colors on their own without the need of a color filter, but a color filter still exists in WOLED TVs. Unlike LCD TVs that use LED as backlighting, OLED displays produce their own backlighting. At this stage, verification concerning lifespan and durability of RGB OLED screens for big TVs has not been completed.

LEDs to Lead the Future of TV
When consumers choose a TV, they consider elements such as picture quality, price, design and life span. Different display technologies have their own strengths, but the TV technology that is currently satisfying consumers the most is LED display technology. Market research groups agree, predicting that LED TVs will lead the market for some time. This is due to the manufacturers who are maximizing the strengths of LED TVs by overcoming the limitations of TV.

The price of early LED TVs was expensive, reaching thousands of dollars, but has since fallen significantly, and today screens larger than 50 inches can be purchased for less than $1,000. Today’s screens can be even thinner than 1 centimeter and are ever more flexible. In the TV market, Samsung Electronics has been the No. 1 leader for 10 years, and is continuing to lead the way in the curved LED TV market.

In terms of picture quality, the essence of TV, the progress of LED TVs has been spectacular. Along with the development of software like the picture quality engine, LED TVs use technology like wide color gamut (WCG), resulting in the production of the widest color range among existing displays, and offering a picture quality that is remarkably realistic.

Several other technologies have been hailed as the “future of TV”—3D, holograms, foldable TVs and more. But Samsung believes that the near future lies in combining LED TVs with Internet of Things (IoT), providing the highest picture quality and a comfortable viewing experience.

15. February 2016 · Comments Off on 6 Easy Tips To A Successful Interview On National Television · Categories: electronics · Tags:

#1 – Do your research
Learn what you can about the show, the hosts, and audience. The more you know the more prepared you’ll be.
#2 – Be brief and simple
Put yourself in the audience’s place. No one likes to hear a person go on and on about anything, Try to be fun and spontaneous. If you have a product to promote give the audience a quick tease or tell them a relatable story that might intrigue them enough to want to purchase it. Make sure you’re clear and confident about your message. Use good eye contact with the audience and the hosts and be sure to smile.
#3 – Have visual aids
Pictures, videos during an interview are fun for the audience. But make sure you’ve cleared your plan with the show’s producers. They need to know in advance what equipment they’ll need and whether they’ll have time to do the things you want.

#4 – Make an effort to be punctual
Always make sure arrive at the set on time…and that means at least 30 minutes to an hour early. Punctuality not only shows how much you appreciate being there; you also make it easier for the producers and staff preparing for the show. Always allow enough time for the unexpected—traffic problems, change of outfits, a swing by the school to drop off your kid’s notebook—you never know what can eat up the extra few minutes you thought you would have. Also be sure to get an emergency contact number in case running late is unavoidable.
#5 – Do something new
Try to do something original and unexpected. If you’ve got something you can share with the audience, devise a fun game for choosing recipients. Cooking demonstrations and makeovers with the help of the hosts and audience are always fun, but keep in mind, you have to give producers plenty of notice.
#6 – Looks matter
No matter what you’re talking about, if you’re on TV you have to be dressed for the part. Get enough rest the night before and get up early enough to get your hair, makeup and wardrobe together. Many shows won’t have the budget to cover these things and you want to look your best. Consider hiring or even bartering for services from hairdressers, make up artists and stylists.

08. February 2016 · Comments Off on tips to choose the right tvconsoles · Categories: electronics · Tags: , ,

TV consoles are one of the easiest ways to reduce clutter and streamline the look of a living room, family room or den. They make it easy to display your television while also keeping all of your electronic devices neatly organized, and with cords tucked out of sight.
There are many styles and options to choose from, from full media units to small stands designed to fit in a corner. When shopping for a new TV console there are several things you should keep in mind:
Size: Before you begin your search you will want to know the dimensions of your television. Be sure to measure the height, width and depth. Keep in mind that older CRT or “tube” televisions require fairly large TV consoles to accommodate their boxy size – particularly their larger depth dimensions. Flat screen TVs by comparison have very thin screens so do not have much depth, but are wider than a typical “tube” television.
You will want to select a stand that can comfortably fit your TV and does not cause it to extend over the sides. Ideally, you want to allow some extra room on each side, which will provide greater stability for your TV. Another thing to consider is if you will want additional room for items such as speakers, framed photos, or other decorative objects.
Height: There is no ideal height for a TV console. Television height really is a matter of personal preference, combined with the type of seating in the room where you will be watching TV. If you’re not sure which height is best for you, a good guideline is to purchase a TV stand that will place the TV so that the lower half of the screen is level to your sightline.
Shelving: There are many different options when it comes to shelving on a TV console, so the best choice for you depends on how many items you will want to store in your console. If you simply have a Blu-ray player and a cable box/DVR, two shelves will be sufficient. However, if you also want room for items such as a video game console, stereo system, records, DVDs, CDs, etc., you will definitely want to look at larger consoles with more shelving options. If possible, select a model with adjustable shelving so you can configure it to arrange your audio-video components and media library to your liking.

01. February 2016 · Comments Off on 5 Tips for Electronics Repair · Categories: electronics · Tags:

The insides of gadgets are complicated, as you know if you’ve ever seen one of our teardowns. But don’t let that complexity intimidate you. A little reading goes a long way—even people who have a lifetime of experience with circuitry need to brush up every now and then. Here are some tips to help prevent damage to you and your device, so your repair comes off without a hitch.

1. C is for capacitor

It goes without saying that you should unplug the power cable and battery while doing a repair, but simply removing the power source doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance of getting shocked. Capacitors store charge. They can be found on power supplies and scattered throughout circuitry. While a shock from most capacitors in consumer electronics isn’t fatal, they can still give you a decent jump. When working with electronics, be sure not to grab capacitors directly or touch them with any conductive material.

If you plan on replacing a capacitor, you may need to discharge the capacitor first. If that’s the case, use our guide to build a capacitor discharge tool. Discharge time varies with size. It is important to give the tool enough time to discharge the capacitor completely.

2. ESD, the way to be

Speaking of shock, you don’t want your device to get a jump from static electricity either. Using tools designed to prevent electrostatic discharge (ESD-safe) will keep your electronics from getting zapped during repair. We carry some ESD-safe tools, such as the anti-static wrist strap, small screw extracting pliers, and tweezers. But others can be difficult to come by. If you can’t get an ESD-safe tool, make sure to work on an anti-static surface.

Using non-metal ESD-safe tools not only prevents unwanted static discharge but also will keep your devices scratch-free, inside and out. Using a flathead screwdriver to peel up a connector can damage both the connector and the board. Using a metal spudger to crack open your phone can lead to unsightly scratches. ESD-safe spudgers, which are designed to pry, get the job done without scarring disappointment.

3. Make the connection
Consumer electronics are chock-full of connectors. Yanking on a cable without releasing its connector is a great way to rip a socket off of a circuit board or tear a cable. You will begin to recognize different connector types as you gain experience. In the meantime, there are a few basics you should know.

Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) connectors require you to lift a little tab before sliding the cable out. There are lots of variations on this type of connector—some have the flap on the opposite side of the cable, others release a tab by squeezing. Your best bet is to scour the connector for tabs or clips before you start pulling wires. If you feel resistance, stop and check again.

If you have a connector without clips or tabs, the connector will likely come out either perpendicular or parallel to the board. Look for any retaining pieces on the board that may prevent motion in a given direction. Then try gently sliding the cable straight out of the socket. Pulling as straight as possible prevents damage.

4. I can’t believe it’s not butter fingers

Your fingers are host to lots of oils. No, I’m not talking about the leftover pizza grease from lunch. Even freshly washed hands have natural oils in them. These oils, though seemingly harmless, can erode markings on chips. For many repairs, this probably won’t be an issue, but play it safe by cleaning your hands before working. Always handle boards from their edges and never rub your finger directly over a chip. When in doubt, slip on a finger stall, which keeps grubby fingerprints off of delicate components. Finger stalls also protect against ESD and keep delicate electronics safe in case electrons get excited and discharge.

5. Clean sweep

It is important to get a device clean; in fact, sometimes all a device needs is a good cleaning to work again. Repairs are the perfect time to clean out your device—especially the fan. So, you’ve got your keyboard open and your first instinct is to flood the dust bunnies and Cheeto crumbs with Windex. Before you go rifling under the sink, read on! Many commercial cleaners can damage electronics. Your first method of attack: compressed air. Give the device or component a good blast of air to get rid of as much particulate matter as you can. Follow up with an ESD-safe brush or a lint free cloth. If your device is still dirty, try spraying a gentle electronics cleaner, like Omnicleanz, on a clean, lint-free cloth and wipe the device again. Never use any household cleaners, abrasives, or solvents unless you like your electronics like you like your eggs: fried.