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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Failure Rates
Rob Spiegel   5/8/2013 1:23:53 PM
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Yes, RickZ28, power storms can be rough on electrical devices even if they're not on. I couple weeks ago, by brother in Chicago experienced a power storm. He thinks his house may have been hit by lightning. None of his devices were on at the time, but they were plugged in. His computers and printer all had to be rebooted. It took some time to get everything back to normal. The one fatality was one of his garage doors. It quit and couldn't be resuscitated.

Ed Fuller
User Rank
Iron
Sources of old electronic devices
Ed Fuller   5/8/2013 11:33:28 AM
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When looking for old devices and repair parts, give your local thrift shops a look.  As long as it's not a "hole-in-the-wall" many of them have a plethora of various controllers, printers, scanners, etc. that can be used or parted-out for your projects.  Plus, the money usually goes to a good cause.

D. Sherman
User Rank
Silver
Re: Probably not the remote
D. Sherman   5/8/2013 9:51:58 AM
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The main reason I suspect the failure is in the set rather than in the remote is that the failure began after a period of power instability. If it weren't for that fact, either part of the system would be equally suspect.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Probably not the remote
William K.   5/8/2013 9:36:28 AM
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D. Sherman, actually an infrared connectionnfor initial setup would be very handy since it would be the most tolerant connection to a set. And acording to the service manual it is able to do almost all of the required adjustments.

If I had the remote I would not have a problem, but I don't have it. Probably I could test that part of the circuit with any remote, though. 

The circuit board with the remote decoding also has most of the other logic functions on a board about 3 by 4 inches, containing a whole lot of logic stuck onto both sides. I will need to examine the drawings very closely again, but part of my problem is a poor grasp of reading Chinese text. 

D. Sherman
User Rank
Silver
Re: Probably not the remote
D. Sherman   5/7/2013 9:48:04 PM
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It sounds like you've investigated it more thoroughly than I probably would have. I suppose it's saving its current state in NVRAM so that when it powers back up it reverts to what it was doing when it powered down. That's a "feature" of many modern electronic devices that turns it a real bugger of a bug when the software gets deranged.

I suspect there is still a hardware serial port hidden somewhere inside it that can be used to control and program the controller in the absence of a remote. I would be surprised if they relied on an IR port for factory test. It might even run linux and support telnet. An amazing number of devices these days do. But good luck finding it.

Have you considered just trying to troubleshoot the IR link, in case something in it got fried? Can you trace through from the photodiode through some waveshaper circuit to a pin on the CPU and see if something resembling a binary waveform appears when you push the buttons on the remote? If not, you could try any other IR remote just to see if the receiver circuitry is okay. The protocol might not be recognized, but you should see a reasonable waveform.

I totally agree with you about the need for a real power switch. A power switch should mechanically cut the circuit to protect against all powerline problems short of a nearby lightning strike, and should also provide a way force a cold reboot of the CPU. One has to wonder if the engineers who design these things are ignorant of good common-sense design practice, or they are overrideen by the marketeers and bean-counters.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Replacement not available
William K.   5/7/2013 8:52:43 PM
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Naperlou, I am aware that any consumer electronic thing over six months old is considered obsolete, but I really don't care what those people think! Just because it is that old, it is still a good resolution digital television with a very convenient built in DVD player, and it was by no means the cheapest one in the store. Your new car is obsolete a year after you buy it, but if you could not get repair parts for it you would certainly be "unhappy", I would think. 

As for the universal remotes, yes, I have a couple of them, and there are about 15 pages listing the potential codes that can be programmed, including about 25 listed for the Emerson/Funai brand. And none of them work. Of course, most of the codes usually don't work, is what I have observed. 

Other manufacturers tend to continue with the same remote codes a lot more, and usually can provide a replacement part. 

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Unsupported remote controls
William K.   5/7/2013 8:40:46 PM
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Cosmictech, I will investigate that website. Thanks. 

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Probably not the remote
William K.   5/7/2013 8:38:20 PM
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D. Sherman, I did search the circuit boards for a reset line, and I found one. Using my DVM I found it at about 5 volts, so I pulled it low to reset. And it does reset-to the power off/standby state, and pressing the on button gets me exactly where I was.

As for "caring enough to protect the set, it was off and I was sleeping when the storm blew through, about 3AM to 5 AM, which is when I do some of my best sleeping. And as most folks leave their appliances plugged in most of the time, it seems to me that there should be a mechanical switch to turn off the power supply, except that would not help, since the same remote control processor handles all of the other functions as well as power on-off. And I have downloaded a circuit diagram and the service manual and they don't mention any other way to exit that mode except for using the remote. Which I don't have. For most electronics the remote is the first thing to fail, and oftn the most likely to be damaged either mechanically or through leaking batteries.

RICKZ28
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Failure Rates
RICKZ28   5/7/2013 5:59:24 PM
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1 saves
Rob, I know what you're saying about not losing the remote control for electronic equipment, as most have minimal controls on the unit itself.  The controls on current LCD and LED TVs can be difficult to find and use, especially when the TV is mounted on a wall.  Fortunately for my LCD TVs, the TV remote controls are not used since the TVs are operated by the DirecTv remote for all the basic functions (turn on/off, volume and input source).  I keep the TV remote controls in a more secure location for when more TV functions are needed.

It can be a regular chore finding the remote control after somebody else uses the TV...typically stuffed between sofa cushions or underneath furniture somewhere.  I wish there was a location button on the electronics unit to sound an alarm on the lost remote...sort of like how we find misplaced phones around the house (call the phone).

As for the original story about a power problem during a storm, the owner's manual for most consumer electronics warns against using during power problems and lightning storms.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Failure Rates
Rob Spiegel   5/7/2013 5:26:44 PM
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That's a good practice, RickZ28. That didn't use to be necessary. Another thing I've learned over time is that the remote is everything. With many products now, if you lose the remote, you may as well throw away the product.

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