How dealers mess up your TV

Published on 21/12/2008

Eliud Wanyo

Why is it that most of the electronics bought in downtown Nairobi don’t last, even when they are, supposedly genuine brands?

Henry Kaparo, Isiolo

(via e-mail)

I am aware of the problem, and in fact, I did some research just recently on the same. What I discovered was quite shocking.

It appears that the greed for quick and easy money in the electronics retail sector is so overwhelming that some merchants will do anything.

This is one of the most poorly policed sub-sectors, and even the Kenya Bureau of Standards seems least concerned about enforcing standards.

Some crooked dealers in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, Luthuli Avenue and River Road have been selling top brands like Sony and Panasonic televisions, as well as Nokia, Samsung and Motorola phones, which while they look as good as new, and even have limited warranties, break down after a short period of use.

Because the prices seem to be much lower than at mainstream outlets, many people flock there to buy TVs and hi-fi systems.

I have been asked to repair several such gadgets, and what I discovered was extremely disturbing. On their circuit boards was a whitish, salty liquid.

On further inspection, I discovered that they had drilled holes in the board in which they dropped the liquid, which turned out to be salt mixed with water. They then put a seal over the holes, to block evidence of their actions.

This saline solution, in the presence of moisture, will eventually spread to sensitive parts and could cause an electrical short circuit that destroys the machine or just some key parts, forcing you to replace them.

The dealers, who also own phony repair shops want you to go back and buy spare parts from them, and may even advise you to upgrade your model, citing a fictitious problem.

It is hard to tell which traders are genuine, but top brands like Sony and Samsung have a list of their authorised dealers and distributors, and my advice, if you have any doubts is to buy your electronics directly from them.

It is important to note that not all the dealers in the areas mentioned are crooked, but the few engaged in the despicable acts are giving the genuine ones a bad name.


I have a Nokia N70 that sends multimedia messages automatically, eating up my credit. How do I stop it?

George Gatimu, Kerugoya

(via e-mail)

This problem is a result of the multimedia messaging settings having been turned on, probably without your knowledge.

Go to the message settings on your phone and look for the initials MMS. Click on it, and turn off the auto-send settings, which vary from one phone to another.

Don’t allow children and teenagers to play with your phone, or if they do, make sure you go through the settings just to be sure everything is the way you left it.

This means you should be very familiar with your phone to notice any variations.

The writer is an electronics technician. [email protected]

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