Oh no! Monitor cable end has missing pins, and the other end is hardwired!!

About 18 months ago we bought an E-Machines desktop, including the CPU, keyboard, and monitor.

Now we’ve noticed that the end of the monitor cable that goes into the CPU is missing a couple of pins. In spite of this it worked, more or less, until this afternoon, and the monitor obviously is not getting signals from the computer. My first thought, when I noticed that pins were missing, was that I could just dash around the corner to Radio Shack and buy a new monitor cable for a few bucks…until I noticed that the other end is hardwired into the monitor itself.

Can this be fixed? Is there a way I can replace the cable myself?

There are 3 pins on a standard VGA connector that are not used at all. There are also 5 that are simply grounds, all tied together. Finally, there is one pin that’s essentially obsolete that formerly indicated the refresh rate, etc., of the connected monitor.

To save one microcent per cable, some connectors are manufactured without the three/four unneeded pins and some real cheapies are made without some of the 5 grounds. Unless you know they all used to be there or you know how they got pulled out, I’d assume that’s not your problem.

Monitors are often missing a few pins, since unused ones are sometimes just not included. If you have some sort of problem with the monitor, it’s probably not related to the pins, unless you bent or broke one of the existing ones.

Thanks for the responses so far. I did in fact confirm that of the two I thought were missing, one carries no connection and probably was never there to begin with. The other–the 5 pin–is listed as a “ground”, which I assume is somewhat like the third prong on a standard electrical outlet…nice to have, but usually not essential. Possibly that was never there either.

What happens is that if the monitor is powered on by itself, it shows a menu display which is supposed to be operated by the buttons in front, but they seem to have no effect. Then if I try to boot the computer, this menu goes away, but the usual launch displays don’t appear. The monitor seems to recognize that the computer is being turned on and that it should start displaying the usual launch sequence, but it just stays dark.

If you’re seeing the monitor setup menu, then there is probably nothing wrong with the monitor. You might try to connect the monitor to a different system to verify this.

I found that if I start with everything switched off, then start up the computer, then power up the monitor after a second or so, then it seems to work fine. There seems to be some issue with getting the monitor to realize it’s supposed to do its job, if I start out with the monitor menu display on. But turning the computer on first seems to bypass that problem.

sometimes, dammit!

Sounds like a video card problem. If your system uses the integrated video output on the motherboard, you may be able to install a standard video card in a spare slot. Preferably the AGP slot (if it has one). This will make the monitor problem go away and free up some motherboard resources at the same time.

How would I recognize the AGP slot? I’m assuming this means taking the cover off the CPU.

take off the side panel to the computer. The agp slot is brown and pci slots are white.

just plug in a video card to the agp slot(they also come in PCI versions which are sufficent for office duties, but not much more.) and install drivers.

I took the panel off and looked, but there doesn’t seem to be an AGP. If it is there, it’s not brown or maroon so I don’t know which it is.

It’ll have to go to the shop, I think.

Some cheaper (emachines!) computers don’t have AGP slots(Just in case theres something covering it, those slots are on the square shaped usually green motherboard).A PCI video card will be just fine for office duties.

I’d first try the monitor on another computer.

I did that with my laptop, and the monitor was fine. Also the monitor’s own adjustments menu worked, which they don’t when the monitor is connected to the desktop.

I had a problem similar to this with a “green” machine. It would try to save power by turning off the monitor and going into sleep mode as soon as I booted up… The relavant power settings were in the computer bios, not in the normal display properties menu. This was back in the day of 386/486 computers when they really didn’t have the hang of it yet.

Just another thing to check.

My opinion: It does not sound like a monitor problem, could be a video card, the bios, or possibly even a software setting.

Good luck.

For anyone who might be having a similar problem and following along, we’ve since learned that it may actually be the entire motherboard that’s at fault. Fortunately the machine is still under warranty.

The entire motherboard being at fault is their way of telling you that the onboard video chip fried itself. Try using a PCI video card first…if you still have problems, THEN send in the computer to have the motherboard replaced.

If anyone’s interested, you certainly can replace a bad video cable on a monitor. Usually a cable goes bad because it got kinked after the back of the monitor was jammed against a wall. Twisting it around makes it work or not. Either cut off a cable from old montior or buy a monitor extension cable and lop off one end. if you’re really lazy you can just twist the wires together but obviously soldering is much better. Try to avoid taking the monitor cover off, for one thing its dangerous, even after unplugged for a long time it can have a electrical charge ready to zap you. Also fitting the cover back on can be a real pain.