The Missus interrupts my nightly reading time, usually around 10:30 p.m. and before the book hits me in the forehead and I turn off the light, to inform me that the TV will not come on. Rather than read herself to sleep, the Missus likes to sleep in front of the big 60 inch Sony, her personal 300 watt nightlight, until her own personal sandman comes along.
“What? No, I was watching it. I was just resting my eyes during commercials.”
I gotta say this up front, and I’m sure she’ll go along; the Missus is not exactly technology proficient. On some days, ON and OFF is a challenge. Oh, she understands the concept, it’s a matter of finding the appropriate button among an assorted collection of remote controls–six at last count– that dwell between our easy chairs.
And so it was, last evening, when I hear, “The green light came on and then it went out and now it won’t come on again.”
Muttering obscenities and assuming that she has once again chosen the DVD remote, the VHS remote, or maybe the ROKU remote, to operate the television, I lumber into the living room to investigate. But no, the problem is exactly as she describes. The green light for all-is-good illuminates only to go dark followed by a blinking red light. Blink-blink-blink-blink, pause, repeat, blink-blink-blink-blink. Not good. There is no picture on the screen, blank, dark as death. No sound, no nada. The faithful Sony, purveyor of countless sporting events, Super Bowls, Final Fours, and shows like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad to name a few has passed on, graveyard dead. Or so it seems.
Please keep in mind that the old set was approaching the ripe old age of nine. That works out to somewhere around a hundred and ten in people years. Many improvements in the industry have come along since that set came off the showroom floor: 3D, LED, LCD, 240 hz refresh rates, and now the new ULTRA HD claiming to blow the old HDTV out of the water. Thoughts of the greatest and the latest on the market were flashing like neon signs inside this old techno geek’s head. I’m checking prices on Amazon, at Best Buy, and Sears. Do they deliver? Will they cart off the old? What about warranties?
Then, while trying to adjust to sticker shock, I decided to do a Google on Sony-Blinking Red Light. Ah, and what do I find, but the fact that it’s a common problem on this model. The Four Red Lights of Death is how the fix-it community refers to it. This particular Sony, I find, has not one but four, count em, four cooling fans. The failure of which, any one of them, can result in the fatal blinking lights. One particular solution caught my eye.
“I reached through the vent holes with a screwdriver,” one user said, “and forced the fan blades to spin. That did the trick.”
Is it worth a shot? Hell, yes.
In addition to the poke with the screwdriver, I break out my little air compressor, insert nozzle between the vent holes, and blast away. Dust flies everywhere, scaring the cats, and earning dirty looks from the Missus. The fans, only two that I can see, spin like crazy. At least they’re not locked up and frozen in place.
Cleary, the situation called for a Sunday Morning Spooker of Skyy vodka and a secret Bloody Mary mix. I mix one and using the appropriate remote, hit the POWER button. The green light flashes as normal and then…then…PICTURE! No red lights, no blinks, no CONTACT YOUR NEAREST SONY REPAIR FACILITY, I was good to go, Baby.
I’m grinning like a possum and then it hits me, no new TV, no LCD, no LED, no ULTRA HD. Once again, I’m stuck with a fossil of technology back in the stone age of electronics. But then I’m no spring chicken myself. Maybe it’s natural selection, a pairing of old farts, meant to be.