BOOK REVIEW by Mark Robinson.

Servicing TV and Video equipment    by Eugene Trundle.
(Newnes 1990.    Hardback, 256 pp.    IBSN 0-434-91977-2.    £25)

This book aims to teach the principles of TV and video fault-finding to students, technicians and the interested hobbyist. It assumes that the reader has a good working knowledge of electronics and the principles of television transmission.

The opening chapters of the book deal with general servicing techniques and the test equipment likely to be found in the workshop, including less common instruments such as crosshatch generators and vectorscopes. I found the section describing the function of each part of a testcard particularly interesting. The next 17 chapters - 9 for TV and 8 for VCR - each deal with one section of the equipment, e.g, timebase, power supply, colour decoder etc, by describing in detail a few examples of contemporary designs. Common faults of each section of the equipment are described, together with the symptoms they produce and the components most likely to be at fault, which allows the service engineer to locate the faulty area quickly, using just the symptoms and a few simple measurements. Finally, there is a chapter about intermittent faults and one about general repair techniques. A symptom index is included, which enables the user to locate the relevant chapter quickly when faced with unfamiliar symptoms, although there is no full subject index.

Using actual design examples is probably the best teaching method, though it does present a few problems. First, the book will quickly get out of date as new designs and chip sets supersede the ones at present in use, and second, if the faulty equipment on your bench does not use one of the designs described in the book, you are pretty much on your own.

Overall, the book is crammed with useful information in a well-presented format, with numerous fault-finding charts and off-screen photographs. There are plenty of engineers' tricks and time-saving short cuts which the author has gathered during many years of experience in the trade. The only real drawback is the high price.

In conclusion, the book provides a useful guide to TV and video servicing for the experienced hobbyist, but if your knowledge of TV and video techniques is a bit rusty I would recommend an introductory text first. Also, having this book is no substitute for the right test equipment or the service manual for the particular model on the bench, both of which are essential for quick repair.