What to look for when your TV, HiFi decides not to work properly

I have written a few articles of late relating to domestic equipment, TVs and HiFi etc. A lot of you have dropped me a line, having found the information useful. Well, that’s good, glad it’s useful.
Here are a few more things to hopefully help before giving me a call.
Mains plugs and sockets
I have carried out many repairs to equipment that has been damaged as a result of poorly fitting plugs in sockets. Unlike the 13 amp three pin square plugs in the UK, the 2 pin sockets used in European counties, in my opinion, are not as tough. One problem tends to be the size of the plug pins. You get the flat 2 pin plugs fitted to equipment that does not take much power. Things like DVDs, CDs, radios, smaller TVs etc.. More heavy duty items such as larger TVs, kettles etc.. tend to have the larger plugs with the side earth connections.  The connecting pins are slightly different diameter. If the socket that you are plugging the smaller of the plugs into is slightly worn, you can get arcing between the plug pins and the socket, due to a loose fit. This can quickly kill power supply systems in delicate gear such as TVs, DVDs and so on. So, check the sockets and make sure all is firm. I would chop off the smaller 2 pin plug and fit one of the larger plugs as a matter of course. Multiway extensions blocks also suffer from the same problems. Spending 3-4 Euros on one of these, you get what you pay for!
CDs and DVDs
If your CD or DVD player is having a problem reading a CD or selective in the CDs it likes, the laser lens could be dirty and or need adjusting. Typically the machine says “NO DISC” or “ERROR”, when asked to play a disc (normally happens more with Max Bygraves and the Bee Gees I have found). Laser cleaning discs are not much cop really. They work on little brushes attempting to make contact with the laser lens, as the disc spins. Cleaning the lens needs to be done with care. This can be normally done while you wait. Sometimes the power driving the laser can be adjusted to counter effects of aging. The lens floats in a magnetic field, held in place by very fine wires. The lens is plastic coated and can be easily damaged. Don’t, as I have seen recently, spray with WD40 or wedge the lens in place with match sticks! If you do, have a dust bin to hand.
Remote control doesn’t work?
This can be disastrous and could mean that you have to get up from your chair. Here’s a quick tip to check to see if the remote is sending out a signal. Most remotes work by sending an Infra red light signal to the TV or whatever. Now, the human eye is not sensitive to infra red light. Well, not at the levels that a remote sends out at. But, your mobile phone camera or digital camera lens is. So, aim your mobile phone camera or digital camera at the front of your remote and press a button. If you see the image on the camera show a nice purple flashing light, your remote is working! If the TV still does not respond to the remote, then the set may be at fault. This is not uncommon.
Video Cassette recorder, poor picture
If the picture from your video recorder is all grainy, noisy and breaks up, the video drum could do with cleaning. You can get cleaning tapes, but these tend to be abrasive to the video heads, which are frail little things. It can shorten the life of the machine if used a few times. Similar to laser lens cleaning, this can be done while you wait and will not subject the video heads to undue wear.
Top Tip!!!!
This was an expensive lesson for a poor chap who bought his 37″ LCD TV for repair, following an unfriendly attack of lightning. When carrying a TV, always carry it with the screen facing your body. If you should trip up and fall, you will stand a better chance of not damaging the sets’ screen. The back of the set is a lot tougher! The poor chap with his 37″ telly, took it to his car and fell, screen forward, onto the tow bar. This did not do too much for the picture quality I can tell you.
Any queries, drop me a line or call. Advice is always free.

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