Need tech help: Do monitors go bad?

The last couple of days my monitor has been turning itself off and on every so often. No rhyme or reason to it, very weird. Yes, I checked all the cables, no, it doesn’t look like anything is loose. There’s no disconnection from the Internet–when the monitor comes back on, the SDMB thread is still right there, even having obediently completed loading itself while the monitor was being weird.

Do I need to buy a new monitor? Do the picture tubes burn out like a TV set? Is it possible that the computer “forgot” it had a monitor? Just before it does it, the hard drive whirs, like it’s loading something. Do I need to reinstall a monitor driver or something? How do I check that?

And it doesn’t turn itself all the way off, it’s just so the little green/yellow light turns to orange/yellow. It pauses a moment, then it comes back on to green/yellow. Does it have something to do with “Power conservation”? I remember seeing that in an option menu somewhere in Win95 (which is what I have), to turn the monitor off after X number of minutes. But I’m pretty sure I don’t have that enabled, because it drives me nuts. Can the computer decide to tell itself to select that option? Where is that, anyway?

I have all my stuff connected to a whatchamacallit, a power board, not a power strip, a thing that says “MASTER COMPUTER MONITOR PRINTER AUX 1 AUX 2”. Do these go bad? Haven’t noticed anything else turning itself on or off, but then I don’t constantly use the scanner and the printer anyway, so I might not notice. Something bad in the power cables?

Ring any bells? Don’t wanna go out and drop $$$ on a new monitor if it’s just that it wants me to wear a tinfoil hat while I’m posting.

Sounds like power conservation to me.

I have a relatively new monitor, and if I leave it on unattended for a few minutes it blanks and the power light turns from green to orange. Moving the mouse or tapping a key brings the screen back up.

Check in your Control Panel under Power Management. If you’re using Win98 there should be an option labelled “Turn off monitor”. That may be what you’re after.

Monitors certainly do go bad.

First thing though:

DO NOT attempt to crack the case of your monitor open and check things out yourself unless your know exactly what you’re doing. Even unplugged monitors (tv’s too) have capacitors that hold quite a charge. Touch the wrong thing and it’s gonna HURT…possibly even kill you.

That said from what you describe it’s not what your monitor is plugged into that’s the problem else the green/yellow indicator wouldn’t be on at all.

It could be your monitor or your video card. If the monitor ‘loses’ the signal from the video card it thinks your computer is off and goes into low power mode (yellow light). The video card might be the culprit. Move your monitor to another computer if possible and see if the problem continues. If it’s the video card then you have to buy a new video card (no repair on those).

If it’s the monitor then you have a choice to make. If it’s a cheap monitor then a new monitor may be cheaper. You can grab some for $150 these days. At something like $50/hour for a repair it doesn’t take long to add up. If your monitor is valuable then repair may be the best option.

Basically, take the monitor in for repairs. Get an estimate and then make your decision. I don’t think it’s the tube on your monitor but if it is I can tell you right now a new monitor will be cheaper (or at least the same price).

It is power save mode. If it comes back when you move the mouse or hit escape on the keyboard, that should be all there is. It may be a software problem – you should check you BIOS and you Windows and just kill all the powersaving options that are on and see if that fixes the problem. And just shut your monitor off when not using it – they do take a lot of juice, more than the computer itself I hear.

From what you say, I’d guess that you’re on the right track with the power conservation thing. Since the power light does not go off, but merely changes color, the monitor has power - it’s not a power cable or a problem with your power switching box.

Power conservation options can be set up both in Windows and, in most cases, in the computer’s BIOS. If you want to disable the power saving features, you’ll have to be sure that both Windows and the BIOS have those features disabled.

I seem to recall that the power conservation setup in the Windows control panel was rather confusing - selecting the “always on” power profile, for example, does not keep the computer on all the time. I always create a new power profile called “Energy Hog” and set all the power-down options to “never,” because the power saving features on my PC hang the computer as often as not.

Setting the BIOS power-saving features is different from one computer to the next. Usually you can access the BIOS setup by pressing some key or combination of keys immediately after powerup - your screen may have instructions when powering up.

If all the power-saving features really are disabled and you still have this problem, it’s possible that your monitor or video card are flaking out and engaging the energy saver mode without being requested to do so. If it is a hardware failure of that kind, figuring out which part (the monitor or the video card) gets harder. You could try out a buddy’s monitor for a while, and see if the problem goes away. If so, it’s probably your monitor; if not, it’s the video card.

I had this happening to me the other day. At first I thought it was power conservation, but when I moved my mouse, it didn’t come back on. If I jiggled the monitor a little, sometimes it would start working again. I took the monitor apart (not recommended) and replaced the power switch. Haven’t had another problem. Only do this if you really know what you’re doing.
Other than that, all monitors, like all electronics, go bad eventually. It’s just a matter of time.

Ignore my last post. It’s power conservation. I missed one of your paragraphs when I read through the first time. Sorry.

“green/yellow light turns to orange/yellow”

Orange is the power saving mode, check your monitor manual, it explains it as does the web site of the monitor manf.
As for flakey monitors, like any other appliance, unplug it from computer & wall for a minute & plug it back in. 98% of the time this gets any appliance of any sort back on its feet.

Forget power conservation. I think it’s possessed. I recommend an exorcism.

When Good Monitors Go Bad…Next on Fox

I’ve got one that has just begun displaying the same symptoms - and there is no software driven switch to low-energy mode after x time. A reboot cures it, for now.

I will note that I’ve owned lots of hardware and the component with the highest failure rate is easily monitors. I’ve toasted cheap and expensive alike.

I found that my computer at work has THREE places I needed to change to keep this from happening:

– In the Power Control Panel within Windows
– In the computer’s BIOS, under power conservation
– In the on-screen menu of the monitor itself.

I, too hate it when my monitor goes black. Sometimes I’ll be doing something requiring lots of processing, so I’ll do something else and just keep an eye on the process. Mine would not wake on a mouse bump; a keypress was needed, and one time I accidentally aborted my process by whacking the keys.

Screen savers bug me too. I just turn off the monitor if I’m going to be away for a significant period of time.

No video and power led changing from green to orange indicates the lack of video signal from the system. The following is a list of posible causes with solutions.

Monitor not detecting video signal even though it is present - bad monitor, replace.
Video signal not getting thru cable - bad cable or connection, jiggle cable and tighten or replace monitor.
Video card not sending signal - bad video card, replace.
Software turned off video due to power setting in control panel - change power settings.
System turned off video due to power management settings in cmos - change power settings in cmos.
System turned off video for no apparent reason - bad system, replace.
User hallucinating, video was there all along - bad user, replace.

Hope this helps,


This kept happening to me a few weeks back and I tried all the power monitoring stuff to no avail.

Turned out to be the power lead, not the monitor’s but the multiplug lead that all my computor stuff is connected to, one wire was loose in its terminal.