Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Anyone Can Fix A Broken TV

Alright, I'm not sure it's honest to title the post "Anyone Can Fix A Broken TV," but it's a nice thing to say.  A little while ago our TV decided it didn't really want to work anymore.  It started over a year ago with the TV having to be turned on twice on occasion because the screen wouldn't fire up, it would just go black.

A month before it died it started turning on without the sound some of the time.  Tutt (my oldest and favorite son) would get frustrated trying to get the sound to play for Mario Kart, on-off-on-off, wait a minute on-off-on and wallah.

We knew we were coming to the end of the life of our TV, when the moment arrived we weren't really prepared.  It was early in the morning, the time when Tutt, Birdie, and Lulu arise from their slumber to catch the first rays of Netflix fun.  Tutt came and informed me that our friend was no longer with us.  

I was devastated.  Not because I love the TV that much, but mainly because college football season IS coming up, and I don't think I could do without the device during this crucial period.  Further, I didn't really feel like ponying up the cash to purchase a new TV seeing as our old one was still a 1080p dream machine.

I did what any reasonable person would do: I googled how to fix (insert TV make and model here).  I found some answers.  First some message boards about how the problem were probably some blown capacitors (the tech people like to call them "caps," which actually makes them sound less cool.  The word capacitor reminds me of the flux capacitor from my favorite movie of all time "Back to the Future," so I was even more excited to try to fix my problem). Next, I found some awesome guy on YouTube who made a twenty minute plus video about how he fixed his Olevia TV.  I liked him a lot, especially after he thought the fix hadn't worked and admitted to having said some choice words.  Not that I think that's a good thing, just made him seem like a real guy.

Having done some brief research, I got on Amazon and purchased replacement capacitors  at a cost of about $16, which were sold in kits by the make of TV.  I waited in anticipation for the new parts to arrive.  When the kit arrived it was all packaged neatly in a small ziplock bag--I was ready to go.  

First I removed the power supply from the TV, this required removing a billion or so screws and carefully pulling apart the back to get to the power supply.  It looks like this: 
Next I removed more screws until I exposed all of my capacitors that were bad.  It was pretty easy to tell which ones had gone bad as they were bulging like a can of peaches that has gone seriously wrong.  
This is a picture of some of the bad caps...if you see the silver ends they all have a bulge to them.  This is where the fun begins.  I haven't used a soldering gun since my awesome cub scout leader taught us how to make a basic light switch by soldering a couple of joints together.  Having watched some soldering tutorials on YouTube (where else?), I first removed the bad caps and then soldered the new ones in.  In all, I replaced 6 or 7 bad capacitors in less than an hour.  

Then came the moment of truth.  I gathered all the pieces of the television set and began to reassemble them.  I put the power supply back in, added a bunch of screws back, and reattached the stand and speakers.  When I was finished it looked the exact same, except for the few screws that I couldn't remember their original placement.  

After plugging the TV in and saying a prayer in my heart I pushed the power button and...nothing.  Then I remembered that my TV always takes 10 second to turn on anyway.  By then, the TV had fired up and was good as new!

I was so excited that it had worked.  A big part of me thought that this would be a waste of time.  I'm glad that I had access to the information to fix it.  I'm sure I made some mistakes that someone with actual training would not have made, but: I didn't get electrocuted, and it works.

So, I'm pretty sure anyone can fix a TV with the problem that ours had, if they are silly enough to attempt it.  

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