TV sets and VCRs

Some people think that my amazingly vast knowledge of technical satellite matters extends to TV sets and Video Cassette Recorders. They ask me about memory resets, service codes and other things.

Well, the last time I attempted to repair a TV set was in 1966. It was, as I recall, A Decca DM4/CA and had sliding doors to keep the spiders inside.

In those days, TV sets employed things called "valves" (or "tubes" in American) and could be used to heat a small room all by themselves. I understand that, nowadays, TV sets use just one BIG tube called "the picture tube" and, since this takes up 90 percent of the space, it is the part most likely to go wrong. It usually goes wrong in one of two ways:

  • The colours slip
  • The vacuum comes out

The latter fault might be associated with being married because, every time my wife sees dust near the TV set, she shouts: "Right, that's it, I'm getting the vacuum out".

Apart from the "picture tube", there are some "memory chips", "colour chips", "transistors" and a really High Voltage power supply which will kill you if you touch it. Needless to say, I haven't taken the back off one of these dangerous modern sets and I really don't understand how they work.

The other item inside a TV set that invariably fails is the Line Output Transformer or "Loptee". This is invariably unobtainable or too expensive so the customer will decide that the TV is not worth repairing. After all, why pay £50 for a repair that will last only two years when you can buy a nice new TV for only £300 with a 1 year warranty?

Oh, yes, there is also a thing called a "de-louser" or "de-gasser". This may have something to do with the spiders, or the vacuum, although a TV repairman assures me that it stops the colours from slipping.

Video Cassette Recorders are equally mysterious inside. I know that they all have one thing in common - a big silver gyroscope wheel. This helps them to remain horizontal even when the shelf isn't. (Unlike the old gramophones which needed bits of cardboard under their corners to stop the needle from skidding right across the record). They also have rubber bands inside which are available in six different diameters. This is curious because:

  • Hundreds of different size bands are in use
  • The bands are all sausage-shaped, not circular

Apparently, VCRs more than ten years old are worth repairing but new ones are not. This is because an old VCR can be repaired for £25 but it will cost at least £75 to repair a modern one. Also, modern ones are less reliable because the cassette slot is in the centre, instead of offset towards one side. I'm not sure why the slot position is important but perhaps it makes it easier for children to push toys and biscuits inside? This is easy to prevent, by the way. You simply leave an old cassette tape inside and pull out the power plug. Of course, the darn VCR then forgets the time but my kids know how to fix this for me.

We DO stock TV and VCR spares - far too many to list.

Please send your enquiry to SALES and be sure to include the exact make, model, chassis number and a description of the component required (value/rating/board position, type, size etc.)

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