Computer Monitor Repair

Category: Hardware

Computer monitor repair may sound like a job for an electronics expert, but some common problems with computer monitors can be fixed without shelling out a lot of money. Sometimes even today's sophisticated LCD monitors can be repaired at home. Here are a few tips on computer monitor repair...

Computer Monitor Repair

Repairing a Computer Monitor

Stuck pixels are probably the most common problem on LCD monitors. A pixel is one of the millions of tiny dots that compose the image on your screen, flashing on or off as needed. Sometimes a pixel gets stuck in the off state, leaving a black pinhole in your picture. When a pixel stuck in the on state, a bright light persists where none should be. Here are some tricks you can try to "jar" a stuck pixel loose:

Run pixel-fixing software such as JScreenfix, a freeware Java application. It randomly cycles every pixel on your monitor on and off very rapidly, which often "jars" a stuck pixel into working again. If that doesn't work, you may need a hardware solution.

PixelTuneup is a handheld electronic device (US$49.95) that you plug into the VGA port of your monitor for 20 minutes. It generates calibrated electronic signals that stimulate stuck pixels into normal functioning; eliminates ghosting; and improves contrast and colors on your monitor. Used regularly, it can keep your computer monitor or TV in mint condition.

Another free DIY method seems too crude to be true: tap the stuck pixel until it unsticks. Display a pure black image on your monitor and the stuck pixel should show up as a white dot. Using a PDA stylus, or similar small blunt instrument, tap the screen right on the stuck pixel, gently at first but with increasing force until you see a flash of light around the pixel. Keep tapping with the same pressure until the pixel is unstuck. As with all home remedies, your mileage may vary.

If your monitor is not working at all, and you've tried the obvious things such as checking the connections on both ends of the power and video cables, you're probably going to need a professional repair job, unless you're a little bit geeky. Look for a local TV or electronics repair shop to get an estimate for the repairs.

Getting Under The Hood

The backlight in an LCD monitor is another source of failure. Over time, the backlight dims and the image loses contrast, brightness, and color. Eventually the backlight burns out, leaving you with a useless monitor. But for about $20 you can replace the backlight yourself, if you have some soldering skills and a bit of courage. This is hard-core computer monitor repair!

This how-to post at walks you through the process of replacing a backlight. Briefly, you'll buy a cold cathode tube; open up your monitor and remove the failing backlight tube; and solder in the cathode tube. It's more complicated than that, and more dangerous because cold cathode tubes contain toxic mercury. But if you enjoy a challenge and a bit of risk, you can fix your dead monitor.

Fried capacitors are a hidden source of computer monitor failure. A bad capacitor can be found only by opening the monitor case and looking at the capacitors inside. A bad capacitor's top will bulge and may even show scorch marks. Capacitors can be replaced pretty easily if you know how to handle a soldering iron.

If you have a laptop with a malfunctioning monitor, the problem might be the lid switch that's activated when you open or close the laptop. If the laptop appears to be working, but you can't see the screen, the backlight might not be turning on due to the faulty lid switch. That happened to me once, and I noticed that the screen was barely readable if I shined a flashlight directly on it. Getting the switch replaced solved my monitor problem.

Keep in mind, if you don't have a warranty, repairing a monitor can be more expensive than buying a new one. Prices on flat-panel 20-inch monitors have fallen below $100, so buying new might be the right choice, especially if you have an old, clunky CRT monitor that takes up half your desk.

Do you have something to say about repairing a computer monitor? Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Computer Monitor Repair"

Posted by:

14 Oct 2010

I clicked on the link for the software Jscreen fix. An AD also came up for a new Hp touch screen PC. Wouldn't a screen that is constantly touched either get scratched or break quicker, even if it had a plastic coating on it? I have never tried one before writing this email.

Posted by:

Susan Odom
15 Oct 2010

In 2001 I bought a Dell laptop. It worked great for a long time then the monitor went out (I thought). I bought a small flat screen monitor to use with it and did just for a long time. Then I put the laptop away when I retired and started using my desktop computer more. After a long storage, I started the laptop up and voilà! I had a working monitor again! And it is has remained working just fine! ( I still have very low RAM (250 MB) and the battery is dead, but the computer still works.) What happened to the monitor and why does it now work?

Posted by:

28 Oct 2010

My laptop's screen sporadically seems to take an acid trip -- you can see the images but the colors are very funky. I'm afraid to even guess.... what do you think the problem is?

Posted by:

31 Oct 2010

question , my hp monitor has died . and of course - radio shack dose not sell the exact ones i need. is it posible to recamend a web site to order the exact ones....

EDITOR'S NOTE: Monitors are a commodity item... brand and model are not really important. Make your decision based on size, features and price.

Posted by:

Mr prince
06 Jul 2011

Hi,i am a computer technician and also hv some skills on repairing monitors,bt currently i hv some problems at hand which i need to fix,the problem is if u power the monitor its shows light in a second and goes off and will be clicking a little noise inside the panel,and the other one powers but dosent display.pls i need your assistant.thank you...

Posted by:

01 Dec 2018

Lower 30-40% display is Blurred by sole lines

Posted by:

Geri Stockwell
10 Mar 2019

My monitor on and off switch isn't working

Posted by:

Jack French
27 May 2019

Lower 30% of monitor is blurred with flashing lines. It comes on and goes off every 2 seconds or so.

Posted by:

Donn Treece
05 Oct 2019

I have a young daughter that got a little wild with a toy that subsequently impacted my screen, leaving an annoying bright white spot. Touching that spot seems to show that the plastic? screen is physically damaged. Any method of repairing that little blemish?

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