This timeline captures major historical points in the Panasonic Plasma Rising Blacks problem and the currently known solution, as well as PMCv1 and PMCv2 development milestones. (If you find any errors or omissions in this timeline, please let me know.)
- 31 Aug 2009 - Panasonic Plasma Black Level Reported at AVS Forum
AVS Forum user Orta posts initial findings of dramatic rise in black level (MLL) on his 12th generation Panasonic Plasma (50G10), from 0.03 Cd/m2 to 0.06 Cd/m2 after some 200 operation hours use of the panel. All indications are are that this rise of MLL is more drastic than previously documented.
- 10 Feb 2010 - Panasonic Admits Black Level Rise
CNET reports Panasonic's admission that over time, Panasonic Plasmas will automatically adjust their black level. Panasonic claims the adjustment is to combat aging. In the same article, Panasonic asserts that newer models have an "improved" algorithm that "results in a more gradual change in the Black Level over time." CNET also reported the previous day that Panasonic confirmed there will be no fix released for the bug.
- 2 Mar 2010 - CNET Weighs In on MLL Issue
CNET reporter David Katzmaier (senior editor at cnet) reports the results of several long-term tests of Panasonic Plasma televisions, indicating a near tripling of black level, or MLL, confirming Panasonic's assertion that the rise is "by design."
- 13 Jun 2010 - sonic_blue Attempts Pot Adjustment
Based on other TV set adjustment discoveries, AVS user sonic_blue first reports attempts at adjusting potentiometer VR600 to reduce black levels; many reports follow that range widely between semi-success and utter failure (including bricking one set), and ultimately result in sonic_blue removing his initial post to protect users from accidentally bricking their displays.
- 12 Aug 2012 - clktmr Reports I2C Fix
clktmr (reportedly from Germany) posts on AVS Forum that he has discovered a fix to the Panasonic Plasma Rising Black level problem on his 50S10. This fix is the basis for PMCv1. The fix details the clearing of certain values within the Panel EEPROM and marks a major milestone in the Black Level problem. (Between you and me the timing of this event is very interesting..)
- 5 May 2013 - MARKONE Confirms I2C Fix
AVS Forum user MARKONE posts confirmation that clktmr's Panel EEPROM clearing technique works on his European 50G10 without modding the TV hardware. This gives the first indication that a DIY approach fix could be detailed.
- 5-13 Jun 2013 - mironto and audiodane Discuss Solutions
AVS Forum users mironto and audiodane begin discussing possible solutions utilizing the I2C bus communication fix. Mironto discusses creating a DIY guide using an Arduino, while audiodane discusses a standalone dedicated PCB solution.
- 7 Jul 2013 - mironto Reports I2C Success (PMCv1 Foundation)
AVS Forum user mironto reports successful black level reset back to factory values and follows-up with pictures to support the claim. This is a major milestone in the development of a fix and is the foundational work for the PMCv1.
- 3 Aug 2013 - mironto Launches DIY Website
AVS Forum user mironto launches his DIY Panasonic Plasma Black Level Restoration website using an Arduino. mironto will continue to update it and turn it into a premiere source of information for the Panasonic Black Level problem and the I2C Reset Solution, and even give out parts to users in need at his own expense. mironto's DIY site will provide all the necessary information for the PMCv1 to get off the ground.
- 20 Aug 2013 - PMCv1 Development Blog Started
Preliminary feedback form created, 21 submissions recorded, leading to design around 20pin connector (later changed to 11pin connector)
- 22 Aug 2013 - PMCv1 Development Parts Ordered
Microprocessor eval board, several small target boards, a couple I2C EEPROMs, and a few 11pin and 20pin connectors ordered to begin development effort.
- 4 Sep 2013 - PMCv1 Development Parts Arrive
Microprocessor evaluation platform, several target microprocessor off-the-shelf boards, and several test EEPROM devices received.
- 9 Sep 2013 - PMCv1 Undo Function Added
Fear over "bricking" other people's sets leads to creation of "Undo" feature.
- 26 Sep 2013 - PMCv1 Basic Functionality Working
Basic functionality is successfully proven with test hardware; next steps involve hooking up to personal TV and hoping it doesn't smoke. Much like a physician testing a new medicine on themselves first; stress is high.
- 16 Oct 2013 - PMCv1 Primary Functionality Completed
All essential functionality is completed, which represents a major milestone; however timing glitches remain that will need resolution for a successful product.
- 17 Oct 2013 - PMCv1 Critical Timing Determined
When and how long the Panel EEPROM can actually be properly accessed is finally discovered (as it relates to the seamless boot sequence goal), but the discovery is bittersweet. The user will have to cycle power manually after PMCv1 does its job. The silver lining is that the user will not have to pull the power cord out of the wall (as thought a requirement at the time within the online forums) but will be able to use the remote control's power button normally.
- 28 Oct 2013 - PMCv1 Connector Problems
It comes to light that the 20pin connector is far less common than anticipated. The transition to 11pin connectors begins here. This transition will require a custom PCB to include a voltage converter. Two custom designs are begun to accommodate. Additionally, the holiday season takes its toll on the project schedule.
- 9 Jan 2014 - PMCv1 Preliminary Model List Released
Research over the holidays provides sufficient information to continue PMCv1 development. Three predominant connectors found across multiple dozens of television models. Custom PCB effort continues, designed to support all three connectors.
- 20 Jan 2014 - PMCv1 Custom PCB Design Decision
Hopes to use an existing but modified PCB design are finally scrapped in favor of a fully custom PCB. This decision impacts both timing and cost, but is required due to the amount of modification an existing off-the-shelf board would require to work in the supported models. Sufficient information is gathered to focus on a single custom PCB.
- 28 Jan 2014 - PMCv1 Custom PCB Submitted for Quote
PCB version "A" submitted for initial quote to help determine final cost targets.
- 18 Feb 2014 - PMCv1 Preliminary Pricing Announced
Preliminary quotes come in much higher than expected. PMCv1 price increased to $60 to accommodate higher production costs.
- 3 Mar 2014 - PMCv1 Work Slows Dramatically
Work on PMCv1 slows dramatically while a critical project at work requires overtime.
- 15 Apr 2014 - PMCv1 Initial Production Quantity Set
After a many-week gap in development efforts, progress begins to pick up again. Initial production quantity is decided at 100pcs for per-piece cost reasons, requiring a much larger initial capital investment than anticipated.
- 16 Jun 2014 - PMCv1 Initial Production Order Placed
First run of 100 production PMCv1 units is ordered. This marks another major milestone in the project.
- 20 Jul 2014 - First Articles Approved
1st-Article Connectors (PHR11 [larger] and GHR11 [smaller]) approved. This means that the rest of the connector assemblies can be produced. Preliminary board and software preparations are going smoothly and things are working well. Preparing for preliminary I2C testing (communication with TV).
- 20 Aug 2014 - The Day the Earth Stood Still
My wife was admitted to the hospital for six (6) days with multiple blood clots in her lungs. While the world kept spinning and moving around us, I was by her side 24/7. We thank God for her recovery (slow but steady). She had to give up her seat on our planned missionary trip to Guatemala the following week, but she insisted that I still go..
- 29 Sep 2014 - 86 PMCv1 Units Ready for Programming
A total of 86 PMCv1 units have been assembled with PHR connectors (2008-2009 model years) and tested. Once final firmware is loaded, they will be ready for sale. Sandbox testing of the shopping cart on the website begins, preparing to "go live." The website itself once more begins seeing revision to the PMCv1 page, preparing it for mass consumption.
- 13 Oct 2014 - First Shipments
Forty (40) PMCv1 units sold in the first day of sales! Thank you everyone!
- 2 Nov 2014 - PMCv1 Initial Production Run Sold Out
The first production run of PMCv1's sell out completely in 24 days! Due to the success of the PMCv1 sales, a second production run is planned using a pre-order window.
- 8 Dec 2014 - PMCv2 Preorders Begin
Due to the success of the the PMCv1 and continued interest after the last unit sold, pre-orders began for the next version, PMCv2. PMCv2 copies much of the PMCv1 design, with a few tweaks to enable a higher production volume. Initial production of PMCv2 will be 500pcs (compared to only 100pcs of PMCv1 units produced).
- 27 Feb 2015 - PMCv2 Sales Begin on eBay
eBay's Global Shipping Program (GSP) is selected to enable sales outside the USA. Ebay's GSP promises to handle all requirements including international carrier selection and handoff, customs paperwork, customs fees, and import tariffs.
- 28 Feb 2015 - Possible Incompatibility with Gx2x
Several users report the PMCv2 LED not blinking the way it should with their Gx2x model televisions. Over the coming days, several more users report confirmation with their Gx2x models. Investigation begins.
- 25 Apr 2015 - PMCv1/v2 Software v2.2 Released
After significant testing efforts, some Gx2x and Vx2x models are assumed to be incompatible with the reset mechanism currently employed by both the PMCv1/v2 device and Mironto's DIY method.
As a result of the Gx2x and Vx2x investigation, however, an updated v2.2 software is released for all PMCv2 devices that enable a new user-controlled reset mechanism. This new manual reset mechanism causes the PMCv2 device to be IDLE until the user indicates to reset the TV. All other times the PMCv2 device does nothing. (All prior purchases may be upgraded to the new v2.2 software at no charge.)
- 26 Mar 2015 - Shipments to Canada via PayPal
After a couple test purchases, it is determined that PayPal can handle shipments to Canada including customs paperwork. Canadian customers no longer need to use eBay to purchase a PMCv2.
- 31 Aug 2015 - PMCv2 Price Reduced
In celebration of approximately two years after product design kickoff and approximately one year after initial sales of the PMCv1, the price of the PMCv2 is dropped from UDS$60 to USD$49.95.
Additionally, eBay item listings are further split from USD$49.95 + free shipping (which meant import tariffs were charged on the entire transaction amount) to USD$24.95 + $25 shipping. This still comes to a total transaction cost of USD$49.95 but import tariffs are largely reduced (and in many countries eliminated altogether) because the item cost is below USD$25.
- 9 May 2017 - PMCv1/v2 Sold Out
After over 7.5 years after the Panasonic Rising Black (MLL) issue was first announced, and after two production runs of nearly 500pcs (sold over 2.5 years), the last remaining PMCv2 was sold.
- PMCv2 2018 Build Pre-orders
After receiving many requests to build additional PMCv2 units, audiodane comes out of PMCv2-retirement to produce one more run of ~100 units, with all profits expressly going towards his local church's mission fund.
- PMCv2 2018 Build First Shipments
PMCv2 2018 unit are built, programmed, and all pre-order units (several dozen!) are shipped to customers. The same day, the net proceeds from all pre-orders are sent to the local church mission fund, totaling $843.72!
- PMCv2 2018 Build Sold Out
With the last PMCv2 2018 build unit shipped on December 8th, the final net proceeds are submitted to the local church mission fund. In total, the PMCv2 2018 build yields an impressive $2,368.70 to the local church's mission fund!