Fixing the TV

Fixing the TV

When I was just a boy, quite a few years ago now, we had  a console B&W television that stood in the corner of our living room.  Every so often, it would stop working.  My father would turn the TV around, take out the few screws that held the beige cardboard-like backing onto the cabinet, and then he would reach in and take out a collection of tubes. My job was simple.

We were living in Winnipeg at the time, so off I would go (walking/running), with my paper bag full of tubes of various sizes, to Ringer’s Drug Store on Pembina Highway, where they had a tube tester. I would test each of the tubes to see which one was the defective culprit.  Invariably, the culprit always seemed to be the last tube hiding in the bottom of the bag. ‘Buddy’ Ringer would smile and sell me a new tube in its little cardboard box. I have no idea what today’s inflation-adjusted price for that tube might have been in that day, but I do know that, in those days,  it was my job to get that tube home as quickly as possible so that my father could get that TV going before the next episode of Ed Sullivan, or Bonanza or Hockey Night in Canada came on the air.

Shift forward about 50 years and here we were, my son Graeme and I, replacing a motherboard in my wife’s dead Samsung TV. Where replacing a tube or two was a simple task, that only took as long as I could take to run to Ringer’s drug store and back, repairing today’s televisions is not quite as simple.  For one thing, you have to find a supplier of the dead component, order it sight unseen, wait for it to be delivered, figure out how to actually get the back of the TV off to get to the component location, and then install the new component and cross your fingers when you plug it in again. (Tools needed: small Phillips screwdriver and a butter knife, or equivalent)

Weeks earlier I had figured out what component to order after speaking to Samsung’s Help Desk (not totally helpful but not too bad) and then to an authorized service center (who suggested just replacing the TV) and eventually finding a source of the component (

The component was dropped at the front door by the delivery guy following the pre-Christmas delivery ritual. Ring the doorbell.  Leave the parcel by the door. Run back to the truck. In this case, it was a brown truck but the ritual was repeated by drivers of other trucks too!

Once the visible screws were removed, the fun began.  Taking the screws out doesn’t seem to do anything.  On this particular style of television monitor the two halves of the shell are held together by plastic tabs along both sides and along the bottom.  That is were the butter knife comes into play.  You have to have something thin enough to slip into the crack where the pieces join and then very carefully push the tab and pull the back half away from the front half at the same time. Repeat this process a few times and the back comes away from the front. Then separate all of the ribbon cables, insert the new board. Re-insert all of the ribbon cables and reassemble everything.  Easier said than done, but not an impossible task. Cost was about 1/3 rd or 1/4 of the price of a new TV and one-band aid.

Then, Graeme readjusted the band-aid on his injured finger, took a few steps back and said.

“You plug it in Dad! If it starts to smoke, get out of the way!”

No smoke, no fire, and we got the picture back again. Success!

Running down to Ringer’s drug store still seems like a simpler process :-).

About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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1 Response to Fixing the TV

  1. William Hay says:

    Great reminiscence and story Ron. Brought back memories of Fort Garry then similiarly of ordering a motherboard component for a gps navigation unit and installing it. We both learned the ‘idea’ from Dad and now you’ve passed it on to Graeme and someday his son will saying ‘why not just buy a new spaceship monitor’ !

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