Optical Block Removal/Rebuilding

[This web page is no longer maintained, and the email address is no longer monitored on a regular basis, but I am leaving them up for informational/historical purposes.]

Compiled by Steve Linke

Last updated 8/23/2013


The discolorations usually, but not necessarily always, arise from degraded and/or dirty parts within a module called the optical block inside the TV--typically the liquid crystal panel and/or polarizing filter in the blue light channel. The TVs can often be repaired (at least temporarily) by replacing the blue panel and/or filter--a process called "rebuilding". Please note the following:
  • In most cases, the best option is probably to have the optical block professionally rebuilt. This requires that you (or somebody you hire) remove the optical block from your TV and ship it to a rebuilder. They will rebuild it and ship it back to you for reinstallation.
  • You may be able to find a replacement optical block online (see part numbers in the table below) to avoid having to ship your block and wait for a rebuild. However, they are typically prohibitively expensive or are not truly available despite being listed on a web site, unless they are being made available as a rebuilt part by a known rebuilder. Buyer beware!
  • In very rare cases (e.g., purple/pink splotches the size of large coins that look a bit like fingerprints), you may be able to fix the problem by cleaning dust from the optical block. Typically, this is not the case, though.
  • If you are skilled or adventurous and have the required replacement parts and equipment, it may be possible to conduct your own rebuild. Typically, parts can be obtained only by harvesting them from other similar TVs (e.g., by purchasing through craigslist, eBay, etc.). Some pre-harvested parts can be purchased online. Again, buyer beware! In addition, the process of adjusting the convergence (aligning the blue, red, and green color channels) and/or the polarizing filter is best done by skilled individuals using special equipment.
  • In some cases, rebuilders use new parts that are built to different specifications than the original parts, which could last longer than the originals. For the most part, though, the rebuilds are likely done using parts harvested from other similar TVs. There are three panels in each TV (one each for blue, red, and green), and they are interchangeable between color channels and similar model families, so the replacement panels are often from the red or green color channel in another TV. Thus, it is likely that the TV will fail again with the same problem after a similar, or somewhat extended, level of usage.
  • Note that the information on this page may or may not be accurate or complete. Attempting to remove and/or rebuild an optical block should probably be reserved for those experienced with such procedures, as it could result in injury and/or render your TV inoperable or damage it. Proceed at your own risk!

Optical block removal instructions

Below are some instructions and links to aid in the removal of the optical block from certain models. Please note that there are two different optical block technologies, 3LCD and SXRD (see the table below to determine your technology). The process differs greatly between the technologies, and there are also differences depending on the specific model. Service manuals are available for all models, and these should aid the process, although they do not provide step-by-step instructions. I may have a copy, so feel free to inquire, although I may not be able to respond, or it may take awhile.

There are a lot of steps that can take a few hours to complete for those who are not familiar with the process. To help ensure a smooth re-assembly at the end, you should carefully label all electrical connections, including orientation of wires in the connectors. You should also carefully note which screws are used to attach specific components. Generally, the procedures described on this page require only Philips head screwdrivers, but note that you will need one with an extra long shaft in order to remove the optical block itself from the 3LCD models. You may also need a hex head (Allen) wrench to remove your projection lamp and housing.

norcal715 videos

The following excellent YouTube videos by "norcal715" show both removal and rebuilding of optical blocks for many of the models. Be sure to note the text he has added to the videos at various points. For those wishing to venture beyond removal to actually rebuilding their own optical block, note that norcal715 uses special source video, including solid colors and a grid to assess convergence and color accuracy, as well as a special "jig" (dismantled TV with portions cut off) to help convergence setting on the A2000/A2020 models. It is possible, at least in some cases, to set convergence by rewiring the optical block outside of the original TV and projecting the image on a ceiling or other surface while tweaking the location of the liquid crystal panel. However, this might be very challenging:
Detailed photo and text instructions
  • I have prepared a detailed procedure with annotated photos and text of my 3LCD model KDF-55WF655 HERE, which should be generally applicable to the WE, WF, XBR950, and XS models. This includes removal of the optical block, as well as a tear-down of the optical block itself.
  • A detailed set of pictures and instructions for removal of the optical block from an SXRD model KDS-R60XBR1 by AVS Forum member "adrian1281" can be found HERE.
Other photos
  • A few instructions and pictures describing access to the optical block of a 3LCD model KF-50WE610 provided by AVS Forum member "lou58" can be found here: Set 1 and Set 2.
  • Paul Patience has posted some instructions and photos for the Canadian 3LCD model KF-42WE620 on his Sony LCD Projection TV Cleaning Instructions web site.
  • Pictures of an original and a replacement optical block for a KDS-50A2020, including views of them installed in a TV, can be seen HERE.

Optical block parts

Sony formerly had optical blocks available for purchase, in most cases for about $500-$1,500 plus one-way shipping. A company called Tri-State Module (also doing business as River Valley Electronics) and an individual named John Breton rebuilt optical blocks for various models. In addition, TriState Module sometimes had rebuilt optical blocks in stock for purchase, as well as blue light path polarizing filters and LCD panels (parts required for rebuilding) for a restricted set of models (2003-2004 3LCD). It is unlikely that any of these options are still available, nor are they considered reliable or cost-effective.

Part numbers

The following table indicates the optical block part number for the indicated models. The part numbers in parentheses refer to numbers that have been replaced. The accuracy of this table is not guaranteed. In fact, there is a great deal of variability from site-to-site on which part numbers work in which models. For the 2005 SXRD models, there are multiple part numbers for each model, apparently due to changes made during the production year. For those models, you should contact Sony with your serial number to confirm the correct part number.

 TV models
Optical block part number
Old optical block part number?
2002 3LCD
2003 3LCD  
2004 3LCD  

2004 SXRD (QUALIA)  
2005 3LCD  
     KDF-E42A10 A1123071A 
     KDF-E50A10 A1123069A 
     KDF-E55A20 A1132202A 
     KDF-E60A20 A1132204A 
2005 SXRD*
     KDS-R50XBR1 (earlier)A1148155A/B A1168495B
     KDS-R50XBR1 (later) A1168495A 
     KDS-R60XBR1 (earlier) A1127174A/B 
     KDS-R60XBR1 (later) A1168494A/B 
2006 3LCD  
     KDF-42E2000 A1212387A 
     KDF-46E2000 A1197240A A1175106A
     KDF-50E2000 A1197241A A1174954A
     KDF-55E2000 A1197243A A1174964A
2006 SXRD  

2007 SXRD  
     KDS-50A2020 see KDS-50A2000
     KDS-55A2020 see KDS-55A2000
     KDS-60A2020 see KDS-60A2000
     KDS-50A3000 A1359074A? 
     KDS-55A3000 A1359074A? 
     KDS-60A3000 A1359074A 
2007 3LCD (BRAVIA)  
     KDF-37H1000 A1307742A 
     KDF-46E3000 A1310251A 
     KDF-50E3000 A1310249A 
*Earlier models have Serial Numbers beginning with 20xxxxx, 90xxxxx, and 98xxxx. Later models have Serial Number beginning with 91xxxxx and 99xxxxx.

WF655 optical block removal

Rear cover removal

Unplug the TV and remove the rear cover from the back of the TV by removing all of the screws with arrows pointing at them. On the KDF-55WF655, there are nine screws around the perimeter and four screws within the audio/video connection area (chassis assembly). Once all of the screws are removed, the cover should move very easily away from the TV. Set the rear cover aside with its screws so that you do not get them mixed up with others.

Two examples of perimeter screws with arrows pointing at them (screws removed):

Audio/video connection area (chassis assembly) screws with arrows pointing at them:

Rear cover removed. From left to right, note (1) the audio/video connection unit (chassis assembly), (2) the center pillar (large metal plate in front of the optical block), (3) the main cooling fan, and (4) the woofer (speaker) block assembly.:

Center pillar removal

Disconnect the two ground wires from the connector on the center pillar (metal plate between the audio/video connection unit and the main cooling fan). Remove the five screws with arrows pointing to them from the center pillar. Note that the screw on the middle-right goes into the main cooling fan housing, which must be lined up properly when reinstalling. Also note that there is an optical block support guide on the back of the center pillar near the bottom (see the two screws in a small metal plate at bottom of the center pillar). This guide slides in a slot, requiring the center pillar to be lifted for removal. Once all of the screws are removed, it should be easy to gently lift the center pillar up then out from the bottom bracket. Set the center pillar aside with its screws so that you do not get them mixed up with others.

Center pillar (removed):

Side view of removed center pillar showing optical block support guide:

Main cooling fan removal

Remove one more screw at the bottom of the fan housing (in addition to the one that was removed with the center pillar). Note that it is not necessary to remove the fan itself from the housing. It will come out as an assembly.

Follow the wires (black, yellow, and red) from the fan to a connector. Pull the connector apart. It can only be re-inserted in one orientation, so you should not have to worry about that. Remove the fan wires and connector from the white wire holders (purse locks). Finally, slide the main fan and housing outwards toward the back of the TV:

Main cooling fan with housing (removed):

The following photo is of the back of the TV with the center pillar and main cooling fan/housing removed. Note the screw at the bottom middle of the photo. This is the second one that needs to be removed to release the fan housing. The optical block is the large unit between the audio/video connection unit on the left and the speaker on the right. The green electronics board attached to the back side of the optical block (with the red wires leading to the right and to the projection lamp area) is the power supply block (also known as the lamp drive unit or ballast). The black "sensor wire" should be removed from the clip by the fan on the top right of the optical block. It creates a loop as it goes through the white purse clips on top, through the clip, and then back across in front of the power supply block to its starting point (remember to re-create this loop during re-installation):

Audio/video connection unit (chassis assembly) removal

Remove the screw at the top of the metal support beam to the left of the audio/video connection unit, and remove the beam by slightly lifting the plastic TV case just above the beam. The audio/video connection unit is not secured to the TV. It can be slid out the back of the TV by lifting it up slightly and pulling. Make sure you do not put unnecessary stress on any of the many wires that go from the unit to other parts of the TV. For now, you only need to slide it out and slightly to the left to gain access to one of the screws securing the optical block to the TV:

Audio/video connection unit partially slid out:

Optical block (optics unit assembly) removal

There are two screws securing the optical block to the TV housing that are somewhat difficult to access and require a long-shafted Philips screwdriver. Note that in some other models, there apparently are three screws.

The leftmost screw securing the optical block (accessible after sliding out audio/video connection unit):

The rightmost screw securing the optical block to the TV (accessible through the semi-circular "slot"):

Remove all of the wire bundles from the white purse locks sticking out the top of the optical block, and slide the optical block out of the TV while also sliding the audio-video connection unit. Here is a photo of both units out of the TV:

The following photo shows the area of the TV to which the optical block was secured by the two screws. When re-installing the optical block, make sure the screws are secure. The alignment of the block will affect the alignment of the picture. If it is not tight up against the foam gasket on the TV housing, the picture may be crooked:

Wire disconnections

There are four additional wire connectors that should be disconnected to enable easy removal of the optical block. One connects the audio-video connection unit to the speaker (woofer) and is located on the speaker enclosure (see previous photo). The wire bundles for the remaining three connectors may be attached with tape to a fan housing on the top right side of the optical block. Remove the wire bundles from the tape, and disconnect the three connectors:

You should now be able to freely access the optical block for any of the subsequent procedures described below.

Optical block replacement

If you are sending your optical block in for rebuilding, the rebuilders will likely request that you leave all parts on the optical block for testing purposes, so you should only disconnect the remaining wiring that connects the optical block to other parts of the TV.
  • If you are doing a direct replacement of your optical block with a purchased part, the purchased part likely will not have a projection lamp or power supply block on it, so you will have to remove those parts from your current optical block and install them on the replacement.
Disconnecting wiring from power supply block

This step may be optional, if the power supply block must be transferred to a purchased replacement optical block. Undo the blue plastic-coated wire holders to release the two wire bundles. Disconnect the connectors shown with the dotted lines in the photo below. One, which presumably provides power, is disconnected directly from the power supply block, and the other is a regular wire connector.

Disconnecting the optical block fan wires

Disconnect the optical block fan wire connector:

Disconnecting the wiring from the optical block circuit board (C Board)

Carefully pull up on the three wire connectors directly connected to the top of the C Board:

Final wire disconnection from C Board

Remove the screw and gently pull the blue ribbon ribbon cable out of the side of the C Board:

Your optical block should now be entirely free of the TV and ready to ship. I recommend adding specific protection for the projection lens, then sealing the whole unit in a bag to prevent infiltration of dust or packing materials, then carefully packaging it with substantial padding.

Removing the projection lamp and power supply block (in cases where you are installing a purchased replacement optical block)

To remove the lamp and housing, loosen the hex screw attaching it to the optical block and pull the housing outward from the metal clips. To Detach the power supply block, remove the four screws attaching the board to the optical block and the two screws attaching the lamp connector.

Picture of replacement optical block and circuit box for KF-60WE610 (courtesy John Setar)

Here is a picture of a replacement optical block for the KF-60WE610. Note that the lamp and power supply block need to be removed from the old optical block and attached to the replacment.

The following two pictures show a circuit box that helps drive the optical block in at least some WE610 models (and perhaps others). It is attached to the audio/video connection unit and must also be replaced on some models. Otherwise, the color will not be correct (e.g., blue tint across entire screen).

Optical block cleaning

Cleaning alone is likely only effective under very limited circumstances (e.g., the pink/purple fingerprints/blotches thought to be caused by dust alone). If you intend to replace your optical block, skip this section and go to the Optical block replacement section.

Remove the black LCD panel cover to expose the area with the LCD panels:

Optical block with LCD panel cover removed:

Close-up of LCD panel area (note that the locations of the blue and red LCD panels are reversed in some models):

In theory, blowing air over the LCD panels and other internal parts could move some dust. In addition, the glass on the projection lens can be cleaned with lens paper and solution. Aerosol (canned) air is not recommended, as it can come out very cold and/or spray moisture, so extreme care should be exercised when using it (do this at your own risk). More thorough cleaning can be accomplished by further disassembling the optical, as described below.

Optical block disassembly

The method described below requires even more care and patience, particularly the points where the LCD ribbon cables and the light path filters are removed. However, it will allow much more thorough cleaning of the internal parts, as it enables direct access to the filters and LCD panels.

Note that Paul Patience has created another web site (Sony LCD Projection TV Cleaning Instructions) that describes this process on a KF-42WE620. It includes instructions and photos on accessing and cleaning the individual LCD panels, prism faces, and filters inside the optical block. Also note that, on the KF-42WE620 (and perhaps all 2003 Grand WEGA or "WE" models), the locations of the blue and red LCD panels are swapped relative to the KDF-55WF655 (and perhaps all 2004 Grand WEGA or "WF" models).

Remove the centrifugal lamp cooling fan. It is held by 3 silver-colored screws, as indicated in the photo below.

The following photo shows the centrifugal lamp cooling fan removed. Note the two silicone shock absorbers on which it was mounted. Next, remove the black plastic lamp fan mounting plate. It is held by 4 silver-colored screws, as indicated in the photo below (screws removed):

Remove the projection lamp by loosening the hex screw and pulling it out of the clips.

Next, remove the black plastic wedge-shaped piece that covers the circuit board on top of the optical block. It is held by 4 silver-colored screws, as indicated in the photo below:

The following photos show the optical block with the lamp fan, lamp fan mounting plate, LCD panel cover, wedge-shaped piece, and projection lamp removed (note the that the blue and red LCD panel positions are reversed on some models):

Next, the 3 copper-colored ribbon cables must be removed from the circuit board on top of the optical block. To accomplish this, carefully lift up one of the tiny beige-colored "handles" from one side. One way to do this is to place a small flat-head screwdriver underneath and gently lift up. The beige handles will raise about 45 degrees, and you will be able to gently remove the ribbon cable. In order to replace them properly later, note that the ribbon cables are inserted near the top of the handles, and that only a small amount of the gold-colored area is visible when fully inserted. See the photos below for more detail.

Lifting ribbon cable connector:

All three ribbon cable connectors loosened:

All three ribbon cables removed from their connectors:

Next, remove the portion of the optical block that contains the LCD panels, prism, and projection lens. It is held by four silver-colored and four black screws, as indicated in the photo below. Pull this unit off the rest of the optical block, while carefully monitoring the ribbon cables to make sure they do not get caught. Note that the clear dome on the projection lens appears to be made out of plastic.

Below are photos of the removed panel/prism/projection lens unit. Projection lens side (optical block fan filter removed--two silver screws):

LCD panel side:

The optical block fan filter is made out of a Scotch-Brite-like material and is stapled together through a piece of beige-colored adhesive tape. It seems a rather crude construction that is incapable of filtering small dust particles. This filter in my TV was not particularly dirty, nor was the centrifugal fan. I have seen others that are very clogged with dirt:

Photo of main optical block after removal of panel/prism/projection lens unit:

Close-up view of blue and green light path filters. The filter in the blue light path appears orange, and the filter in the green light path appears yellow:

Close-up view of filters in green and red light paths. The filter in the red light path appears blue:

Next, remove the circuit board with sheet-metal shielding from the top of the optical block. It is attached with 3 silver-colored screws located, as indicated in the photo below:

Next, remove the large black plastic plate that covers the remaining part of the optical block. It is attached with 6 silver-colored screws located, as indicated in the photo below. Prior to lifting off the plate, remove the red wire that winds through the posts on the plate. This is one of the two power wires (the top one) that goes from the power supply block to the projection lamp.

After removal of the black plastic plate, you can access the screws that secure the filters through which the light travels just prior to reaching the LCD panels. In addition, you can see the centrifugal fan that cools the internal LCD parts.

Parts to clean

Carefully clean both sides of the following parts, preferably with optical quality lens paper and cleaning solution:
  • The filters and adjacent lenses in each of the three light paths
  • The outside and inside surfaces of each of the LCD panels
  • Other exposed parts in the light path
The following photo is of the filter in blue light path, which has been removed for cleaning. Note the cloudy discoloration on the filter in the shape of a rectangle with an oval shape in the middle. This seems to be characteristic of the filters in the blue light path, likely arising from exposure to heat and light, particularly UV light. This phenomenon is likely a cause and/or effect of the blue discolorations:

The following photo shows the gaps between the LCD panels and the prism through which it is possible to clean the surfaces. DO NOT attempt to unscrew the LCD panels from the prism faces, or you will likely lose your convergence upon re-installation:

Pictures of disassembled optical block on KDF-55XS955 (courtesy of Bob Scott) -- similar to above


© Copyright 2009-2012 by Steven P. Linke. All rights reserved.