Friday, December 9, 2016

"Do you always replace capacitors with better ones" and other naive questions from the always right customers

Question: Hi I have a Samsung PN64E533d2F that needs a new power supply. It has been replaced once last year and has burned out again. I was reading that Samsung didn't put strong enough capacitors in these models. Do you repair them with better capacitors so this doesn't happen again?

This is hot from the support account and comes to illustrate a few points I've been pushing through here ever since I write:
  • Customer is not always right
  • Customer is often confused
  • Internet is dangerous learning source
    (my wife agrees with that, BTW, especially when it comes to adult websites; nothing about real love can be learned there, she says, and why half the world's population is periodically checking them is simply beyond her, just as it is beyond me why the other half is so damn occupied making selfies or dying to tweet their emotions in the open; but that's off topic!) 
  • You should not trust Internet experts more than you trust people on the street selling you expensive watches
    (for example authorities on the same above referenced websites where, I hear, they offer to enhance one's anatomy at will until one's wife stops questioning the benefits of vising said websites)
You see, while lots of power boards tend to develop problems with capacitors over time, that doesn't necessarily mean that all power supply boards will develop them, let alone that those will be the first / most common issues a certain model or family will have.

And the family BN44-00513A, BN44-00514A, BN44-00516A, BN44-00445B, among others, are a perfect example.

Those boards have a design and manufacturing problem, which develops way before any electrolytic capacitor issues, at least in all our experience so far.

Meaning we've fixed a few hundreds of this generation of power supplies from Samsung and we are yet to see a SINGLE bad capacitors on them.

Which doesn't prevent the customer from asking if we'll replace them with better ones...

Another common mistake customers do is trying to micro-manage us and ask questions like

"What capacity and voltage are your capacitors because I read they need to be higher [than the original] to live longer?"

While there certainly are situations where the question is valid (where a design or manufacturing mistake have indeed placed improperly rated capacitor on board and it needs to be upgraded), the vast majority of time the question is asked in context of 5-6 year old TV where OEM capacitors were more or less just fine and replacing them even with lower quality ones, let alone same or better, would give them more life than the rest of the TV is practically guaranteed to not match, i.e. it is practically certain that something else will fail in that
TV before the new replacements.

In other words, the question is not of any importance.

And that's leaving aside that like with every other product it's not just the ratings that matter: there are higher and lower quality brands, there are series optimized for durability or size or tougher conditions and finally there are simply manufacturing issues which may have caused one batch of otherwise excellent brand and series to have been released with lower quality...all those are real life factors not to be ignored.

What I am getting at is that customers will often do MUCH better by focusing their attention to choosing a reliable vendor and then going with their offer without questioning it.

Please understand, you can't receive the answers you want (or education you need!) on a $10 repair kit ticket...it is just not possible, especially when you want simple and reaffirming answers and not education!

And you know what's ironic?

There are lots of vendors out there who will not just answer, but tout the features of their kit's qualities: brand, breakout voltage, shelf life and what not...all the info from the manufacturer's product catalog...
and only one problem: those parts may not even ever go bad on the actual board.

But it's a free market and if people want repair kit with capacitors they get it!

ShopJimmy sells kits containing parts that I have never seen fail in all the boards we've serviced, along with the parts that do tend to fail, in about 1:5 ratio. In other words you pay $20 for a component that costs about $2, but get lots of extras too.

eBay seller zemtronix[-com] takes that further and sells repair kits with components all of which I have never seen fail on the Sanyo main boards they sell them for - three voltage regulators 1117A and two capacitors; the same voltage regulators are known to fail on a certain Vizio family of main boards, but I repeat NEVER on the Sanyo main boards they are being sold for and I say that with the claim that we have likely fixed more such Sanyo main boards since 2010 than all eBay vendors combined.

I am not to pick a war with anyone here, too small for that, I am to illustrate how customers are wrong and being taken advantage of.

Hell we ourselves sell Vizio EEPROMs on NAND Flash memories, OK? They fail a whole lot less often than people seem to think and - you can check that - we have incorporated a language in the listings that explains that and warns against experimenting - and yet people still keep on buying them!
Sure some report success and sure enough sometimes they fail...but we do A LOT of board repairs and I can freely report here for everyone who has made it this far that people buy disproportionately more EEPROMs than we see failing on those boards.

I'll leave you with the conclusion that it's more important to know how to handle information than to have information.

And if average layman knows how to handle information I'd recommend focusing their attention to evaluating the source of information prior to processing the information itself.

Find a reliable source, verify it once or twice and hold on to them, still periodically evaluating them.


I wonder if I am not coming condescending here. (recently learned the word from a customer and practicing now, sorry!)

Maybe people already know all that.

If so then maybe that is why the stronger half of the world keeps revisiting certain websites.

Control is the key :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

US 2016 presidential election prediction - Trump, Clinton and TV repair

Tonight I can't seem to go anywhere without hearing a prediction for the outcome of the presidential election here in US.

So in the spirit of the day I want to make my own prediction.

If Clinton wins your new LED TV will fail within 2, at most 3 years of being purchased.

If Trump wins your new LED TV will fail within 2, at most 3 years of being purchased.

TV prices will continue slumping, offset mostly by size and partially by resolution increase of the display.

One of our frequent local customers - a small TV Repair business servicing north DFW  told me yesterday he is dropping  TV repair for some time as he signed up doing service calls for Samsung replacing a recalled control board in washing machines that Samsung had recalled 3M or so of.

That may be the future of TV repair business.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Is it worth to purchase / provide troubleshooting services online

I guess everyone who does repairs gets those calls sometimes from companies soliciting new accounts they can send customers to.

Or received the emails from www.FixYa.com and other such sites now offering up to $30 for phone consultation. via their new service 6ya.com.

Or stumbled upon a JustAnswer support ticket while researching particular issue like I did today.

So we have in the shop this Panasonic TC-P65ST30 dead as a cucumber and jumping in the deep I went to see what does the cumulative brainpower of the human nation have to say about a dead TC-P65ST30 on Internet.

So I came across this article on justanswer.com:

http://www.justanswer.com/tv-repair/8dcb7-fix-dead-panasonic-plasma-tc-p65st30-no-power.html

Do not read it, it is absolutely useless unless you want to learn out why you should never go to a generic problem solver if you can help it.

Nothing personal against justanswer.com or the "experts" that work there.

But I've read other such articles - and on other such sites - and it's been my firm determination to resist the appeal of becoming such a provider for the simple fear of getting to sound like them one day.

For example:

1) Given the news that the TV is dead (like ours here) the "expert" says:

"There is a failure on the power supply board inside the TV."

That's dead wrong on two counts, right there: first, this TV does not have ONE, but THREE power supply modules (that gets cleared up later in the conversation); second, a totally dead TV does not automatically mean dead power supply; a dead main board could have just the same effect on most models I've seen.

2) Given the news that customer "got the part" (which part is not clear) and installed it to no effect, "expert" #1 disappears from conversation and is replaced by "expert" #2.

Expert #2 asks customer to ask for presence of power between the power sub-modules and customer delivers a picture with notes on what's available and where (see original article, we're not copying that image which carries important justanswer copyrights and can't be redistributed for free).

After observing the picture "expert" #2 presents the following important question:

Expert #2: "So based on this, it would seem there's no power coming from the sub power supply to the main power supply is that correct?"

To which they receive the following surprisingly accurate answer:

Customer: "I suppose. I don't know what each of those boards are called."

At this point Expert #2 finally realizes the TV has 3 power modules and also leaves the conversation after some generic remark that it is the first time he is seeing that.

My take on the whole thing?

1) When you want to find someone to help you try to find someone who has seen the same problem that you have - same computer model, same TV model, same field of work (if it's a business problem) , same health failure symptoms (that's harder than it sounds).

If you have Panasonic plasma then anyone specializing in repairing Panasonic will be better than a generic TV repairman and anyone specializing in plasma repairs will be better than anyone with lots of LCD or tube experience.

Further on the point, anyone with experience with your exact model TV (or whatever it is) will be better than a generic workshop.

Google is amazing, search for the problem you have!

2) Do not pay for online troubleshooting on sites like justanswer or fixya unless you need help with something extremely simple and clearly defined like how to unscrew something or how to replace something.

As the above article illustrates (and I swear it's typical for what I've seen) experience with the particular model is hard enough challenge for those "experts", but if it comes down to analytical work and actual troubleshooting they just flee.

Do not waste your money!

On the vendor side, I definitely do not want to try to guide people who may or may not be able to operate a voltmeter and may or may not get electrocuted while trying to take a reading. The worse, actually, is that I'll just never know if what they tell me back is result of properly on improperly done procedure.

I know there will be people who think otherwise. I am OK with that and wish them best of luck.

I believe they need it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A common problem when replacing Vizio and other EEPROMs (why charge more)

This issue has come up before, but I today I was reminded of it and would like to remind others too.

When removing the heat sinks on main boards people, including service technicians, tend to use sharp tools they twist sideways or press against in order to raise up and detach the heat sink from the board.

The result is often direct damage to the extremely tiny tracks around the main processor as shown here:
(click to enlarge, you will need it full size!)


The damage is a little to the right of the middle of the picture, just on the left side of R253.

Two tracks have been cut and will need to be repaired, which, while not a rocket science, is reasonably difficult.

There is an even bigger problem elsewhere though.

It is that people, including service techs, do not usually account for or even consider the odds of THEM damaging a board.

Similar to the situation in the previous article (where a customer, on the way to sue us in court, ended up publicly accusing us for selling them an empty EEPROM despite their own claim of having issues with the TV that would highly unlikely be caused by an EEPROM) this board was sent to us by a customer who ordered and installed an EEPROM from us.

The problem was not in the EEPROM, of course, but on top of the problem we had to deal with this issue and it took us much longer than the usual problem for the simple reason it is unique.

The profit in the TV repair business is in efficiency resolving a problem; every problem can be resolved given enough time or money, the trick is to do it for little time and little money.

This has proven possible only if you know upfront what to look for, not necessarily in terms of specific components, but also in terms of actually knowing the board and its functionality so you can exclude certain portions fast enough and focus on others.

Main boards are proprietary computers, though. We reverse engineer them to figure out how they work.

If and when it comes to isolating portions of the board you KNOW you are going to lose money on it; your only chance to make them up is if the same problem happens again in the future and THEN you can actually solve it quickly, charge reasonably (yet more than the time it has taken you to resolve it this particular time) and thus, over time, pay over your initial investment.


Problems like

Problems like this are unique - just as , for example, damages from stacking boards on top of each other or physical damages in transportation.

They are a sure money losers.

Which should explain why we ask for more money (if we at all agree) to service a board that was tampered with or broken in transportation.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

eBay user compsp talks big, promises to sue Coppell TV Repair LLC

So today we've had another one of those conversations exposed in posts from the past.

A full copy of the conversation that went will follow below, here's just a quick summary for those who care:

1) Customer buys a Vizo EEPROM from us on eBay.

2) Customer contacts us saying replacing the EEPROM changed nothing - the TV still blinks - to which we respond that all our EEPROMs for Vizio are tested and it only makes sense that if two EEPROMs cause the TV to just blink that the problem is simply elsewhere.

3) Customer sends the board to us for repair.

4) We test, service test and return the board to the customer (problem not in the EEPROM, as expected).

5) Customer complains that board does not have image on their end and we tell them to send it back so we make a video, the logic being that something else may be bad in the TV or that they may have mishandled it and we want to prove it works.
We explain we don't do videos unless we have to because 99% of the time we don't have to and that's a huge performance cost not included in the flat rate.

6) Customer sends the board back

7) We find the problem with the board - either mishandling/shorting LDVS cable or bad T-CON blowing a fuse - and post a video proof of the working board before sending back; we package and print shipping label for the board.

8) Customer comes back and says the video is not sufficient and he wanted to see the board responding to remote and wheel.

9) We decide to fulfill customer's request, but to charge him $15 for the extra effort. We report that to customer and proceed to making and publishing the video, invoicing them first.

10) While we make the video customer comes back saying he did not ask for extra video and this is bull.

11) We tell customer we refund his original payment and the $15 invoice on PayPal and require them to send a check or money order for the amount of original payment plus $15 for the requested video and give him 3 weeks to receive the check.

12) Customer goes ballistic, calls us thieves, promises lawsuit and even details a close friend already interested in the case.

13) We tell customer we've had enough of this and he is free to do what he wants, but has 3 more weeks to pay and get their working board back. We say we'll only send message when we have something important to say such as time lapse or a tracking number if we receive payment.

14) Customer comes back asking for another chance to pay with PayPal

15) Customer leaves negative feedback falsely stating they received empty/defective IC.

In conclusion:

1) If anyone doubts that we sell empty EEPROMs we'd be glad to make them a dedicated video showing how we test, mark, package and send a working EEPROM. It'll be $15 more.

2) People who get carried away tend to lose more than those who think calmly and reasonably.


3) eBay's feedback forum is a great place for finding out stuff, but just as any other feedback place can also be misleading. Do not believe everything you read, do more research!

4) We are not as user friendly as people want us to be; we are aware of that, but do not try to "improve" the way they want us to. We believe that each party has rights and responsibilities and making excessive demands and accusations, let alone flat out lies is not something that has place in a business.

I'll update this post with the full conversation directly from the service thread as soon as I get it in some form appropriate for pasting here. Modern HTML, while more pleasing to the eye, can be a whole lot harder to move around.

For now I'll just enclose a screenshot from the thread as we have it:





Saturday, September 10, 2016

SAMSUNG PN64H5000AFXZA power cycling troubleshooting and repair (LJ92-02053A)

Today we posted a video about an unusual (for Samsung plasma) behavior where a bad buffer board causes the Samsung PN64H5000AFXZA to power cycle as if the power supply or the main board is bad.

The above pretty much says it all, but in case you want to see the video you can find it here:


Listing for NEW LJ92-02053A board replacement:
http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/p/1414/samsung-pn64h5000afxza-top-buffer-board-lj92-02053a-lj41-10376a-new-unused-50-credit-for-old-dud

Listing for serviced/tested LJ92-02053A board replacement:
http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/p/1415/samsung-pn64h5000afxza-top-buffer-board-lj92-02053a-lj41-10376a-serviced-tested-50-credit-for-old-dud'

If neither is available we should also post a listing for the board repair or at the very list the shift register ICs for sale. If you need either of the two while reading here please contact us via the website to request them.



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fix for RCA L46WD22 LCD TV without audio or having intermittent sound / audio

This is an old TV, but in my opinion well built one that will likely outlast great many of the TVs manufactured in recent years bare one silly defect in a fuse.

Hope this will save a good product from the dump and save someone a few hundred dollars:




Any 1A fuse will do the job, we just used a pico fuse we had handy.

If you need it you can get one at

http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/p/1403/rca-l46wd22-repair-kit-no-audio-intermittent-sound-no-sound-problem

Friday, June 24, 2016

Power restored at Coppell TV Repair service facility

Power was finally restored on Thursday evening at our facility.

We will be working around the clock to catch up with orders.

We estimate that it would take at at least a week and due to additional load factors it may as well stretch between 2 and 3 weeks.

We strongly recommend that you avoid calling us on the phone for most of July as we will be focusing on repair services rather than phone support, which happens to be quite inefficient anyway.

If you have an open service request already then the best way to contact us (and the fastest way to get informative response) will be through the service request thread available in "Service requests" under "My Account" at http://www.coppelltvrepair.com .

If you have not opened a service request then the best way to contact us would be via the "Contact us" link at the site.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

P.S. Special thanks to Electric Pros, Inc. and their owner Justin Klump for standing up and delivering what an average pool of about 10 other electrical companies we contacted failed to deliver! He was there within minutes on Monday and he delivered on every single promise he made. Kudos!
 


Monday, June 20, 2016

Service disruption due to major power outage at CTVR facility

This is a brief update to report that we are experiencing a major power outage caused by a driver losing control of his vehicle and driving over the power transformer supplying power to our and a neighbor building.

The incident has happened early morning on Monday June 20th 2016.

There is no power, no cooling, no Internet and - mostly - no phones at the site.

This will continue for at least a few days. It is not sure for how many exactly and it depends on forces beyond our immediate control such as local electric provider and electric service companies, possibly the police, insurance companies etc.

During the downtime we will NOT be able to work on any service jobs.

We will do our best to ship ordered parts and modules, but there will be delay with those too as we will have to be printing shipping labels in other places, then going to pick up modules from the main building etc.

Our site and email are for now fully functional.

Anyone who has sent their module(s) for repair and does not want to wait can have them shipped back the usual way for the sole cost of the return shipping, just as if we had failed to repair them in a timely manner.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and will be providing update as soon as we know more.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Panasonic TC-P55ST30 7 blinks help and repair SC TNPA5351 and buffers

Just finished uploading a video on troubleshooting Panasonic TC-P55ST30 plasma TV that doesn't want to start and blinking 7 times on the front LED.

It was actually broken up in 3 parts you can find on YouTube:

Troubleshooting Panasonic  TC-P55ST30 part 1:
 

Troubleshooting Panasonic  TC-P55ST30 part 2:

Troubleshooting Panasonic  TC-P55ST30 part 3:

Those are not a complete DIY videos and do not show you how to actually do the replacement and repair parts; they are focused more on diagnosing the problem.

We haven't activated the corresponding repair services and repair kits at the site yet, but chances are by the time you hit this posting we already would have had it done. (is that a proper tense?)

Those should help you find them:

http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/search?q=TC-P55ST30

http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/search?q=TNPA5351

Now, I would like to summarize the videos that way:

1) To troubleshoot a TV you need a multimeter. It doesn't have to be a nice Fluke, a generic $30 device would do 99% of the time.

It is worth spending some time watching YouTube videos on how to measure voltage and resistance with the device.
For sake of finding shorts and generally troubleshooting resistance (or continuity, which is the physically and mathematically opposite of resistance) is usually measured using the DIODE symbol on the device's dial for reasons you can find explained elsewhere.

2) You need to take off the back cover of the TV. Some TVs allow it to be taken while the unit is on its feet/pedestal, others require that the pedestal is taken out and the unit is laid flat.
It is quite OK to lay a plasma TV flat on a table.

3) If you see lots of dust in a TV (or any other device) take it out and suck it or blow it out of it. Doing that earlier is better than doing it later when you've picked and / or inhaled large portions of it.
Do as we say , not as we do in this video :-)

4) Most commonly failing power components in plasma TVs are transistors and diodes.
Transistors have 3 electrically different legs and diodes have 2 even though it is possible for a particular component that is a diode to have 3 legs and look like a transistor; this would be when inside there are 2 diodes with one common electrode or simply two of the legs would be the same electrode.
On boards didodes are often marked with prefix D followed by a number while transistors are often marked with prefix Q followed by a number. D101 is a diode, Q101 is a transistor.

5) You check for defective diodes and transistors by testing each possible combination of electrodes for low resistance near to 0. A true failure would have the same low resistance in both direction, e.g. by swapping the places of the meter's probes you should get the same low reading.
Low reading in only ONE direction is usually indication for a GOOD device.

The separation between diodes and transistors is only important for the sake of knowing that in some cases you will find "shorted" electrodes, that are such by design - namely in diodes made with 3 electrodes.

6) Two things to watch for when looking for shorted components:

First, often times components are in parallel; one shorted component may make others appear shorted as well. Which means the first component you find shorted is not necessarily the actually bad one.

And second, sometimes low resistance can be found between two electrodes of a power component by design; this is fairly common with transistors in particular and easily recognizable once you establish the pattern, which is that such resistances have "rounded" values of say 15 or 20 ohm, which are hard to achieve my a failure (not impossible though!) and, most importantly, can be easily tracked to a resistor located nearby.

7) Not just SMD components fail. Check the ones on the heat sinks as well.

In addition, not only components included in repair kits sold by SJ and others fail. Many times companies sell you repair kits that were not even based on actual experience repairing boards.
Do not trust that if you buy a repair kit from SJ or even CTVR it will have all the parts you need!
But naturally I think it stands to reason to trust companies who offer repair services in addition to repair kits.


8) Transistors are sometimes organized in groups of 2, 3 or more working in parallel (one particular electrode labeled G leg is usually connected to the other G-s via small resistors while the other electrodes are directly electrically connected to the same electrodes from the other components in the group).
Determining which one of those has failed is subject of another article for sake of space, but it is a good idea to replace all of them when one fails.
It is not a must in most cases we've seen, but in some cases it is.
For Panasonic TC-P55ST30 it doesn't seem to be, but we still do it.

9) We've seen different failures on different boards; the video identifies the components we've seen fail.

You can get a repair kit from us or send the board for repair if you wish.

10) When the sustain board fails a buffer board may or may not fail along with it.

When it fails it is usually, but not necessarily the top (SU) buffer board.

The videos show you how to test for failure (short) on a buffer board and how to identify the faulty IC.

The method shown is 99% reliable meaning it leaves about 1% of the times when the board would be bad, but the shown check may not reveal it. The devil is in the details, right?

You can buy the ICs for the buffer board repair or send them to us to have them repaired and tested.

Hope this helps!

Vizio M470NV main board 3647-0302-0150 repair service available

I am happy to announce Coppell TV Repair LLC now offers repair service for the main board 3647-0302-0150 found in Vizio M470NV.

We also offer a board sale with trade-in option, but knowing how people tend to either not return old duds or return ones that have been badly tampered or - let's be honest - in some cases return duds that are perfectly intact and we still fail to repair - I wouldn't be surprised if we run out of working boards as well.

http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/p/1354/repair-service-for-3647-0302-0150-main-board-for-vizio-m470nv-smart-led-tv-totally-dead-blinking-endlessly-or-otherwise-failing-to-start

http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/p/1354/repair-service-for-3647-0302-0150-main-board-for-vizio-m470nv-smart-led-tv-totally-dead-blinking-endlessly-or-otherwise-failing-to-start


Just for the record, in order for us to announce a repair service it means we've been successful repairing a few and have typically seen at least two different issues; of course we are fully aware there's probably a whole lot more we haven't seen yet.

That is one of the reasons we do not promise success for any of our repairs (although for some we've done so many and have so many duds at the end of their life cycle we actually can promise a working board back, even if it means repairing and returning one of those old duds; then again, at this point of the life cycle people usually do not rely to repairs, but just buy cheap working boards off eBay..which is not always wise).

It is also one of the reasons why we do not charge upfront for any repair at www.coppelltvrepair.com .

A failed Vizio M470NV can cause loss of HDMI ports, loss of audio or video or TV that is totally dead, stuck to orange front LED or forever blinking and possibly others.

We also offer the flash memory IC (often referred to as EEPROM) for this and other Vizio models.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vizio XVT553SV totally dead or HDMI ports not working


Lately we've been doing a lot of Vizio power supply and main board repairs.

As you may know by now the Vizio  TV brand is almost exclusively handled by Sharp and a lot of problems are common for their TVs since they follow the same design and production pattern and transfer the same design and production defects among different models.

One common issue we see is TVs failing to power or starting up with some issues such as HDMI ports not working or the audio output being either too quiet or missing at all.

We started offering the flash memory ICs for some Vizio models as well as repair services for the boards:


http://www.coppelltvrepair.com/p/1355/repair-service-for-3655-0122-0150-main-board-for-vizio-xvt553sv-smart-led-tv-totally-dead-blinking-endlessly-or-otherwise-failing-to-start