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Flat Panel Electrical Problem With Directv - MASSIVE SPARK!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I need some help or stories from people who have experienced the same issues. I will try to cover everything in detail... please bare with me.

I have had Directv since 1996. One of my two receivers was the original Sony unit. The other was a more recent D10. I had them both hooked up to older tube style TVs.

I recently bought two flat panel TVs (Panasonic TH-50PX80U, Samsung LN32A450). I started hooking up the Panasonic plasma to the old Sony receiver downstairs. I had everything unplugged (except for the D10 receiver upstairs). As I was hooking up the cable it sparked as it touched the back of the receiver (this was the cable from the TV to the receiver, the cable coming from the dish was already hooked to the receiver). I didn't understand where the electricity was coming from since nothing was plugged into the wall. I remembered the upstairs TV was still plugged in and both cables met at the dual LNB on the dish. I ran upstairs and unplugged everything. Once I retried to hook up the plasma downstairs there were no more sparks. I plugged everything in and turned it on. POW! Then there was a huge cloud of smoke coming from the old Sony receiver. I unplugged everything and unhooked the cables going to the TV. Luckily the plasma did not fry with the receiver.

After going upstairs and plugging everything back in I noticed there was no signal from the satellite. I tried a new dual LNB, but no luck. I then tried my old single LNB dish, but still no luck. I figured something in the D10 fried when the Sony receiver fried because what are the odds that two previously working dual LNBs and a single LNB were all bad.

I called Diectv and they scheduled an HD satellite dish install (three weeks later). Today the Directv installer came out. We got the plasma hooked up without a problem. When we were hooking up the LCD there was a massive spark while plugging in the cable from the receiver. Unfortunately it fried the LCD. We hooked up the old tube TV and it worked just fine.

I packed up the LCD and exchanged it at the store. I unplugged the plasma and its receiver. I then hooked up the cables to the LCD (with the power cords unplugged). Once I was ready to plug the power in it made another huge spark at the wall power plug. Keep in mind the downstairs receiver and TV were unplugged at the time.

After some testing I noticed the people who wired my house had the hot and neutral wires switched. I corrected that problem and retried. Another huge spark. At this point I gave up and figured I need help. I plugged the old tube TV in and am watching that just fine.

I explained what happened previously to the Directv installer and he said he had never seen this before and didn't have an idea as to what was going wrong. I am confused as to whether to call an electrician or a TV repair guy.

Cliff Notes: Hooking up plasma TV in place of a tube TV fried the receiver. Hooking up LCD TV in place of tube TV fried the LCD.

Can anyone shed some light as to what in the world is going on with the flat panels? I just don't understand.
post #2 of 16
Sounds like an internal to your home electrical wiring issue. If you found one problem, others (that affect that circuit) may exist. I'd say call an electrician.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Kinda what I thought, but the fact the flat panels had problems but the tube TV's didn't had me scratching my head.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
A fact I am getting hung up on I failed to mention on my first post.

When I was plugging the LCD TV to the wall and got the spark, it was actually from a plug-in strip. Both the Directv receiver and the TV were plugged into it. As I tried to plug the cord coming from the strip into the wall, the ground "blade" came in contact with the screw head that holds the cover plate on. I know for a fact the screw is grounded. The spark came from when they touched. No other blades made it into the plug in. There is no way a ground touching a ground should spark (especially enough to blacken the whole cover plate and melt the screw head).

I tested the ground at the wall plug and it is a ground. In my mind that would mean there is a short or a power source coming from the TV/receiver. I haven't tested it to see for sure.

I am afraid am electrician will not know enough about TVs and end up ruining something.
post #5 of 16
Go to the local hardware store and buy an outlet checker, it will show you if your outlets are wired correctly, floating ground, etc.
http://www.pcmall.com/pcmall/shop/de...st%20Equipment
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by burngeer View Post

A fact I am getting hung up on I failed to mention on my first post.

When I was plugging the LCD TV to the wall and got the spark, it was actually from a plug-in strip. Both the Directv receiver and the TV were plugged into it. As I tried to plug the cord coming from the strip into the wall, the ground "blade" came in contact with the screw head that holds the cover plate on. I know for a fact the screw is grounded. The spark came from when they touched. No other blades made it into the plug in. There is no way a ground touching a ground should spark (especially enough to blacken the whole cover plate and melt the screw head).

I tested the ground at the wall plug and it is a ground. In my mind that would mean there is a short or a power source coming from the TV/receiver. I haven't tested it to see for sure.

I am afraid am electrician will not know enough about TVs and end up ruining something.

The electrian will know how to wire an electrical outlet to code - which sounds like its your problem.

Furthermore, you think power strips never go bad?
post #7 of 16
Your cable shield is being made "hot" by something. This is a hazardous situation, both in terms of shock hazard and damage to equipment. Could result in a fire hazard as well. If you don't know how to diagnose this yourself, call in an electrician. From what you've said, it's probably a problem with the wiring where the DirecTV stuff is plugged in.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeachComber View Post

The electrian will know how to wire an electrical outlet to code - which sounds like its your problem.

Furthermore, you think power strips never go bad?

I have replaced the outlet and wired it correctly (hot to hot, neutral to neutral). That is as "code" as I can get that particular outlet. The power strip works for everything but the LCD TV. Plugging the receiver and TV directly into the wall outlet causes the same sparking. Using a different power strip has the same sparking results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post

Your cable shield is being made "hot" by something. This is a hazardous situation, both in terms of shock hazard and damage to equipment. Could result in a fire hazard as well. If you don't know how to diagnose this yourself, call in an electrician. From what you've said, it's probably a problem with the wiring where the DirecTV stuff is plugged in.

Very good point. I have touched the cable shielding and did not receive a shock. For some reason this condition makes itself known only when I try to use the LCD TV.

As suggested, I will contact an electrician. I just wanted to get as many opinions on this subject prior to making the call, especially if someone else out there has had similar issues.
post #9 of 16
Quote:


Furthermore, you think power strips never go bad?

+1
They fry
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by burngeer View Post

I have replaced the outlet and wired it correctly (hot to hot, neutral to neutral). That is as "code" as I can get that particular outlet. The power strip works for everything but the LCD TV. Plugging the receiver and TV directly into the wall outlet causes the same sparking. Using a different power strip has the same sparking results.

Very good point. I have touched the cable shielding and did not receive a shock. For some reason this condition makes itself known only when I try to use the LCD TV.

As suggested, I will contact an electrician. I just wanted to get as many opinions on this subject prior to making the call, especially if someone else out there has had similar issues.

Calling an electrician is the best move here. That should correct your problem.

Also if one receptacle was wired wrong it would maybe be a good thing to inspect the wiring condition in general. This could be the only mistake they did but maybe not. A quality wiring job involves testing afterwards, seems that wasn't done. People can make connections that might appear good cosmetically to them and not be done right and then fail later.

Think about all the electrical issues you have had and make a list. Talk about any of those issues with electrician. It might also be worth it to have electrician do some inspections at the breaker box and in various circuits around house, some good tests would be the resistance of the grounding conductor and the voltage on the grounding conductor and neutral at various places.

Making sure the house wiring is function and safe is a good thing.

Isolating the house wiring as an issue will help with your problem.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by burngeer View Post

I have replaced the outlet and wired it correctly (hot to hot, neutral to neutral). That is as "code" as I can get that particular outlet.

Just because you have one outlet wired properly, doesn't necessarily mean it's "safe" (or up to code). You have to inspect/test every outlet and switch on that particular circuit.

If you get "sparks"... you have a problem.
post #12 of 16
burngeer, I have the EXACT same problem. I have fried two DirecTV boxes and an LCD so far. I assumed it was a bad cable line in the house, but have since ran a new line myself and still have the problem. I have given up and just watch with bunny ears. Did you ever determine what the problem was??
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sp94axp View Post

burngeer, I have the EXACT same problem. I have fried two DirecTV boxes and an LCD so far. I assumed it was a bad cable line in the house, but have since ran a new line myself and still have the problem. I have given up and just watch with bunny ears. Did you ever determine what the problem was??

he hasn't posted since the above so I don't think he will answer.

he also described what sounded like electrical wiring problems in his home.

you need to supply more details if you want some answers from some one.
post #14 of 16
You have either a AC power wiring error or defect.
Or a defective piece of equipment in your A/V system.
It may take a "skilled" electrician to solve the problem.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
I did get this resolved, but after lots of work and money.

I located every plug on the circuit and replaced every single one (testing along the way). After that I tried again and still got sparks. So I had an electrician come in and look over everything. He came while I was at work and collected $100 from my wife and said I had everything in good working order. I got home only to find the TV not plugged in. I asked my wife if he tried the TV and she said he refused. He was only there to check the circuit. When I tried the TV again... SPARK!

I gave up and my TV became an expensive wall decoration while I just watched the old tube TV. A week went by and my wife was complaining about her cheap dremel-type tool giving her a light shock. I looked at it and noticed frayed wiring, so I threw it away. As we talked she admitted to me she had it plugged in the whole time on the same circuit I was having trouble with (even after I told her not to plug anything in that circuit). I was curious if that could have had anything to do with my problem. Sure enough I tried the TV and no spark. I have been enjoying my TV ever since. Very strange and frustrating, but it is all good now.
post #16 of 16
Hello:
I have had the exact same problem with my plasma tv. But we bought the plug to check to see if it was the wiring in the house and everything turned out it was fine. even when the cable guy did it it turned out fine. so what else could make sparks from the power surge and the cords melt?

Please help i do not want to fry my new plasma tv. By the way this is my first time getting any kind of cable hooked up to my tv beside using an antenna

Thanks,
Erika
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