Somewhere at the start of July my parents called me in panic, saying their 23-year-old TV broke down. Before I had even got to their house, they'd already bought a new one, so there wasn't much point to fixing the old one at first. You must know this TV, during the span of its life, had survived a 1.5-meter drop, a considerable amount of rain, and several other calamities. Knowing it was probably in horrible shape, I decided to take a look at it anyway, hoping to salvage a functioning tuner along the way.
The symptoms weren't good: The screen went black after two minutes, but the sound kept playing. The way the image distorted hinted at a high-voltage supply failure. Even more remarkable was how this pattern was very consistent, down to the second. After waiting for a while -- as I was in no particular hurry to touch charged capacitors -- I opened it up a few weeks ago. What I found can't really be explained by words, hence these pictures.
These sadly don't do the actual situation justice; at first I thought the PCB was actually gray, due to the consistent dust coverage. As you can see, the high-voltage supply, specifically the transformer, worked as a dust magnet. Needless to say, the problem was overheating.
After some compressed air and a pass with the vacuum cleaner, the television returned to working order. Not knowing what to do with it, it's still standing here, gathering dust as it did faithfully over the past 23 years, knowing it'll outlive every single LCD television in my possession.
While this isn't really an electronics fix, it did give me a good laugh. I don't think dust collection is a standard industry test, but I'm pretty sure this television passed it with flying colors.
—Bart Plovie is a young Belgian EE currently planning on exploring the world of academia for a couple of years.
Submit your product repair or redesign story as part of our Frankenstein's Fix competition on EE Life, and you could win a Tektronix MSO2024B digital oscilloscope. The deadline is Oct. 26, 2013. Submission details and full contest rules here.