I am all that is man

by brendan on 05/2/2010

Okay, there’s a wee bit of hyperbole in that title. I still can’t bench my own weight, explain baseball’s infield fly rule, or understand anything that happens under the hood of a car. So I might be a few skills short of getting into the Manly Man Club (where I imagine that Ted Nugent or Clint Eastwood are checking IDs at the door). But I did just successfully fix my own TV, and that’s gotta be a step towards club membership.

Me with my TV. Click here or here to see the other versions of this pic that didn’t make the cut.

The issue with the TV started several months ago. When we would press the “on” button, the TV would click like it was turning on, then click off, then turn back on. The first time it happened I thought I had accidentally pushed the on button twice. But I hadn’t, unfortunately, and the cycle continued each time the TV was turned on. Over time that cycle worsened, clicking on and off several times before eventually firing up. After only a month or two the delay between pressing “on”, and having the TV actually being on, was up to about 15 minutes.

So what did Ladyfriend and I do about it? The most logical thing we could think of; we stopped turning off the TV. If you didn’t have to turn it on anymore, then you didn’t have to suffer through that cycle, right? For over three months our TV stayed on, 24/7. When we would leave the house, or go to sleep at night, we’d just change the input over to HDMI3, which resulted in a black screen since nothing was attached to that input.

This system worked until one fateful day last week, when I accidentally turned the TV off. I was moving the remotes around to clean the coffee table, and I put something down on the off button of the TV remote. I wasn’t facing the TV when it happened, but I knew the click as soon as I heard it. And like I feared, the TV wouldn’t turn back on. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued, followed by a brief time spent wondering if it would help to blame the situation on the dog. My hand had been forced; it was time to fix the TV.

The warranty period had long since expired, and a quick call to Samsung confirmed that they would be no help – despite this being an obvious manufacturing defect. I went on the interwebs and found many other Samsung customers complaining of the exact same problem. Apparently a particular run of TVs assembled in Mexico had used undersized capacitors on their main boards, and as a result many of the TVs from that run were afflicted by what had been dubbed the “click of death”.

There were two ways to fix the problem. One, you could pay somebody else to do it. The other Samsung customers online all reported between $300 and $500 as what they paid, or what they were quoted, from local repair shops. I called our local shop and they didn’t know what it would cost without looking at the TV first, and that quote alone was going to be $60. The other way to fix the TV was to do it yourself.

I went with the second option. I cracked open my set to remove the main board, and sure enough, two of the capacitors had blown. I went to my local electronics store and bought 4 new 2200uF 105c 25v capacitors for 90 cents each, and a small spool of rosin-core solder. Radio Shack provided the soldering iron and desoldering vacuum. YouTube provided videos on how to solder, and even a video of a guy fixing his Samsung. Total cost was under $40, and it’s only that high because I didn’t have any of the soldering equipment to start with.

So solder I did. And it worked! Despite my lack of electronics experience, and despite my shoddy first-time soldering job, the TV actually turned on when I plugged it back in. It turned on in only one click, too, which was the best part. I was amazed, and very proud of myself. I did a few Tiger Woods style fist pumps and then ran to tell Ladyfriend the news, who was slightly less excited because I had just woken her up.

Is soldering manly? I don’t know about that specifically, but saving $300 and doing your own repair work probably is. I think I’ll head over to that club now and see if Ted or Clint let me in.

Note to Samsung: I’ve been a loyal customer of yours for years, so much so that I’ve even recommended to friends that they too invest in your products. I understand that hardware components can fail, but I’m very disappointed by your lack of response to this widespread issue. I will no longer be recommending any Samsung products to friends, and I’ll have to think long and hard before buying your products for me as well. Let me know if you ever decide to make customer service a priority, and maybe then I’ll reconsider.

There are 7 comments in this article:

  1. 05/2/2010jimmah says:

    no pictures of you scratching yourself??

  2. 05/2/2010Lauren says:

    I like it. Soldering is completely manly – it involves a gun so it must be, right??

    While I am both proud of and excited for you, I do have a question. Why is that man patting you on the head in the 2 pics that didn’t make the cut? He seems to be acting overly familiar.

  3. 05/2/2010brendan says:

    Good eye, L… I wasn’t sure if anybody would notice the Russian man patting my head.

    Jimmah, The poster says “Het!” which means No, and I’m pretty sure he is referring to how he feels about a picture of my scratching myself. That or he is objecting to my excessive celebration of what amounts to a relatively minor repair job.

  4. 05/3/2010Triple F says:

    I also have a Samsung TV, and would like to avoid this ‘click of death’. What model do you have? How long have you had it?

    I have to say, what surprises me most about this is the fact that you didn’t already have soldering equipment.

  5. 05/3/2010brendan says:

    You know, I’ve always wanted to solder, but never really had the excuse until now. My TV is a 40″ LCD, model #LNT4061F, manufactured February 2008 in Tijuana, Mexico. We bought it in March 2008 from Amazon. Check the label on the back of your TV, since I think it’s where and when that matters more than the model.

    Here are a few links to forums with others discussing the issue:

    And another blog post about it, with a list of other model #s known:

    I wouldn’t sweat it too much, since if it’s gonna happen there is nothing you can do to prevent it. And the fix is very easy. It’s just annoying that Samsung isn’t acknowledging the issue. For all I know, they’re still using the same capacitors on TVs rolling off the line today…

  6. 05/4/2010Courtney says:

    Wow. The picture of the back of the tv and the fact that you had to solder something is most impressive! I’ll remember this for the next time you’re in town. I’ll just pile up all my broken electronics in a corner and pay you in actual Diet Dr. Pepper to fix them.

  7. 05/12/2010Ochophosphate says:

    You need to celebrate your success! That money you saved clearly needs to be put toward a quality evening with hookers & blow.

    Ok, but seriously – now you can take your new-found mad electronic repair skillz and start charging other people to fix their jacked up Samsung TVs. Now that you have the equipment your cost for repair would be nothing but the capacitors and man-hours. You’re sittin on a gold-mine Trebek!!

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