Originally Posted by JayPSU
Can you guys explain the popping issue to me? I've been weighing purchasing either a 50" ST60 or a 65" S60, but this popping issue has me leaning towards the smaller ST60 now.
It seems to me that it could be that it would be less likely or maybe softer in smaller panels. I haven't followed the ST60 thread in some time, but at least back then, it appeared to me that the ST may be less likely to have popping complaints than the S60/S64. Part of the reason could be a back panel with a different shape; curved around edges versus beveled. Less deep back panel on the ST. Different bezel design, too.
More details on the popping issue in general; my take:
In any large panel TV, especially a plasma where they probably run hotter than most LCD's, one has to expect that there will be a considerable amount of expansion and contraction. This by itself should be expected to cause some noises just like a house making creaks and clicks as it heats up and cools off.
However, some in here believe the difference in the expansion rate of the plastic bezel compared to the glass panel compared to the steel sheet metal back panel is what is mostly behind the popping. Whatever the cause, it sounds to me as though the thin steel sheet metal back panel is amplifying the sound.
To put it in context, my S64 panel's popping started at about 230 hours of usage. It was silent until then. Some say their S60 variants never pop. Had I not read about it in here and just heard it, I would have thought: "Well, that's probably amazingly well controlled expansion and contraction noises of such a giant panel (65") for it to be so soft."
Further context: My panel's popping is about one tenth as loud as normal house expansion and contraction creaks and clicks. It is about one fiftieth as loud as the hair raising CRACK!
noises my Toshiba 36" CRT made.
Further context: I can't usually hear it unless the sound is turned off.
Some have reported some popping in larger ST60's. I haven't followed that thread in a long while, so I don't know where it went from then. However, it was my impression that popping complaints were fewer with the ST60 than with the S60 variants. If you follow Randy Walter's link and other links in that thread, it is apparent that this is not just isolated to S60 variants. There is considerable history of some expansion and contraction noises - in various makes and models. Especially larger ones. Power board is mentioned there, too, as a less frequent cause - but usually of louder noises.
I read in here that loosening and very lightly snugging the bezel screws could make the popping quieter. While my panel's noise was already soft, I tried it and it did make the sounds softer. 3 pops during warmup, 3 during cool down. However, now at 400 hours, it is becoming less frequent and softer still.
Popping varies. Appears some people don't get it at all. Appears it is loud on some panels and they are swapped out for it. More than one has been happy on the second try. One was extremely loud - "like a firecracker". That was El Matadurr's 60S60 with a suspected bad power board causing LOUD and frequent pops. Not just during warmup and cool down.
Bezel screws on my panel ranged from loose and 3 turns out
to grossly overtightened. Others have said that if they got to screws that were scary tight, they stopped before damaging anything and maybe ruining their return privilege and/or warranty and just swapped it out. That is good advice versus cracking the panel or stripping screws, etc.
Anyway, going from wildly varying tightnesses on the screws to all lightly snug further reduced my panel's soft popping to where it is insignificant. And again, as Randy said, it is reducing with time, not getting worse.
That's my take. But again, popping can vary a lot, so expect opinions to vary, too.