Ok, I've been failing on this writing every day thing. I'm to easily distracted and have several different projects that I'm trying to work on. I started collecting some pictures for making another image for one of my tarot cards, this time The Phoenix.
However my main project of late is what I am going to talk about tonight. About a week ago I was walking out of my apartment on my way to hang out with some friends and I saw a large widescreen flat panel TV sitting by the dumpster. Now one thing I know that most people fail to realize when they have problems with electronics is that most electronics have fuses inside them that blow out before anything major inside gets damaged. I figured one of these fuses was likely the cause of whatever was wrong with this TV and hauled it into my apartment for later investigation, and then went off to hang out with my friends as planned.
I'm now going to give out some technical information on the TV and the problem that I have found so far, for anyone that might find this blog in a search for a similar problem and how to fix it. For those not interested in the technical details skip to the next paragraph for the actual point of this blog post. The TV in question turned out to be a 42" Maxent plasma HDTV, model MX-42HPM20, retail price unknown, and the problem as I could see it was that the power light would come on but the screen was blank. Some quick Internet searches lead me to believe the Y Sus board (or Y Sustain), part number EBR31872801 in this TV, about $150 part on eBay, was bad. Removing the board from the TV and taking some quick measurements I found that indeed one of the fuses, T4AH250VP ceramic time delay 4 amp fuse, had indeed blown out and would need replaced, about a $0.50-$1 part. Further more there was a transformer that appeared to be shorted but on removal from the circuit it measured ok, meaning something else in the circuit was causing the short. Looking around we found there was a small blue ceramic disc capacitor, 102K 1KV, which is apparently a 1000pF (picofarads for non-electrically inclined folk which is a measure of capacitance, a property of electricity, pico- meaning 1*10^-12 or 0.000000000001), and 1KV in this case means 1 kilovolt (volt being a measurement of electric charge, kilo- meaning 1*10^3 or 1,000; for reference house wiring in USA is 120 volts, a car battery is 12 volts). Anyway I got off topic a bit there. The point is this tiny capacitor was blown out and causing a short. This part has a cost of about $0.20-$0.40. At the point of writing this I have ordered a replacement fuse and capacitor, but have not yet been able to test if replacing these two cheap parts will fix this big expensive TV. I'll leave a comment when I know if it did or did not fix it, which should be within the next week.
Ok, for those that read that last paragraph I'm sorry for the monstrosity of which it became, and for those who skipped it welcome back. Now on with the point. We live in a disposable society. When something breaks we don't try to fix it, we just throw it away and buy something new to replace it. This is great for the economy I'm sure, and makes the companies that make this stuff tons of money. But it also means they stopped creating a quality product. Why create a product that will last 20 years when you can make one that will only last a few months past the warranty you put on it and then make the people come back and buy a replacement from you? That seems to be the way companies think anymore.
I work in a electronics factory. The end customer on most of our products is the government and they demand high quality from us, and I'd like to think we provide a high quality product. We do pretty much give a lifetime warranty on some of our products, or at least 100+ year warranty. Anyway when ever me or one of my coworkers take apart consumer electronics we can't help but notice the poor quality of them. I won't bore you with all the details but a lot of the consumer stuff we see is poorly worked and would never pass audit at our factory or be sold to our costumers.
I'm a bit of a pack rat and don't throw away everything that I often times should, but a lot of the time I realize that things can be fixed for cheap if you are really inclined to do so. In the case of this TV I have no idea how much the original owner paid for it, several hundreds I'm sure, but it could have been less than a $1 to fix it. And even if the two parts I talked about above don't fix it, the $150 for a replacement board is still cheaper than a equivalent new TV. I mean for me a 42" plasma TV for $150 sounds like an awesome deal. A 42" plasma TV for $0.80 sounds unbelievable but here's to hoping that's all it's going to take to fix it up and get me a working new TV. Just in time for my fixed Xbox 360 to be up and running, but that's another story.