According to reports out of South Korea yesterday, LG has had to set up an extensive repair program to fix an overheating issue that affects no less than three generations of its highly regarded OLED TVs. As reported initially by the YonHap News Agency, LG Electronics is offering free repairs to owners of 18 different OLED TV models released in South Korea between February 2016 and September 2019. The estimated 60,000 affected models even include premium models such as the 2019 W9 ‘Wallpaper’ series and the 2018 G8s.
It appears that there are no similar issues with LG’s 2020 models, though, and LG claims to have already carried out the necessary fix to around 22,000 affected sets.
The repair involves replacing power boards that have the potential to suffer what LG refers to as ‘current overflow’ as they degrade over time. It’s not clear what the impact of such ‘current overflows’ might be – though LG told ZDNet that to date only “very few models” have actually fallen prey to the overheating issue.
However, the fact that LG has decided to get ahead of the problem rather than just reacting to specific failures if and when they happen makes you think its consequences have at least the potential to be quite dramatic. This seems to be backed up by a statement LG made to ZDNet stating that it’s decided to swap the faulty components for reasons of “customer safety”.
That said, it’s important to stress that LG has established the repair program voluntarily, as a preventative measure; it hasn’t been forced to do so under pressure by any Government or trade body.
It will affect 18 different models of OLED TV sold from February 2016 to September 2019. The components in question are within the power boards of affected TVs and are used to minimize current noises.
LG said some of the components it used had shown performance drops, which then caused current increases in power boards that could potentially lead to overheating. The South Korean electronics maker has already made component swaps for 22,000 units out of the 60,000 total affected units.
“The overheating issue occurred only in very few models out of the total that used the component, but we will provide free component swaps for all of them for customer safety,” LG said, apologizing to customers for the inconvenience.
The affected models are: The 2016 models of OLED65E6, OLED65G6, and OLED77G6; the 2017 models of OLED65B7, OLED65C7, OLED65E7, OLED65G7, OLED65W7, OLED77G7, and OLED77W7; for 2018 models, they are OLED65G8, OLED65W8, OLED77C8, and OLED77W8; and the affected 2019 models are OLED65W9, OLED77B9, OLED77C9, and OLED77W9.
While all LG OLEDs use the same panels that come from LG Display’s factory in Paju, South Korea, the power boards are likely region-specific to handle the different voltage standards of different countries – i.e. OLED TVs made for Korea likely don’t have the same power board that a TV made for Europe or North America would.