Servicing modern electronics is pretty straightforward. If the malfunctioning device is under warranty and can’t be repaired in the field or shop, it’s often shipped back to the manufacturer for replacement. But what if the device is a 20-year-old chart- plotter that hasn’t been produced or supported for more than a decade and the owner wants it fixed? Simple—you sort through the stockpile of old parts and
equipment that you’ve collected over the years and find a replacement component that will
revitalize the old plotter. That is—if you have a bunch of aging electronics on hand.
“I have a pile upstairs in the shop and there’s a small storage building that contains a few
odds and ends. I try to keep in the back of my mind what I have. When I need something, it’s
‘oh yeah’ it’s under a pile in the back corner. I try to be resourceful so I can be the guy who can
pull off a miracle and fix someone’s old equipment,” says Pete Grant, owner of Pete’s Marine
Electronics in Waldoboro, ME.
A case in point, he says, is one day when he was “knee deep culling through a pile of junk
in the back of the shop. At the time I was working on a small Si-TEX depth sounder and
needed a transmitter board. I waded through the pile to where I remembered having a bag of
boards—reached down and found it, all done by memory—and in my case that’s a crapshoot.”
Grant’s story resonates with many dealers who have impressive stacks of their own of old
electronics tucked here and there. For most, those stacks came about organically rather than
through a lot of planning. Equipment comes in for repair or replacement and winds up on a
shelf or in boxes in a backroom to be scavenged for parts for possible later repairs. Sometimes
Breathing new life into
BY JIM FULLILOVE, EDITOR
Selecting topics to cover in the pages
of MEJ is never boring, and it’s usually a collaborative effort involving
conversations with players on every
side of our industry. You never
know what’s going to surface as a
great idea. The story below sprang
from a chat we had with NMEA
head of state Mark Reedenauer.
“Over the years, as I’ve talked to veterans in our industry, you hear
about marine electronics graveyards
scattered about the country in various NMEA dealerships, garages,
barns, basements and the like,”
Reedenauer said. “One day in March
as I walked back in time through
Seatronics in Gloucester, Massachusetts, I thought what a cool article
this would make and gave our editor a call. The pictures say it all.
Maine dealer Pete Grant shows off a stockpile
of aging equipment that he grazes through
occasionally to find replacement parts to
repair customers’ electronics.