Friday, December 18, 2009

Fixing a Monitor

Computer monitors are a dime a dozen nowadays, especially the CRT or Cathode Ray Tube variety. In the olden days, these were everywhere, TV screens, computer monitors and even in at least one or two cars, a Maserati and an Oldsmobile for vehicle information systems and in the case of the Olds Toronado Trofeo', operated heating and air conditioning through a touch screen. This was twenty years ago. Now the venerable CRTs are being phased out with LCD, LED, STP, DIP and even plasma (had to get the humor in there) taking its place.

Now a monitor that used to run almost $200 is next to nothing, at a secondhand store. While the flat screen monitors are nice, they're fragile and expensive (to me they are) and they're a bit temperamental. I had one go out and it was going to cost more to buy the capacitors to fix it than to buy a cheapie CRT that Radio Shack had sitting on their shelf since 2002. I scored that for less than $30 in 2007.

A few days ago, a magnet got next to it and screwed it up. The picture color was all out of kilter and more disturbing was there were no less than fifty vertical lines in the middle of the screen. My wife and I are on a tight budget, so even buying a secondhand monitor is going to be out of the question right now. I looked online for a solution to the problem and found none. Everyone says to basically throw the monitor away. Not wanting to do this I found something that I'm still working on, but has lessened the vertical bars and fixed the colors to like new. Eventually I believe that the lines will be completely gone.

First is to get on to the menu for the monitor itself. There are 6 to 8 buttons besides the on/off switch. With these, and it's difficult to explain, but you'll have to go to the maintenance menu and find the degauss function. Next you need to use it, and multiple times until the screen stops wavering. This will demagnetize the screen enough for you to view it. You will probably want to do this 3 or 4 sessions a day anywhere fro, 5 to 10 times. Once the screen stops wavering with the degauss, let up on it awhile. You can do while while using the computer, but may have some disruptions.

This is going to take patience and at least a week by my reckoning. Most will opt to discard and buy an LCD, but for someone who's unemployed, this may be a godsend. What will happen is the picture will get better and the lines will start to fade top and bottom and soon will disappear one by one, until hopefully they're all gone and you can instant message or loiter Facebook unimpeded. Even if you eventually have to replace the monitor, you have the satisfaction of knowing you beat the system of planned obsolescence that much longer. In the future, it is a good idea to keep any and all magnets away from a CRT monitor. Maranatha!

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