A couple of weeks ago our cable decoder decided to give up. There was no signs of life other than a couple of horizontal thin red lines on the display when the power were plugged in. I bought the decoder from the cable company ComHem when i registered for their services about three years ago.
A quick google told me that the warranty for these units were extended to 3 years because of problems with the power supply. This gave me some hope so I called the customer service at ComHem who told me that I ordered the box 3 years and 7 days ago, and there was nothing they could do about it. Instead they tried to get me to sign up for another year of their most expensive cable service, register for a broadband connection and buy a new decoder from them. I decided to try a repair instead.
Since the warranty already was out I happily ripped open the “warranty void” seals and opened up the box.
The design was modular and the PSU were easily removed with a couple of screws. Like all broken electronics, the first to look for is swollen capacitors. As you can see in the picture below there are one capacitor which definitely is swollen at the top and one that shows some signs of giving up. Is there someone selling capacitors with a timer that destroy them a couple of days after the warranty runs out?
I decided to replace three of the capacitors that looked suspicious.
- C101 – 2200 μF 10 V
- C104 – 2200 μF 10 V
- C106 – 1000 μF 16 V
I noticed that the decoder were broken when i got home from work so the local electronics shop were closed when I realized I needed new capacitors. Lucky enough i had some old ones, that I salvaged from a broken motherboard, with the right capacitance and voltage rating. Make sure that the capacitors used as replacement are good quality low-ESR capacitors.
Heating up the soldering iron and replacing these large through-hole-mounted parts were easy, and we didn’t have to endure an evening of analog television. The decoder has been working flawlessly ever since.