Dell W5001C 50" Plasma Fix




My buddy's Dell 50" W5001C plasma television conked out one day so I set out trying to fix it. The TV is about 4 years old, and it is out of warranty. Even the three year extended warranty that was offered for $1000 at the time of purchase would have done no good. (Remember when TV's used to last 20 years?) With no recourse for repair through official channels, what is one to do?

"So what are my options?"
1.Fix it at a TV repair shop
Calls to television repair shops produced a range of estimates, i.e. $300 for an on-site consultation and no guarantee of repair. Shipping or transporting the TV to a repair shop could could add insult to injury as it is quite large and might be damaged even further during shipping.

2.Buy a new TV
With new plasma TVs costing about $1000+ for a similar model, it's a tough call between getting the old one fixed or just purchasing a new one. If repairs are more than $500, you'd be better off just chucking the old one and buying new. Since the Dell wasn't smoking or on fire and looked like it was still in very good condition, throwing it away seemed like a waste.

3.Take it apart
While my buddy contemplated what he wanted to do (see options 1 and 2 above), I resolved to just take the dang thing apart to see what I could see. I'm fairly electronics savvy and I love taking things apart, so this was an opportunity not to be missed.

The Bottom Line
Long story short, a $1.09 part took down a $4000 television.

The information contained herein is only a journal of my experiences. It is not meant as a tutorial for someone else to fix their own TV. If you use it as such, you do so at your own risk. Don't blame me if you destroy your TV or get hurt in the process. With that said, please continue reading....

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Symptoms

1. Blank screen
2. TV still powers up, blue led lights up, and relays click at turn on
3. Sound still works
4. Picture may come back for hours at a time but not reliably
5. Picture may appear for a split second when turning off.

How it happened
It all started one day when I went to turn on the TV and, while the power LED lit up and the power relays clicked as usual, the screen was blank. I thought it was on the wrong input so I used the controller to switch inputs but the on-screen menu would not show up either. The sound, however, was working so it was definitely on the right input already. I left the TV on for a while and after a couple minutes, the picture magically appeared! Great, it just needed to warm up I thought. After being left on for a couple of hours however, the screen went dark again. The TV was basically unusable because turning on the TV would usually result in just a dark, blank screen. Since the sound continued to work, I suspected something to do with the power supplied to the plasma screen proper.

Step 2: Teardown

To access the power supply, one must remove the sheet metal backing to the television. This is quite easy and only requires a T20 torx screwdriver and a common philips screwdriver. There are many torx screws around the periphery, four large philips mounting screws, and a couple smaller philips screws. Once all screws are removed, the sheetmetal backing can be pried off the TV (in fact, it may fall right off after the last screw is undone so watch out!) It helps to have a friend at this point because handling the large back piece can be a bit unwieldy with one person..

Step 3: Testing the Power Supply

Static Electricity Warning
Some components on the power supply are CMOS integrated circuits and are therefore sensitive to static electricity. Before touching the circuit board, I make sure the TV is unplugged. Then, I touch a piece of metal on the back of the TV that is grounded, i.e. part of the metal frame or one of the mounting screws or mounting posts of the power supply board. This will dissipate any stored static electricity by the body and discharge it to ground. CAREFUL!!! This should only be done with the TV turned off and NOT plugged in. Otherwise, one might touch something with HIGH VOLTAGE and receive an electrical shock. In particular, stay away from the large heat sinks with the yellow stickers on them indicating high voltage.

The power supply is the large circuit board in the middle of the TV. It has many transformers, large capacitors, and a couple IC's. There are eight connectors attaching the power supply to the other circuit boards on the TV. Looking closer, one can see that the power supply(Model#:PSPF651B01A) is manufactured by Samsung, as is the plasma screen itself. The supply provides about ten different voltages; 190V, -180V, 60V, etc for the plasma screen as well as 3.3V, 5V, and 12V for the logic and digital electronics.

The power supply circuit board contains a wealth of information including its part number and a table of the different voltages it produces along their signal names(Va, Vscan, Vstb, etc). Test points for all these voltages exist on the left side of the board(looking at the power supply as it is mounted to the back of the television).

How to test
I used a multimeter to probe the voltages at the testpoints with the TV turned on. BE CAREFUL!!!! This is of course highly dangerous as HIGH VOLTAGES occur on the power supply and the TV was not meant to be run with the back off. Touching certain points on the power supply while it is powered can KILL YOU!!!! To be safe, don't touch ANYTHING inside the TV whilst it is plugged in. In fact, if you do not know what you are doing, just stop here. No point killing yourself over a stupid TV.

If you dare....
The RTN node (seen on the silkscreen at the top left connector(and others) ) is basically the common grounding point and is connected to Earth ground, the shiny metal backing of the plasma screen, and all the metal mounting pegs that the power supply is mounted to. The black or negative lead of your multimeter should be attached to this point. I just stuck the black probe into one of the mounting studs and let it hang there (out of the way) so I could probe using the other(red) lead of the multimeter with one hand.

Start off with the TV unplugged and turned off. Attach the negative or black lead of the multimeter to any mounting stud near the power supply board. Now plug in the TV and make sure nothing explodes. Now turn on the TV with the remote control and again make sure nothing explodes. Is the screen blank? If so, good. You'll be able to probe the test points on the power supply to determine which voltage is not being produced. In my case, it was Va which is supposed to be 60V. Make sure to make a good contact between the testpoint and the multimeter probe. If the contact is poor, the voltage readout may look as though it is fluctuating between the spec'd voltage and some lower voltage. For example, if the spec'd voltage is 180v, not pressing hard enough to connect the probe and the testpoint may result in a readout that wanders between 180v and 50v.

If all the voltages are being supplied and withing spec (as shown on the power supply's silkscreened voltage table shown in the fourth picture below), your power supply is most likely functioning correctly. Your problem may lie in a different area. Numerous people have mentioned a problem with their Y-Buffer, the circuit boards flanking the left and right sides of the plasma screen. Specifically, whitby905 (see the comments section) has found that the lower left Y-Buffer board was contacting the metal plasma screen backing and had shorted out. If your power supply checks out, look and smell for any indication that any of the Y-Buffers have shorted to the case. You may have to remove them and look on the back for shorted solder points. I don't have any pictures of this situation besides the one from whitby905 in the comments section.

My problem was with the Va voltage of the power supply so I will continue discussing it in the next section "Debugging on the Bench."

Step 4: Debugging on the Bench

More testing in the lab revealed that the problem was a defective IC, U501 which is a Fairchild Semiconductor part KA3883. I ordered a replacement from digikey, 497-3678-ND, which is a STMicroelectronics UC2843B, for $1.09. The original KA3883 is not generally available(discontinued?). UC2843B is a higher quality drop-in replacement.

The proof that the current mode pwm control chip(KA3883) was the source of the problem came from heating just that part with a hot air pencil and watching the Va voltage go up to 60V then cooling the control chip(KA3883) with a can of compressed air and watching Va go back to zero. The part is defective and for whatever reason responds to thermal shock. This could have indicated a cold solder joint but, after checking, the solder joints looked fine. Diagnosis: defective KA3883.

Additional Info:
The power supply board is easily detached by removing about ten philips screws and disconnecting the eight connectors.

If you want to test the board on the bench, away from the rest of the TV), you must use an isolation transformer. Plug in one side of the isolation transformer to the wall then plug in the board to a suicide cord connected to the other side of the transformer. This is so you don't die.

You also need to know how to turn on the board without the remote control, right? This is done by simply connecting pin 'PS-ON' (found on connector CN8007) to ground(ie the RTN pin). I used a small jumper to short across from PS-ON to RTN. You can just leave the jumper there and use a power strip to turn the whole thing on and off.

I traced out much of the relevent circuitry to make sure I knew what I was probing and so I could debug the Va circuit. The excellent layout and silkscreen notation on the Samsung board was very helpful. The Va circuit is mostly contained within the 500's numbered parts, ie U501, C501, R501, etc. If you are going to probe any of these parts with the board powered you MUST USE AN ISOLATION TRANSFORMER so you don't electrocute yourself or destroy the board, especially if you are using an oscilloscope or something that is not battery powered.

Step 5: Replacing the Controller Chip

The first thing you need to do is get rid of the defective part, U501.

One method is to remove the chip by getting rid of the solder holding it in place. Either use a solder sucker desoldering station (if you have access to one) or solder wick to remove the solder then pull the whole chip out. Careful with the solder wick. If you heat up a pad too much, you WILL lift a trace, effectively destroying the board. It's very hard so get it right with the solder wick.

I used the desoldering station to clear the lead holes. Then, I attached the SIP sockets to the new part, placed it into position, tacked the part by soldering pins 1 and 8 to hold it into place, and then soldered the rest of the pins. The reason for using the SIP sockets and not a normal 8 pin socket is because the width of the holes is unusual. DIP parts are normally 300mils wide however the width used on this board for the DIP parts is about 340mils (when I say width I mean from say the center of the hole of pin 1 to the center of the hole of pin 8.) A normal 8 pin DIP socket will not fit, hence using two strips of SIPs. However, mhra08a has used Radio Shack 8-Pin IC Retention Contact ($0.48 Model: 276-1995 Catalog #: 276-1995) with success.

Better Method(if you don't have a desoldering station)
I suggest just cutting the leads off the old part and soldering in a strip of 0.100" pitch SIP sockets to the old leads that are left sticking up out of the board, ie a strip of 4 on one side and another strip of 4 on the other. Try digikey ED7064. This way, there is no desoldering and you'll have a socket there to make it easier if you have to replace the part again. You must be very careful when using a small side cutter to snip the leads from the chip (this is the simplest way to do it however). The action of the cutter will push the lead and the chip to the side, putting lots of stress on the hole that the lead is soldered into. Again, damage of the circuit board could result.

Also note jackohound's method he describes in the comments section:
"As I didn't have a desoldering station, or a small enough side cutter snip the U501 leads, to I used a Dremel tool with a very small cutting disk to carefully cut teach of the leads from the old chip. This required a steady hand, but it avoided putting any stress on the board. I removed the old chip body and used a handheld spring-loaded desolderer to remove solder from each of the holes."

After the chip body is removed, you can solder the SIP sockets to them. Watch out because when you touch the soldering iron to the lead you will also melt the solder in the lead hole and the lead may move, fall through, or cock to one side. You might try first soldering a solid wire to all four leads on one side to keep them in position as you solder the SIP sockets.

Make sure you install the new part with the right orientation! Otherwise you'll probably blow a fuse on the board(best case) and may take out some other parts as well.

Step 6: Conclusion

Now install the board back onto the TV, and connect only the smaller connectors to test the board. Plug in the power to the TV and turn it on with the remote. Probe the Va testpoint with a multimeter to see if it is between 55 and 75 volts. If so, the repair worked! Turn off the TV, unplug it, and install the other connectors to the power supply board. Install the backing onto the TV and you're done. Congratulations! Your roommates now think you're a genius.

Be the First to Share


    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest
    • Make it Move

      Make it Move
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest

    116 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I have a W4200HD (that's a 10 year old 42" Plasma tv.)

    It has worked perfectly for all these years. Now it starts clean then every few scenery changes and it develops a black imprint of the scene. Then stays behind and changes scene again and developes another imprint of that scene. It builds up until most of the screen is black. I can change the cable channel to the channel menu page, then back to what I was watching and it's all clean again. I have to do this every couple of minutes.

    Any ideas?!!!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    5 years ago, my W5001C failed (the VA supply was not working) and the info here helped me to fix it. Yesterday, it died again (same symptoms). I was eyeing a nice new 4K panel, but figured i give another try at fixing it. This time I found the D5V supply was low. The info in this thread helped me again, pointing me towards capacitors, and sure enough mine looked to be bulging a bit. A quick run to Radio Shack and i had some replacements. They didnt have 2200uF 10v, so i had to use the much larger 2200uF 35v. The Dell is up and running again. I'm happy i'm not throwing a 50" plasma into the trash, but sad I'm not upgrading to a nice new UHD panel.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Just curious as to whether or not this is still a live topic?

    I bought my Dell W5001C brand new from the Dell site and when it was delivered, I was like a kid again. Then 1 year later, almost to the day, and of course the warranty had expired, it went out. All the symptoms explained above. No screen but sound, blue power LED was lit. I would turn it on, it would give the audible click and then almost immediately another click. I thought it might be one of the power relay switches, but, after paying $5000.00 for this thing, I wasn't about to attempt it myself.
    I called Dell and of course they wanted the thing shipped to them via insured courier to their buildings in the Bay Area of California. All at my expense, mind you. Then I would have to pay a large fee for just looking at it, to be followed up with the repair and replacement of any parts, etc., etc.

    After looking into doing as they asked, it would have cost me in the neighborhood of $1300.00. Just to have them look at it.

    I quickly packed the thing back into its box and stored it away. For almost 3 years.

    I saw an ad in eBay for the repair of my TV for $150.00 one day and got all excited again. The draw back was that I would have to disassemble all of the boards from the TV and send them to this guy in San Jose, California. After 3 years, I thought..."Well ...It's already broken, what could I possibly do to it?"

    No... I didn't hurt anything.

    He sent the boards back to me about 4 days later and I reassembled the TV... and it worked beautifully.

    For almost 1 year EXACTLY to the day.

    Now the same problem.

    When I got the boards back, I looked real close to what might have been replaced. The only thing I could see was that he had replaced 3 or 4 capacitors on the main PCB.

    I am going to attempt this on my own this time, but, I am really hoping that this is not a dead thread just in case I need some backup.

    Are you game, mr12volt??

    6 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I still monitor the comments to see if I can be of help. Just keep in mind that these tv's can fail in a number of different ways. Make sure the first thing you do is measure the voltage on the Va test point on the power supply board. The solution I detail will only work if the Va voltage is zero. I get emailed when someone posts a comment so if you have any further questions I will see them.
    By the way my buddy's TV is still going strong.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I know this is a really old post, but i found a dell 4201c on the trash the other day its looks in really nice shape. i opened it up and see no capacitor damage. it turns on with one click, all 3 led lights on the phillips board stay on but the screen does not come on. the blue power led comes on, and will turn of if i push it again with one click, then one green led stays on. i did notice some burn marks around some components of what seems to be an amplifier board for the speakers. its the small board right about where the silver power supply box is. i thought this would be a low risk project with changing the two capacitors for the coppell tv repair post. can anyone help


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Not sure you can help, but our Dell plasma tv/monitor works just fine but the speakers went out! My son has decided to try replacing the mini-banana plug connections and we can't seem to find them small enough. The typical "mini" is too large. We REALLY hate to let go of this tv just because the speakers aren't working! You'd think we could just replace with other speakers but my son says no, it can't be done. Any thoughts?


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I had a completely different set of speakers hooked up to my Dell at one point with no issues. I don't know why he is saying it can't be done...

    On another note, I bought the original OEM speakers that came with the TV on Ebay for $5.99 brand new. If it is just the speakers being bad, that is your best route, in my opinion.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Here I am... A year later and still haven''t gotten to my Dell... But this is the weekend!

    I've researched and researched and it turns out that the 5v power problem seems to be a universal one. The W4201 and W5001 plasma TV's from Dell from 2005-(2007 I believe) were manufactured by Samsung and packaged as Dell. All have the same failing. Which is why they were discontinued for a while... Lol... Apparently, Dell is offering the 42" again, and these are getting 4 star rating reviews from places like PC Mag and others... Hind sight is 20/20, eh?


    So I am going to open her up tonite, run some prelims and then I will be talking to you right after. If not late tonite than first thing tomorrow for sure..


    Reply 4 years ago

    Hey guy im in ur same boat, and about to attempt this myself...SHOULD I STOCK UP ON THIS PART...LOL...LET ME KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WITH YOU...CALL ME INSTEAD I NEED A COACH ALSO 9063762433...THE NAMES KIM


    4 years ago on Introduction

    i know this is a really old post, but i found a dell 4201c on the trash the other day its looks in really nice shape. i opened it up and see no capacitor damage. it turns on with one click, all 3 led lights on the phillips board stay on but the screen does not come on. the blue power led comes on, and will turn of if i push it again with one click, then one green led stays on. i did notice some burn marks around some components of what seems to be an amplifier board for the speakers. its the small board right about where the silver power supply box is. i thought this would be a low risk project with changing the two capacitors for the coppell tv repair post. can anyone help?


    5 years ago on Step 1

    Just in the off chance anyone may need some further technical info for this TV.. I happened to finally find a repair manual for it. It was listed as Phillips system... not a Samsung, as the board clearly states.

    I added it to my Dropbox account so anyone can download the PDF file.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    My 50" unit has been down for almost 3 years (a 2006 serial Dell). I can't thank you enough for finding the manual. What a great thing to have. With no parts list I purchased a replacement power board from a tested vendor on E-Bay for 40 bucks. It shows up in a few days. When it does I will send pics and info on the registration and setup. The crucial part as with any set is having the right video output for high def (most computers do now) and having the right image files for true resolution. The resolution files are freeware now but a good primer on use and free files is at

    I am not associated with them and I am not selling anything. I hope this helps.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I'm back two years after fixing my W5001C (see below). I had two caps on the PS board go bad (bulging) in the 5v circuit and replaced them. TV has worked great since.

    Today the Mrs. Was watching the TV, muted it to look down at her computer, heard a click (relay?) and looked up to see a blank screen. I've cycled power a few times, unplugged and plugged it back in. Nothing.

    Blue LED in the power button lights up when it's turned on at the power button, but no splash screen and no audio nor video.

    So I've taken the set down to open it up for a visual inspection and to measure some voltages. I'll report back what I find, but if it's nothing obvious or something I can't or don't want to pay to fix, I may be off to Best Buy for a new TV.

    6 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    The remote works to power the TV on and off. Not sure that was the case before. TV also turned itself off while I was looking at the insides… about 1/2 or so after turning it on.

    All voltages seem OK, although the 5v line is at 5.2v. Not sure if that's enough of a difference to matter. (Thoughts anyone???)

    There is also a slightly bulged capacitor (C619) that looks to be part of the 5v line. It's as bulged as the two I replaced two years ago to fix the TV, so it makes me suspicious.

    So, I guess I need to decide if it's worth pulling the PS and that capacitor and replacing it. No good electronics stores in the immediate area. A good hour drive.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    * 1/2 hour or so, that is. It shut itself off a couple of times.

    Anyway, we decided that if this TV is going to fail more and more, we'd replace it. Got a new 60" LED/LCD set. Getting used to the difference between LCD and plasma... it'll be fine. ;)

    Still going to try to fix the Dell and maybe use it in the bonus room or give it to one of the kids. Will pull that once bulged capacitor from the PS and replace it and go from there, but not going to spend too much time or effort on it.

    If anyone has any thoughts on whether the 5v test point reading 5.2v could cause issues, I'd love to hear from you. Thanks!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Any luck with your Dell, TJNoffy?

    Sounds exactly like the problem I am having. Power looks fine on the board. Have you checked out the X and Y buffer boards?


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Actually? No. I have gone as far as my limited ability in advanced electronics troubleshooting and diagnostics as I am able. I have linked all of the pro service manuals I was able to dig up on this TV in this thread already, but, here they are again.

    Hope these might help..


    Reply 4 years ago

    Ok so digikey sent me the wrong god damn much more frustrating can this be. .....