Hi Max, your comments about Heathkits certainly "hit home."
I also enjoyed building these kits as a youngster. However, as a father, I was NOT able to share this joy with my eldest son, as the kits no longer exist.
Nonetheless, when he discovered that his "pride and joy" (a multi-format DVD player) was no longer working, I said: "Let's take a look and see if we can FIX it. After, all, it cost $300 new, and it will be at least $100 to get it just looked at, no less repaired."
So, we lifted the lid and began to poke around. I found a schematic for it on the internet by "Googling" its manufacturer and model.
Luckily, simple observation divulged a "sparking" pin on an IC that I wasn't familiar with. I also observed a little "charring" around several components and decided to replace them all. Naturally, I logged onto Digi-Key and started loading parts into my "shopping cart." I didn't make the minimum to get free shipping, so I added in a little extra solder and a few spares of the parts that I felt might come in handy.
All said and done, the parts came to about $40. A couple of weeks later, they arrived and we sat down at the bench, and carefully removed the old parts, soldered in the new ones, and "Voila!" it came right up!
Hooray! We'd saved money by doing it ourselves (obviously I was very lucky that the problem was so obvious, because I don't own a scope).
And we all lived happily ever after ... until the following weekend, while cruising the local Costco, we found a brand new multi-format DVD player that included even more formats than the repaired unit, for only $50...
You're right on. Times have changed!
Happy Holidays, Jesse Jenkins