Repairing My Samsung LCD

Final Update: Samsung class action lawsuit settled. More details here.

Just a little over two years ago, we bought our 46″ Samsung LCD. Unfortunately for us, the TV started having problems this past November. Also unfortunate was the fact that it only had a one year warranty. The problem with the TV was that when you pressed the power button it would take 30-40 seconds to turn on and then it would have single pixel pink dots all over the screen. At times it would display other patterns, but most of the time it was filled with the pink dots. If you turned off the TV and then pressed the button again, you would have to wait for 20-30 seconds and hopefully not have the dots. At first you only needed to turn it off / on once to get it work right, but the delay and the number of restarts continued to grow.

When I called Samsung, they let me know that my TV was out of warranty (which I was aware of) and pointed me toward a local repair shop. The cost of the initial diagnosis would be $70 and they couldn’t estimate the final repair cost (although I did get a minimum estimate of $300). Well, the TV was still working (sort of) and I didn’t want to take a chance of spending $70 and not getting a definite diagnosis. On the internet I found this thread detailing a lot of people with the same or similar problem with their Samsung LCD (all shapes and sizes of them). They all had one thing in common: they were about two years old. Perhaps there was something to this.

I found two different sets of instructions (along with pictures) of the repair, but I was still feeling a little uneasy about my soldering abilities. Secretly I hoped that the problem would just go away, yet over time I knew that wasn’t going to be the case. Yesterday I decided to go for the repair and at least I would have either a working or completely broken TV. It only took about 30-45 minutes to disassemble the TV. I placed it face down on our dining room table to do the dis-assembly. I saw the offending capacitors and tried a few Radio Shacks in the area to find replacements. I had to go to four different stores, but I did find the three capacitors I needed. Actually the weren’t exactly the same. They were slightly higher voltage and were not quite as high in their temperature rating. Several people in the thread I linked early reported that they worked just fine for them. I figured they would do for me as well since they would save me several days on getting it repaired.

I’ve done several soldering jobs, but none of them on a PCB (printed circuit board). The one thing that I picked up from the internet thread was that desoldering braid was recommended. This ended up being one of the best tips since it worked great at removing the old solder. So I removed and replaced the three defective capacitors and put it all back together. Time to test out my repair. I was hoping it wouldn’t burst into flames which I would consider the worst case scenario. Turning it on, it seemed to start right up. I didn’t have anything connected to it (just in case the previously mentioned worst case scenario happened), so it was just a black screen. When I connected it to my computer, it confirmed that the fix did in fact work. Wohoo!

So the TV is now working as good as new. I’m glad to have at least kicked the can further down the road. If the replacement capacitors fail, then I at least I know what’s involved with the repair. For now, I have a TV that I expect to work for quite a while. I’ve also lost a lot of respect for the Samsung brand. Even though their quality has been good in the past, their customer service was terrible. They know that they have an issue with this batch of capacitors, but they refuse to make the necessary repairs without a heavy service charge. It will be interesting to see if the class action lawsuit goes anywhere.

Update (1/14/2011): It’s been almost a year since I made the above repairs and the TV is still working well. I haven’t seen the pink dots anymore and the startup time is just a few seconds (which I would assume is like a new set). Reading back through my original post, I noticed that I wasn’t really clear on my troubleshooting techniques. If you are attempting the repair yourself (which I recommend if you feel confident in your abilities), you need to identify the defective capacitors.

In the above photo, you can see the defective capacitors which I’ve marked with red. The easiest way that I’ve found to identify the bulging is to look at the lines (big “+”) on the top of each capacitor. When you look at the capacitor from an angle, you will not see a straight line. If it is bulging, the line formed will look more like a “tent” or a triangle. Another thing to be on the lookout for is any sign of leakage. On the two capacitors to the right, you can see small brown stains in the center of the capacitor top. I’ve circled them in red. So any of the capacitors that are bulging or are leaking will need to be replaced. They may not be the same capacitors on all boards, so make a note of the type so that you buy the correct replacement. You might also want to take note of the polarity markings on the board and capacitor. You definitely don’t want to have that wrong.

If you have any comments, corrections or perhaps words of encouragement for others then feel free to post it in the comments section.

25 thoughts on “Repairing My Samsung LCD”

  1. Nice Job!! Wish you had called me over to help. It would have been worth the time spent just to see if the the worst case scenario would come true!! I am like you. I can fix most things, but hate to solder.

  2. Thanks Dale. I think you just wanted to see a fireworks show. I know my solder job sure looked bad compared to that of the factory robot.

  3. Thanks James for sharing… My 52 inch Samsung is starting to experience the same issues here and there. Off-course after the warranty and i got done paying for it. best buy plan.

  4. Sorry to hear that John. I know the crushing feeling when you realize that something is wrong with the expensive TV you purchased. I think the replacement procedure is completely do-able by the average “attention to detail” person. You also have the option of replacing the whole power supply board. I hope it works out for you though. Glad I could help out.

  5. Thanks James…I bought my 42″ Samsung 2 years ago..Same problems, slow starting, pink dots. Took tv apart and found four bad capacitors. A trip to Radio Shack, soldered them in works great..Thanks Again

  6. Thanks for this post. I had the exact same problem on our 52″ we bought around August 2007. I called Samsung and since I mentioned the capacitor problem they said that it was an issue with some TVs and that they would send a tech out. If it was verified to be capacitor related it was free one time only (even though my TV is now 4 years old). The Samsung guy came today and replaced 5 capacitors free of charge. TV works great now.

  7. Having same pink dots problem on a 46″ 4 year old sammy. i called them and they swore up adn down the capacitors are never an issue for anyone. I was told to have an authorized repair person come out and look at it.
    Jeremy I was curious who you spoke with? was it the general 1 800 number? I feel confident that I can do this no problem but why should we as loyal customers have to deal with this?

  8. Chris, sorry that you are having the issue. I’m not sure Jeremy will be checking back (hopefully so), but from what I’ve heard it’s worth calling multiple times on different days in order to get a different customer service rep. I’ve heard stories similar to Jeremy’s where they eventually talked to someone that helped out.

    I thought that is was a huge black mark on the Samsung brand that they treated their customers like this. This is especially true since many of us purchased the Samsung brand at an additional cost because we felt like they would provide a better set and better support.

    I hope you find an easy resolution to the issue (event if not through Samsung). If I was able to fix the problem then I would imagine that just about anybody could. By the way, my TV is still going strong after the fix.

  9. Hey, talked with 1 800 samsung yesterday they assured me that capacitors were not the problem. They told me zi was on my own tv was out of warranty. I went to online samsung live chat. this lady had me unplug tv and do the dance from her book she reads from. After I repeatedly told her it was the capacitors she said sorry no bingo.. its out of warranty. i asked her to put me in touch with Executive Customer Care. They called me and said yes there are problems with the capacitors from tv’s in the years of 07/08. They are having a guy come out and fix for free.
    so we will see how it goes. But if youare having the same problems ask for EXECUTIVE CUSTOMER CARE. THEY KNOW ABOUT THIS PROBLEM!!

  10. samsung had repair man com eout right after i got off phone with them . It took him 10 minutes to replace capacitors and tv is fine. wow.

  11. Wow, that was fast! Excellent news. So for anyone else that’s having the issue, it seems you should make sure you get through to Executive Customer Care. Thanks for posting the followup info. This will definitely help some people.

  12. omg, i am not having startup delays but i have the dreaded pink dots. i wonder if i can do this myself? just doesn’t seem fair that you would spend $2000 and get a tv that wouldn’t work well over 2 years. I guess I can count myself fortunate as mine is probably 5-6 years old. think i’ll try to exec customer care route. thanks so much for posting this..at least i know i’m not hallucinating pink dots!

  13. I’m having the same pink dots problem. I contacted SAMSUNG and eventually the EXECUTIVE CUSTOMER CARE people called me back. They are now saying, as of Aug 30, 2011 the will NOT cover this problem anymore. I escalated my call up two levels and they all indicated the same thing. They said, if you want to take this any higher, you have to send an email to: OFFICEOFPRESIDENT@SEA.SAMSUNG.COM. Given what was said above, I was hopefull that they would fix my TV. Now not so much. I’ll post back what finally comes of this. If anyone else has any success with SAMSUNG on this issue, please let us all know, and what magic tricks you had to use to get them to agree.

  14. Been on the phone all day with them and even tried customer chat. They would not give me the right time and stated this is not a problem. I have a 52 inch LN_T5265F.
    My only concern is if I order a new power board is it going to have the same crappy capacitors which will only last a few years. I tried find out if they upgraded their parts but no one knew not even the people who sell their parts.
    I live in a rural area and there is only one small Radio shack within 15 miles.

  15. My grandmother had the same problem with pink spots. Not wanting to bother with it she bought a new television and I offered to take the bad one off her hands. Found this article an went to work. The exact same 3 capacitors in the photos were the ones I found bad. I removed the bad capacitors, went to the local electronics store, bought 3 capacitors and they soldered them in the board for me since I lack in this skill. I went with the 16 volts versus 10 with the same MFD (micro farad) rating. Paid $1.89 for each capacitor and $10 for the lady to solder them in which took no more the 2 minutes. Put the board back in and works great! Basically for less than $17 fixed with no problem and no special training with electronics. Follow the above steps and watch a utube video and got a nice T.V. for under $17. Thanks for the article!

  16. Peter, sounds like you and I definitely had the same issue. Even after a couple years, the fix is still holding in there. BTW, I posted a link to the final settlement at the top of this article as well, but having it in the comments may help some people.

  17. I like many others have a Samsung LN-T5271F that had exactly the same problem described by so many others. I called Samsung and after about 1 hour on the phone got a service called placed with a service center. The repairman came and I showed him pictures showing the pink dots all over the screen and the clear screen when I powered the set down and immediately turned it back on. He did not hesitate but pulled the back of the set and replaced serveral (about 5) capacitors without even truning on the set. He said that my set was the third set that day he had repaired the same problem. After he left I noticed the next day the pink dots were still appearing on the screen. I called Samsung and they said no-way was it the same problem and I would be responsible for the repair cost. I waited for about 1 week for a call from the repair facility and finally I called them and they said Samsung had diagnosed the problem as being a LCD panel which would cost over $1,000 to repair. I finally said OK come out and then they refused to come because their work was entirely warranty work from Samsung and this was not warranty work. I did not know what to do, so I have ordered a power supply board and when it is installed, if it fixes the problem I plan to contact Samsung again. Samsung had a great picture which is why I purchased their product, but their customer service makes you wonder if others should purchase their product. I will certainly give it some thought before buying another Samsung.

  18. I don’t know how to solder, What else could i do? Same issues, taking about 5min. to turn on,clicking while waiting for picture, and pink dots appear when TV shows picture.

  19. Soldering isn’t too difficult to learn (check YouTube for some examples), but if that’s just not your thing then you might be able to find a local repair shop that will do it for you. If you remove the board and bring it in, then it would probably be a lot cheaper than them doing the removal of the board from the TV. Seems that some people have had good luck with this. I hope it works out for you. It sounds like you have the same problem that I had.

  20. Is the settlement repair something I can still claim? I have one of the models listed and it won’t even turn on anymore.

  21. The link at the top of the post has all of the info (including a phone number to call). Looks like it is still something you can claim though. From the way I read the document, you have until Sept 2, 2013.

  22. Thanks for these instructions and pictures, James. I replaced the exact same four capacitors today and the TV now comes on quickly without the pink dots. The job was much easier because I could see what you did 🙂

  23. Thank you for sharing your time an efforts. I have been doing ALOT of reading on this particular tv, and you did an excellent job explaining whst to do!! This is my first tv repair so I’ve been dragging my feet but now feel confident in what exactly I am looking for now!!! Lol. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

  24. Craig and Nikki, thank you. Glad to help out. Nikki, I hope the repair goes will and fixes the problem for you.

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