Saturday, July 24, 2010

Repair Man From Hell

My "Man Moment" delusion concerning my TV was, frankly, a whopper: somehow I came to the belief that I could actually repair the thing - MYSELF! The last time I had wielded a soldering iron was at 12 years of age when I had built a small Heathkit amplifier. (It actually worked if I jiggled the volume control which temporarily reduced the overpowering speaker hum to manageable levels - a technique I had learned watching my Dad "fix" our TV.)

I know I'm not alone in this madness. As I drive around my rural neighborhood, I frequently spy the remains of scores of man-moments in the form of vehicles of every description in various stages of dismantlement upon the lawns and driveways of my neighbors.

Not that I wasn't encouraged to fantasize in this dangerous way. When I had that inimitable man-moment thought,

I wonder what would happen if I repaired the TV myself,

I knew I would not be journeying alone into the unknown: the Internet would be right by my side! No less than The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge had my back so how could I fail?

Google did not disappoint: I found one guy's blog which stated that he had a projection TV by the same manufacturer as mine with the same "red ghosts" and he had managed to fix it in 15 minutes with just a screwdriver! So I printed out his profusely illustrated instructions and promptly set to work.

Piece o' cake!! I'll be watching "Modern Marvels" again in no time!

Three hours later I finally managed to expose the supposedly malfunctioning part. If that didn't tell me I was outta my league I don't what would but I persisted with the usual rationalizations:

OK, so it's taking a little longer than I hoped but who cares if I save a small fortune by fixing it myself.

The next step was to identify the one amongst six screws on the part that required adjusting. This involved interpreting tiny Chinese characters stamped almost invisibly on the device's housing. Using my vast knowledge of Chinese I located the offending screw. The instructions then cautioned me to turn the screw slightly and slowly until the "red ghosts" disappeared.

A slam-dunk!!

OK, Dan... gently now! Not too much pressure.... Damn, it's stuck!!... It won't budge!!... Ugh...Aargh...Ooohh.... Come'on you STUPID PIECE'A ... SNAP!!!

The screw suddenly moved about 3/4s of a turn and its plastic top completely broke off making further adjustments impossible. No need for that though: I had eliminated the "red ghosts" along with the entire picture! The screen was dark and the standby indicator on the TV was now flashing to indicate a total catastrophic failure.