Originally Posted by cajieboy
Bob, I noticed you did not include Pioneer's Elite PRO-730HD or HDi in this mix of poor soldering. Could you elaborate on the improvements Pioneer implemented on their last RPTV's? Also, I've been searching around for this particular model, and would like to know if you have any tips on what to look for to help insure I'm not just buying a pack of trouble. Thanks.
The 730s were 2 years later, they didn't have any problems with the PS boards after this one lot of them, which covered the entire model year of the x10 series and into the x20 series, where a more solid board took over to end that model year without any of the incidents that plagued -are still plaguing - the x10 model year and into the x20 model year. That's why they ask for serial numbers when you're a servicer. To see how far along into the model year that set was.
One of the advantages of the x30s are the super nice 480->1080 upconverter they have built-in, which allows ANYTHING coming in at 480 to wind up at the screen as 1080i. It's excellent, and means you can skip the structural calibration on 480 of any x30 - no geometry, convergence or o'scan redux. Just do all that to the 1080i and you're done with the image structure.
There are also several registers in the green coarse conv section that were not in the green of the x10s or x20s, but were in the red and blue. This makes redoing the geometry on the x30s vastly simpler than on the x10/x20s.
Whenever you go looking for a used CRT RPTV, take along with you an all white pattern to check for screenburn.
Then inquire as to the usage. If it has low hours, you're in. If it was used as the family baby sitter at 16 hours a day, pass on it.
Then check the contrast setting. Not the Black Level, most settings on that are OK. But on contrast if they've cranked it up into the positive section, it becomes suspect. If they have put it all the way up at Torch Mode, pass on it.
Unless of course you only intend to use if for a year or 2 anyway and then buy new. In that case even the exceptions above would be valuable, at the right price.
If contrast is right in the middle at zero, where it should be, and has been viewed under normal usage only, like several hours a day, you're in. Properly cared for by you, you can expect at least another 3-5 years of a sizzling new-looking picture.