Saturday, March 31, 2012

eBay fraud: "SAMSUNG BRAND NEW UPPER AND LOWER BUFFER board LJ41-02760A & LJ41-02761A KIT"

The title of this article is purposefully made to match a particular listing on eBay.

I am sure it will eventually become invalid , so I am not going to post a link to it here, but I am going to post a picture of it while it's still active and explain why is it a fraud and from there, how many eBay listings in the "electronics>parts" category are fraud.

Here is the listing (click to see full screen):

This listing is definitely a fraud!

First, the specified buffer boards have been manufactured in 2006/2007 and because they go bad so often (as I've written before) at some point in 2010 pretty much all vendors here in USA exhausted all their availabilities. There was a period of time during which the boards could simply not be found and we, like some others, had to rely on repairing the original buffers.

Repairing the old buffers did not prove to be cost-effective (for reasons explained in the above referenced article) , but luckily Samsung has responded in a fast manner (for a company their size) and produced the new batch of buffer boards , which now have 4 buffer ICs (100 bits each) as opposed to the original ones that have 6 ICs with 64 bits.

Granted, this is a logical argument, not a proof that the boards listed here are old and used.

But wait, there's more!

All OEM buffer boards of this kind come with a revision model stamped on them.

The oldest ones are revision A1 and the latest ones (of the 6 - IC model) is A5; every TV sustain set we have seen here that has never been opened before (and we've seen easily hundreds) comes with buffers that have A1 to A5 on them.

Oddly enough, buffers sent to parts distributors come without revision label on them. I am talking about the ones that were in the distribution network before they got exhausted.

I don't know if that is on purpose or not, but again all the old style replacement buffers we have seen have never had revision label on them.

This, by itself, is still not a definite proof that the listing is a fraud, but you have to agree it adds up to the logical conclusion.

The final argument is probably the weakest one, but I'll present it anyway since it does have value to me.
As I've blogged before,  we are not new to importing from China.

My conclusion working with various electronic components vendors is that they are not so much committing fraud on purpose as they are simply not at all understanding what are they selling.

Perhaps someone in the supply chain there is clearly aware what they are doing , but it's usually not the dealer you communicate with; those dealers are often willing to learn and provide feedback back to the chain so that they do not lose your business.

How well does that work is another story.

But my point here is that based on experience I can easily guess that the seller doesn't even know that what they describe is, well, a nonsense. They probably offer it in good faith hoping to earn some valuable American dollars.

Looking at their other sales and the listing's description only adds to that theory; oh, and referencing the boards by their pure PCB IDs instead of the assembly ID (LJ92-XXX) or the marketing component ID (BN96-xxx) is yet another strong indicator that they have no clue what are they selling.

Bottom line?

Beware what you're buying...or you'll get what you deserve :-)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What to do before calling for tv repair?

Somehow someone landed at our site as a result of asking a searching engine this very question.

I did a google search myself and found this article. While generally agreeing with what it says I couldn't help but notice that I'd give rather different answer to the question, so I decided to post this article.

Here's what I'd suggest you do:

1) Unplug the TV from the AC power, hold on like that for 3-4 minutes, then try plugging it back again to see if it makes any difference.

2) Go behind the TV and look for the unit's manufacturing details label. What you need to find above everything else is the model of your TV.

It's an alpha-numerical combination usually following the word "MODEL" on the label and sometimes after it.

The make and the model of the TV are the two most important pieces of information that every repair technician should ask first when getting a new call.

The first two digits often (but not always) indicate the TV's display size, e.g. 42PC3D indicates a 42'' TV.
When first characters of the model are letters they often abbreviate popular things like the technology or particular series of the TVs made by this manufacturer. For example HP's PL5060N refers to PL[asma] 50 inch display.

3) Do a quick search on,,, and whatever other large store you may have nearby and like, to check how much would it cost to buy a brand new TV of the same display size.

In today's market TV prices have dropped so much compared to 3-4 years ago that many people don't realize they are being charged for service what it would cost to buy a new TV!

So before calling anyone, find out what's your practical target for repair expenses.

My personal rule of thumb is that no repair should cost more than half of what you can buy a new TV for.

Your mileage may vary.

4) Try to describe the problem you're having with one sentence , e.g. "sound but no picture" or "bad picture" or "cracked screen".
(if it's a cracked screen then don't even try to spend more time - it's pointless!)

5) Google for the TV model you've found out and your description, e.g. "HP Pl5060N sound but no picture"

Take 5 minutes of your time and see if others have hit the same problem and if it sounds like they have, then what solution did they find.

It's five minutes that can save you 5 days and a few hundred dollars, so take them!

However, be careful to avoid the trap of assuming that if someone else had the same problems that you have then your TV will absolutely have the same problem and the same solution!

If many people had the same problem and many people confirm that the same solution worked for them then you've likely found your problem and likely your solution.

All too often, however, people stop reading at the first description that sounds like theirs and assume they already know the problem.

That's wrong!

First because whatever you read may simply be another assumptions; Internet is full with well-meant people (as well as self-promoting people) who give free advices on anything, even if it is not correct.

So the fact that one person says your problem is caused by a bad power board does not automatically mean that you have a bad power board!

6) Before sending TV for repair (or before going to a service technician) try to research them.
Internet makes it very easy to find information on people and businesses.

Search for the business on both Google and Yahoo and see if there are reviews from local users for that business.

See if the business is present somewhere online (e.g. on Amazon, eBay or other prominent and independent website) and see what other users say for that business.

The more you know about who you're dealing with the easier you can transfer them ownership of the problem.

7) If all of the above sounds too complex just open your local Yellow Pages and call the first company advertising there.

You'll probably be paying at least twice on what you could otherwise do, but if that doesn't bother you you'll definitely save yourself time and effort.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

YPPD-J018E, YPPD-J018C, STK795-820, STK795-821 compatibility and credibility

From the mailbox:

(posted under our listing advertising STK795-820 as an alternative to YPPD-J018C and YPPD-J018E)
Dear Coppell TV Repair,

How can you claim those chips will replace a YPPD-J018E and work properly ?

- mygoodiefinder

Well, as far as claims go we can claim anything, which is pretty much how the market operates at this and probably any other point.

So, with all due respect, I think the question that you wanted to ass is
Do you know and how do you know if STK795-820 can substitute YPPD-J018E or YPPD-J018C?

Luckily that's an easy one to answer too.

Take your pick:
  1. Because we use them ourselves since 2009. A publicly available and independent proof of that claim can be found for example here , here and many other listings. (note: those links may not survive in a long run as eBay is getting harder and harder to please...but that's another story)

  2. Because we've sold hundreds of them to customers as can be seen here and people seem to be happy with them (a proof of which is the feedback ratio)

  3. Because we have seen original LG boards with the same number coming with any of the above listed components; as any manufacturer knows it is a common problem to run out of a particular component and to use a substitute until your main supply chain covers for the delay.

All in all those should be sufficient.

If I think of more I'll add them in the future.

Now, there are a few things worth mentioning here such as the fact that we mostly use STK795-820. Not YPPD-J018C and not STK795-821 even though the later is arguably a more recent and updated version of STK795-820.

Well it just so happens that we've had some bad experiences with a few batches of YPPD-J018C  and STK795-821 and ended up using STK795-820.

I've personally heard all kinds of stories from other repair shops - that STK795-820 generates too much heat; that instead it is the STK795-821 that produces too much heat; that YPPD-J018C are the better ones, being original LG part used in LG boards; that the STKs are Chinese fakes; that the J018C are Chinese fakes.

As I've said I've heard pretty much all.

My take is that other people have run on other bad batches and as sure can be said about anything in the world there are simply bad batches.
Especially if they come from China and that's what everything comes these days (milk or chicken , anyone?)

So we stick with what works for us and we'll continue sticking to it until something forces us to look again.

On that topic I want to remind the readers that newer is not necessarily better. Many times in machines and electronics newer versions are simply stripped down releases of the original, i.e. an extra circuit or component with secondary, often preventive or noise-suppressing function, is being removed as it is not essential to the functionality while stripping it down in tens of thousands of produced units has a distinct impact over the cost.

Unrelated to the current topic, but related to the question at the beginning: salesmen have always made and will continue to make all kind of completely stupid claims while pushing to attract more buyers or convert a viewer to a buyer.

One of my favorites is from all TV chop-shops (eBay and elsewhere) who claim that a sustain board has come from a TV with broken screen, but it was tested and guaranteed to work.

Suck a lame lie!