Knowledge helps

A little knowledge about the appliances prevented us from being cheated.

The idiom ‘Little knowledge is dangerous’ has been in use since the eighteenth century. It is strongly believed that if one knew a little about something, they may feel they are quite qualified to make judgments when in fact, they are not.

However, experience shows that it is always not true. Especially when it comes to repairs of electrical appliances and gadgets at home, even a little knowledge can help prevent being taken for a ride by the service personnel.

Way back in the ’80s, voltage stabilisers had to be used along with power sensitive appliances like the refrigerator and the television. Automatic stabilisers had not gained enough acceptance during that time and in many households manually controlled voltage stabilisers were used wherein the voltage could be stepped up or down depending upon the need, by the turn of a knob. No one would risk using their appliances without connecting a stabiliser to it. Just because the power fluctuated often, people were forced to shell out extra money and buy a stabiliser for their appliance. A few, who had good negotiating skills, got it thrown in free when they purchased the appliance.

During one my long trips away from home, my father encountered a problem with the stabiliser connected to the television that did not function when switched on. He had no option but to call in a technician who promptly opened it and inspected the parts inside with a set of testing meter and tools.

He finally declared that the coil needed rewinding, would take two to three days and cost around Rs 90. My father, a very cautious person, not convinced that he should spend that kind of money decided to wait for my return. Watching television was anyways his last priority.

Having studied a subject called ‘electric gadgets’ for one year in school, I prided in having a little knowledge about how to handle problems with such appliances. Handicapped with no measuring instrument or appropriate tools, I succeeded in opening the screws around the box using the tip of a kitchen knife only to find that the on-off switch had burnt because of a loose connection. Replacing the switch with a new one that cost less than Rs 2 brought back life to the stabiliser which worked for a further six years before we finally exchanged it for an automatic one.

Having a little knowledge about the appliances prevented us from being cheated and also helped in avoiding unwanted expense. From then on I wonder if a little knowledge is really dangerous! Not always, I guess.

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