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BUZZ: Panny has a FIX!

2354 Views 24 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  markkent
Before I start, I just have to say: Based on the treatment I was shown at Panasonic today, I may just be a Panasonic customer for life!

I recently purchased the 42PWD4U after FedEx broke my Sony PFM 42B1. I worked with Crazy Eddie in NJ after being wary of shipping these things across the nation, and got the unit the same day I placed the order. I told the salespeople I did not want a "buzzing unit," they assured me it would not buzz. Nevertheless, when everything was plugged in, BUZZZZ!!! LOUD! When I called back to get support for the buzz, they said they would call back but never did. I would not recommend buying from them again.

On to the good stuff. So I called Panasonic in Secaucus, NJ, and spoke to the head of the Broadcast Engineering Center. They service units for the likes of NBC, ABC, etc. Alex, a very nice man, he directed me to the Secaucus campus, right off the Meadowlands Pkwy. Needless to say, I rented a car and went there today. Arrived early in the morning, and then watched the crew work on my unit.

The buzzing apparently comes from some SMT capacitors that cause a piezoelectric effect. The new units (OCT 2001) have the new capacitors installed on the line, but are not in the country yet. The service notice is dated 9/20, and details the replacement of the SS and SC boards, which apparently now have low piezoelectric effect ceramic capacitors.

After replacing the two scan boards that have the "high piezoelectric effect capacitors", the buzzing was significantly lower! The unit is not silent, but it is more of a ZZZZ now, instead of the higher pitched BUZZZ of before. The actual volume of the ZZZ is also much lower.

I can now watch the Panny in peace -- Hardly hear the noise now, although if you try to notice it, you will still hear the humm.

I had the chance to meet Alex, Bob, and Peter -- they were extremely helpful and really accomodating. If anyone here has a a chance to visit, I think you will be impressed with their professionalism and hospitable disposition. If you guys are out there: THANK YOU!

I mentioned that once news reached the public about this, the line would be out the door. They didn't seem to mind :).

So for those in the NY Metro area, looks like you may be able to get your unit serviced in person. They noted that I was one of the first people to receive the fix, so I'm not sure what their scheduling is.

To protect the staff at Panasonic, if you would like to receive contact information, leave me a private message here, and I can email you the number.

Once again, I could not believe how quick and effective the solution turned out to be. And for those of you waiting on the Dell units, I assume you will be receiving the updated capacitors and won't get a super loud BUZZ, just the now soothing HUMM.
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EXCELLENT!!! Thank you very much for that info - as I am one of the 200+ backordered. Good things come to those that wait!

Regards, Bruce
I have the name of the Panasonic regional service manager if anyone has the buzzing problem- he seems very nice and anxious to help:

Alex Feldman 201 348 7975 (in New Jersey)
Thanks Plasmacrack!

You've mad Panasonic once again an option for those who had given up. They should cut you in on future sales. ;)

Yup, that's what I suggested :)

Anyway, just call Alex. He said he didn't mind the barage of calls he would be receiving. They are top-rate people.
I'll try giving this guy a call tomorrow. Hopefully he can hook me up with someone closer to Texas.

Hi all,

Let me first thank all the wonderful Panasonic ( here they call us Panny? ) supporters that have made this product line a gigantic success for us.

I had the pleasure of meeting Plasmakrack in our lab yesterday as we swapped out a pair of scan boards to lower his "BUZZ" to a more tolerable level when used in a consumer environment. We have a number of these PCBs and are modifying the remainder to do this swap for the affected units. At this point that is only the TH-42PWD4UY produced in the last couple months. October production is to have this enhancement in place. We have no "official" word on the 50"ers but the ones that have come through the shop don't seem quite as loud as the 42s. Note that there will always be some noise, anyone remember the first CTC-25 color TV chassis ?

I have been advised that our warranty policy is "carry-in" only as stated on the warranty card included with each unit. Don't kill the messenger but that's from way up above my level.

We have had units damaged from shipping as noted elsewhere in this forum so the best bet seems to be wrapping the unit carefully in as upright a position as possible and heading out the Lincoln tunnel to Secaucus. Give us a day or two heads up to see if we still have stock of the newer PCBs. If so we can do a turnaround in a couple hours.

Our main service number as stated elsewhere is:


Mr. Alex Feldman is our Regional Manager

Mr. Hector Pattaroyo is the Shop Supervisor

Mr. Peter Hin is already known to a lot of you calling in for tech support. He was one of the first Engineers on this product.

Mr. Robert Boettger ( that's me, UncleBob ) has somehow become the Senior Engineer involved with these guys.

Just remember we are a Service facility. We don't build them or design them here. We cannot duplicate your unique configurations because we really don't have access to the multitude of third party gear that folks use. Sadly, we also cannot spend hours on the phone talking theory or conjecture, fix flat tires or divine water. What we do we do very well but there are some limits. We only walk on water alternate Tuesdays.

Again, let me say thanx for your support and we're glad to be among such prestigious company.
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The problem is, of course, for people thinking about buying this product right now.

They cannot know if they're getting a buzzing unit, or not...

Some of us are simply too far away from being able to even consider caryying it in to Panasonic.

Also, if the caps need to be replaced, why not replace them with something that doesn't buzz AT ALL...

Is there any way to determine for sure (by serial number, or any other way) which plasmas are fixed?
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The "carry in" warranty is the biggest bunch of bs I have ever heard. Every rear projection tv has an in-home service, including Panasonic I believe. I am not shooting you down "techniwizard" but Panasonic's policy stinks on this one.

For those of us without cars in NYC (who discovered this problem i might add), this is particularly perturbing, as is the fact that the hum doesn't disappear as well as the PWD3. I for one can't get to a service center less than 45 minutes away, unless I rent a van. As I am on my 2nd unit already, this is even more disconcerting.

Oh well, Panasonic called 2 weeks ago to pick up my unit and Electrograph was to deliver a 3rd one...I guess I will if that route is still available. If not, NEC, here I come...
The "buzz" mod was to have been factory installed begining with October production. As the September production is already out, that should be the latest units that will be delivered.

Our observation thus far shows the modified PWD4s to be at least as quiet as the PWD3s and much quieter than the predecessor PT-42.
The "carry in" warranty is the biggest bunch of bs I have ever heard
I agree, particulary with such expensive pieces of equipment. When my 50" Panasonic developed the buzzing problem, I suddenly realized the importance of in-home service, as I thought of having to cart the plasma to Elgin, IL, an hour away (in fairness, I aborted the process before it was certain that was necessary). That, and concern over a replacement having the same problem, led me to go for the Fujitsu as a replacement. I'm still waiting for the Fujitsu, though, so I'm still not feeling completely confident of that decision.

By the way, the Fujitsu 5002 has 3-year in-home service included in the warranty. For those debating the difference between the 5002 and 5001 (which has a 1 year warranty without on-site service), that alone should make the decision easy.
I have been trying my best to just put up with the buzz on my 42" display since September, and I just couldn't take it anymore. The picture is just amazing (I love it), but it was starting to drive me nuts.

So, I did some searching and got the information needed; I was willing to ship it to a service center (I'm in Austin, TX), or even pay for some of the service if necessary. After several calls I determined that I'd need to send it to the service center near Atlanta, but that they are not as knowledgable as the NJ center on this problem, so I'd need to gather and give all the information.

Then I thought, "Hmm, maybe Paul at projectionone can help". So I gave him a call. No answer. Ah well, I'll call back later. A minute later the phone rings and its Paul. I was on callerid and he called back to see if there was a problem with my display! Now I know its just callerid, but damn, its just that extra effort that has made working with them so wonderful.

Before I know it, he's said he'll arrange a swap for me for a newer display that does not have the buzz.

I am SO glad I went through them to buy my display. Thanks Paul!

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Well guys, count yourselves lucky.

I borrowed a demo PWD4 for two days to consider buying. The picture was great, the buzzing drove me nuts.

Panasonic UK will not return my calls. If this is the best that they can do, god help them.

Regards, Gerald. (South Wales - UK).
All current production (Post-october 2001) have this fixed.

USA serial #s YB155xxxxx and later.
I bought a 42 in Jan from DTVCity and asked them about the buzzing. They said the fix was on mine and you could tell if the Model # ends with a "Y" such as TH-42PWD4Y. Since I cannot close yet on my new house I just read all your good words and wish like H--- I had mine hooked up. Lou

They BS-ed you... The Y model (actually 42PWD4UY) is the industrial model. They Y has nothing to do with the Buzzing fix. The serial number & manufacturing dates are the only ways to find out if a unit's OK or not (and it's impossible to find out BEFORE you get the unit shipped, since most vendors won't open the unit up to tell you what the serial number is...)

Fellas, to this date, I'm really starting to think that the Panasonic is not such a great deal. Here's a list of all the current problems that go along with the unit:

1. Aspect ratio locking on some SVideo inputs.

2. Buzzing on some units.

3. Limited to 120V or 220V (depending if it was purchased in the US or not).

4. Y/C delay on Svideo input OR composite input (Depending which one you'll be using).

5. One Svideo OR composite input (auto sensing).

I'm wondering if other manufacturers (e.g., Fujitsu, NEC) that have similar contrast ratio panels don't make a better deal at this point. + you get more input selections on these units (DVI, RGsB and usually more than one composite input...).

What do you guys think?
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Yup, I have to ask the same question!

Here in the UK, the rumour is that Fujitsu use the same Glass as Panny. Has anybody seen one of these running, and if so, how does the picture compare with the Panny.

Also, I have heard of new NEC and Pioneer displays. Anybody seen these? A DVI input is available on the Fuji I think.

Thanks, Gerald. :confused:
Well...I just got my industrial Panny today...so I'll let you know what I think in a few weeks of use. I think for the price...this is still the one to get. There are other Plasmas with higher resolution or Runco guts...but they are a lot more money...
I'm still ticked about the VGA problem, I have litterally been left in the cold by their tech support. Sorry if this was off-topic.
Just got the Panny 42" (industrial). Pleased to report that at 5,300 ft there is only a very slight buzzing, and cannot be heard unless you put your ear next to the display. Manufacture date is Jan 2002.
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