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Thread: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

  1. #1
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    Default Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    A family of gremlins seems to have taken up residence in our TV setup. Sometime yesterday afternoon, our TV suddenly and magickally start turning up its own volume.



    Over a space of a few seconds, the volume will go from 0 (mute) to 100 (max. volume, nominally +15.5dB). You can [try to] turn it down, but your swimming upstream -- the gremlins are turning it up as fast as you can turn it down. The mute button is good for about a half-second.

    Since the TV is connected to our A/V receiver via HDMI ARC and the receiver and TV both support HDMI control, this drives, in parallel, the amp's volume to its max. And since the amp is 5x90 watts continuous + a 105 watt subwoofer amp, it's bad.

    Figured maybe it's something to do with the HDMI control stuff, but no. Disconnected the TV completely from the amp, and it still exhibits the same problem.

    Some googling shows that this seems to be a known problem with Sony Bravia TVs. But not, seemingly, to Sony.

    Following some of the steps to resolve the issue, it's still a problem.

    Some of the "solutions" posit a stuck volume button on the remote (not an issue, I can turn the volume up and down, as long as it's before the gremlin takes over, and the problem continues if I've removed the batteries from the remote). Others even involve opening the back of the TV and removing/disconnecting a circuit board -- not sure I'm going there.

    We even did a factory reset of the TV to no avail.

    I'm stumped.

    Any ideas, before I call Sony?
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    A family of gremlins seems to have taken up residence in our TV setup. Sometime yesterday afternoon, our TV suddenly and magickally start turning up its own volume.



    Over a space of a few seconds, the volume will go from 0 (mute) to 100 (max. volume, nominally +15.5dB). You can [try to] turn it down, but your swimming upstream -- the gremlins are turning it up as fast as you can turn it down. The mute button is good for about a half-second.

    Since the TV is connected to our A/V receiver via HDMI ARC and the receiver and TV both support HDMI control, this drives, in parallel, the amp's volume to its max. And since the amp is 5x90 watts continuous + a 105 watt subwoofer amp, it's bad.

    Figured maybe it's something to do with the HDMI control stuff, but no. Disconnected the TV completely from the amp, and it still exhibits the same problem.

    Some googling shows that this seems to be a known problem with Sony Bravia TVs. But not, seemingly, to Sony.

    Following some of the steps to resolve the issue, it's still a problem.

    Some of the "solutions" posit a stuck volume button on the remote (not an issue, I can turn the volume up and down, as long as it's before the gremlin takes over, and the problem continues if I've removed the batteries from the remote). Others even involve opening the back of the TV and removing/disconnecting a circuit board -- not sure I'm going there.

    We even did a factory reset of the TV to no avail.

    I'm stumped.

    Any ideas, before I call Sony?
    Take the batteries out of the remote for at least a solid minute and put them back in.

    We've had similar issues with a Sony Bravia television.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  3. #3
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Sadly, it's the bane of modern electronics: things are no longer designed for efficient repair. Many of us are old enough to recall when you called a TV service guy, and he arrived with a caddy full of vacuum tubes, and the fix usually involved replacing a tube. Those days are over. At best, a Sony authorized repair guy could replace a circuit board... but 1) he likely will NOT have one in stock, and 2) the cost of the circuit board, plus labor to swap it, will be a big percentage of the cost of a new TV.

    One could argue that this makes the purchase of an extended warranty a good deal... except that the companies who provide those warranties have excellent metrics about the reliability of things, and they're profitable because, on average, their rates reflect a very healthy profit.

    Of course, it's worth a try to call for service... but when you get the estimated costs, and depending on the age of the TV, you might decide that it's time to replace it. The costs of a big screen TV depend entirely on performance levels, with some 65" TV's with a mere 1080P resolution being below $500... and others, with 8K HDR, OLED or other advanced screen technologies, can cost $3,000.

    My own opinion: the picture quality of the cheaper sets are more than fine, and the content of the show or movie is overwhelmingly more important that the resolution and contrast of the image. A great film or show is good on the cheapest TV... while a crappy show or movie isn't made any better on an expensive set... but that's just my opinion.

    We have four large Samsung TV's in the house, and while they do have some annoyances in the way they handle things (especially when you want to use the optical output), they have been perfectly reliable, and the image quality is more than OK.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  4. #4
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    If that happened in our house it would be because someone sat on the second remote. Well, not since the puppy ate the second remote….

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    And so the landfills fill.
    If Russia wins, there will be no Ukraine; if Ukraine wins, there will be a new Russia.

    -- Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister of Ukraine

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    It’s really too bad. Most circuits boards have a quantity of gold on them… gold flash is almost always used on circuit board fingers, and IC’s use gold bond wires. Unfortunately, there is no efficient way to reclaim that gold. There are YouTube videos demonstrating how to do it, but it usually involves the use of red fuming nitric acid, and the amount of gold recovered is miniscule. Maybe someone can come up with an efficient way to recycle all those circuit boards.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Bernstein reminds me of the olden days when the repair guy sighed and uttered those drastic words, "Gonna have to take it to the shop."
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    If the TV set itself has sensor (just touch) buttons - clean them. Unplugging and replugging every plug you can see in the TV might help. Beyond that - bad vias, bad capacitor, bad solder joint - Normans territory.

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    If you figure it out, I've got a 2016 Honda fit that could use your attention. Sometimes, when you start the car, the stereo volume climbs like that. You have to turn it off, then turn off the car. On restart, the volume is fine.
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

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    Default Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    If you figure it out, I've got a 2016 Honda fit that could use your attention. Sometimes, when you start the car, the stereo volume climbs like that. You have to turn it off, then turn off the car. On restart, the volume is fine.

    Pretty sure I can fix it by going up to Video Only and dropping a bunch of coin on a big new Samsung or Sony 8k HDR TV.

    As soon as I do that, the current Sony will be perfectly fine
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Maybe take the batteries out of the remote, and leave them out. The stuck button could be in there.

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    My fishfinder zoom button sticks sometimes. A little electronics cleaner sees it right.

    Also, could it be the ghost of a hard-of-hearing relative or former resident?

    Boo!

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Completely non-tech idea. Our Sharp TV had exactly the opposite problem. Turn it on, set the volume & it'd slowly drop to zero. I too have an external sound system (though not as fancy as yours) & connecting/disconnecting it made no diff.

    I started looking at new TVs, but blew off dealing with it for about 3 days. When I turned it on after the 3 days of being off, it worked fine & has for a few weeks. Knock on wood.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Maybe unplug is and short the positive and negative to drain any charge. Is this safe with modern tvs? Don’t know.

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    If you figure it out, I've got a 2016 Honda fit that could use your attention. Sometimes, when you start the car, the stereo volume climbs like that. You have to turn it off, then turn off the car. On restart, the volume is fine.
    Not just Hondas, I bought a Renault Scenic for Mrs A. Talk about fits of pique! Did all sorts of things without asking. Finally got in a huff about starting. Well, I am going to get my own back... Tow truck to the scrap yard, thatt'le show it !

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Wow, I guess I had that one wrong. I thought you were an "electronics guy" and I really not sure why I thought that.
    I don't know about your TV but Sony over the years have had problems with the IC that selects the audio source. If you can figure out it's part number you can usually find it on the internet. Even the term "Sony tv audio chip" seams to give one major chip, SBX-1637. If they did not have problems with it, replacement parts wouldn't be on the internet. But if you can't or don't have the tools to replace the chip its probably not worth having it repaired.

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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    This might be helpful, is it your model? Unfortunately I am at work and I can watch but not hear which makes it hard but it seams to be the same type of problem.
    Last edited by ShorelineJohn; 09-20-2022 at 06:02 PM. Reason: wrong video

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    I've had a few minor problems with the 65"TV I got from my son. Unplugging it every night seems to have cured it.
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Completely non-tech idea. Our Sharp TV had exactly the opposite problem. Turn it on, set the volume & it'd slowly drop to zero. I too have an external sound system (though not as fancy as yours) & connecting/disconnecting it made no diff.

    I started looking at new TVs, but blew off dealing with it for about 3 days. When I turned it on after the 3 days of being off, it worked fine & has for a few weeks. Knock on wood.

    I disconnected it completely last night from AC power and everything it's connected too. A little after noon, I was messaging (Sony support lets you talk to an agent via SMS messaging. You have a transcript. Brilliant!)

    As part of that, I powered up the TV again and it seems to be behaving itself. For now (knock on wood).
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Hmmm, just bought a 55" Sony Bravia last week. It's borderline too big really, and without getting new glasses, the whole 4K thing is a complete waste of pixels - though it did do an amazing job of upscaling old black-and-white footage of the Queen.
    It's replacing a fifteen year old 40" Samsung dumb tv that has never missed a beat, and still works. I'll see if Mum wants to upgrade the twenty year old 30" Samsung to something larger - and that replaced what had to be an at least forty year old Phillips K9 that jumped off the shelf and died during the Christchurch earthquakes.
    In other words, my expectations for tv reliability based on past experience, are quite high. I hope we dont suffer the same gremlins, because as soon as my optical to RCA converter arrives, it's getting connected to the stereo. The salesman of course was trying to hardsell a soundbar, that quite frankly sounded almost as bad as the tv - those skinny little boxes just dont do good audio unless you start spending silly money. And the stereo is right there.

    Pete
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    A family of gremlins seems to have taken up residence in our TV setup. Sometime yesterday afternoon, our TV suddenly and magickally start turning up its own volume.



    Over a space of a few seconds, the volume will go from 0 (mute) to 100 (max. volume, nominally +15.5dB). You can [try to] turn it down, but your swimming upstream -- the gremlins are turning it up as fast as you can turn it down. The mute button is good for about a half-second.

    Since the TV is connected to our A/V receiver via HDMI ARC and the receiver and TV both support HDMI control, this drives, in parallel, the amp's volume to its max. And since the amp is 5x90 watts continuous + a 105 watt subwoofer amp, it's bad.

    Figured maybe it's something to do with the HDMI control stuff, but no. Disconnected the TV completely from the amp, and it still exhibits the same problem.

    Some googling shows that this seems to be a known problem with Sony Bravia TVs. But not, seemingly, to Sony.

    Following some of the steps to resolve the issue, it's still a problem.

    Some of the "solutions" posit a stuck volume button on the remote (not an issue, I can turn the volume up and down, as long as it's before the gremlin takes over, and the problem continues if I've removed the batteries from the remote). Others even involve opening the back of the TV and removing/disconnecting a circuit board -- not sure I'm going there.

    We even did a factory reset of the TV to no avail.

    I'm stumped.

    Any ideas, before I call Sony?

    I had a similar problem with a digital mixing desk recently. Turned out to be a problem with the power supply. The digital volume is regulated by a seperate power supply on a 5 volt rail and it had become faulty. My repair tech ( old school ) had it sorted for a cost of $180. Being modular it was a case of pulling the old one out and putting the new one in. So it might be something along these lines.

    Once another bit of kit shorted out and the cause was ants so it might be gremlins of that sort.

    If it's an analogue volume potentiometer then the pot could well be the problem and a new pot will fix the issue. Volume Potentiometers are usually a three terminal resistor with a rotating contact that forms an adjustable voltage divider.
    Last edited by Hallam; 09-21-2022 at 05:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    I found a source for cheap replacement motherboards for my misbehaving tv. I popped off the back of the set to verify that I was ordering the proper board. One quick look spotted a couple of obviously blown caps. They were much bigger than anything I had in my kit so I had to order replacements. A week later, after a half hour with a screwdriver and soldering iron, I was once again filling my brain with mindless drivel like the news and instructional videos from YouTube.
    Schooner sailors love to get blown offshore!

  23. #23
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    Default

    Problem fixed. Not solved, but fixed.

    Disconnected everything and disconnected everything from AC power. Let it all sit for 12 hours or so to reflect on it's misbehavior. Replaced the batteries in the remote with fresh ones and performed Sony's hard reset procedure on the remote. Powered up the TV by itself and the problem seems to have resolved itself.

    Reconnected things one at a time, and everything stayed good.

    No explanation for any of it.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Carey View Post
    Problem fixed. Not solved, but fixed.

    Disconnected everything and disconnected everything from AC power. Let it all sit for 12 hours or so to reflect on it's misbehavior. Replaced the batteries in the remote with fresh ones and performed Sony's hard reset procedure on the remote. Powered up the TV by itself and the problem seems to have resolved itself.

    Reconnected things one at a time, and everything stayed good.

    No explanation for any of it.
    Let's face it: a modern smart TV is a computer... probably using some operating system based on Linux. The power is never really off, unless you unplug it... nonvolatile memory is used to store settings through a power outage. They probably don't ever really re-boot, unless some control or procedure (not revealed to the customer) is executed. My wife, formally the manager of the local community TV station (and an accomplished video editor) had a rule for fixing most everything: 'Turn it off, wait 30 seconds, and turn it back on'
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







  25. #25
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    Let's face it: a modern smart TV is a computer... probably using some operating system based on Linux. The power is never really off, unless you unplug it... nonvolatile memory is used to store settings through a power outage. They probably don't ever really re-boot, unless some control or procedure (not revealed to the customer) is executed. My wife, formally the manager of the local community TV station (and an accomplished video editor) had a rule for fixing most everything: 'Turn it off, wait 30 seconds, and turn it back on'
    In the computer world - that's known as the "Microsoft Fix"
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Uninvited Houseguests: Gremlins In the Electronics

    Yesterday evening the hot air gun malfunctioned. A semi-pro model also recommended for pro-shop use by the manufacturer. 5 years old but not a lot of useage, certainly only 2 digit number of hours. First it went well (as it always did). Then I put it aside while still hot. Then I needed it again. The engine would not turn when switched on but only made a humming noise. After cooling down, the engine does turn again but the engine speed in first and second speed setting is identical now. In third speed setting, it does run faster. Not sure what I will do with it - it is a tool I rarely need but I need it often enough to justify having one. **** Two digit hours of use on a semi-pro / pro tool and it has packed up.

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