Lamp Goes Dim

I’m a big fan of internet video, but nothing can replace the big screen high definition experience and while I knew it would happen sooner or later, I still wasn’t fully prepared when my big screen Sony Wega gave a loud pop and ceased to display the magic flickering lights that I’ve fallen in love with.

My first response was one of panic. I knew that it was possible that I might have a burned out bulb, but given some of the issues that other Wega owners have had, I also knew that it might be more serious. After the panic subsided, I started making a few calls to see what it would cost me to bring in a pro. After getting a few quotes, I was shocked at how expensive it can be, just to have a repairman troubleshoot your big screen. While I’ll admit to being tempted to use this as an excuse to make the jump from a rear projector to a flat screen, I also wasn’t ready to give up on my TV just yet.

So with gritty determination, I started wading through the murky waters of the internet, in search of a potential diagnosis. The more research I did, the more apparent it was, that I had in fact exhausted the lovelight inside my television. Luckily, it turns out that this sort of repair is pretty easy for the home gamer to fix, so after finding a generic replacement lamp online, I eagerly waited the opportunity to try my hand at television repair.

Once my lamp arrived there were a few complications, but as long as you know how to use a screwdriver, most people should be able to fix their own Sony Wega, if your lamp goes dark. One complication that I did run into was the difference between replacing a lamp on a Sony Wega compared to other big screen TVs. Most rear projectors require you to replace the lamp from the back of the set, but Sony has flipped it around and requires you to go in from the front.

To help extend the life of your own big screen experience, I present this step by step guide to replacing a burned out lamp in a Sony Wega TV.

The first step is to unplug your TV to make sure that you don’t electrocute yourself. I’m not sure if the Wega retains an electrical charge after your unplug it, but since a lot of home electronics can still give you a shock, I waited 15 minutes before proceeding. The next step is to start taking apart your TV, so you can get into the guts. If you look at the front of the TV, you’ll notice that there is a grey plastic strip right below the screen.

SonyWega

The strip looks like it’s part of the screen, but it actually comes off and if you look at the back of your TV, you’ll see a black knob on both ends of the TV holding this strip attached. While the knobs are big enough that you can unscrew them with just your fingers, a large flat head screwdriver may come in handy when doing this step.

Sony Wega Rear
Click here for large photo

Once you’ve unscrewed these knobs, you can go ahead and pop off the front panel. When you try to pry it off, it may feel like it’s still screwed in, but it’s actually being held in place with two magnets. You don’t want to use so much force that you’ll break the bezel, but you will want to get it a good pull to get it to snap off.

Wega Minus Front Panel

Behind the bezel, right dab smack in middle of the TV, you’ll see two panels that protect the lamp and the guts that power the on/off switch. You’ll need to unscrew the panel protecting the on/off switch first, because the panel protecting the lamp is buried beneath. Once you take out all five screws, you’ll be able to swing both panels open and should see a black box that contains your lamp. This is located directly behind the flimsy plastic shell that is somehow designed to protect you from radiation.

Wega Bulb

When I opened mine, I needed a Torx 10 screwdriver to take the lamp out. Since my replacement lamp included regular screws, I decided to put those in to make future replacements easier. Once you’ve unscrewed the lamp, all you’ll need to do is slide it out and slide the replacement lamp back in.

After you’ve replaced the plastic covers, pop the front panel back into place, tighten the knobs on the back of the TV, and you should be ready to watch some high definition big screen TV again.

While the entire experience was a little intimidating at first, I was really surprise at how easy of a repair this really was. While there was some risk that the replacement lamp wouldn’t have solved my problem, I figured that it wouldn’t kill me to have a spare on hand anyway. Since the cheapest repair technician was asking three times the cost of the lamp, just to diagnose my problem, I felt that this was a cost effective way to deal with the problem.

If you tend to get frustrated by electronic gizmos and gadgets, it may worth calling in a pro, but if you can figure out how to hook up a DVD player to your TV, you should have the skill set to make this kind of repair.