Watching a ballgame after a brief power outage, my 60-inch Pioneer plasma decided to crap out. The only sign it was still alive was a tiny blue LED in the lower left corner blinking on and off 12 times and repeating the pattern over and over.

I tried turning it back on. That worked for about 15 minutes, then the same thing happened again. And again. And again. I tried unplugging the set for a while and turning it back on. Same thing. I tried leaving it off in standby mode. Again, the blinking blue lights.

It’s impossible to overstate the magnitude of this disaster. The Yankees are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in years and the NFL season starts this week. We do have another big TV in the rec room, but this time of year, we need both for the wife and me or things could get ugly real quick.

Look, I know how that sounds, but we built our house that way for a reason: His and her living areas keep the divorce lawyers away. Seriously.

Anyhow, Pioneer tech support swore up and down that the main board was fried, no question about it. They referred me to Best Buy’s Geek Squad for in-home repair service. They quoted me $1,200 to replace the board. I love that TV and it’s a big hassle to install a new one, but for a 10-year-old set, uh-uh.

Before blowing three grand I don’t have just laying around on an LG OLED, I decided to Google “Pioneer TV blinking blue lights” and got 1,630,000 results. One thread on a popular AV forum looked promising. Scanning the nearly 800 posts, I found a factory reset sequence and decided to try it.

Get this: It worked. Everything was back to normal, and just in time to watch the NFL season opener where the Kansas City Chiefs upset the New England Patriots.

Since I’m always dumping on the Web, I figured it’s only fair to share a story where it saved my bacon big-time. I have to admit, for DIY folks who live in the mountains where good contractors are hard to find, it is pretty cool. Not to be cliché, but how in the world did we ever live without it?

  • Monty Gry

    It is amazing the things that can be fixed by just being able to read. I never considered myself to be handy until my natural Irish cheapness took over. I have fixed lawn mowers, dishwashers. TV’s and scores of other things. I have installed huge things including floors and showers and toilets…by reading DIY sites. It also has helped with my SAVINGS as I try to figure out how much it would have cost me to hire someone to and I set aside that money and stick it in its own account. In my 20 years as a homeowner that account sits at 90,000. And for one little thing in any electronic “fix”…..CLEAN the item first. Sometimes just cleaning it fixes it.

    • Steve Tobak

      Funny, the one thing I left out of the story is that all the vents on the back of the set were clogged with dust. Before I did anything, I vacuumed. Still needed to run the factory reset sequence but that may have been the problem all along. Who knows?

  • Randall Vincent

    Finding “fixes” on the ‘net is a beautiful thing, indeed. Hey Steve, us plasma owners are a dying breed. I’ve got serious love for my 50″ Panasonic plasma. Sports and movies are incredible on that thing. I know someone else with my model who bought a back-up set and stored it away for when their current set dies. I’m going to hate the day i have to look for a “suitable” replacement. Glad you got yours fixed brother.

    • Steve Tobak

      Actually, my first plasma was a 50″ Panasonic and it’s still working fine after who knows how long (it predates the Pioneer by quite a few years)? That’s the one in the rec room. It’s a TH-50PHD6 series.

  • Anurodh Sharma

    Nice to read your comment that you forgot to add in the article above,,,,,”Funny, the one thing I left out of the story is that all the vents on the back of the set were clogged with dust. Before I did anything, I vacuumed. Still needed to run the factory reset sequence but that may have been the problem all along. Who knows?”