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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
? Discolored picture tube?--"dirty screen syndrome" Anyone else seen this problem?



If anyone can help me out here, I'd appreciate it greatly.


I have an RCA 38310 38" HDTV. I've been trying to get it fixed for months and have run into one obstacle after another.


The first tech CC sent me replaced caps and diodes, but the problem remained. He wasn't RCA Authorized so couldn't ask for the DM-1 module to see if that was the problem.


Then I was sent an RCA guy, and after a frustrating 20-30 mins of demonstrating the problem with multiple DVD's he FINALLY saw what I was talking about while watching the Travel Channel on cable:

My tv is like looking out a dirty window. You can see sort of light-medium grey spots or streaks all through the picture. Looks just like someone with graphite on their fingers was fingering the glass. Don't know how else to describe it. For the longest time I thought it was dirt on the exterior, but no amount of cleaning helped. The problem appears on all video sources regardless of type or cable, BUT is difficult to see if you don't know what you're looking for or don't have the right viewing material. You need something that produces enough contrast with the "streaks and smudges" for them to be visible, but they seem to be always there and completely stationary. Once your eyes adjust you can see it on an all white screen, or even a light blue sky or a bright desert. I first noticed it during the opening of Episode II when the Senator's ship and fighers arrive on Coruscant in all the clouds and fog. What looked like dirt was very obvious in the camera pans. At first I thought maybe they shot it with a dirty lens, but then I realized it was always there. You can even see the problem in tan or beige walls, but it's easiest to see when the camera moves since the spots aren't that dark. The movement reveals them since they are completely stationary.

CC has it in their center in Philly now (they're the only ones who would move it for me), and the tech guy I talked with today can't see the problem, and I obviously am not there to point it out for him. This is VERY frustrating!! He suggested some of my other equipment might be causing the problem, but it doesn't look like any kind of interference problem I've ever seen; I've had the Center Channel off the set for hours and the problem still showed itself. (Unless being unplugged all that time degaussed it now, but I'd have expected some kind of color bloom near the top of the screen, not grey spots and streaks all through the picture)

I've seen a few other people on this board who have had the same type of problem with this TV or other large direct-view sets, so I think it must be a rare, but real problem. Even the loaner I have now seems to have the problem, but not as severe.

Does ANYONE know what this is so I can give the tech guy a clue? Otherwise, I'll just have to have them give it back and call back the guys in Camp Hill who DID see the problem and try to figure out how to move it for them. I hate to move it myself (again) and assume all that risk. I'll have nothing if I drop it.

Somebody throw me a bone, PLEEEEASE!


Anyone? Anyone?


I read in another thread where someone had a 35" tv that had a "slightly discolored picture tube." He said it was only noticeable on white screens. This almost has to be the same problem as mine. The store gave him full credit for it. I just wish the service guy could see it. Maybe he needs glasses.
 

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Sorry.


I don't have any words of wisdom. Best of luck.


p.s. a friend of mine once put a magnet on the screen of his TV. It forever ruined the picture. The colors were all messed up in one area. This doesn't sound like your problem.
 

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CRTs are rarely ruined "forever" by strong external magnetic fields. A full and proper degaussing is all you need.


Since your loaner seems to exhibit the problem it may related to your sources (DVD/cable/etc) or cables, or noise in your AC power which can be measured and resolved with a suitable power conditioner. Good TV service techs and many ISF techs carry a battery-operated test pattern generator which is handy for ruling out problems in your source equipment or power.


I'm surprized the RCA tech was willing to service your set considering it had already received unauthorized service - this usually invalidates the warranty (or did RCA know?).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Didn't look like any kind of magnetic damage to me anyway.

A line conditioner might be a possiblity, but I wouldn't doubt the Philips loaner I have has the same problem. It has other more serious problems like crackling speakers, and an apparently mis-aligned scan gun. Has some big slightly diagonal scan-lines that show up mostly in the lower left quadrant.

The speakers are all far away except for the center which never had a problem with 2 other tv's I had. Can't imagine things like my cable box, DVD, laserdisc, or game systems could cause the problem, especially when they're not that close and turned off. This TV model has a history of power-supply problems, so maybe that could cause the problem too if it's not just the AC line. I'll see if I can pick up a decend conditioner to try with it.

I just know I won't be a happy camper if I get it back this week, keep everything far away from it, and still see the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My surge protectors should have some degree of noise filtration anyway. Would the lack of a true line conditioner actually cause completely stationary grey spots and streaks on the screen though? Wouldn't interference cause some kind of variable effect? Again, it looks just like smudges of dirt on the screen, and they're always there, but difficult to see except when lighter images are displayed. I'd hate to spend hundreds of dollars for a line conditioner if that's not the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I should have my TV back this week.


Unfortunately, the guy never saw anything wrong, so he didn't do anything. What a waste of nearly a month!


I'm sure I could take all my other stuff into another room and I'll still have the problem. The tech guy is probably just too blind to see it since it's something he's never seen before.

I wonder if I bitched enough, if CC could track down another one SOMEWHERE, and exchange it. Of course, then I'll get the standard caps and diodes and have the normal F38310 problems down the road, but maybe I'd have a clean picture in the meantime!

Sadly, I've seen them on half.com for just a little less than what I paid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Some of you have suggested it, and I have myself considered it, but not seriously that the problem was some kind of magnetic damage, and it did just need to be degaussed.


I should know in the near future if that's the case. The CC tech never did see a problem. Either the guy is blind OR being unplugged for transport all that time did degausse the set. I couldn't figure out what would have caused such streaks and spots on much of the screen, especially since they weren't the usual colors I've seen from magnetic problems, but I had a bit of a revelation last night when I was going to bed: My friends and I were all wearing watches when we struggled to get that puppy up the steps. Mine may have a stronger magnet than most in it because it has an automatic generating power system. The part of the screen where the problem exhibited more of a streak-like pattern was the upper right corner near where my hand would have been most of the time when I was steadying the TV at the frame.

We had to take quite a lot of breaks and there were many times I had to grab the TV in other spots to protect the screen. All we had was a thin piece of plastic to protect the screen. So, it's POSSIBLE that my watch caused all those blotches or streaks whenever I steadied it or moved my hand very close to the screen. My hand was in that upper right corner of the frame which would have put my watchface right in the corner of the screen. The angle of the streaks seems to match up with how I'd have been moving since we had the TV angled the same as the stairs. We plugged it in almost immediately after getting it up the stairs and started viewing. I never tried a degausse, and no one even suggested I try it before. (What is the exact procedure, anyway) The fact the spots and streaks seemed grey threw me off, but I guess it could have been a variance of blue which I've seen from magnet damage before.


If this pans out and the TV is fine when I get it back I'll be thrilled and yet shocked at my own stupidity. I'm going to ask that the delviery guys not wear watches just to be on the safe side. If they use the balnket method for the steps it should be okay except when they actually lift it out of the truck and put it on the stand.


Also, if it turns out my watch and my friend's watches were the culprits this should be a lesson to anyone else who ever moves a large TV. Take your watch off!! I'm surprised I didn't have us all do that anyway so we wouldn't risk scratching the screen. Doh!!


I'm keeping my fingers crossed until I get the set back.
 

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My set has the same problem you describe and is only noticeable when there is a solid bright picture. I can live with it since I seldom see it but I do think it is a defect on the inside of the glass. You may try finding out from RCA who some of their biggest repair centers are and try giving them a call. I bet there are a few techs out there that have encountered this problem. You may just try demanding a new tube through your local service shop. What ever happens please post back here as I am interested to find out what is going on. Good luck...Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The CC tech insisted he looked closely and saw no defects in the glass or phosphors. Still, I'm not real convinced until I can see it againf or myself.

I should have had my TV back by now, but now I've been told my local CC will have it by NEXT Saturday for sure. Apparently, it didn't ship out last Friday because there was a review on it. Whatever that means. They'll probably try to charge me for their troubles next since they didn't do anything. That, or maybe someone else looked at it and actually say what I was talking about. In another week, they'd have time to replace the tube if that's what they needed to do, but I wish they'd clue me in on what's going on. I'll be sure to let you know of the developments.

If I get it back and it's still the way it was I will insist they replace the tube or at least ship it to Camp Hill to let the real RCA people look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, sure enough, got the set back today, and the problem remains plain as day on the opening "Return to Coruscant" sequence on Episode II. My TV had been gone so long I almost forgot how bad the problem really was.

How anyone could not see it I don't understand. I tried manually degaussing twice with a degausiing coil, but that did not help the problem.

Guess I have to get up the energy to ***** up a storm again. Or does it take a really long time to degauss manually. The instructions with mine said not to run it more than 5 minutes.

I've read about purity adjustments with the yoke or yokes sometimes being necessary, but I think I also read somewhere that it wasn't adjustable on this set or maybe that was another TV. I'm so tired of everything it's getting hard to remember.
 

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Sorry to hear it's still messed up. Can you post a digital photo of the problem here? I'm curious to see what it looks like. Maybe others might be able to help, too, if we can see a picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Don't have a digital camera. Best I have is a webcam that could take a stil, but I don't think it would be high-res enough to see. I might try it though.

I think I know why the CC didn't see the problem if he was looking for it on whites like I told him too. The idiot cranked the contrast WAY up.

I keep it at about 1/3 which is plenty bright. It was cranked to 2/3 of the way up. There's no way you could see anything with the white level that high. I don't know how he could look at the screen at all that way.

If I get my energy up I'll call the store and complain again.

I want them to try to track down a new one somewhere if there are any floating around and swap it, or else replace the tube in house. I'm not sending it out for a month again.

In spite of its problem it is AMAZING how much better overall the picture is compared to the Philips loaner. So much sharper with better contrast and detail. And that 4" makes a big difference in size. (38 compared to 34)

My TV looked so HUGE when I got it back after watching a flat 34 for almost a month.
 

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I know exactly what you're talking about. I have a Sony 34xbr800 and it has the same problem. And it has nothing to do with degaussing or interference or magnetic problem. At least a far as mine is concerned. I can't believe there isn't more posts about this, because I've seen it alot and once you spot it, it's incredibly annoying! Dirty screen is a good way to describe it. I called a sony tech and he said it is unfix able, something about the way the yolks are lined up and that no tv is perfect.. yada, yada, yada. But once you notice it (mostly on white screens or plain backgrounds such as walls or skies, and especially when the camera is panning across and these "dirty sections" (top corners for the most part for me), stay stationary. Hope you have more success than me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has noticed this phenomenon. It does becomes highly annoying on big screens once you see it.

Supposedly the yolks aren't adjustable on the F38310, so if that is the problem ("purity" is the term I've seen tossed around) I guess it could be unfixable. Still, a lot of TV's must be a lot closer to perfect than mine or we'd see more people discussing it wouldn't we?

I wish I'd called CC on it earlier and gotten them to try swapping it once or twice. I just kept thinking there was some kind of residue on the glass I wasn't getting off. That and I was extrmely busy around the time I got the TV.

Would a tube replacement replace all the parts involved in the problem? Not that I'm sure I'll be able to make that happen. Still, when you drop a couple grand at a store, you expect the product to look as close to perfect as possible. The 34" loaner I had seemed to exhibit the same problem, but to a MUCH lesser degree. If mine looked that good, or maybe I should say "pure" since otherwise my RCA kicks its butt I'd be happy.

The top right corner is probably the worst on mine, and where I noticed it first because of the more "streakish" nature, but there's a lot throughout the whole screen. Dead center is pretty good, but it's a farily small percentage that looks perfect.
 

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I have an F38310. I do see this problem also. Annoying yes, but it's livable.

No one notices it but me.


This first set I had exhibited this problem (on three sides). The set I have now only has a minor 'smudge' on the middle right of the CRT near the edge. But, not severe.


I could be wrong, but this may be due to the size of the CRT and how well the 'mask' has been attached to the glass.


Since this supposedly is the same CRT that is used in the Loewe Aconda's, I'm suprised that we haven't heard of this complaint from those owners (if my theory is correct).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I wish mine only had one minor smudge. That wouldn't be so bad. But, with mine anytime the camera pans over a bright scene the picture is really marred by the streaks and smudges.

What do you think the chances are of CC locating another one somewhere? Do you think they have a nationwide locator system and could track one down? I don't want a display model because it would probably be burned to death from torch mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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i had the same thing, but on a 20 year old rca. the fix was a plasma! joking aside, mine was related to its age, and yes a 32" sony plasma replaced the old dog.

dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I called CC again last week and they were supposed to get back to me, but haven't. Looks like I'll be calling AGAIN.
 
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