How I fixed my Samsung TV that was rebooting on its own

For a couple of months, a 32″ Samsung TV I have in my office has been intermittently rebooting. It would happen about once every other day or so. I didn’t worry about it since it’s only ever on for background noise. But in the last few days, it started to reboot constantly, about every five minutes. Before spending money on a new TV, I thought I would try to get this one working again. I did get my TV working again. Hopefully, by sharing my troubleshooting steps, other people will get their auto-rebooting TV working again successfully.

First step: cabling

I don’t have many things hooked up to this TV: just a Tivo and a Roku player. As a first step, I checked the HDMI cables going from the two devices to the TV. All connections were good. All power connections were good.

Next: disconnect devices.

I unplugged both the Roku and the Tivo players from the TV. I left the TV on, but it timed out due to no video input before it would even have had a chance to reboot.

I then plugged the Roku player into the TV. With only the Roku player connected, the TV once again rebooted within five minutes.

I then unplugged the Roku player and plugged the Tivo into the TV. I made sure I used a different HDMI port then I had with the Roku player. I also used a different HDMI cable. Within five minutes of the Tivo being hooked up to the TV, the TV rebooted.

At this point, I was confident the problem was not being caused by cabling or external devices. It was time to look at the TV itself.

Upgrading the firmware

I went through the menu options for the TV. There really isn’t much there to assist with troubleshooting. The only option I found with possibilities was to upgrade the firmware. This TV is about ten years old and is not on a wireless network like most modern smart TV’s. So my only option to upgrade the firmware was through USB.

To get the correct TV model number, I ignored the Model Number on the TV and instead used the type. Both numbers are similar. Below is a picture of the number from the TV’s back that worked for me on the Samsung Support website.

Type number for my Samsung TV

Once I had the right model (type) number, I was able to find an updated firmware for my TV.

To do the upgrade, I did the following:

  • Downloaded the firmware file from Samsung Support
  • Formatted a USB thumb drive with SD Card Formatter
  • Copied the zip file containing the new firmware to the USB thumb drive
  • Unzipped the file onto the thumb drive by double-clicking it and accepting the default location
  • Clicked “eject” on the thumb drive in Windows
  • Connected the thumb drive to the USB port on the back of the TV
  • Went into the TV’s menu and chose support >> upgrade firmware
  • The TV took about 30 seconds to read the contents of the USB thumb drive
  • I had to confirm upgrading from version 1006 to 1008.5
  • The flash took a little over a minute, and the TV rebooted on its own
  • I then disconnected the thumb drive from the TV

Looking good

So far, the TV has gone for hours without a single automatic reboot. It would appear flashing the firmware has fixed the issue. That’s good! I really didn’t want to spend money replacing a TV that is usually on only background noise (generally on SyFy or History). Hopefully, by sharing this post, it will help someone else fix their rebooting TV.

Song of the Day: Video Killed the Radio Star

Remember when MTV launched? The Buggles do!

Bonus Song: I’m The Slime

The Buggles isn’t the only thing that comes to mind when I think about TVs. This classic Frank Zappa song seems very appropriate, especially since we just had an election here in the US.

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