Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Replacing Capacitors In Your Television

Ahhhhh - we had an awesome weekend with wonderful friends who are more like family at Possum Kingdom Lake shootin' guns, riding 4 wheelers, cooking, eating, singing praises to the Lord, and exposing our hearts to one another. It was refreshing and encouraging and I hope you readers have people you get to do these kinds of amazing things with. Because there is honestly and truly no replacement.

Here is Chris showing me how to shoot this particular 22. I've shot small rifles and a few handguns before, but with any weapon you don't have intimate knowledge of, it is SO important to know exactly what you are holding.

So, The Mister is just awesome - pretty much. And because of this awesomeness and his giving, sweet, helpful heart, people tend to give back in huge ways. So we ended up with this free TV. Which was a blessing. And totally unexpected. Here is a post from The Mister where he tells you how he figured out what was wrong with it and how he fixed it up, good as new.

As the Missus just wrote, people tend to give us stuff they think I can fix. We started with a 37" LG TV that would only come on if you pushed the power button about 8 times. As always, I Googled the model # to see if this is a common issue. It just so happened that it was, and the issue is bad capacitors on the main power board. I decided to open up the TV and take a look.

I found a nice clean place, "the kitchen table", to open the TV. I completely unplugged the TV from power and waited about 5 min before I started opening the back of it up. The reason I waited was to reduce the chance of one of the capacitors discharging and shocking me, or destroying other electrical components inside the TV. Once I opened the back cover, I touched the metal frame of the TV to discharge any static I had built up by walking around the house. Always remember to do this before touching any electrical device with any kind of computer chip inside to avoid frying it. I took one look at the main power board and I could see 4 capacitors that where slightly swollen. This confirmed my Google search and pushed me to find replacement capacitors and YouTube videos on how to replace them.

The 4 capacitors were all the same and not on the shelf at the local Fry's or Radio Shack (my usual go to places for things like this). I found a great company that sold a kit with all the capacitors for super cheap: $16 with free shipping and all the materials needed to replace the capacitors, minus the iron. I already had a soldering iron.

Here are some pics of the bad capacitors and the good new ones. The one on the left has a slightly domed shaped top indicating that it is bad. The new one on the right has a flat top.

 Here is a closer look at difference between a bad capacitor and a good one.

I used some solder wick to desolder the bad capacitors. It basically is a mesh copper strand that,   when heated on top of a solder weld, absorbs the solder. This is a cheap and easy way to desolder.

Once I made sure there was no more solder, I removed the old capacitors and placed in the new ones. The longer lead of the capacitor is the positive end. Make sure you place them correctly. There is also a strip that indicates the negative side that is labeled on both the capacitor and the circuit board. Once you push the leads through, bend them to hold the capacitor in place.

Then just let your iron heat up for about ten minutes and start soldering away. A trick that I have found in soldering guitar electronics is to make sure the iron tip is clean and DO NOT keep the iron on the spot too long. If it doesn't melt the solder in less then 10 seconds, pull the iron away and do some practice welds on something else. As soon as I finished the welds, I used a pair of wire cutters to clip the extra lead wire from the capacitors. I then checked all my work and put the TV back together. If there aren't any extra parts or screws, then you did a good job. I plugged in the TV and pushed the power button on the remote once and BAM! It came to life. The satisfaction in knowing I had fixed it was truly rewarding, plus we didn't have to buy a TV.

The funny thing is that 40 to 50 years ago this was the norm. Nothing went to waste. People fixed their own electronics. It can still be done; you just have to put a little effort in to it, and step outside of your comfort zone. If you cant fix it, what have you lost? Time is the only thing to lose. The Missus and I watch this TV almost every day together. And I know that this has been a blessing.  

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