When these vertical lines appear, it is frequently a hardware problem, but it is worthwhile to check a few things before we assume that. We will check if your system needs a reset, if it needs an update, if the signal it is getting is bad, or the if the input ports have a problem among other things.
A quick check is to run a picture test if your TV has that feature. Since that test uses an image stored on the TV, if the vertical lines appear on it, you know you are likely dealing with a hardware problem, especially if the lines appear in the same place as on images from outside sources.
Below, left and right, are some images of vertical lines that are likely caused by a failure in the LCD panel. Notice that the lines appear in a sort of random fashion in clusters and singles and with an uneven distribution. These are photos of the same screen with different images. The lines remain in the same place.
Below is a picture of classic T-Con board failure symptoms.
It never hurts to start with the obvious checks, but they're cheap, so let's dive in. Here's the easiest place to start.
- Unplug your TV for 60 seconds. Don't just turn it off.
- Hold the power button down for 30 seconds after it is unplugged.
- Count slow on those 60 seconds or use a watch.
- Plug your TV back in and check for a clear picture. If it's working, you are done.
- If not, go to the next step.
Very occasionally, the issue may be caused by fluctuating voltage in your AC supply. The usual culprit is a surge protector. To check this, plug the TV directly into a wall outlet and see if the problem disappears. If it does, replace the surge protector. If not, go on to the next step.
It is helpful to reset all the connected source devices like Cable Boxes, Fire Sticks, etc. This might cure the vertical lines problem, and it is pretty simple to do.
The HDMI Cables can have problems that will mess up the video signal. There are two main points of failure, the input sockets and the cables. Check the screen after each of these.
- First, disconnect and reconnect each HDMI cable at both ends, the TV end and at the other connected device. Do this for every device that is connected to your TV.
- Use a known good cable and swap it with the cable from a particular source. See if that helps. Do this in turn for each source that you have. If this swap fixes a problem, then get a replacement cable and install it.
- Occasionally non-certified HDMI cables will cause problems in this way, it is best to use certified cables.
- Some newer models will have an HDMI test mode. you can check the cables for faults using this setting.
If your TV is not set to automatically update its software/firmware, it may cause erratic operation. Performing a manual update is another step you can take to eliminate a possible cause. Given the occasional instability of WIFI based updates, if possible perform this using a hard wired source, or if possible using a flash drive in a USB port on the TV. Samsung support has additional details especially for older TVs.
If you tried the update and it had no effect, or wouldn't go, the last step before opening the TV is a factory reset. Given the frequent connection between this vertical line problem and the T-Con board or associated cables, it may not be worth losing all the settings. You might want to go on to opening the case. But if your device is under warranty, you may want to try this reset first, and then get warranty service.
Before you do this make a record of the various configurations you have modified as this reset will erase everything. Your TV will have all factory default settings and if this cures the vertical lines problem, you will still have some work restoring your old settings. Perform the reset according to the instructions that came with your TV.
If that fails, you now have a choice.
- If your TV is under warranty: STOP HERE. Consult Samsung support and arrange for a technician to visit or you can bring the device in.
- If your TV is not under warranty, you can go ahead and see if you can fix the TV by checking its internal components.
Now we move into the area where the back comes off, so to speak. It isn't as complicated as it sounds, and you can check for a failure on the main board (the first thing below) without opening stuff up yet. If you can use a screwdriver and can use a multimeter (here's how), you can do it. Also grounding yourself so that you don't harm any of the boards in the TV with static electricity is valuable. Here's some info.
You can still use your eyes even if you can't or don't want to use a multimeter. Burned, overheated, or failed components show up even more to the eye than the meter sometimes.
- You are mainly looking for signs of failure on the boards and you will replace the board as a unit.
- Remember that there are somewhat exposed high voltage areas on the power supply board. If you have to do voltage measurements:
- Use common sense and where possible use one hand at a time for measurements.
- Connect to the ground first, then with one hand check the high voltage connection. or measurement point.
- Test leads with insulated clips on your multimeter will help greatly with this.
If you aren't comfortable doing internal checks, you can have a technician check it out. Just trying to repair instead of just throwing it out is a great way to go.
Bad Input Port
There is a chance that this is caused by an input port on the main board and one quick check is to see if the problem disappears if you shift inputs. This is the point at which the shift from closed case checks to opening the TV will take place, if you discover a bad main board input and are willing to replace the board. Here are the steps:
- Plug the input that you have been viewing (with lines) into another input port.
- If the problem disappears, reverse the process and see if it reappears but use a known good cable to absolutely verify that it is either a bad port on the main board or a bad source.
- If the problem stays the same, try another source in the original port and see if the problem disappears. If it does the problem is in your source.
- If you get the same results for both sources—lines in one port, but no lines from another—a replacement main board is in order, or if you don't mind a workaround, just don't use that input. You can decide if you want to do the replacement yourself. Not very hard generally.
- If the lines never changed, go on to the next step.
Here is where we must open the case to go forward. Dirt can cause both bad connections and problems with overheating. A good cleaning is helpful and will make the following steps easier. You can more readily see bad components, and any cables you disconnect will not be getting dirty.
- Make sure the TV is unplugged.
- Open the back panel. (This varies from unit to unit; some newer units don't even use screws and have to be popped open.)
- You should also try to ground yourself and the unit when doing this as static charges can be built up by both brushing and compressed air (kind of unlikely).
- Give everything a good cleaning, with compressed air if possible.
- Go on to the next step. You might as well deal with the cables as well while the TV is open and clean. You don't want to get dirt into a connection when you check them, so now's the time.
Even before you test the various boards, just disconnecting each cable and reconnecting it can sometimes fix the problem. Especially important in this step are the ribbon cable or cables that run between a small board called the T-Con board, and the Main Board. Also the cables between the T-Con board and the LCD panel are important as well. When a failure occurs only on half of the screen, the cables are an especially good item to check, as most T-Con boards have two feeds to the LCD panel.
- First, make sure the TV is unplugged.
- Disconnect and reconnect each cable one at a time.
- You might even want to clean the contacts on the ribbon cables with a pencil eraser before reinserting them.
- Take your time and be gentle. Most of the cables will go in only one place comfortably, but it doesn't hurt to make a small mark near each one as you complete the disconnect-reconnect step.
- After you do this, reassemble the back cover, plug the set in, turn it on, and see if you now have a clean image. If so, you're done; if not go to the next step.
A very likely culprit in this case and after cable cleaning. But if the lines don't show on at least half the screen, or are only in some irregular spots, then it is likely not the T-Con board as failures in this device usually show up over the whole screen area and tend to be widely distributed.
These symptoms may be caused by the main board on occasion (see below), but since the T-Con board is less expensive and the symptoms point to it (just not with full certainty) it is a good candidate to replace at this point.
One unfortunate issue: manufacturers are increasingly combining the T-Con board with the main or motherboard. When your TV is made this way, you are in effect forced to replace both boards at once instead of just the T-Con. One sign of this arrangement is two ribbon cables running directly to connections on the panel, with no third board besides the Power Supply Board (the mains plug enters this board), and the Main Board (where all the inputs usually are).
Main Board or Panel
If the T-Con board didn't fix it, this is the last stop before the panel.
Before replacing the main board (especially if the test above didn't reveal anything), you might want to mess with various workarounds on the panel. There are a number of connections at the edge of the panel (tab bonds and the like) that are subject to failure. These can be sometimes fixed by physical pressure. For vertical lines you will want to focus on the top and bottom of the TV.
- You should try applying gentle pressure or even twisting the TV gently while watching the screen.
- If you notice an improvement open the back panel, and see if you can apply tape to the edges of the screen so that a small amount of additional pressure occurs when the back is put on again. Sometimes just a slight additional pressure makes a contact work again.
- If you don't see any changes, you can try replacing the main board.
This is the sort of repair that doesn't always have a clear path, you often end up "just trying things." What we have done so far has been to seek to clear away as many causes as possible. If the panel is the cause it is usually not economically repairable except under warranty.
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