No Picture on Your Plasma TV? Troubleshooting Common Plasma TV Problems
No Picture on Your Plasma TV
Have you turned on your plasma TV to find that you have sound but no picture? Or maybe not even any sound either? Well, my friend, rest assured that it’s not just you. This is actually a fairly common problem with plasma TV sets. No matter the brand or the manufacturer, your picture is likely to disappear at some point. So, why does it happen? What causes this problem? Read on to find out why this happens and how to fix it—that is, unless you yearn for a return to the old-timey days of sitting around the radio!
Plasma TV Problems? How Your Plasma TV Works
Most plasma TVs are made by three manufacturers: Samsung, LG, and Panasonic. What makes them different from other TVs is the plasma flat display panel (PDP), which uses ionized gas (or plasma) to produce the images on screen. The first thing you’ll want to check is whether the PDP is cracked, which could cause the gas to escape and render the set pretty much useless.
A PDP also comes with a number of electrical boards including:
- Y-buffer (sometimes in two parts, a Y-upper and a Y-lower).
- Y-sustain. Names vary by manufacturer: Samsung calls it a Y-main while Panasonic calls it an SC board. You can find the Y-sustain board on the left-hand side of the screen when looking at it from behind.
- Z-sustain. Names again vary by manufacturer: Samsung calls it an X-main while Panasonic calls it an SS board. You can usually find the Z-sustain board on the right-hand side of the screen when looking at it from behind.
- Control board. Sometimes called a T-con (though not to be confused with LCD T-con boards). The control board is usually found underneath the main board.
- X driver. Often integrated into the control board or fitted onto it.
- Power supply
- Main board/AV board/Tuner board. This board has all the input connectors, antenna, etc.
Tools to fix your LG, Samsung, or Panasonic Plasma TV when there’s no picture.
- A Digital multimeter. NOT an analogue one.
- A Phillips head screwdriver.
- Optional: an oscilloscope with a minimum of 400V inputs and a 10x probe.
WARNING: Plasma TVs have a very high voltage—in excess of 380 volts on some connectors, which is the same amount of electricity that doctors use to defibrillate a heart! So, you should ABSOLUTELY not touch any of the TV’s electrical components either while it is still plugged in or running. If you do not have much experience doing electronic repair work, you should hire a professional to do the work for you.
No Picture on Your LG, Panasonic, or Samsung Plasma TV: Identifying the Problem
Check to see if there’s sound when the TV is plugged in. If there’s no sound either, then it’s likely there’s a problem in the power supply. If, however, there is sound and the set responds to commands from the remote and side buttons, then it’s likely a problem with Y- or Z-sustain.
If Your Plasma TV Has No Picture and No Sound:
Here are the steps you need to take in order to troubleshoot your malfunctioning plasma TV.
- Turn off the TV and unplug it from the wall.
- Wait 5 minutes so that the capacitors are discharged.
- Unplug the connector going into the Z-sustain and then plug the TV back in.
- Check for sound. If there’s sound, then the problem is with the Z-sustain. If not, then:
- Unplug the TV and wait another 5 minutes. Then disconnect the Y-sustain and re-connect the Z-sustain.
- Plug the TV back in and check for sound. If there’s sound, then the problem is with the Y-sustain.
If the problem seems to be coming from the Y-sustain, you also need to check out the buffer. To do that, follow these steps:
- Unplug the TV and wait 5 minutes.
- Remove the buffer and see if you get a picture with sound.
- If your TV has two buffers, disconnect the upper buffer and see if you get a picture on the lower screen.
- Then disconnect the lower buffer and see if you get a picture on the upper screen.
- If, after removing one of the boards, you can see a picture, you know that the removed board is the problem.
You should also check out the video below, which can guide you step-by-step through the process of repairing your plasma TV.
Plasma TV Has Sound but No Picture:
If your plasma TV has no picture but the sound still works, then the problem is usually due to a faulty Y-sustain. If you’re lucky, it could just be a blown fuse, which is easily replaceable. But if not, you might have to replace the entire Y-sustain. To test the fuse, follow these steps:
- Unplug the TV and wait 5 minutes for the capacitors to discharge.
- Set your digital multimeter to 200 ohms.
- Touch the red and black together. The reading should be around 0-2 ohms.
- Connect the probes on each end of the fuse with the multimeter. If it reads “1” on the left-hand side, or “OL,” then the fuse is blown. If you get the same value on both sides, then the fuse isn’t the problem.
If the fuse blows again, you will need to repair or replace the Y-sustain. (It’s often times much easier and cheaper to replace the board than to fix it—unless you have a lot of experience doing these repairs yourself).