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Is My TV Worth Fixing?

Reasons Why You Shouldn't Fix Your Own TV

Warranty Coverage

Your TV may be covered by a warranty. Most manufacturers warrant their TVs for one year from the original purchase. You can find the manufacturer's warranty period from either your sales receipt, the owner's manual, or the manufacturer's web site. If you purchased an extended service plan and you are not sure when it ends, call the store where you purchased the plan.

Physical Damage

If your TV was severely damaged (such as being dropped down a flight of stairs) where the panel, bezel, and printed circuit boards are cracked or broken, then the TV is not worth fixing.

Flood Insurance Coverage

If your TV was damaged by flood water, check your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy. It may cover this kind of loss.

TVs are designed for indoor use, and are not meant to be left outdoors where water from rain, dew, or condensation can corrode the printed circuit boards. This condition is not covered by any manufacturer's warranty, although it may be covered by property insurance if the damage can be proven to be accidental.

How to Fix a TV Damaged by Flooding or Water

If the TV is out of warrantee and was immersed in water, it is not worth fixing at all.

But if the exposure to moisture was minimal, and you think the TV is salvageable, you will need to assess the damage by first removing the back cover. See How Do I Get To the Circuit Boards in a TV?. Take a look at the printed circuit boards and see if you can find evidence of a light-colored, powdery residue. This residue is the result of water damage. It is conductive, and will corrode copper traces, electrical contacts and wiring, and can cause permanent damage to electronics.

The best way to repair the TV is to replace every electronic part that has this residue. Keep in mind that most replacement display panels come with the printed circuit boards that are mounted on them. See How To Replace Plasma Display Panels or How To Replace LCD and LED Panels. See also Replacement Parts For TVs and How To Order TV Parts

If you do not want to order replacement parts, and if the display panel is still intact, a last-resort alternative would be to wash every printed circuit board and wiring harness in a dish soap solution. See Cleaning Water Damaged Circuits

How to Fix a TV Hit By Lightning or a Power Surge

If your TV was the victim of a lightning strike, your homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance may cover this kind of loss. But if you have no insurance coverage and you want to fix the TV yourself, you will need to replace either the main signal board or the main power supply board. These are the two printed circuit boards that connect your TV to the outside world, which is what makes them the most susceptible. If the TV does not turn on, and acts dead showing no sign of power, then replace the power supply board. If the TV turns on but some of the inputs (most likely the HDMI inputs) don't work, then replace the main signal board.

When lightning hits, it could go anywhere, but it will always try to seek a path to the earth. While the main lightning bolt may travel directly down the side of a building or a tree, it can also split into tributary branches. Either of these can induce electrical surge currents into nearby wires and cables of any kind. These transient surges can permanently damage the circuits to which they are connected. HDMI inputs are the most vulnerable because they are designed for very low-voltage signals and generally have very little surge protection. The HDMI inputs on the television are generally located on the main signal board.

Power surges can develop in power lines and enter into the building's electrical wiring via the electrical service, and can damage anything that is plugged into the wall.

Surge protectors can reduce the risk of damage caused by a power surge. But beyond their rated protection level (typically about 3000 joules), they will no longer be 100% effective.

If you know that a violent storm is approaching, the best way to prevent lightning and power surge damage is to anticipate the threat by unplugging the power cords and the antenna cable to the devices in your entertainment system. It would also be wise to unplug any lengthy HDMI cables connected to your equipment. Cables that run along an outside wall, through the attic, or that exit the building (such as antenna cables or cable TV cables) will be the most susceptible.

Should a Small TV Be Fixed?

If the television is much smaller than a 50-inch (125-cm), it may not be worth fixing considering the cost of the part that needs to be replaced. For example, if the display panel needs to be replaced, it might be almost equal to the cost of a new TV.

Should an Old TV Be Fixed?

If the TV is more than 10 years old it's probably not worth fixing (unless you're an antique collector), because parts may not be available for a TV that old. The longevity of the whole TV must also be considered. It's like fixing an old car - as soon as you fix one thing, chances are something else will soon go wrong. To find the year that the TV was manufactured, check the label on the back side of the TV.

What Are Parts Going To Cost?

The articles in the Solution Center can tell you if a part needs to be replaced. Click the blue buttons and find the symptom that most closely resembles the problem. If you need to replace something like a circuit board or some other part inside the television, then it’s a matter of whether the part is available, whether you can afford to purchase it, and whether you are willing to replace it yourself.

If something needs to be replaced, and you want to know how much it would cost, see Replacement Parts For TVs to get specific pricing from parts dealers. You may also want to read How To Order TV Parts

Just to give you an idea of the cost of parts, below is a list of approximate costs (in US dollars) of some typically replaced parts.

Approximate Costs of TV Parts
Bezels (frames) & front assy.s $80 to $250
Lamps for projection TVs $100 to $250
LCD/LED display panels $170 to $400
Light engines (optical blocks) $350 to $800
Logic boards $100 to $200
Main (or Signal) boards $70 to $200
Plasma display panels (PDP) $250 to $500
(after core return)
Power boards (or SMPS) $50 to $400
Power inverters (LED/LCD) $50 to $150
Small circuit boards
(such as Function & IR
boards containing push-
buttons or touch-pads)
$20 to $100
Speakers $10 to $40
T-CONN boards $80 to $150
Tuners $30 to $80
X-main & Y-main boards $70 to $200

What is the Useful Life of a TV

The longevity of a TV is like anything that is man-made - it will eventually break down. Typically, a TV should continue to run well for at least 10 years. But rapid technological advances will drive TVs to obsolescence much sooner. So for the purpose of depreciation for business taxes, the determinable useful life of a TV is 4 to 5 years.

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