Sunday, November 21, 2010

Samsung follow-up

This is just a follow-up to my last post about our Samsung FP-T5084 plasma TV.  After our TV failed to power up the other day (for the second time within a year) and Samsung rejected our warranty claim because the warranty had expired, I found out from the Samsung service rep that the power supply unit had been replaced last year (under warranty, of course).  When I priced the power supply online, it was available for about $130 at most electronics specialty shops, but eBay also had it for about $90 plus shipping. 

It was then that I stumbled upon a YouTube video of a guy who had the same problem I did with the Samsung FP-T5084 TV.  In the video he shows how to remove the back panel and replace one of three small fuses found on the power supply board.  Problem is, no one seems to carry the fuse in brick & mortar stores.  Places like Radio Shack, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes didn't carry it.  Since I work in Philadelphia, I thought for sure I'd be able to pick up the fuse at either a hardware store, an electrical supply store or a television specialty shop.  Unfortunately, it never panned out.  The closest I came was a referral from Dara Electronics in Maple Shade, NJ (who were the ones scheduled to come out to do the in-home repair) to a place called HBF Electronics in North East Philadelphia.  Dara Electronics told me that they were planning to replace the power supply.  The cost would have been at least $200 (about $100 for the power supply, $60 for the trip charge, plus the labor to install it), so i told them I was going to try replacing the fuses first before having to spend that much money to fix it.  The guy understood and recommended the other place as a source for parts. 

Angie helped me take the TV down from above the fireplace.  I was then able to remove the back panel and located all three fuses on the power supply board.  I had no way of testing them (and they are ceramic, so you can't see inside of them like a typical glass fuse), but someone I work with told me he could test them if I brought them into the office.  We tested all three at work the next day and one of them came up bad.  At this point, I was pretty confident that replacing the fuse would bring the TV back to life.  I must have called 20 different places, but no one within 25 miles of Philly carries these damned things (12 Amp 250 Volt 5mm x 20mm ceramic "slow blow" fuses).  I called HBF and spoke to someone there who assured me that they had them in stock, they came in a pack of five, and were available for $5.  I was suspicious that the guy was wrong because on most web sites, these fuses were selling for $3 a piece.  Of course, when I got there the guy showed me a pack of five glass fuses (and they weren't "slow blow").  He assured me that they would work (and I bought them anyway since I'd driven all the way out to him), but I had no intention of installing glass fuses permanently.  I'd use one to test with, just to see if the set would power up (it did).

I ended up ordering a pack of five ceramic fuses from for $1.39 for a pack of five.  I called them just to make sure I had read the price correctly.  I paid $20 for Express Mail shipping from Atlanta, GA and had the fuses the next day. I threw away the bad fuse from the TV, and replaced all three with three of the five new ones.  I now have four "spares," just in case one blows out next year (since this seems to be a yearly occurrence).

I think I probably spent about $30 in gas, fuses, and shipping costs to fix the TV.  A substantial savings from the potential $200 parts and service fee I would've paid.

Here's a link to the YouTube video, just in case anyone else is looking for help with their Samsung television:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Samsung Sucks

First, let me reiterate: Samsung SUCKS! My wife and I purchased a 50" Samsung plasma TV in March of 2008 for about $2300. In December of 2009, the TV refused to power up. When I Googled the problem, I found that it seemed to be a common thing related to capacitors blowing out in the power supply or something. Fortunately, the TV came with a 2 year warranty, so I called Samsung and they had a repairman out within about 3-4 days. Angie said the repair guy was in and out of here in about 20 minutes. Of course, this meant that we had to take the TV down from the wall mount for the repair and then put it back up

   Today, Angie told me she had trouble getting a picture on the screen. When I got home from work, I found that the TV wouldn't power up!! I can't even describe my frustration with Samsung on this one. If the authorized repair person doesn't ACTUALLY fix the problem, then how can I be expected to pay for the SAME repair less than a year later? Samsung says it's outside the 2 year warranty and they won't budge. I expressed my extreme dissatisfaction with Samsung and told the guy I'd never buy a Samsung again. Now I plan on spreading the word and telling all my friends (and THEIR friends) not to buy
Samsung. Jerks.

   So I'm supposed to be contacted within two days by an authorized repair person. I guess I'll find out how much the repair will be then. In the meantime, I'm going to look for the YouTube videos that showed how to fix the problem (permanently) for like 20 bucks. It involves some soldering, which I'm not the best at; and I think you have to purchase the capacitors from Radio Shack. But if worse comes to worst, I would definitely take a crack at it. I mean, it's a hunk of useless crap right now.

   Meanwhile the cheap Olevia LCD TV that I bought from my dad last year when this first happened is back up in our family room and is our main TV again.

   Friggin' Samsung!!!!!

Sent from my mobile device

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things I Said Today

Category: Parenting

1. "STOP taking your brother's Mighty Beanz®!!"
2. "Watch out for the sticker bushes!"
3. "Stay on the hiking path, please."
4. "Don't throw the rubber junk at each other!" (on the ground at the playground)
5. "WHO keeps farting??"
6. "Stop crashing your cars into the walls and furniture, please!"
7. "Stop crashing your cars into each other, please!"
8. "Don't throw/roll your cars down the basement steps!"
9. "Doesn't anyone want to play with the new train tracks I put together?"
10. To Adrian: "This is a 'No Whining' zone!"
11. "Three chesseburger Kids Meals, please.  All plain, with chocolate milks."
12. Dillon: "Jason won't listen to me."
      Me: "What do you mean?"
      Dillon: "I mean he won't do what I say. He won't play with me."
      Me: "Lately, Jason only wants to play with mommy and daddy, Dillon." 
     [Jason has begun sticking to Angie and I like glue.  If we leave him alone in a room, within 30 seconds he stops what he's doing and looks for us.  Once he finds us, he makes up some bogus question to ask us, and then won't leave us.  It's cute, but gets old fast.  This morning he woke up first (around 6AM) and played quietly outside our door.  He'd poke his head in every few minutes to make sure we were still there.]

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Professional" Photography

So... Angie had a photographer come to the house about a month ago and take some photos of the baby.  It was a free "sitting" fee and you get one free 5x7 picture.  Of course, you have to eventually sit through the full court press sales pitch before you'll get the free pic (if you ever actually get it), but that's the deal.

Anyway, the photographer was very nice (according to Angie), and she told Angie that she'd be willing to sell us the CD full of the digital images for like $40.  She said that the business "doesn't really take care of the photographers" and she'd be more than willing to sell us all the images for cheap.  Unfortunately, Angie never exchanged contact info with the lady, so a few weeks later we were contacted by the main office to schedule an "in home visit" so we could peruse the photos.

After much debate with herself and many unanswered phone calls (I swear the guy at the office called us about 8-10 times), Angie answered the phone tonight and scheduled the guy to come over around 6PM.  Luckily we finished dinner first and the guy showed up around 6:30PM.  I took the kids in the living room and played a card game with them while the guy gave Angie the sales pitch.  I didn't hear all of the package details, but a few of them ranged in price from $100 for a handful of prints (like one 8x10, some 5x7's and some wallets) to over $600 for a group of prints!  I asked how much the CD would be and Angie said it was "ridiculous," like $300!

Are these people insane?  Gone are the days of shooting rolls and rolls of film, not knowing how the shots came out until later, and developing film in a dark room with chemicals and manually enlarging prints.  I mean, they HAVE THE PHOTOS ON THE LAPTOP that he brought here.  I probably would have paid $50-$75 for the CD and told him to get the hell out.  I still would have felt slightly ripped off, but at least then I'd be able to make my own prints.  I can print them up at home or order them online, or walk into Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc.  And best of all, I'd be able to back them up and give copies of the disc to my parents and Angie's parents.  So it would have been worth it.

Does anyone else feel this way?  Do I only feel this way because I know how to shoot digital photos and print them myself?  Does the "Average Joe" get taken in by these high prices for pictures?  And really, are they that much better than what you can shoot yourself with a decent digital camera?

Angie thinks we're (read: I'm) just cheap.  I don't think so; I just don't want to be ripped off for pictures that I can take myself.  The pictures were OK, but they weren't ALL great. Some of them were easy to reject.  The guy was really trying hard to get Angie to crack.  She even came into the living room a couple of times and asked what I wanted to do. 

We went with the free 5x7 of one shot that Angie liked.

What a racket!