Panasonic TX-66PW1050A Service Menu Codes

Last weekend I bought an HD set top box for my old TX-66PW1050A CRT TV. The default setting of the set top box was 1080p and so when I plugged it in, I wasn't able to see a picture. I eventually used another TV to set the box to 576p but it now seems that the TX-66PW1050A has developed a really bad pincushion distortion as a result of the ordeal.

Turns out, I'm not alone (and here is another example). Doing a bit of searching around the Web I found various posts from people who had the same problem. Apparently, the TX-66PW1050A can be permanently damaged as a result of taking a 1080p input.

I wanted to see if I could fix this problem by accessing the Service Menu on the TV. This is the menu that allows for some fine tuning of the configuration that normally Panasonic would only want done by technicians. I soon found that it's impossible to find the Service Manual for this old model online (although strangely, other similar models still have their Service Manuals available). I was also annoyed to find that the codes to access the service menu on the TX-66PW1050A were not the same as other models.

Through trial-and-error, I found out some of the codes. As there was nowhere else on the internet that had this documented, the purpose of this post is to share what I know. The bad news is that I wasn't able to fix the pincushion problem, but I did learn a lot more about this model of TV than I otherwise ever would have wanted to!

There are two modes that might be of interest: Self Check Mode and Service Mode.

Self Check Mode: To access this mode, you need to press the VOLUME DOWN button on the TV (behind the flip down panel on the front) simultaneously with the TIMER button on the remote (which is behind the flap). It will momentarily say Self Check on the top right, the screen will momentarily go black and then you will get a screen that looks something like this.
Screen from Self Check Mode
As you can see, it passes the self check despite the obvious pincushion problem. The black rectangular box to the left of Option 9 is a mystery. This appears to be a "read only" mode, as you can't seem to change anything.

Service Mode: To access this mode, push the TIMER button on the remote to set a 30 minute sleep time (i.e. press it once). Then press the VOLUME DOWN button until the volume setting is at 0. Then press the VOLUME DOWN button on the TV simultaneously with the REVEAL button the remote (this is the button to the left of the 0 with the little plus inside a pictogram of a CRT).  You will briefly see an informational display with the mode you are in and then you will see the screen as shown below.

Screen from Service Mode
In this mode you can scroll up and down using the arrow keys on the remote. You can also change the option settings using the left / right arrow keys, but after playing around with these, I couldn't see anything actually change in the image. I would be interested to hear if anyone out there knows what these options are. Incidentally, you will notice that these options are the same (except for Option 10) as what is shown in the Self Check mode above.

You will also notice CHK written on the top right of the screen. If you press the 1 or 2 button on the remote, you will then scroll (forward and backward) through different CHK options. You can then use the arrow up/down buttons to scroll through the sub settings in each CHK mode and then to actually change the settings you use the arrow left/right buttons.

Screen from CHK Mode 5

In the example above, we are setting the Gain. The default value is 56 (the pink number above the word Gain) and the current setting is 56. If I push the right button, the Gain increases. Some of the settings can go above and below 0, and other settings can only be positive numbers.

With these CHK settings, you can definitely see a change in the picture (they set things like colour, horizontal position, etc.)

Unfortunately, in the end I never did find the settings to fix the pincushion effect, so I'm afraid this TV is headed to next e-waste recycling pickup.

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