27. September 2015 · Comments Off on How to Repair a Flat Screen TV · Categories: electronics · Tags: , , ,

With the importance of home entertainment in modern society, many people are choosing to invest in a flat screen TV,, which offers many benefits over preceding types of television sets, like the old CRTV TVs. However, these newer, classier-looking flat screen TVs often come at a hefty cost, making it even scarier when your TV stops working. Fortunately, troubleshooting and fixing flat screen TV problems is much easier than you might think. Sure, the repairs may still require a nice chunk of change, or may even require the help of a professional, but it is better than buying a new flat screen TV.
Repairing a Flat Screen TV
When it comes to repairing a flat screen TV, there is a wide range of issues that can cause problems. The most common problems people seem to have are screen and picture-related. As long as whatever damage to the screen has not penetrated the layer of plasma or LCD pixels behind the screen, repairing the flat screen TV is possible. If the damage is too deep, it may be necessary to replace the TV altogether.

Scratched Screen
For a scratched screen, varying methods for fixing the TV are available. This includes using a scratch kit, auto rubbing compound and clear lacquer, or petroleum jelly.

Keep in mind that the third method is a temporary fix, but it does involve less risk.

Cracked Screen
For small cracks, you can use the above-mentioned petroleum jelly method. First, clean the surface of the area of the screen surrounding the crack with a rag dipped in diluted isopropyl alcohol. Then, apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly to the cracked area of the screen using a clean eyeglass cloth. Be sure to smooth out the jelly, as well as to remove any excess jelly from the screen.

The petroleum works well as a quick, easy, and affordable fix, but it is not a permanent fix, and generally only works with small cracks that are not easily visible. For large cracks, or cracks in the main focal points of the screen, you are likely better off replacing the screen completely.

Broken Screen
For those who have a broken screen, there are three options: get a new TV, replace the screen yourself, or have a professional do it.

If you are going to be replacing it, start by locating the frame screws and work at unscrewing all of them. Remove the frame from the TV and set it aside. The next step requires you to disconnect any cables connecting the frame and the screen. Be sure to take note of which wires go where. After removing the broken screen, put the new screen in place, and trace your steps back, plugging in the wires, re-assembling the frame, and securing the frame with the screws.

Screen Distortion
A common problem with flat screen TVs, plasma TVs in particular, is screen distortion, which includes issues such as dead pixels and screen burn. There are many different solutions, but one cost-effective method requires an external DVD player (even if the TV has a built-in DVD player) and a pixel corrector DVD.

Start by disconnecting all devices from the TV except the DVD player. Use the TV’s menu to navigate to the resolution selection screen, and choose the highest resolution supported by the TV. Insert the pixel corrector DVD into the DVD player and choose the repair function you need, or use the software wizard to guide you through the process.
How to Buy Flat Screen TV Replacement Parts
Whether you are looking for a new flat screen, circuit board, or other flat screen TV parts, a reputable place to find parts for many TV models at a fair price is eBay. Simply enter the keywords “flat screen TV replacement parts” into the search bar for a list of available items. You can further refine your search by entering more specific keywords.

As flat screen TVs are typically quite pricey, they can cause a huge headache when they break. If you’ve thrown your Wii remote at the TV during a vigorous round of Wii Sports, have no fear; fixing your flat screen TV may be much easier than you thought.

18. September 2015 · Comments Off on HOW TO FIX YOUR TV · Categories: electronics · Tags:

Most television is broken. In this instructable, you’ll learn how to fix your TV with everyday household materials.

Step 1: WHAT YOU WILL NEED

To fix your TV, you will need the following:
A functioning television set, large or small, old or new, cable or antenna or satellite.
A thin, translucent medium such as wax paper, available from any grocery store.
One to four lightweight rods such as a coat-hanger, depending on the structure of your TV’s housing and any furniture it might be in.
A non-sticking tie or fastener such as wire ties, hair ties, hook-and-loop strap (Velcro), gaffer’s tape, zip-ties, etc.
Something to cut with, such as a pair of scissors.

In this instructable, we will fix TV with wax paper, a coat hanger, a pair of scissors and wire ties.

Step 2: SITUATING THE TV, A QUESTIONNAIRE

Please ask yourself the following questions:

Does the TV set work, that is, can it receive and display a cable, antenna or VCR/DVD signal? In other words, does it need to be fixed? For our purposes, it does not need to be expensive, new, or high quality but it does need to have a reasonably “watchable” picture.
Do you have permission to fix the TV set?
Is the TV set accessible? If you need a ladder, get one.
is the TV set upright, such that the screen is perpendicular to the floor? If the screen is inclined at a steep angle, you will have to secure the wax paper at top and bottom.

If you answered yes to all of the questions above, proceed to the next step. If not, get creative.

Step 3: MOUNTING THE FIXER, or, FIXING THE MOUNTAIN

Turn on your television and tune it to a working channel (or recorded input).
Turn the volume down to zero.
Cut three or four sheets of the wax paper that are twice as long as the TV is high. Drape the sheets over the coat hanger like a pair of pants, hanging equally on each side.

Step 4: MOUNTING THE FIXER, or, FIXING THE MOUNTAIN

Note: it helps to to turn of the lights at this stage.

Stand in front of the TV within arm’s reach. Hold the coat hanger up about 10 cm from the screen and look through the wax paper at the TV. The TV image through the paper should look like blurry, colored blobs.
Close your eyes and change the channel. Open your eyes. Can you recognize what is on the screen? If so, try moving the sheets further away from the screen or adding another sheet. If the image looks like one big blob, take off one or two sheets or move them closer to the screen.
When you are satisfied that the TV has been sufficiently obscured, proceed to the next step.

Step 5: MOUNTING THE FIXER, or, FIXING THE MOUNTAIN

Use the wire ties to secure the hook(s) of the cost hanger(s) (laying flat) to the top of the TV.
Add more sheets of wax paper until the entire screen is obscured.
If the cost hanger is not wide enough to obscure the entire screen when viewed from in front, get creative. Try taping two coat hangers together and cutting a slit in the back of the sheets so they will hang neatly around the arms of the hangers.

Step 6: Optional: ALMOST FIXED OR PARTLY BROKEN?

Opinions differ on whether to fully mask the screen, though it is preferred that at least the view within 30 degrees of center is masked. You decide.

Step 7: ENJOYING FIXED TELEVISION

Change the channel until you find something that looks beautiful to you. Enjoy your fixed television as a light show, play some music. Or leave it on as ambience while you do something else.

Step 8: BREAK DOWN

When you are ready to watch broken television again, simply unfasten the cost hanger from the TV and hang it within easy reach for later use.

11. September 2015 · Comments Off on How to protect yourself, and your electronics, when lightning strikes · Categories: electronics · Tags:

Lightning strikes can be one of the wonders of nature to observe, or one of the most deadly encounters with the power of nature.

Lightning also causes problems with telecommunications equipment and facilities. The box, often referred to as a NID (Network Interface Device) on the side of your house or perhaps in your basement, is there to prevent lightning from damaging the wiring. The lightning protectors in the box are designed to route electrical surges in excess of 300 volts to ground, thereby protecting the wiring.

However, surges of less than 300 volts are more than sufficient to damage or destroy any electronic devices such as phones, fax machines, or modems that are connected to a phone jack. A surge protector is highly recommended as a way of prevent surges in electrical current from reaching your equipment, whether that surge comes over the phone or power lines. The best ones have a warranty guarantee that will pay for damage to any equipment plugged into the surge protector. Unplugging computers and other electronic devices is the best way to prevent damage to those pieces of equipment.

Of course, no type of protection can stop the power of a direct or nearly direct hit from lightning.

I’ve seen cable blown out of the ground, pedestals (those light green boxes by the side of the road) set on fire, and a lot of equipment burned up or melted by lightning strikes during my years in the telephone business.

If you hear there is a possibility of thunderstorms in the area, a good practice is to at least turn off any electronics to avoid damage from power surges during the storm. Unplugging the devices from the electrical power and the phone line, if applicable, is the best way to avoid damage from lightning. Once the storm has passed, plug the equipment back in, turn it on, and make sure it works as it did before the storm.

Of course, we want you to be safe during storms as well. When a thunderstorm is near, remember to avoid:

• Water
• High ground
• Open spaces (e.g., golf courses, sports fields, parks, school yards, playgrounds)
• Solitary trees
During a thunderstorm, it is a good idea to avoid touching or being near the following items:

• Hard-wired telephones
• Plumbing
• Electrical appliances or wiring
• Metal objects including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors, aluminum ladders, and power tools
• Metal windows or door frames
If you’re caught in a storm, try to find a safe location, such as a substantial building or a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van with the windows completely shut. If there isn’t any shelter nearby, assume of the Lightning Safety Position:

• Crouch to the lowest possible position with feet together, head bowed, and place hands on ears to reduce acoustic shock from nearby thunder
• Remove any metal objects you may be wearing (including baseball caps which often have metal clasps or accents)
• Avoid being too close to other people (stay a minimum of 15 ft. apart)
The goal is to not become a part of the pathway conducting lightning. This means avoiding all electrical circuits, switches, powered equipment, metal doors and windows, hand rails, and so on. If you feel your hair standing on end, and/or hear “crackling noises,” you are in lightning’s electric field.

If there are any problems with your TDS phone or internet services after a storm, please call us at 1-888-CALL-TDS, to report the problem, 24 hours a day, every day

02. September 2015 · Comments Off on 5 tips for getting the best indoor TV antenna reception · Categories: electronics · Tags: , , ,

Have you been thinking about cutting the cord, swapping your pricey cable service for an indoor antenna and free over-the-air TV? Then you’ll have to make sure you can get decent reception. And just like real estate, indoor antenna reception is all about location, location, location.

Ever since the move to all-digital HDTV signals, you will either be able to pull in a TV station or not; the all-or-nothing nature of digital signals means the days of attaching tin foil to an antenna’s rabbit ears to improve reception on marginal stations are gone. The good news is that the quality of the stations you can receive is often better than it was with analog TV broadcasts, and perhaps even better than cable. So if you live near a major TV market, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get many of your local network broadcasts—such as ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, and Telemundo—using an antenna.

Outdoor antennas, especially those on a roof or mast, generally offer the best performance, particularly if you’re many miles from a broadcast tower. But for many of us, an indoor antenna is an easier—and sometimes the only—option. Getting great reception from an indoor antenna can be a mix of science and art. Here are few suggestions that should help you get the best reception possible from yours.

Play the field
Not too long ago, we tested 10 top indoor antennas to see how well they performed for a dozen testers spread across the New York metropolitan area. We found—not surprising—that some models worked better than others. Reception depended on distance from a broadcast tower, the terrain, and the surroundings (nearby houses, buildings, trees, and so on). Some models were directional, so they needed to be oriented toward a broadcast tower. Multidirectional antennas, which receive signals from all directions, may be better for urban locations, but they might not pull in more distant stations. One surprise was that we found little correlation between price and performance; often the cheaper antennas did as well as, or better than, the more expensive models. What all this means is that you should try a few different antennas to see which one works best, so buy from a retailer that has a no-hassle return policy and reasonable warranty.

Get high
The height of your antenna is among the most critical factors in getting decent reception; that’s one reason roof-mounted antennas typically outperform indoor models. (It’s also why sticking one in your basement isn’t a great idea.) If you can, try placing the antenna in an attic or in a second-story location, preferably a window. Just be aware that sometimes objects in the room, or roofing materials, can obstruct or interfere with the signals, so try a few different attic locations. The reality, though, is that most of us will probably place the antenna in the same room as the TV. So try a few higher locations in the room, and even the ceiling—many of the newer flat antennas, such as the Mohu Leaf, can be painted, making them a less-obvious presence in the room.

Point it
Most antennas are directional (they’re also called “unidirectional” antennas), which means they need to be oriented toward a broadcast tower. To find out where the local broadcast towers are in your area, just visit the FCC’s DTV antenna map (or some other sites, mentioned below) and then click on the station’s call letters to see where the signals are coming from. (You’ll also be able to find out how many stations you should be able to pull in, and their relative signal strength.) Once you know where the towers are, you can point the antenna in that direction. For me, most of the major broadcast towers were all in the same southerly direction, but it’s possible you may need to re-orient the antenna for different stations. A multidirectional antenna can receive signals from all directions, but you may not be able to get more distant stations that can be pulled in by a properly positioned directional antenna. You should perform a channel scan on your TV to see which antenna location pulls in the most stations.

Don’t interfere
Anything that stands between your antenna and the broadcast towers has the potential to degrade your reception. If possible, try placing the antenna in or near a window, provided you don’t live in an apartment building where your “view” consists of a neighboring building’s brick wall. The second best choice is an external wall that faces the broadcast towers. If you live in a house, try to avoid large trees, sheds or garages, or other large obstructions. Try a few different windows and walls to find the best spot. When I was testing the antennas in my home, I found it was handy to have an extra length of RG6 coaxial cable—and a female-to-female coax cable joiner—so that I could freely move the antenna to different locations in my rooms. I also used some painter’s tape to temporarily attach the antennas to the various locations before determining the best spot.

Get amped
Many of the models we tested had amplifiers, which can boost signal strength to help pull in more distant stations. They can also be helpful if you intend to split the signal from one antenna to feed two TVs. But our tests showed they aren’t always more effective than non-amplified models—they can also amplify noise and distortion, and overload reception from closer stations. If you have an amplified antenna, we recommend that you first try it with the amplifier turned off. If reception is good, leave it off. But if that doesn’t work well, turn the amp on and rescan the channels to see if reception improves.

Hopefully, these tips will help set you on the path to getting the best reception possible from your indoor antenna. But as we mentioned in our earlier post, the good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. There are several websites that can help you determine the reception in your area, and the location of the closest transmitters. (If you’re buying an outdoor antenna, some can help you choose a model.) We recommend antennaweb.org, antennapoint.com, TVFool.com, and the FCC’s DTV reception maps, which was mentioned earlier.

One last tip: Rescan for channels periodically. It’s possible that a station has upped the power of its transmitters or relocated a broadcast tower and you might be able to get a station or two that were previously unavailable.