In June of 2006, I was looking to upgrade to HD television. At the time, there were a lot of different choices and features among the HDTVs on the market. There still are.
After doing a lot of homework on the subject, I decided to purchase a Polaroid FLM-373B 37″ LCD HDTV from Walmart. It had all of the key features I was looking for in an LCD television, some additional ones that seemed , and for less than half of the price of the name-brand competition with the equivalent features.
In early March of this year, my TV (only 3 years and 9 months old!) started acting up. It started making a high pitch whining sound during the first minute or two after it was turned on after having been turned off for hours. Over the next 7-10 days, this sound became a little louder and lasted a little longer, and the picture developed white pixels scattered among the highlighted areas of the picture.
During this period, the initial TV picture would occasionally be scrambled and frozen (see photo to the right), and neither the remote control nor the buttons on the side of the TV would turn it back off. The only way to turn the TV off was to unplug it.
After several cycles of turning on, unplugging and plugging it back in, the TV would stay on and display a moving picture of the current video stream. There would still be white pixels scattered about in the highlighted areas of the picture, and the whining sound would not go away.
Since the whining sound was coming out of the TV speakers, and the volume up/down controls did not change this sound, the only way to get rid of the sound was to mute the TV audio. This wasn’t a big deal because the TV only provides video; a Dolby 7.1, 1420-watt surround stereo system provides much better audio.
A Google search revealed a host of similar complaints documented by other Polaroid FLM-373B HDTV owners. The symptoms varied: from the audio whine symptom I was experiencing, to the video issue I was having, to white or black screens, or no sound, etc.
I disassembled the TV and noted there were some “blown” power supply capacitors. An e-Bay search turned up a $99 used power supply from an identical model TV with only a 7 day warranty, and another for $149 with a similar warranty. Rather than take my chances with the same issue recurring, I decided to apply some of my electronics knowledge to repair the power supply myself.
I was prepared to document my repair efforts with pictures and details but I found this great post about Polaroid FLM-373B power supply capacitor replacement by stiv0 who went through the same thing I did with the TV repairs and had documented this pretty well. As it turns out, this is a popular fix and appears to have been completed by many, many people to date. I have posted on that site as well. Thank you stiv0!
My repair worked great, even though the replacement capacitors are a bit larger than their predecessors. I replaced all 3 of the smaller capacitors with 1000uF, 50 volt ones (the 2 smaller originals were 35 volt rated ones) and the two largest caps were replaced by ones with the same capacitance and voltage as the originals (100uF, 450 volts). For whatever reasons, these replacements were a little larger than the old ones, but still were able to fit in the proper places (with a little coaxing).
A little advice: When you bend the leads on any electronic component (e.g. capacitors), be sure to use a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the leads close to the component’s body to avoid stress-damage…
Cost of all 5 capacitors? $24 including shipping!
Day 2 and counting…