A Sharp stereo amplifier came into the department for repair with fault reported as ‘no output’. On the bench a quick check proved that all output transistors and drivers had blown, along with associated fuses. In those days most Japanese transistors could be sourced quite widely and were reasonably priced. Priced up repair and rang the customer to give him the good news along with estimate. He did not care about the cost but wanted the repair done quickly, quizzing further I could not tie him down on exactly how both output stages had blown themselves to smithereens. Parts sourced, this one turned out to be an easy repair and both survived the power soak test into dummy loads for a couple of days. I was suspicious the speakers might have had a fault so arranged delivery to check out the installation.
It turned out the address was located in a not very salubrious housing estate. As you drove through, people sitting in their front gardens and porches fixed their gaze and glared. While feeling a little uncomfortable at the attention, for some reason the duelling banjos tune came to mind! Eventually arriving and without incident, the house turned out to be a fairly reasonable semi-detached bungalow. Being situated on a modern housing estate only limited parking was available but luckily managed to get a place just outside.
Clutching the amplifier, I rang the doorbell and waited. No reply. Rang again, a little longer this time but still no one answering the door. Looking around, spotted there wasn’t a car in the driveway and all windows closed, heck another wasted journey! Tried ringing one last time and still no response. Meanwhile I was still being stared at by people lurking in the street. “He ain’t there mistah” one helpful lady yelled. Yelling back “He should be, it was arranged”.
Returning to the vehicle slightly annoyed, I started up the engine and was just about to drive away when a car zoomed round the corner, up the driveway and screeched to a halt. Jumping out he ran inside the bungalow slamming the front door shut. Undeterred, again with the amplifier tucked under my arm I rang the doorbell and…. again no response! This time I just hung on the button to make sure it could not be ignored! Eventually the door opened and the guy pretended that he knew nothing of the appointment and had ‘nipped out for a packet of fags’. After what seemed like a discernible time with small talk, I was let in!
Went over to the sideboard where the other system parts were lurking, and checked the speakers for correct impedance and wiring for shorts and damage. Nothing unusual there, so connected up and powered on with volume set low in case there was a problem. Audio sounded good with no obvious issues with the speakers. After a complete check over, the customer asked if it would be OK to leave the system on for his bird while he was out. Not thinking clearly after all the nonsense from this particularly irritating customer and wondering if the service vehicle would still be outside, I replied “oh she will be able to turn it off if there be a problem….” Annoyed, the customer retorted loudly before I could finish “NO! ME BIRD!; ME BIRD!” gesticulating at a very large aviary in the corner of the room housing a huge green parrot!!
After more small talk and obtaining payment for services rendered, I left the house making a mental note to self to stop watching 1970’s programmes where ‘bird’ was referring to girlfriend! And the house had not been previously empty at all, as when I was just about to leave some guy walks out of a back bedroom!