TV Repairman, Me

A little over three years ago we bought a new TV. A new big TV. A new big HDTV.

It was a huge hit to our savings, but we had the perfect spot for a big TV, the old one was a little punchy, and, well, the Super Bowl was coming up and the sale was awesome, so….

A 56″ Samsung HL-S5687W was soon sitting in our living room. Gorgeous. Grand. Gargantuan.

We’ve loved it. Best TV we’ve experienced.

Recently, however, the TV has taken to turning itself off now and then. You’ll be watching something — say, I don’t know, the new Star Trek movie — and Kirk is about to be eaten by a horrible beast on the frozen plains of Hoth a moon of Vulcan (I guess? The science is sketchy beyond belief here) and — poof! — the TV turns itself off. It’s almost as annoying as trying to diagram that last sentence.

This morning, I did something about it. A quick Google search revealed that other owners were having a similar experience. Here and there were reports that the problem was a microswitch, and that sure seems to fit perfectly with how the TV has been acting. So I decided to take steps to be sure that the offending microswitch would never cause me trouble again.

Want to follow along at home? Here’s how I have fixed (knock on virtual wood) the problem. Note that if you try to do this and blow up your TV/home/self, I am not to be held responsible:

1. Unplug the power cord from the back of the TV. We’re going to cut wires, so you probably don’t want any juice in them.

2. Just below where you pulled the power cord is a small vented panel held in place by a single screw. Zip out that screw and then pull the panel out and up. You should see something like this:

Opened panel. Look on the left side.

3. Okay. You need to identify the panel-activated microswitch. It’s pretty obvious there on the left side. Here’s a close-up:

The wee microswitch. Prepare the cutters, stat!

This is a simple microswitch. There’s a tab on the back of the panel you removed that, when installed correctly, pushes the toggle on this switch (the blue-green thing) toward the interior of the TV. When that happens, the switch closes a circuit and the TV will function. If the toggle isn’t pushed (or isn’t pushed just right), the circuit is open and the TV will not function. This simple switch is thus intended to be sure that you can’t run the TV without the protective panel in place. Thoughtful, I suppose, but this microswitch can also get loose, or something could get between the contacts, or the panel might not be screwed in tightly enough to engage the switch or …

Long story short, I don’t like this switch. I’m pretty sure it’s the problem, and I’m also pretty sure that I’m going to remember to close the panel without its help. So I’m going to remove it.

4. Snip the two wires running to the microswitch — they’re white and blue — an inch and a half or so away from the switch (you want to leave yourself room to fuse these wires back together if you ever want that switch again).

Did you get shocked when you snipped? If so, you skipped Step 1. If not, you can go ahead and …

5. Strip back the wires on the TV side of things. You don’t need much bare wire here. A half-inch at best. Twist the exposed ends of the wires separately, then twist them together good and tight. Get yourself a short piece of electrical tape and wrap them up so that they can’t touch metal and short something out:

Circuit permanently closed, baby. Note: Remove finger prior to panel installation.

I’ve pulled the bulb cover on the right side to give a better look at things. You don’t really need to do that to execute this fix, though it’s simple to take in and out.

Anyway, I’ve left a short tag of electrical tape loose here, as you can see. Before closing the panel, I’ll take this and use it to tape this bundle to the severed wires sticking up from the microswitch. Should keep things nice and tidy.

6. Check to be sure everything is tight, then close the panel.

7. Plug the power cord back in.

8. Walk around front and turn the TV on.

9. Listen for pops and sizzles. Sniff for electrical short. Watch for TV picture.

See picture and you didn’t smell/hear anything horrible? Good …

10. Celebrate in whatever fashion seems appropriate to you. (I grabbed a glass of pomegranate-blueberry juice, cuz I’m crazy like that.)

Having just done this work, I cannot guarantee that this will actually fix things. I’ll need to test it quite a bit to be sure. Good thing we’re into the NFL playoffs…

One Comment

  1. Update: TV hasn’t turned itself off once after my fix. Go me.

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