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Care and repair and maintenance of our extinct plasma TV’s, just to keep them going a little longer.

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Nelson Au, Aug 26, 2018.

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  1. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys, I thought I’d start up a new thread on Plasma TV’s. As they are an extinct breed now, it seems a shame to let the ones still around die off. The reason I had this thought for a thread is I noticed other members have plasma sets that have died and are seeking repair advise as well as advise on replacements. I have two plasmas and one just died and I’m seeking repair advise too, but more on that later.

    So why not start a thread on the maintenance and care for plasma sets. Maybe even relate our experiences with repairs and seeking a shop for repairs.

    This is not meant as a thread that eschews the benefits of newer technology. I’m a tech guy, so I’m one who upgrades when the time is right. In fact I am now exploring which OLED set to get next. I’m leaning towards the newest Sony due out in the next two months. This is an Home Theater site, so we’re all going after the best home cinema experience.

    What prompted this again is that I saw two members post about plasmas dying. As they are 3D capable, that’s another reason to see if they can be saved to work a little longer before it really is too far gone. So I’ll start and describe my experience so far.

    My first plasma is the Pioneer PRO-1130HD that’s 50”. It was one of the better sets in its day when I got it in 2006. This set has an external media and receiver box. This is good as it made it easier to service.

    AB36D8E6-80D8-4388-BD32-66683EB908F6.

    The one I have is still working and the glass panel is the reason I want to keep it going. For a 720 set, it’s still very good. My problems with it was after 7 years, the media box’s two HDMI ports died. (I had gotten a new pre-amp for my sound system and I have to wonder if that pre-amp killed it.) Before that problem, it stopped its ability to auto manage the screen size from 4:3 material to 16x9. I managed to find another box on eBay. It’s not as cosmetically nice as mine, but from a few feet away it’s OK. I’m wondering now if it’s even possible to repair my original one with a new circuit board. The other problem I finally sorted out with the second media box, was that this set at the time was on the cusp between analog and digital TV. So it could do both. And one feature in the set was a built in TV Guide. That has caused me headaches in the last year or so. Since that analog TV Guide is no longer available, the media box ping for that service, if it can’t find it, it will shut off the TV. Or if I try to turn on the TV the next day, and I see a blue flashing LED on the media box, it means the media box can’t update the TV Guide so it’s confused and will not display an image and after a few minutes after turning it on, it shuts off. The work around is to unplug the TV for a few hours to reset it. So it got to the point where I just unplugged it after each viewing, it was a pain. I finally found the fix, it took some doing as I learned you have to find the service menu that’s only accessed by a series of button presses on the remote in a certain order done within seconds. That was hard as the remote is older and the contacts on the buttons don’t always work. I got into the menu last weekend and turned off the TVGuide and now I am just amazed when I now use the TV. It’s like new again. I tried this months ago with no success. So I am happy that for now, the Pioneer continues to work.

    Since the Pioneer didn’t have working HDMI ports anymore at the time in 2011 and I had not decided to repair or get the media box from eBay, I decided to upgrade to a Panasonic VT-30 65” which I’ve had since December 2011. It has been a wonderful set. Truly a good successor to the Pioneer. This was a jump to 1080 and an extra 15 inches of screen size that’s been terrific. I remember when I first watched the Aliens blu ray, it was an amazing image I was seeing. But then 7 years later, it suddenly stopped working. I think I heard a loud pop, and as I was in the kitchen, I wasn’t sure what it was. My best guess is the sound was from the Panasonic, maybe a capacitor has blown as one of the other members here suggested. There is no red LED stand-by light and I tried a second AC outlet that I know is good and the TV will not turn on. I unplugged it a long while to see if that would reset it. That didn’t work and on-line repair sites suggested pressing and holding the power button on the set to reset it. That didn’t work either. So I looked at my Panasonic user manual and found the info for service. It directed me to Panasonic’s website and through there, I found a local service shop. It’s actually an indie shop that specializes in Panasonic and Sharp. I called the shop and the tech said he knows my set and that it’s a good set worth repairing. I explained my problem and he was surprised as he has not seen my symptoms, usually it is a flashing LED that is code for a problem. Oh boy I thought. I have an appointment this week where he will come to my home and have a look at the set and try to diagnose the problem. He charges $125 for a house call and its applied to the repair should I agree to his quote for the repair. Then he’ll order the parts and come back and do the work. I hope he can diagnose the issue. He was also confident parts are still available for this model TV. It would be nice if it was a simple blown fuse. Hopefully after this week, I can come back and report what the problem was and the cost to repair the set.

    My hope is the set is repaired to good as new. I can then either use it a little longer before upgrading to OLED. Or I upgrade to OLED and use the Panasonic in another room.

    Thanks for indulging me.
     
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  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    I have three Pioneer plasmas, and I hope they keep working until OLED gets cheap!

    Yeah, from what I’ve seen the Pannies weren’t nearly as reliable as the Pioneers. One of mine is a 720p model that I think was the first with a built-in tuner, so it was out right after yours. IOW, a pretty old TV, and it’s seen quite a bit of use. Got it used and have had it for nine years now.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
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  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey Wayne, that’s great your Pioneers are all working!

    It seems many of the latter plasma’s electronics just don’t last.
     
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  4. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    Fortunately, my Panasonic VT50 65 functions perfectly. 3D is spot on. I will continue to use it for awhile as the upgrade to 4K would be a domino effect on funds.
     
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  5. Message #5 of 51 Aug 27, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
    CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    Some plasma and misc. display ramblings, inspired by the mentions of 720p Pioneers...

    I do have a 4K display and don't use it much. Thing is, I did a rough check of my disc "accumulation", and as best I can tell more than 99% is 1080p or less. Generally speaking, I am not re-buying any titles I already have on BD in UHD...for now. Only new titles I tend to get in UHD unless they seem "minor" (e.g. comedies, stuff I know I'll likely only watch once but still want to see, etc.). So using a plasma is not a problem for me, I actually like it. The cost of even a decent and larger Sony OLED pales compared to what that last-gen Pio cost in Canada in the day, so it's not that. It's a matter of utility. The extreme majority of my viewing would be non-HDR and upscaled, so kind of a waste. I do a lot of gaming too, plasmas are great for that IMO.

    For those of you with 720p native (768) plasmas: they are quite in demand by "retro" gamers (actually, could be for some games <5 years old, so not always that retro, 720p games don't upscale so neatly to 1080p/4K). It is really hard to get one around here at least, they go fast, and I don't think the sellers are aware of who's buying them because they seem surprised at the quick interest. I was surprised too, I thought I was being "smart" and really I was way behind the curve when trying to get one. I don't think a whole lot of 720p native plasmas were sold, or especially are still working decently. I know we used them quite a lot at work, but they were on 24/7 and they're long past their 100k hour projected lifespan. They were fairly expensive so probably not super popular outside commercial use, around here anyway. Once Samsung and Panasonic got involved, the market expanded, but just not enough!

    So...I have to wonder if a 720p plasma isn't a little more in demand, compared to a plain 1080p plasma (like what I have) which is easily replaceable by a current-model OLED? Hard to say re a 3D-capable plasma, an older model 3D OLED could easily replace it, and the 3D really is better on the OLED...if you can get one. A 3D plasma would be the next best choice for that (if we're not talking PJs), so I could see some possible demand. But as for plain old 1080p plasmas, I don't see any particular good use for them except by people who already have them, they are easily replaceable with something newer (OLED specifically, but some of those LCDs are pretty darn good) that's functionally just as good or better (as long as HDMI/network/USB suits your media source).
     
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  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks Craig for that insight. I checked on eBay and I see quite a few Pioneer plasmas. After a few minutes of consideration, I might chase one. But then thought about it and thought maybe not. I already have one to care for. :). But something i’ll Keep in mind.

    I do play video games on my Pioneer and regular DVD and Blu-ray. I have a second Oppo player that I could use with the Pioneer. Would be interesting, as I haven’t tried up-rezzed DVD onto the Pioneer yet.

    The other thing I wasn’t considering is the move to 4K OTA TV. I’m one of the few whose never had cable or satalite TV. I’ve always been OTA. I’m dipping into streaming now. But for the most part, perhaps very soon, there will be the implimentation of 4K TV and any new TVs we buy should accommodate the ATSC 3.0. The older sets I hear would need a converter box if I understand it if we want to see 4K TV.
     
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  7. TJPC

    TJPC Cinematographer

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    Should we also start a thread for maintaining all 3D TVs? I hope to keep my 3D, but non-plasma for as long as I can.
     
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  8. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Hate to say it but these are disposable. Fixing Plasma will cost more than buying a competent panel in 2018. Parts and labor are both expensive. Then add in shipping both ways and you have a headache sized bill.

    It's been a wake up call: There is no future proofing. Buy a top end TV at your peril, they will be obsolete sooner than later. I gave my VT50 away to a neighbor to use in a kids basement as I moved to FALD and OLED. Better to buy mid tier best-bang-for the buck models and be ready to replace them in 5-6 years.
     
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  9. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Sam, it is a harsh wake-up call. For me it’s not about future proofing, it’s about getting a quality product that you pay a little more for for a quality image and that you’d expect would have a longer number of operating hours. I’d hope the extra cost would go into heavier duty components. But that’s not the case. I know the days of Sony CRT TVs that last a decade to almost two decades are over. But perhaps planned obsolescence is what product makers are thinking of today. Agreed that for this class of product, the technology is going to always change and improve and you expect it to be obsolete. I just would like a set that lasted long enough to use for other purposes like in a bedroom when when it’s replaced with the newest tech.

    After this experience, I’ve re-adjusted my expectations and figure today’s TV sets are only good for 5 to 6 years of good service.

    I have an appointment with a TV repair tech tomorrow whose making a house call. I’ll update the thread once I hear his verdict.
     
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  10. TJPC

    TJPC Cinematographer

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    I have no problem doing that, if 3D was available.
     
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  11. Message #11 of 51 Aug 28, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2018
    CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    Speaking of "planned obsolescence", low build quality, or whatever you want to call it...modern large appliances. Especially those from the same people who also make displays. I hate being "socially engineered" to accept crap. Must resist...
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I pay very close attention to all these threads.

    I paid $1200 back in 2012 for my 55" Panny ST50. THAT was a super-huge deal for me.

    And even though I am well on my way to being 4k compliant (already got a player and receiver), I'm hoping my Panny lives a long life.

    Would I love to go 4k? Sure! Would I love to push my viewing space and increase the display to 65"? You betcha!

    But I must admit that--by the same token-- I am more-than-happy (thrilled, even) with my current display.

    So in terms of "care and maintenance"...I will admit to giving it some additional attention over the past year. Now, whenever I give a thorough dusting of my HT/TV cabinet I also take extra time to dust the back of the Plasma. There is plenty of dust, dander and dog hair in my home (see below). And I am consistently amazed at the amount which is drawn to the back side of the Plasma...especially near its heat vents. So I like to think that keeping the back as free from dust as possible might help lengthen its life.

    And boy that thing generates a lot of heat! That's been one of my little secrets, as you can see my lone thermostat mounted on the wall (right behind the TV location!). During the winter, the heat from the TV spikes the thermostat's thermometer and keeps the furnace from running a lot more than it ordinarly might (being that I live in the NE U.S.). :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. TJPC

    TJPC Cinematographer

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    Almost everything you buy now- a-days is absolute crap, no matter now much you pay! A few years ago, we thought we were well off enough to purchase really good appliances, so we bought Maytag everything (instead of our usual Kenmore) — washer, dryer, fridge, stove and dishwasher.

    About two years later, the trouble started. The electronics went on the dryer and the replacement parts cost more than buying a new one. Then we had a disastrous flood from the dish washer that also ruined the ceiling in the basement.

    Our repair man informed us that a company well known for making cheap crap bought Maytag and put that name on their appliances!
     
  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Hopefully 3D will remaining available as an option in projectors for the foreseeable future. I'm still surprised that there isn't one manufacturer, out of all the brands out there, to include it as an option in one top-of-the-line set. Even if there are only several thousand enthusiasts interested in it, it wouldn't be a bad niche product to have an exclusive on, because anyone interested in 3D would then have no choice but to buy that particular brand at whatever premium price they set.

    The loss of a perfectly viable home theater format is a little strange to me. There are plenty of people who don't listen to surround sound, but they don't remove surround sound as an option on the disc. There are older codecs that are no longer used regularly for encoding both audio and video content, but new players are still able to play them.

    But to Nelson's point - if there's no difference in longevity between a $300 TV set and a $3000 TV set, I'm going to give serious thought to ever paying top dollar for a TV again. I could justify a higher priced TV knowing that the costs would be absorbed over a period of about ten years. But if the expectation is that I am to rebuy a TV every five years or so, and then possibly have to upgrade my receiver to support whatever new encrypted connection that TV uses, and then upgrade the input devices to take advantage of a new video format... I just can't afford to be on a never-ending cycle like that. And I find it hard to summon the enthusiasm to do so, even if money were no object.

    At a certain point, the technology reaches a plateau where an older model does everything that an individual might want. I'm still using a MacBook Pro from nine years ago, because it still meets my needs perfectly. I was very happy with my LG plasma, because it still met my needs. I am very happy with my Epson 5030 (HD) projector, because (you can guess where this is going), it meets my needs. For a long time, my needs were constantly changing or evolving, but it's been at a "good enough" level for me for a while now.

    I'm not opposed to the idea of replacing older components with newer technologies as the need arises. I just hate the idea that they're now building these things like ticking time bombs so that you're replacing things on their schedule and not yours.
     
  15. CraigF

    CraigF Producer

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    So does a 65" OLED ! I had an LG E6 for about 6 months last year. Honestly, it seemed about as hot as the 60" Pio. [I didn't do my usual anal thing of actually measuring the temps though, just went by "feel". I did measure the power consumption though...]

    I imagine we have similar seasonal temps here, I think I'm practically directly North of you by less than 200 miles or something (if it's upstate NY). The plasma warmth is appreciated in the fall and winter here, makes the HT room pretty cosy. Not so much any other time, like this summer...
     
  16. questrider

    questrider Supporting Actor
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    I bought a Panasonic TC-P50G25 in October 2010 for $1100 and had the "pop" (sounded like stepping on a light bulb) occur in February 2014 as I turned it off one night. Took it to a certified Panasonic repair shop and had a board replaced in it for $350. If the same thing occurs now, I'd gladly pay another $350 to get it fixed but I don't think it will be that inexpensive or even possible in 2018 (do they even still make these boards anymore?). I knock on figurative wood and cross my fingers every time I turn it on or off because I still think the picture is absolutely beautiful and would hate to see it go.
     
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  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I found with my LG TV (which also apparently has a dead board) that there are some online electronics repair vendors that will fix a broken board for far less than what it would cost to either buy one new or buying one out of a TV that's been scrapped for parts. That's what I'm intending to do with the board from my TV - there are several listings on eBay and other electronics sites with offers to send in the board, pay $50 or so, and they'll repair and send it back. Or, if they can't repair it, they'll refund your money and ship it back to you as is.

    While I balked at spending $600 for a new board, I'm very willing to take my chances with a $50 repair.
     
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  18. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Josh, yes, the idea that new TV sets have an expiration date is disturbing. If it’s due to obsolescence from new tech, at least you have the option to upgrade, but not from the TV self destructing.

    Brian, your post has given me some hope about a repair. If the TV repair tech finds the same problem in my set that you had in yours, and the repair is in the same dollar range, i’ll be very happy. I’d expect the parts to cost a little more as it’s a few years later, so I can deal with that. I hope he shows up tomorrow as scheduled.

    Brian, what was the reason for the pop sound, if you know? Was it a capacitor blowing or something else? I’m curious what board was replaced, power supply, or main board? Thanks.

    Josh, I hope your experiences with the board repair will be fruitful.
     
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  19. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    This thread, and the recent death of my 13 1/2 year old CRT RPTV gives me pause. I'm not going to miss the RPTV, but I like my 7 1/2 year old Panasonic plasma. I probably don't use it nearly as much as most people use their TVs, but I do have to wonder how much longer it will last. Tech wise, the only thing I would likely miss would be the 3D capability (I don't watch recent 3D movies, but I do have some of the 50s classics). I'd have to buy 3D glasses for my projector. There are a number of comments about "planned obsolescence" but I don't think it makes economic sense to have electronics with very lengthy lifetimes in this fast-evolving era.
     
  20. TJPC

    TJPC Cinematographer

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    Where are all these things made today? I hope I am not being xenophobic, but the phrase “Made in Japan” in the 1960s used to be synonymous with junk that was cheaply made and broke right away. Should we be saying “made in Asia” today to mean the same thing?
     

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