Repairing a TV Yourself

As the popularity of online instruction has risen, more and more individuals have made the assumption that repairing electronics is something they can do themselves, with little to no know-how or basic electronics training.

For example, I (the author) once diagnosed an issue with a hard drive and attempted to fix the problem myself following video instruction. My diagnosis was correct, but unfortunately the hard drive was destroyed. Unlike many in my position, I felt I had nothing to lose but time and effort, and was fully aware of the risks. I also understood what it took for a professional to fix the problem versus how I would be able to fix it.

I would never recommend anyone attempt to fix their own hard drive unless you are prepared to lose it, as I was. This is no different than attempting to fix your television yourself.

Online video tutorials or written step-by-step instructions would lead you to believe that almost any television repair is capable of both being diagnosed and fixed by even a novice. The reality is is that these individuals spread mostly false information, impressing upon their audience that the assistance of a TV repairman are generally unneeded.

It is, however, true that many televisions have components within them that are known as “plug and play”, meaning that replacement component can simply be removed and replaced without much know-how, no soldering and minimal risk of complication. The television may require a firmware upgrade after component replacement, but as long as you time to spend on research from the manufacturer’s website, it can be found.

It is also important to know that acquiring parts for televisions is a huge investment in time. You have to do a lot of research to find out exactly what part you need, right down to the revision number, but that is only after you make the right diagnosis, which is almost impossible for someone who doesn’t work on televisions regularly. In fact, the most difficult part of television repair is diagnosing the problem.

Forums and videos also have a tendency to generalize diagnoses, when the reality is that many problems on a TV have varying solutions, depending upon the model and manufacturer. It is always best to request a diagnostic from a TV repair shop. As part of the diagnostic, they should be able to also inform you if fixing the problem will require certain skills and/or experience, which you may or may not have.

Whenever a customer requests we do a diagnosis on a TV so that they can work on televisions themselves, we inform them that the risk of damaging the television is ever present and that it is important to obtain the right part. We will sometimes order the part for the customer, bearing in mind that we never buy the cheapest part. Buying cheap means to buy a lower quality component and that is something we never recommend doing. We advise our customers to do the same, should they decide to buy the part themselves.

For the majority of televisions, we warn against the pitfalls of following anything regarding electronics repair from the internet, reminding our customers of the adage “not everything you read online is true” and “don’t believe everything you read”. The fact is is that a background in electronics is essential for basic repair work and lengthy experience is needed for more complicated repairs.

The last bit of information we would like to stress is to never, ever attempt to fix a broken screen or panel yourself. This is the most complicated repair that can be done and requires years of experience and a firm grasp on how electronics function and how to work on them properly. If this isn’t enough of a deterrent, then the cost of replacing the part will, as the component will always cost more than the value of the television.