You sweat. Your hands shake. You cast a suspicious eye at your friend’s stereo, your mom’s appliances. You’re a service technician and it’s been hours since you troubleshot something. That old repair addiction is in your blood and you gotta’ find your next fix!

imageBiomeds and X-ray service technicians enjoy an advantage over “ordinary” humans. We understand electronic theory and are skilled in electro-mechanical repair. While on the job, we service a variety of technically sophisticated medical instrumentation and, as a result, have amassed vast quantities of knowledge regarding equipment-related problems and their solutions. We consider ourselves fortunate that we can utilize this hard-earned knowledge in our private lives. Yet, our knowledge comes with a terrible burden.

If an electronic device in the home of a biomed or X-ray service engineer goes on the fritz, he or she can usually resolve the problem without the hassle of calling the local repair shop or, even worse, sending the failed unit back to the manufacturer for repair. And having access to the best tools and test equipment money can buy certainly doesn’t hurt. When allowed to “borrow” the shop’s equipment we can, in most cases, diagnose and repair a fairly sophisticated piece of consumer electronics in practically no time at all. Making our own repairs at home saves us money, gives us valuable troubleshooting experience, and it’s fun to work on something different.

However, there is a danger to possessing electronic savvy. Everyone wants you to fix their stuff! Family, friends, co-workers — at some time each one of these people will experience a problem with a home electronic product. They will be compelled to share that problem with you. They just assume that, as an electronics expert, you enjoy fixing things all the time and, naturally, they want to help you find your next fix.

Family members take a direct approach. My mother, for example, routinely leaves a bag filled with broken gadgets on my kitchen table when she stops over for a visit. Of course she enjoys it when I can save her money, but I also think she interprets my undivided attention to the repair of her doze alarm (for driving at night), singing doormat, or any other item among the dozens of useless mail-order products that find their way into that bag she leaves on my kitchen table, as a manifestation of my affection for her. Judging by the number of other broken items left after family visits, I have other relatives who feel the same way.

To purchase the full text of this article, click here…