Jul 08 2009

Bill Bailey, TVs & Hairdryers

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 2:51 am

I wanted to send some advice to Bill Bailey (see his twitter account here) re. his misbehaving television, but quickly realised that 140 characters (the limit for tweets) would not really provide enough space. So here is the post I’ve written for him and linked to in said tweet.
If you’re reading this on the front page, don’t click the link below to read any further, until you are sure you….

    Understand and comply with safe working practices with high voltage equipment.
    Do not have a warranty left on your television.
    There are no children, pets, other humans, farmyard animals or anything basically alive in the house at the time.
    Realise this procedure is described for educational purposes only, and should never be attempted in real life.
    Take full responsibility for your own actions.

If you have come to this post directly, please either match the conditions above, or promise to close your eyes until you’ve fumbled for the back button in your browser…

So, as the greater bearded comedian mentioned here, his television hadn’t been working for a fortnight. Although I’m back over in Kazakhstan right now, I try to stay in touch occasionally with events, like the relative heatwave Britain had.
Is there a connection? Possibly. If a component is either overly sensitive, or just plain dying with Bill’s TV, it could be the root cause for TV not playing nicely for a couple of weeks.
How to confirm this (thereby negating the need for a TV engineer to take away his set/a sudden replacement being needed when said TV dies, with little warning/that nagging doubt that the television was attempting to force him into doing something more productive)?
Well, first read the warnings above. Basically don’t do this…
Remove the back of the television set carefully, to the point where the main circuit board is visible.
Make sure you have understood the first condition for reading this post. Are you working at a double-insulated workstation (I think it was called that, it has been some thirteen years since I worked in a television repair shop. It was basically a system that made it less likely that engineers would get a nasty shock from a piece of electrical equipment. Please note less likely – having been thrown from one side of the shop to another whilst connecting an aerial to a faulty set, I can attest to that). Failing that, have you checked if a RCD socket would make your theoretical experiment any safer?
Can you see any capacitors that are bulging? If so, replace them.
Turn a hairdryer onto the weakest ‘hot’ setting, and from at least six inches away, blow the hot air over the whole circuit board.
Continue until a) you get bored, or b) the TV stops working.
If a), reattach the cover to the TV and realise you’ve just wasted several minutes of your life.
If b) was your path to this point, let the set cool down for 30 minutes or so. Don’t put ice on, that is just silly. Now repeat the experiment, but mentally divide the circuit board into quarters, and attempt to use an angle of attack with the hot air so that you are only heating up (as much as possible) the desired quarter. You should eventually be able to tell which quarter needs to be heated up to actually cause the TV to break down again. Now repeat these steps, each time mentally quartering the remaining circuit board, until you have a small enough area to look at individual components. Still can’t find a bulging capacitor/other component that doesn’t look like it should? Give up, reattach the back of the TV and realise you’ve waster a lot more time than if you had quit early.

See what I mean about not fitting my thoughts for Bill Bailey into 140 characters?

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