I Just Wanna Watch TV (part 31)

Yes, the saga continues. After waiting about a month for parts, I got a call earlier this week that the needed parts for the repair have arrived at the repair center. A few days later, they called back again to confirm a time to come over for the repair.

The repair guy showed up promptly; it was the same guy who came out for the original diagnosis. I could see the excitement in his face when he remember just which TV he was about to have to lift again. A quick 1-2-3 and the TV was on the floor again and he was removing the 17 screws that hold the cabinet together.

He called the part being replaced the ‘d’ board. I’m not quite sure what it was bought it was approximately the size of an ATX computer motherboard and had a good mix of transformers, caps, and ICs. About 25 minutes of disconnecting, unscrewing to get the old part out and doing the reverse with the new part in.

With the back still off, he plugged it back in and fired up. He was a little surprised that it came up without tuning anything. Upon trying to start it up again, it start doing its not fire up the screen shtick. Tweaking he output of the big transformer that connected directly the tube, he kept power cycling until it seemed to fire up reliably. He said Sony tubes are problematic because they have such high tolerances in their settings; if they’re off just a bit there’s no picture for you.

Next, he plugged in the cable box to check out the video quality. It was pretty good except for some red color shift on some white elements. The tech asked if the tube looked like this before it started having the start up problem. I told him prior to the problem, the picture was always rock solid. He messed around with some of the (tech, non-consumer) diagnostic controls for a bit and said he was stumped and that it might be that the tube itself is toast. In a last ditch effort he called another tech he refered to as “Mr. Sony.” He suggested tweaking that same transformer a little more. A couple of delicate twists of a screw driver more and the picture was back to factory fresh.

Woo-hoo. Gonna be so nice to get back to 32″ after living with a measily 10″ screen for the last few months.

The tech put the case back together, helped me hoist it back on to the stand, then hooked up all the various inputs in the back. As he was packing up his tools, I noticed that the little trap door that covers the aux inputs on the front no longer closed. I pointed this out. The tech said something probably got knocked off on the latch mechanism when everything was opened up. He said if I didn’t mind picking up the TV again, he’d try to fix this.

Soon after opening things up again, he found that a little plastic post that holds retains the spring that holds that door closed snapped off. I asked if we could rig it with a paper clip or something and he said he though some superglue might do the trick. I just so happened to have some lying around. He glued it but couldn’t test it with the TV on the carpet. I said, good enough for me, if it doesn’t work, I’m not gonna hold it against him.

Another heave-ho, and the TV was back on the stand. After all the connections were back together, I powered it on. Hmm, the status light was red on bootup. I could have sworn it used to be green. I told the tech, but he said he couldn’t remember what the non-error start up looked like either so we left it at that.
Man, its gonna be nice to watch TV again.

The tech said to keep an eye the color shift problem (it could come back) and not any other problems and to make sure I report any problems before the extended warranty contract expires. I thanked the tech for his time and understanding and walked him to the door.

I started off to my home office to check my email when I heard a click in the living room. I ran back out to see the TV had turned it self off and the dreaded blinking red status light again. Oh fudge. I high tailed it down the hall of my building to catch the tech right as he was stepping out of the door.

“You’re not gonna believe this… the TV already crapped out.”

I could see his brow furrow.

“Ok, I’m gonna call it and get you a replacement set. Some one will be back in touch with you in a few days.”

I thanked him again for his time and valiant repair effort and let him slip away.

I’m now looking forward to another couple of months of phone tag with the extended warranty company again to try to get the new situation resolved. I’m pretty interested in seeing how they’ll handle it.  In terms of direct replacement, Sony doesn’t even make tube based HDTVs any more.  In terms of a cash out arrangement, I not sure how they’d value my existing set.  I’m pretty sure there’s no accepted depreciation schedule for TVs.

So, for now, I’m holding pattern for a few days while the message from the tech makes it back up the chain to the extended warranty provider.  Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

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