Polaroid Informative - Fix for 32" Polaroid TV/DVD combo DVD problem
Failure of the DVD unit is a very common problem with the 32" TDA-03211C TV/DVD combo unit. Poloroid sent me three replacement DVD units in the first year and each began doing the same thing after a few months (chunking noise and could not load disks). Finally my warranty expired and it failed again. I ended up with two non-functioning DVD units left after all those exchanges, so I took one apart to see if I could figure out what was going wrong.
In switching the units out one day, I noticed that the forward facing side of the DVD box was getting very warm even when it is not being used. Also, the DVD's felt very warm when ejected from the unit. I also noticed that the metal plate which is behind the picture screen and only about 1/4" from the forward facing side of the DVD box was even warmer (about 110 to 120 degrees F). This heat is distorting the thin metal and plastic parts in the DVD unit, causing the parts not to be in correct contact and alignment (disk won't play and sometimes won't eject).
With the front and top covers removed from the DVD box and the box laying flat on a table (and no DVD in unit of coarse), I pushed downward firmly on the black plastic disk at the top of the drive, and also on the lever arm that is accessible through a hole near the left front of the unit until they bottomed out to bend them down some (the lever arm was warped upwards where it was actually rubbing the top of the case - that was the chunking sound I heard).
I then went to O'Rielly Auto Parts and bought a 1'x2' sheet of 3/32" thick exhaust manifold gasket material for $8. This material is not flamable and will withstand temperatures that would melt this TV into a puddle. I cut the gasket material so that it would fit neatly inside the top cover of the DVD box (metalic side up), tucking it under the lip at the back and behind the front edge so that the top cover will fit back on as before without interference. I then put the top cover and front cover back on the unit. I cut another piece of the gasket material to fit snugly in the space between the forward facing side of the DVD box and the metal plate that is behind the picture screen (metalic side facing picture screen). I then reinstalled the DVD box into the TV.
Both of the previously non-functioning DVD units I have play fine now in the TV. The disks eject perfectly every time now and I notice a significant difference in the temperature of the disks when I eject them. No more strange noises either.
These DVD units are fine and are actually quite well built. They are just mounted too close to a heat source. A little insulation is all it needs. I can't believe Poloroid's design people can't figure this out.