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Old 11-07-2007, 12:55   #1
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KVH sailcomp backlighting

Here's an intersting bit of some lousy engineering design.

My KVH sailcomp which works perfectly lost its backlighting recently. I contact KVH about getting the parts and doing the "repair" myself. After 4 emails I am finally told that there is no way to repair the backlighting and the display must be replaced for something like $245 plus shipping. They wrote:

The sailcomp display is made as sealed unit. You would need to break the case to get it apart.
Secondly the LCD backlight is created from a phosphorous panel that is adhered to the back of the LCD.(Green only)
This is not sold as an individual part. The chances are that this panel has become dim over time.
There is a slight chance that the Junction box with the light switch on it has a problem, since it supplies the necessary voltage to the phosphorous panel.
If its 7-10years old or more the display is most likely the cause.
If you need to purchase a new display the part # is 02-0407.

There is nothing you can do yourself. The LCD inside that is connected to the phosphorous panel is soldered in and aligned with special tooling. The cost for a new display is $245.00 retail.

Interesting ha?

jef
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Old 11-07-2007, 13:37   #2
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We repair LCD displays all the time. But, they ARE able to be separated (B/L and LCD). It could also be your inverter (feeds your B/L). The B/L assembly consists of a cold cathod light "bulb" (sort of like a flouresent tube), a light pipe (causing light to be fairly uniform over the whole screen area), possibly a BE Film (Brightness Enhancement - causes light to be directed toward the LCD rather than scattering about), and one or more defusers (used to make sure of uniformity of light). And, in most cases, as I mentioned, an inverter.

Those items typically make up a backlight assembly. Unless you are an LCD repair center, the parts will not be available. The LCD manufacturer (not the computer maker) will typically keep a supply of parts. But, after a few years, they will let the stock run out and will not repair the older ones (it just isn't cost effective for them, or for the consumer).

There is no phosporous panel (usually - who knows in their system) since nothing electrical is connected to the backlight parts OTHER than the bulb, I have no idea why they would say it is soldered in (unless their manufacturing process solders a frame around the B/L assy. and the LCD for ruggedness). Alignment is important - we do it everyday without "special tooling".

You didn't say how old your unit is. If it IS 7 to 10 years old, hell they may have used phosphorous panels???? Certainly isn't today's standard method. The price for the unit then was probably pretty steep - the price to repair the LCD B/L isn't that much in comparison. The problem from YOUR point of view would be that you can buy the "same" computer NOW, for about 1/4 of what you spent 7 to 10 years ago; and if you look at repair / replacement of the B/L assy from the current pricing, it might seem a bit steep.

Hope this has been helpful.
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Old 11-07-2007, 14:38   #3
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Thomas,

Thanks for the comment. The unit I am referring to is the display foir the SailComp 103AC. It displays the magnetic heading of the vessel (fluxgate compass) and also functions as a NMEA repeater for the GPS.

Here is the entire assembly for sale at $579...

KVH Sailcomp 103AC Tactical Racing Compass

this includes compass, control module and cabling as well as the display head.

My 103ac is about 15 yrs old. If a retailer can sell the whole deal for $579, KVH charging a customer to replace the display for $245 is predatory. No?

jef
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Old 11-07-2007, 15:24   #4
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Jef - personally, I think it is amazing that they can repair / replace it at all. 15 years is 7 generations ago when you are talking displays. With something that old, the labor involved with fixing/replacing is what drives that price. I'm surprised they have parts.

If you absolutely want that type of system, MY suggestion would be ... get the new one.
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Old 11-07-2007, 15:53   #5
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I found it online for 215$. Now I will have 2 displays, one with and one without back lighting. The dark one can move to the nav station I suppose.

Electronics evolve quickly... no doubt about that. They say the CD is going the way of the long playing 33rpm record...

Yet my B&G which has been in use for 22 yrs still works and special kudos to the AWI unit which has been atop the mast continuously for 22 yrs except for a couple of winters when I took it off. That's impressive reliability.

jef
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:18   #6
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Re: KVH sailcomp backlighting

I have plenty of displays. Do you know how to "break" it open I am game to sacrifice one. thanks. cexcaliber at aol dot com
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Old 26-06-2013, 09:02   #7
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Re: KVH sailcomp backlighting

This is a pretty antique thread, but I have to wonder why a single LED booklight couldn't be clipped next to the unlit display. I have the same unit and the numerals are large and easily read. I agree that it's still a good and accurate unit.
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