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Servicemans Log

Despite the big "R" or even "D" word we hear on the media every night, new plasma and LCD sets still seem to be getting cheaper. Most of this is caused by the never-ending supply of better, newer or more technology for the dollar. Unfortunately this problem is spiralling down to my level because the question is always, is it worth fixing?

Items Covered This Month

• Samsung LA32R51B TV
• Teac PLH4220SD TV
• Tivoli Audio Music System
• TCL PDP-4200BK TV (LG PDP42V72462 chassis)
• Logitech Z-10 loudspeakers

If you bought a plasma set over two years ago for about $2000, you could now buy a better one for only $1000 and if you tried to sell it, you would probably only get $500 – that’s if you managed to sell it at all. If it breaks down, most times it can only be repaired to board level. Such boards are supplied (if you are lucky) at an inflated two-year-old price and on many occasions this can take the projected repair price over the $500 threshold.

Many of the obscure container load fly-by-night brands have gone now so customers are often extremely anxious to find a way out of their predicament. Some are even attempting fraudulent insurance claims and are pressurising us to present quotes that are misleading in the hope of a replacement claim.

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If a set is dead after a storm I am blatantly asked to inflate the prices even higher in order to write the sets off. The problem can be worse because if a set’s power supply is knocked out it can mask additional unseen problems the set might have endured. As the stakes are so much higher now in terms of cost, you can easily get the scenario that after the quote for a new power supply has been accepted and it has been fitted, you might find that the cost of replacing other faulty boards can easily cost the same again or more.

For example, recently I attended to a Samsung LA32R51B which had died. The two main electros (82μF 450V) in the power supply had become extremely hot and destroyed themselves. The usual reason for this is a failure in the mains voltage-doubling circuit, causing very high voltage across them. These electros do not even have a circuit reference.

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