Thursday, September 03, 2015

Fixin' Stuff

So last week we had a little rain storm towards the latter part of the week, however, that whole week had been pretty humid.  For this area of Texas, which isn't along the coast line and really we're pretty far up into central Texas so it amazes me how humid it can be compared to West Texas.  Then factor in the heat, and it can get pretty unpleasant.  The upshot of the recent storm we had last week though was that it lowered the temperature, which is much more tolerable and it gave the yard and shrubs around here a good soaking too.  But I noticed somewhere during that week that my remote control to my 42 inch Vizio TV was acting a bit wonky.  It was gradual at first, so I first thought, well, maybe it's the recent weather.  Sometimes you'd try to change the channel, and you'd have to do it a couple of times, or you'd hit the volume control and that didn't work--stuff like that.  As the days went on, however, it got more and more pronounced.  At first I didn't know what to think as this TV set is only three years old, which on one hand irritated me that products these days aren't made any better than what they are, and on the other hand, now what was I going to do?

Now I'm an old geezer, and remember well the days of old back and white TV sets, rabbit ears, only three channels, the coming of PBS and cable TV, color TV, VHS, Beta, and VCRs, and all those inventions.  Most of them are all good, give or take.  I also remember TV sets of the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00, 2010, up to now, and really, from what I remember, you really didn't have much problems with them over a good amount of time, particularly once color sets became the norm around the late 60's.   Needless-to-say, when a three year old TV set gives me problems these days, you have to wonder about technology, design flaws, and the reliability of some of this newer stuff.  Plus since it is practically a new TV set, I'm not of the mindset to just scrap it onto the trash heap, or take it down to Goodwill just because the remote control isn't working right.  Financially I guess I could do that, but mentally it irks me!

One of the good things about technology these days is the computer allows you to trouble shoot things, and also if you're in need of a new product you can peruse feedback and reviews of new products to help decide which might be the better, more reliable products.   Also a good default for fixing things are Google search, forums, and Youtube.  So I do a search and find out that evidently I'm not the only one, Vizio customers in general have had similar problems.   I actually found a phone number and gave Vizio a call to see if they might shed light on the situation--they did not, really.  The phone call hooked me up with a nice lady that told me to do several trouble shooting measures, which I'd already done:  Buy new batteries for the remote (I already done that), and buy a new remote too (already done).  I told her, actually I had another remote control and that it didn't work either, so she tells me to go ahead and buy another one--both of them could be faulty, and you never know when you might need another remote, or two, or three, or four.  Heck stock up, there could be an apocalypse sometime, so you never know.  Ouch, rub some salt in that wound.  Doesn't bode well for a repeated buy from me with Vizio products. 

So I visited a few forums and indeed there's a faulty part called an IR sensor.  It's just a small circuit board-type part, that basically is held on with one Phillips head screw, and then it plugs in to a cable running to a larger mother board or circuitry board.  It's an easy switch if you know what you are doing.  Luckily for me I found a video on Youtube to help in the repair:      So I order the part, and within a couple of days, switched it out and, mission accomplished!  Not only does my TV set work again like it's suppose to, but I feel a tad of pride in having fixed it.

While I was on a roll, I decided to peruse a video on YT about cleaning VCRs.  I happen to have two of them (I know, I'm one or two of the last holdouts).  One of them is a Sony that has a DVD player built into it, which I purchased at an estate sale a couple of years ago, and the other is a Proscan VCR, that's a stand alone VCR, but fairly new, so I might as well keep them working if I can.  Plus on Saturday nights on KERA, the PBS channel out of Dallas have been showing old Dr. Who episodes, many that I've not seen before from the Pertwee era, which I've really been enjoying.  They come on too late, at midnight to 2:30 am, so I just tape them and watch them later.  So I want my VCRs in good working order, and there are YT videos for that too.
My next thing that I've been looking at has been videos for a Rotozip saw or tool.  This is a tool with many applications, mostly cutting, and I've been curious about using it to cut some wood, and perhaps use it for making some sculpture.  I'm just now researching that, and organized materials, so we'll see if that yields any results.  I'm sure I'll probably have to practice on some scrap wood first just to get the hang of it, and figure out how to use it.  Granted the tool comes with a booklet, but the videos help the learning curve quite a bit.


At 10:54 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

Good job. Having someone else fix it would have cost half the price of the TV.

There seems to be much unnecessary complexity in modern consumer products that leave them open to glitches. Example: The other day I drove a friend's Honda home from the hospital -- she was still a little too loopy from medication to drive. The new Hondas have keyless starters. They are push button instead. However, you have to have the remote for the door locks inside the vehicle, or else the button won't work. Just sticking your hand with the remote outside the window is enough to disable the starter. OK, one might think this is pretty nifty, and, so far as I know, the system is reliable, but it just strikes me as just adding one more thing to go wrong. In another example, my old 70s clothes washer had a dial; you set the dial and turned it on. My new Maytag on the other hand looks like the control panel of the space shuttle. (I bought it for price -- it was on sale -- not for the complexity.) I'm willing to do without a lot of bells and whistles if a simpler design will make something more robust.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

I agree Rich, some of those bells and whistles are just extras and are just things that might break somewhere down the line. I've heard about those keyless starters. Boy, you'd be in a fix if you drove somewhere and the car didn't start. I wonder about these new remote control cars that drive themselves. On one hand, it might be better than having people behind the wheel, safer too, and for sure an adjustment. But it does make me wonder about the glitches.

There's something to be said about simpler design, and I think that's something Apple picked up on for its iPod design. It's something I think too that Roku also picked up on. Sometimes less is more.


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