Can PC monitors be repaired, or must they be junked?

Hi all. My monitor stopped working today, and according to the Dell tech support person with whom I spoke, the sole solution is to “junk it and buy a new one” – even though all she did was ascertain that it is the monitor’s problem, not my computer itself.

So I’m all, like, “huh?” and “why can’t I take it in for repairs?” And she’s like, “you can’t,” so I go, “But you don’t even know what’s wrong,” and she’s all “Doesn’t matter.”

I doubt anyone can diagnose the problem sight unseen, so I’m not expecting either the tech support chick or any of y’all to fix my situation. But I’m just wondering if it’s true that a broken monitor is basically trash material. If so, seems like a terrible waste to me! I mean, since there are a kabillion monitors out there, I’d think someone would be able to make a decent living repairing 'em. Plus, it’s not as if good monitors are cheap investments, so in some cases repairing might make better financial sense than buying new. Yes? No?

(Well, I guess I’ll share what’s happening, just in case anyone’s interested – maybe it sounds familiar to someone: My monitor worked at 4AM yesterday when I turned off the computer, but didn’t at 1PM when I turned the computer back on. The monitor’s “power” light goes on and there’s a normal warming up noise, but then I hear a POP! – sorta like a lightbulb going out – and the screen remains black.

Ugh, I love this monitor! Admittedly, my system dates from 1998, so maybe the monitor’s time has come. But it’s just so bizarre for something to work one minute, and then break the next with nothing happening in between. Not fair!)

My Dad used to do this exact kind of repair work, and he closed up shop because in most cases it just wasn’t worth the repair. You can replace most monitors for very close what it costs to repair them.

Old ones aren’t worth fixing, and a lot of the newer ones are still under warranty.

When my monitor died a few years ago I asked the same question and the answer I was given was the cost factor. It’s possible to fix a monitor but not particularly cost effective. And I’m no expert but it sounds to me like you would need to have the picture tube replaced, which basically amounts to a new monitor anyhow. If you buy a new one you can get a new warranty on it which will hopefully help you out if and when it burns out.

Oh crapples, that sucks. But thanks to you both for answering.

I’m using my old 15-incher now, and I can’t stand how eensy it is. Not only 'cause I’m a web designer and I need the extra screen size; two of my cats could sleep on the bigger monitor, but only one can get on top of this one! Geeze, what good is that?

Guess I’m off to find a good deal. Many thanks again, you two.


I’m surprised the tech didn’t offer any suggestions on where to go to “junk it”, because I recall Dell and other PC manufacturers getting behind a movement to curb environmental waste by providing a recycling service for products of theirs that would otherwise be destined for landfills. Check your local phone book for electronics recycling companies such as this one, which I visited when I needed to recycle a dead CRT monitor several months ago.

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections accepts old/broken computer equipment, including monitors, for donation. The inmates repair and donate what’s fixable and take apart what isn’t for recycling/disposal. Perhaps New York has a similar program.

People trained in computer support, even hardware support, are rarely trained in monitor repair. It’d seem like those two things would go together, but there are different concerns with repairing monitors than with replacing other types of hardware.

Monitors contain a high voltage capacitor which can be extremely dangerous if not properly discharged, so dangerous that they could kill someone. Monitor repairs are also fairly expensive. The expense often makes it more cost-effective to just purchase a new monitor than dealing with the repair.

The above, of course, applies to CRTs, because LCDs do not have the same internal components. LCDs typically cannot be fixed once the liquid crystal or the plates containing it are damaged, and the entire assembly must be replaced.

I used to repair them. Then slowly, over time, we stopped accepting 15"ers for repair, then 17"…etc. It really got to a point that it was cheaper to buy a new one. With LCDs taking over the market, I would think you could pick up a cheap CRT on eBay or the want ads.

Do not attempt this repair. The CRTs hold enough charge to kill you, even after being unplugged for a couple weeks. We had special tools that would discharge them, and when we did discharge them, we did it one handed so the current couldn’t take a path through our heart.

Do you have a web site with drop off points and policies? Thanks!

Thanks very much for the suggestions, biqu, Scarlett67 and catsix! I’ll look around to see if there are any programs like those in NYC. And don’t worry, NurseCarmen, the odds of me attempting a monitor repair are roughly between zero and none. CPU repairs I’ve tried; a monitor? No freakin’ way!

Doesn’t seem likely that I’ll find an affordable 19-inch monitor, so I might have to settle for a mere 17 inches. Quel horreur! Size truly does matter.

In my experience most electronic devices are throwaway items now.

If you check on ebay, you’ll find that 17" monitors are just about being given away now.

CRT monitors are almost, but not quite, obsolete these days. Because of LCD displays. I’ve been into computers over 20 years and even I was surprised at how fast LCDs caught on (considering that their biggest advantage over CRTs is, um, basically that they look cooler).

In less than a year computer CRTs will disappear from new systems. They’ll be for bargain basement only.

I bought a brand new 21" Sony Trinitron flat screen CRT less than 4 years ago. Paid $500 for it (and it was a refurbished unit). Can get them today for $99. :mad:

So no, they can no longer be repaired.

That’s a freaking lie! The CRT will be around forever! Forever!

A CRT is essentially a picture tube and subject to failure of one or more of the electron guns that supply the beam currents. If one or more go out bye bye tube.

The electronic power supply, again, is like a TV, and the hight voltage transformer is most likely the culprit. You mentioned HV pop. Repair is NOT cost effective.

Buy a new monitor, CRT or LCD (they are coming down in price), and enjoy.

Take the old CRT to Hazardous Waste Disposal.

I think the cost of repair is the big issue. When I advertised a working monitor (15", I think) for $20, only one person even called to see if I would come down or the price or anything. And that guy never came by. I gave it to a charitable thrift store.

Then you are aware that for many computer game and digital video freaks, the CRT is by far the preferable choice over the LCD because of the quality of picture and smoothness of motion that, so far, is not duplicated by LCDs of the same resolution. They’re also preferable because, for those of us who game and/or play with digital video (especially 3D rendering) the LCD monitor has a gigantic shortcoming: fixed pixel size.

We can’t change the resolutions so easily on an LCD, therefore our game of Unreal Tournament 2K3 doesn’t look as good, doesn’t play as good, and we’re still using our CRTs because for those applications, they work better.

CRTs will continue to enjoy a market as large as the gaming population allows.

Special tools… yea me too, a insulated screw driver attached to a wire attached to the chassis. :wally

I’ve replaced many CRTs in tvs, that was several years ago, now cheaper to junk them and buy new. Same goes for monitors.

And let’s not forget the real issue here. choie has cats that need a place to sleep.

That’s one of the reasons why I was so surprised to see them overtake CRTs so quickly. In particular the first generation LCDs were not as bright, clear, or as ‘fast’ as a plain old monitor. And they were three times the price!

And yet now when I visit Best Buy or Circuit City that’s all there are.

One advantage they do provide is that, because they’re ‘2-dimensional’ rather than 3-dimensional, a 20" LCD is only slightly larger than a 15" whereas a 20" CRT is huge compared to a smaller one.

Personally though, if you don’t give a crap about their coolness (and I’ll admit LCD displays do look cool), these are great times. You can get a huge, perfectly flat-screen, name brand, brand-new tube monitor for next to nothing!