Sharp Aquos Repair Saga

Back in November of last year, I was in the market for a large flat screen TV. See here and here. Anyway, in February of this year, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Sharp Aquos 52" LCD TV. I’ve been happy with it until about 10 days ago, when I went to hook up another HDMI device.

My brother Scott bought me a Toshiba HD-DVD player for an early Christmas present. When I tried to hook this up to the second HDMI input on the Sharp, I only saw snow – no picture. When I swapped it with the MCE 2K5 HDMI input, the Toshiba worked but the MCE 2K5 didn’t.  Made a call to Sharp support and started the ball rolling.

The TV was still under the manufacturer’s warranty, so Sharp sent out a repairman from their nearest facility, Plaza Electronics, in Largo, Florida – about 60 miles away. He brought a replacement board. When he arrived, we swapped out the board and reassembled and reinstalled the TV. Unfortunately, the new board had vertical color lines in the video on all inputs. Swapped the old board back in and it still worked. When we examined the original board, the second HDMI connector was broken in the housing. Looking at how the product is assembled, it was obvious that this damage was caused at the factory by the assembler’s screwdriver slipping off of a fastener right above the connector into the connector and breaking it. So he left and returned the replacement board to Sharp.

He came back down again today with a new board. Installed it. This time, we left the TV open and tried the new board. Both inputs work – great !  However, when we tried to control the TV from the front panel to turn it off, set volume, select inputs, it didn’t work – the input panel was dead. We verified that all of the cables were seated correctly, no bent pins, still didn’t work.  The repairman called Sharp, and went through a factory reset of the TV board, but couldn’t get into the Service menu as this requires holding down some switches on the input panel and applying power. So he left me with the new board so that I at least have the two working HDMI inputs, and he will request still another board from Sharp, as well as a new Input switch panel. We’ll see if this third attempt leaves me with a fully working TV.

I’ve got no beef with Plaza Electronics – their people have been prompt, courteous and more than willing to help me repair my TV. And they’ve indicated that they don’t have many Sharp repairs, and Sharp is very accommodating when it comes to problems with the Aquos product line.

However, here’s a note to Sharp – you might want to fully test the replacement boards that you send out. The first one had an obvious video problem and the heatsink wasn’t even fully fastened to all of the chips on the board. The second one had a primary input problem – the on/off volume/channel input selector controls didn’t work. I’m sure that with the labor and travel charges that you’ve now lost money on this TV.

UPDATE:

The Plaza Electronics repair tech called a week ago, and indicated that he had received yet another main board as well as a new input panel board. We agreed on a date and time and he came out yesterday morning, and again replaced both boards in my TV. Now it appears to be fully functional !  In talking to him while he was working, he indicated that he was out shopping for a new TV for his father last weekend, and as he was browsing the shelves at the electronic stores he found himself thinking: "Not that one – always broke, this one is always in the shop, this one I can’t get parts for, etc.".  He ended up not buying any TV.

When he left I again thanked him for his professionalism and perserverance and told him: "Don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope that I don’t have to see you again !".

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