View Full Version : The Zenith/LG tube debacle--ON PURPOSE?


rca2000
02-27-2016, 04:22 PM
I am just curious--is there ANY chance...that the LG tubes made for Zenith.,..were PURPOSELY designed to die--as soon as they did ?

WHY...would LG do this you ask ?

Remember...at the time..they were working on GETTING TOTAL CONTROL..of Zenith. And BEFORE..the LG tubes..Zenith CRT'S were WELL KNOWN..for long-life..ESPECIALLY in the delta era !! SO..when someone bought a Zenith tv--they were USED to it lasting at LEAST 10 years..often a LOT longer..

WHAT BETTER WAY... to totally DESTROY a company..that people WERE used to hanging on to their tv sets for often a GENERATION...than to SABOTAGE..the CRT going in them !! Not ONLY ...do you cost that company a WHOLE LOT of MONEY this way...but you ALSO RUIN their REPUTATION !! And AL of this was going on...at a time when RCA sets often had nearly BULLETPROOF tubes in them !! Not QUITE CC tube quality...but maybe ONE step lower ..

Any thoughts on this ???

Jon A.
02-27-2016, 04:28 PM
I guess it was a sign of things to come. Buy the latest, watch it die just out of warranty, then rinse and repeat. It's what drives today's economy.

dishdude
02-27-2016, 04:33 PM
Are you talking about the tubes made from '93-'95? They were designed and manufactured by Zenith - LG had nothing to do with it.

andy
02-27-2016, 04:38 PM
Are you talking about the tubes made from '93-'95? They were designed and manufactured by Zenith - LG had nothing to do with it.

LG was buying CRTs from Zenith, not the other way around. It wouldn't make sense for LG to intentionally use defective CRTs in their own products. Not to mention the fortune it cost Zenith in warranty repairs and lost reputation.

rca2000
02-27-2016, 04:41 PM
I thought it WAS the other way around..so those terrible tubes were made by ZENITH? The SAME Zenith...who made nearly INDESTRUCTIBLE CC delta tubes ?

rca2000
02-27-2016, 04:43 PM
Are you talking about the tubes made from '93-'95? They were designed and manufactured by Zenith - LG had nothing to do with it.

Actually it was more like 91-late 98..THEN Zenith began to use some tube that did NOT have a brand name on it..which was NOT too bad. i

dishdude
02-27-2016, 04:50 PM
I found the worst by far to be '93-'95. '92 seemed to hold up pretty well, and by '96 the failure rate had dropped quite a bit. They closed Melrose at the end of 1998 so that was the end of Zenith made tubes.

Eric H
02-27-2016, 05:37 PM
They were probably trying something new, something that cost less, TV history has many New and Improved CRT's that were disasters, 15GP22, 9QP4, 12WP4, Short Focus Predicta tubes.

andy
02-27-2016, 05:46 PM
I remember reading various press releases in the 90's about Zenith and LG dumping tons of money into the Melrose Park CRT plant. They said they were trying to make high quality, low cost CRTs, but they never did work out the bugs. By the time they closed the plant they were usable, but still not great.

Was the 15GP22 that bad in its day? I didn't think they started leaking in large numbers until fairly recently.

radiotvnut
02-27-2016, 09:28 PM
I remember reading somewhere that the the factory where the tubes were made was not nearly as clean as it should have been and the contamination had a lot to do with these tubes failing.

I've worked on a few '90's Goldstar TV's that had the same crappy Zenith CRT's in them.

The main problem these tubes gave was intermittently shorting/arcing; which, would often take out the power supply and/or video output components. You could fix the chassis and the set might work for a minute, hour, day, week, or month and then the tube would arc and blow up everything that was replaced. The tubes also got weak way too quickly. In fact, I've seen brand new sets that looked like the tube was bad right out of the box. I can also tell you that the replacement tubes were no better. Generally, the only time the CRT was replaced was under warranty. Usually, when the tube failed out of warranty, the set was junked.

Starting in about '98, Zenith started using a mix of LG/Philips and RCA/Thomson bonded yoke CRT's; but, by that time, the damage had been done and in '99, LG took over Zenith totally. Personally, I've not seen a bad Philips or Thomson tube. I know of a couple of Zenith consoles from the early 2000's that are still in service. They contain non-Zenith CRT's and they still look fine.

sampson159
02-27-2016, 10:22 PM
saw tons of those zenith crts.hit or miss.i have a couple of 25 and 27 inch in the garage.these are excellent.i think zenith made products from the 60s to the 80s,too good.no need to replace them.a set that lasted 25 to 30 years?i still watch a flat chassis and a metal cabinet set daily.if you bought a new set every 7 to 8 years,maybe zenith wouldnt have died.the quality got bad towards the end.sad to see this happen

rca2000
02-27-2016, 10:24 PM
I KNEW...I thought they were using phillips tubes... Sometimes IIRC they did NOT have the NAP label though..

Now..I HAVE seen a FEW bad NAP or Thomson tubes...but ONLY a FEW.. INCLUDING a VERY few bad BRAND new ones. A bad NEW tube means it is not good....and you should NEVER try to hit one--as it will NEVER be any good...

But all in all..Phillips tubes were not bad. Same with Thomson tubes.. NONE were quite to the quality of the Zenith delta CC tubes or round Zenith color tubes...but then was there ANY consumer-type CRT made....EVER...that WAS?

rca2000
02-27-2016, 10:30 PM
saw tons of those zenith crts.hit or miss.i have a couple of 25 and 27 inch in the garage.these are excellent.i think zenith made products from the 60s to the 80s,too good.no need to replace them.a set that lasted 25 to 30 years?i still watch a flat chassis and a metal cabinet set daily.if you bought a new set every 7 to 8 years,maybe zenith wouldst have died.the quality got bad towards the end.sad to see this happen


I too..have ONE 25 inch Zenith console set from 92...with a VERY good CRT. I got it to use as a jig for another 32" chassis... It worked WELL for that purpose. Good cabinet...just could not part it out..

BUT...I have to say...that the 100 degree Zenith "tri potential " tubes from about 77-81 or so...are NOT NEARLY as good as the Dleta tubes....oR the in-lines that followed the 100 degree tubes...till about 90 or so...THEN they went to SHIT...

radiotvnut
02-28-2016, 12:01 AM
With the early Zenith inline tubes, I've never seen a bad 13" one. I've seen a few tired 17" and 19" ones; but, most of them were still watchable and the ones that were not would often take a hit. I've seen a lot of weak 23" and 25" ones and those were often so bad that they no longer produced anything close to a good picture.

In recent years, I've seen a few weak; but, usable Zenith delta gun CCII-era tubes. I've only seen one dead 25" Zenith CCII-era tube and it was used in an early upright chassis set with instant on. However, it bounced back and gave a decent picture, after I rejuvenated it.

As far as RCA tubes, I've seen a lot of weak delta gun RCA tubes from the pre-'77 time period; but, they usually respond well to rejuvenation. It seems that from about '77-'80, RCA had a "bad run" of CRT's (especially delta tubes) and these often won't rejuvenate well. Once RCA went fully inline and continuing into the Thomson-era, their CRT's seemed to hole up. Yes, I've seen some bad ones from those years; but, not many.

sampson159
02-28-2016, 09:27 AM
those rca deltas would respond well to hit or two.the last deltas in the late 70s were pretty bad though.never saw a delta zenith that was unwatchable.saw many sylvania dark matrix that hit the skids prematurally.the first 25 inch zenith inlines were fairly good.i have two spares that are very good.the zenith crts from the 80s are ok,but nowhere near as good as the deltas.had a zenith 27 inch console from 1994 that had an orion crt.it was a replacement and it looked bad!tested good but was dim in the set.watchable but not really good.as i ve said before,sad to see this happen to the best manufacture of television

rca2000
02-28-2016, 11:54 AM
DO NOT forget....all of the 19 and 20 inch MINI-NECK tubes... They do NOT hold up well at ALL...and will not take rejuv much better than a Trinitron. Now--the 13" mini-necks...not bad..pretty long-life..I suspect it is because of those tiny gun structures inside of that thin neck...

ALSO..those 1st gen GE inline larger than 10" tubes for the mid-late 70's...the one with the big neck line a portacolor tube...I have seen a LOT of bad ones of those in the day...

And speaking of the Trinitron...not sure HOW they made them this way....but they just do NOT like to take rejuv...maybe for a few DAYS or so...then they look WORSE than before...

rca2000
02-28-2016, 11:57 AM
those rca deltas would respond well to hit or two.the last deltas in the late 70s were pretty bad though.never saw a delta zenith that was unwatchable.saw many sylvania dark matrix that hit the skids prematurally.the first 25 inch zenith inlines were fairly good.i have two spares that are very good.the zenith crts from the 80s are ok,but nowhere near as good as the deltas.had a zenith 27 inch console from 1994 that had an orion crt.it was a replacement and it looked bad!tested good but was dim in the set.watchable but not really good.as i ve said before,sad to see this happen to the best manufacture of television

Perhaps the early demise of those Sylvania CRT's is why there seem to be so FEW...Sylvania color SS sets around today !! like you said...they were N OT long-lived. Looked GREAT when they WORKED...but was more on the lifespan of a 23EGP22 tube...

rca2000
02-28-2016, 12:03 PM
I remember reading somewhere that the the factory where the tubes were made was not nearly as clean as it should have been and the contamination had a lot to do with these tubes failing.

I've worked on a few '90's Goldstar TV's that had the same crappy Zenith CRT's in them.

The main problem these tubes gave was intermittently shorting/arcing; which, would often take out the power supply and/or video output components. You could fix the chassis and the set might work for a minute, hour, day, week, or month and then the tube would arc and blow up everything that was replaced. The tubes also got weak way too quickly. In fact, I've seen brand new sets that looked like the tube was bad right out of the box. I can also tell you that the replacement tubes were no better. Generally, the only time the CRT was replaced was under warranty. Usually, when the tube failed out of warranty, the set was junked.

Starting in about '98, Zenith started using a mix of LG/Philips and RCA/Thomson bonded yoke CRT's; but, by that time, the damage had been done and in '99, LG took over Zenith totally. Personally, I've not seen a bad Philips or Thomson tube. I know of a couple of Zenith consoles from the early 2000's that are still in service. They contain non-Zenith CRT's and they still look fine.


I am keeping alive a 97 model 32" zenith console--with a GREAT tube. The cabinet is nice---and the elderly man does NOT want to get rid of it ? It makes me about $100 CLEAR..each time I work on it.. The last time it was just that little "pf cap" shorted and burned up off of the H-out. But I let him KNOW...if the tube WAS dying...I WOULD let him know....and for him to dump it. But that tube looks like NEW. I do NOT think the 32 and 35" Zenith tubes suffered like the smaller ones did.

radiotvnut
02-28-2016, 02:17 PM
I don't think the 32" and 35" tubes were actually made by Zenith and that could be why they hold up so well. A friend had an early 31" Zenith digital system 3 (overpriced piece of junk) that had a Zenith-branded CRT in it; but, I never looked at it close enough to see if Zenith actually built the tube. Sometime in the mid '90's, it started going weak and I hit it with the rejuvenator. It lasted a few months and started going back down again.

Concerning Sony tubes, the earlier ones from the '70's and early '80's often won't rejuvenate at all and if they do, they won't stay up long. A few years ago, someone gave me a cosmetically mint condition 19" Sony from the early '80's (the varactor tuned model with the vertical row of buttons and a plastic woodgrain cabinet). The picture was green, with zero red and zero blue. On the tester, the green tested strong; but, the other two guns were totally dead and would not rejuvenate. I ended up junking the set. I've rejuvenated some of the later Sony tubes that held up for a little while; but, not as long as other tubes that I've hit.

Concerning the later small neck color CRT's, the local hospital had 20" Magnavox sets in all the rooms and these used that type of CRT. The local parts house always kept that CRT in stock because they were constantly replacing CRT's in those sets. I think some of those sets are still in service; but, the last I heard, they are no longer repairing them. When they fail, they are being replaced with flatscreens.

andy
02-29-2016, 01:56 AM
I don't think Zenith ever made a CRT over 27", so anything bigger should be fine.

I don't know what it was, but Sony CRTs from the 70's always lost the red and blue while the green was still strong. Even if the red and blue weren't that bad, the mismatch made it impossible to get a picture that didn't have green highlights.

radiotvnut
02-29-2016, 12:23 PM
It seems like the large screen Zenith B&W tubes from the '60's and '70's often got weak quickly. I think many of those tubes were actually made by Sylvania. I have a Zenith 14N22 B&W console from '69 and it's CRT is, fortunately, still very strong. I don't know if the tube in that set is a real Zenith tube or one sourced from somebody else. One day, I may open it and see what the EIA number is.

mr_fixer
03-05-2016, 08:23 PM
Alright here is what I think happened to Zenith crt quality. many years ago when i first joined videokarma, "it was only Audiokarma back then". A forum poster noticed that zenith crt failure was cause by the aquadag "conductive" coating of the crt flaking off of the inside of the crt and being accelerated by static charges toward the the cathodes causing the hard shorts which killed power supplies.
About that same time period the was a documentary made about the closing of the zenith plant on melrose and there were audio interviews with former workers reminisensing about there days making crts. One of the employees commented that there were chemicals used in cleaning parts "CRT shells?" that were not allowed by the epa? osha? anymore. anyone knows coating processes are highly dependant on the prep and cleaning of the surfaces.
here is a link to the documentary called "Matter of Time- Zenith"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RSEIa3TZ6k
the comments from the former worker are at 5 min, 32 secs

rca2000
03-05-2016, 09:10 PM
SO....basically the "greens " KILLED ZENITH? and the SHUTTLE? and who knows WHAT else ?!!

WHY...am I NOT surprised to learn this? Maybe...because up to THAT point...Zenith had GREAT CRT's and before THEN--(Chromacolor delta days) the VERY BEST CRT"s EVER made..So...SOMETHING had to change...

ANOTHER case of another "DISprovement" from the greens--to a used-to-be GREAT product !!!

Jon A.
03-05-2016, 10:48 PM
those rca deltas would respond well to hit or two.the last deltas in the late 70s were pretty bad though.never saw a delta zenith that was unwatchable.saw many sylvania dark matrix that hit the skids prematurally.
My E48-2 Sylvania has its original dark matrix 25VFAP22 which responded very well to my Sencore's auto-restore. It's a high-hour set, lots of dirt inside when I got it and it has gone through at least two triplers.

mr_fixer
03-05-2016, 10:55 PM
SO....basically the "greens " KILLED ZENITH? and the SHUTTLE? and who knows WHAT else ?!!

WHY...am I NOT surprised to learn this? Maybe...because up to THAT point...Zenith had GREAT CRT's and before THEN--(Chromacolor delta days) the VERY BEST CRT"s EVER made..So...SOMETHING had to change...

ANOTHER case of another "DISprovement" from the greens--to a used-to-be GREAT product !!!

Well maybe the engineering department didn't do a good job finding a substitute, and i'm sure managment had to cut costs to compete in the BPC era. Sony and others didn't seem to have a problem. and they made crt tubes for many years after the mid 90's

andy
03-06-2016, 02:58 AM
Well maybe the engineering department didn't do a good job finding a substitute, and i'm sure managment had to cut costs to compete in the BPC era. Sony and others didn't seem to have a problem. and they made crt tubes for many years after the mid 90's

Exactly, no one else had trouble making good CRTs at that time. RCA/Thomson made better CRTs in the 90's than they did in the 70's.

MRX37
03-06-2016, 12:20 PM
I'd put the cutoff date for good Zenith CRT's at 1992, because I saw a Zenith with a 1992 manufacture date and its CRT was still good and strong.

And I had a 1998 Zenith A27a23w with a good CRT as well. Compare with a 1997 Hitachi that had a Zenith CRT, that CRT was awful.

dieseljeep
03-06-2016, 03:19 PM
It seems like the large screen Zenith B&W tubes from the '60's and '70's often got weak quickly. I think many of those tubes were actually made by Sylvania. I have a Zenith 14N22 B&W console from '69 and it's CRT is, fortunately, still very strong. I don't know if the tube in that set is a real Zenith tube or one sourced from somebody else. One day, I may open it and see what the EIA number is.

I worked on a '73 model set with that chassis, that had a Clinton CRT. It had a good picture when it worked, but it had some kind of an intermittent. You had to tap on the neck, every so often to get it to work.

DavGoodlin
03-07-2016, 09:58 AM
In the early 90s, Sony was making CRTS at the former VW plant in New Stanton, East of Pittsburgh. Between that and RCA's plant in Lancaster, many BPC sets lasted longer than ever. looking great