REPAIRING A BIG SCREEN MITSUBISHI
It was an interesting week at best. Our big screen Mitsubishi TV had once again failed. I walked into the living room to find the TV off and my wife siting in the dark; this seemed kinda ODD so I had to ask “How come the TV is off?”
She said “It shut itself off and I couldn’t get it back on”!
We had just watched a movie with her brother; he’d left and I was returning from the restroom; not much time had elapsed.
I tried the Remote, and then walked over and used the manual buttons.
SHE WAS RIGHT……IT WOULD NOT START!
My first thought was, OH NO……NOT THE BULB AGAIN!
This was a Big Screen PROJECTION TV and its first failure 2 years previous was due to the PROJECTION BULB . Fortunately the cost THAT time was nothing out of MY pocket as we had opted for a 4 YEAR EXTENDED WARRANTY PACKAGE at purchase time.
Then, I noticed a bright red Panel Light to the right of the TV’s manual controls. Above the light was written “BULB”. I tried starting the TV again and walked around back to see if the Projection Bulb was on; it was not….good thing we had that extended warranty.
[This was somewhat of a disappointment]
We were 2 weeks beyond our extended warranty’s termination.
That meant I would be paying for a new bulb, and perhaps other repairs, MYSELF!
Thinking back I recalled looking for a bulb On-Line last time and the cheapest one found was right at $200.00. THAT had almost made me happy about the extended warranty.
Now however, no friendly, PRE-PAID, Technician would be arriving at our door to fix this. It would be ME doing repairs OR a big chunk of CASH would move from my pockets to another.
An old joke ran through my head “Say mister, have you got change for a $20?” “Yes; from your hand to mine”.
All I could think was………
HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO CHANGE A LIGHT BULB?
Putting on a Headlamp I grabbed a Phillips Screwdriver; then, I unplugged the TV. Behind it, on the right side at the bottom there was a cover. Behind the cover was the Bulb. I removed a screw holding the cover and 2 screws holding the bulb housing. Next I slid the bulb assembly out of the TV.
It was not broken……..it did not rattle…..it didn’t look burnt; this bulb did not appear defective.
But, what do I know, right?
The next day at work, I showed it to an electrician. He said it looked like a type of gas bulb since there was no wire element. During break he looked in an electrical supply book thinking perhaps we could figure out how to test it if we knew what it was, but he could find nothing comparable.
That evening I got On-Line again and did a search. Fortunately, it appeared that prices had dropped. The best value I found was $67.00, including free shipping at Amazon.com; this was Wednesday night.
After that, taking the Make & Model of our TV I successfully located AND downloaded its service manual. Turns out there were a set of buttons I could hold down for 5 seconds and it would then give me an ERROR CODE sequence.
[I put the bulb back in for this this test]
Unfortunately, having already removed the bulb after it’s failure the error code was not what I had hoped. It did not say bulb failure…instead it said “Bulb not making contact, or no bulb” An error code directly after system failure should have pointed me to the bulb having failed.
[Had I known about the error codes when it happened, I could have gotten them before removing the bulb]
Was or wasn’t the Bulb bad? I really didn’t know for sure.
Still, I felt comfortable enough with the Bulb being a problem to buy another. So I placed the order Thursday night at Amazon.com.
Friday evening I looked around back, inside the TV. There were 2 fans that looked plugged with dust. In the service manual I found directions for removing the back panel, and then next the Optical Engine. Once again, I got out my Phillips…[I was already wearing the Headlamp.] After removing the panel I found many wires connecting the Optical Engine Assembly to the TV. But each one was unique so I figured it should be easy to hook them all back up correctly; no need to tag wires or take pictures.
It was not much later I stood staring at the Optical Engine where I’d set it on a table. Closer observation found a third plugged fan and a very clogged heat-sink.
I have many times cleaned out fans on various computers. The secret is to stick something in them so they don’t spin up under air power, as this COULD damage the fan.
I stepped out to the garage first and cut the Air Compressor on so that I would have the Optical Engine out in the cold the shortest time possible.
I suspected cleaning the optical lens before reassembly would be smart; I sealed the lens and Optical Eye in plastic to keep them at least as clean as they were.; I did not want them to become another worry.
There was a cover over the heat sink that housed one of the fans so I separated that from the whole assemble to facilitate cleaning.
I next carefully carried the Optical Engine assembly to the garage for cleaning. Being the heart of this TV I’d hate to think what dropping it might cost me. This would probably border on a “NEW TV” event.
Once again inside I removed the protective plastic and carefully cleaned the lens and Optical Eye with Warm water, then dabbing the surfaces dry. After this, I wiped them with an Eyeglass Cleaning Cloth.
Next I walked back to the TV and looked into its back where the optical engine slips in. It was really dusty back there so I got out the vacuum and cleaned that too.
The actual TV electrical chassis did not appear to house any fans. It had one really big heat-sink but it was not at all clogged. I concluded there was no maintenance needed in that area.
I reinstalled the Optical engine, and hooked up all its wires. Then, the TV’s back panel was put back on.
Since the Bulb had not arrived yet I went On-Line to track its whereabouts and found it was on the way but still one state away. Delivery was guessed to be Monday by 4pm……….
IT WAS GOING TO BE A LONG WEEKEND!
So, we waited.
Saturday afternoon I dug out my old Home Network/Server Internet-Gateway PC. I thought perhaps we could use it to watch movies on our ancient 32 inch Samsung Television.
[we bought that one in 1993]
After loading Linux mint 11, I moved the PC and old Samsung together, and hooked them up.
The TV and computer did not at first create a usable video as the screen rolled and rolled……. and rolled. So, I returned to my workshop and changed its video driver. Once again I tried the 2 together and this time the video was good, but the sound was scratchy.
Installing a sound card did not help. Then I swapped the Audio inputs on the old TV: that fixed the sound, so we were set for movies and TV till the bulb arrived.
Monday, after work, there on the front porch sat a box….THE BOX, I HOPED! Carefully, I opened and examined its contents.
There I sat, old Bulb in one hand, new Bulb in the other.
Yes, this WAS the correct bulb!
I looked over at my wife and she looked at me.
“WELL,” she said….”WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR……….FIX IT!”
I certainly had nothing more important on MY mind then fixing that TV. All that was left was to reinstall the bulb and replace its cover.; and, it didn’t take very long.
Done with that I plugged the TV back into its Surge Protector Power Strip and walked directly to the TV remote, and pushed the power button.
Our Big Screen Mitsubishi came BLAZING back to life in all its glory.
My wife smiled…I smiled……What a relief…and, best of all, I had not needed to spend big bucks on the repair.
Years ago, my dad was trained in TV repair, back when it really took some trouble-shooting skills. He told me once that Most TV repairs now days were just a components exchange. It was cheaper to throw away and replace with new then to repair the broken parts. I can see how true that statement was.
It is the same today with PC components. Nobody repairs a modem or video card…they throw it away and just buy another.
I am glad that this repair was so easy. But I am wondering if having a new bulb on the shelf is a better choice then waiting till THE problem occurs AGAIN.
Prices went DOWN, over the past 2 years, NOT up. Still, a whole week without our TV might have been avoided.
Anyway, I can honestly say my PC REPAIR ADVENTURES made this TV’S fix an easier process. Had I not worked on all those computers I may not have braved our TV. I think all those previous experiences made me a little smarter about this one.
I guess I’ll keep repairing things, for now. Maybe if I win the lottery I might start hiring it out. I don’t know though…I really do enjoy the little victories.
Probably I’d add a little more to this article. But, its time for the SIMPSONS….and TRUST ME, they are VERY impressive on our Big Screen Mitsubishi!
I REALLY don’t want to miss THAT!