Panasonic TH-42PWD4 Plasma Noise Problem!


Glenn Keen

I've just got my Panasonic TH-42PWD4 plasma scrren and am VERY happy with the picture quality.

However, the screen makes a very loud humming noise!
When you are watching a loud part of a film you don't notice it but it is VERY noticable during the quiet parts! :(

I've searched the forums and understand there can be a problem with this. My question is does it effect all of the TH-42PWD4's or just some?

Should I return the screen or am I going to have to get used to it?

Thanks for any info,
I returned my screen to Panasonic for repair for this very reason and it is due back to me this week. I'll let you know if there is any difference...

Mine is EXACTLY the same :(

I have also looked through the forums - it appears to be the piezo capacitors thingy that has been mentioned numerous times. I am assuming (perhaps wrongly) that my panel was manufactured after Oct 2001, in which case this problem has been sorted out as much as it is going to be (I really hope not - it's far too distracting as it stands).

I've contacted my supplier to find out my options, ideally I'd like to get a Panasonic engineer on-site to assess the problem, and hopefully provide some sort of resolution (fix or swap).

Let's keep this thread going to see how we all get on.
I am a little concerned about this issue as well..... I went to my Local John Lewis's and looked at their display model which was hooked up to a DVD player via composite! :rolleyes:

I could hear no hmmmm or buzzz from the screen at all, now I know a large open, busy shop is nowwhere near the same sonic environment that we are watching these screens in at home, however I would have thought that having my hear virtually touching the case would have been enough to enable me to hear any odd sounds had they have been there?

If this panel was in fact silent (or as near as can be), then I believe it is reasonable to expect all of the equivalent models to be the same?

For your information, this was one of the 42" Silver consumer panels, I can't remeber the correct model designation between the black, silver & charcoal panny's!

In short £3500 for a noisy plasma or having a Projector's Fan whiring over my head just will not do, so if I know their are silent versions of the devices I want out there, then I want one to!
Originally posted by Kirk

In short £3500 for a noisy plasma or having a Projector's Fan whiring over my head just will not do, so if I know their are silent versions of the devices I want out there, then I want one to!

Too right m8. Although the ambient noise in a department store is *massive* compared to a quiet home environment, I agree that you probably would have noticed it if you had had your ear next to it - although I was testing things out yesterday and I found that the noise decreased (or maybe just changed frequency) when the contrast was set very high. I am sure this is how they have them 'set up' in dept. stores :rolleyes:

Jeez, I use a valve amp in my hifi - not exactly the last word in silent electronics, so it must be bad for me to be complaining. It really is irritating.
It's annoying me to. It will be interesting to hear what happens to Carl's screen.

I've read somewhere that Panasonic are basically saying 'tough - all plasmas make a noise you'll have to live with it'. :mad:

Mind you the picture is the dogs whatnots :D
I posted on this a few days ago. I have the silver TH-42PW4, and it's a superb display device, but on quieter scenes, I can hear a buzz from the back of the panel. I have cranked the contrast down to -10 and brightness to -20, and can still hear it.

It is really odd that some times I think I imagine I'm hearing it, other times I'm sure it's not there. Trouble is, when you know it's there, and you are watching the screen, you *listen* for the buzz, and you can't help doing it. Detracts a bit from the viewing experience.

Is this buzz acceptable, or should be be glad we don't have humming fans running all the time?
Tman, if it's spoiling your viewing then of course it's not acceptable.

Could you do a little test for me? Try whacking the contrast/brightness back up temporarily and see if it decreases the buzzing volume or it changes its frequency. The best way to toggle this is set one of the picture modes (normal or dynamic) with the settings and flick between them. Can you post any differences? Thanks.
sorry to butt in but this is what I get...

The brighness control doesn't make any difference.

However when I go from -20 to +20 on the contrast - the buzz becomes more and more high pitched, and in some respects less noticeable.

I'd like to run the plasma at -10 contrast but I find the noise to annoying at that level. I ended up leaving it at '0' - any higher and I'd have to wear sunglasses :D

Oh and like everybody else, if a scene is dark it's not too bad, but if's bright (QVC seems to be the worst!) you really do notice it.
I also think the sound gets a bit quieter once the screen's warmed up - but it might be that I get used to it after 1/2 hrs viewing.
Originally posted by MartinN
sorry to butt in but this is what I get...

The brighness control doesn't make any difference.

However when I go from -20 to +20 on the contrast - the buzz becomes more and more high pitched, and in some respects less noticeable.

Martin, thanks. Same results as me basically. I run with contrast -20 so the noise is a bitch. It's looking like a lot of us have this issue. Does anyone think they've got a silent panel?
Good point about the noise decreasing when the panel warms up. I think this happens with me, so maybe the buzz decreases by a 1/3 or so.

I can't say I've noticed the buzz change depending on whether the scene is lighter or darker either, but I will try the contrast changes and post what I find.

Maybe this is a pretty widespread problem, or maybe as Panasonic say "they all make a noise" and we are making a mountain out of a molehill!
The loan unit (a model 3) I currently have from Panasonic seems to make about the same amount of noise, so I am not overly confident there will be any real resolution on this.

I spoke to Panasonic yesterday and it's really difficult to get any decent information from them, other than the panel has been 'in the workshop and is now operating within specification'. I asked if this meant it was outside specification to begin with, but they didn't have that infomation to hand (of course).

Will see when it returns, but the picture is too good for this to bother me too much, I just wanted the set checked out while it was still new (and they wouldn't supply an engineer to check the set onsite).

Will keep you all posted...
Had mine 2 weeks not noticed (black model). Very pleaed with it.

Just double checked both the wife and I could not hear a buzz or anything sound(just powered the plasma only).

Is it louder than a PC fan? There was other noise in the room i.e. could hear her PC at the other end of the room and radio on low in kitchen 30-40 foot away.

Does only happen if there is a signal into the panel?

i'll keep an ear out :confused:
I just got a 42" Panasonic in black (on Saturday) and it buzzes. It is worse on bright scenes, but even if I just switch on the panel with no signal (i.e. black screen) it buzzes and I can hear it from 12 feet away. It seems to be loudest on the right hand side (haven't checked top to bottom for comparison).

Picture is stunning though, and has saved me having to build an extension for a little while. If everone else's is the same, might have to live with it, but according to the Panasonic web site at it is supposed to feature "silent running operation".

That said, the Troubleshooting section of the manual states :-

Symptom : "Whirring sounds can be heard from the display unit."
Check : "The display unit is fitted with a cooling fan to dissipate heat generated during normal use.The whirring sound is caused by rotation of the fan and is not a malfunction."

I thought it didn't have a fan!!???
I've had mine since April.
Complained about the buzzing right from the start. Had a loan PWD3 which was quieter (still not brilliant).
Got my screen back, supposedly had PSU capacitors changed - result: It still buzzes.
It's not noticable with a loud soundtrack, but even films like this may have instances where the track is silent or there's just, say, 2 people talking.
It's particularly annoying as a lot of my viewing is done late at night & due to kids being asleep I dont have the option of 'cranking the sound' to mask it.
Also, it makes a mockery of getting a decent sound-system that IS quiet when it should be; i.e. no hisses or buzzing from speakers, if I can hear the screen buzzing from my seated position 10 feet away!
What's also annoying (In a way), is that I've had a chance now to play around with picture settings, & the picture is simply stunning; If only I didn't have the 'buzz' I would be 100% happy with my set-up at the moment.
I'm still trying to get something sorted; I'm not putting up with this kind of problem after parting with £4K.
Interesting reading:

Panasonic FAQ

This guy seem to know what he's talking about & says that if you can hear it from 10' away you do have a problem.

I've seen that before. Problem is anything made after Sep '01 was meant to be OK.

I've got no idea when mine was made 'cause (a) It's the toshiba clone, and (b) I've got a dirty great big 'stand thing' screwed into the back of it the covers all the information.

I don't know where we are supposed to get a sound meter from to measure the buzzing levels - I have no idea what 72db sounds like. Although I do remember from Record Breakers (showing my age a bit here) that Concorde taking off was something like 120db. :D
i have the toshiba 42wp16 which is a clone of the panny i cannot hear any buzz from 8 ft away i have to go right next to the side of the screen to hear it.
but i have noticed about 10 to 30 mins after i turn the panell off i hear a cracking sound i was told it was due to the panell expanding and the contracting with the heat.
but it does not bother me, the picture quality makes up for it
I've got the same model as you.

All I can say is you're a lucky bugger, or deaf :p
Thanks for all the info.

I got my set exchanged, the store where I got it from had another one in, so I went in and tested it first.

Although up close I could hear a faint buzzing when it was powered on, it wasn;'t as bad and from my viewing distance you couldn't hear it. Great I thought and took this set!

When I set it up at home I get the same noise as I had before! :(

This had me confused? :confused:

Now when I was in the shop, it was 6pm and everything else was off so no ambiant noise to cover up buzzing of set, so why do I get noise now?

I have come up with two answers :-

1. There is something in my mains power supply that is causing the Plasma to sound like this. I'm going to try it from different ring mains to see if that helps. Could be interference from some of my other AV kit.

2. In the store the walls when covered by heavy curtins, where as my plasma is in a corner with 'hard' walls around it. I have noticed that is I crouch right in front of the screen i can hardly hear the buzzing! This makes me think that the sound from the back of the set is bouncing of my walls towards my viewing position. Also with being in a corner (yes I know it's not a great position for a plasma, but no other place to put it till I move!), I thiink the sound 'echoes' in the corner making it seam louder.
I think the curtains in the store whre 'absorbing' or dampening the sound so you didn't hear it!

All said and done, I watched the Man Utd v Boror game tonight and I didn't notice the buzzing! Was totaly parranoid about the score box and logo buring into screen but was all oK! :)

Anyway, hope this might help a little. Would like there to be no buzz, but love picture, especialy on DVD and think I'll get used to this 'feature' and can live with it.


I think the running time is in the service menu on the 'domestic' plasma's like ours - I don't know how to get into it, I did look into it but all the warnings put me off a bit.

I'm also thinking that the problem is with my power supply, I'm going to borrow a computer UPS from work to see if it helps. But I'm not that hopeful. :(

Just a long shot.
Who has them on wall mounts?
Who has them on plinths?

Mines on a plinth.. No buzz

With mine you need to put you ear right up to it to hear the fan (right hand side of the panel). Tested with 16 year old and 20 year old. Not a couple deaf oldies like the wife and myself.

Well pleased with set as I said before. Even started to watch the programs/DVD's rather than the plasma performance. Well chuffed.

You guys get it sorted I would be fuming. Panasonic are a good company in the main.

I spoke to this guy (not about buzzing) at Panasonic he was very helpful John Anderson 01344 853445.
Mine is wall mounted to a very solid brick wall.

I also find the buzz is less if I set the contrast to 20 (I had set it lower to try to minimise screen burn). Anyone else find the contrast had an impact?

I also have a Tosh 42wp16.
I've only had it 4 days, but have noticed this buzz when the screen is displaying mostly white or bright colours.

My Tosh is wall mounted and so far i'm watching Sky through a Ixos Gold scart-composite cable.

I have the JS RGB - VGA convertor and hopefully my VanDamme cables (VGA- VGA and Component) will arrive tomorrow.

The I'll be able to watch sky through vga and the DVD through component.

I'll update this post if these cables, or anything else resolves the buzzing.


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