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Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image

Uncle_DaveO 23 Mar 09 - 09:22 AM
wysiwyg 23 Mar 09 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,guest_olddude 23 Mar 09 - 11:13 AM
s&r 23 Mar 09 - 01:54 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Mar 09 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,kendall 23 Mar 09 - 02:57 PM
Uncle_DaveO 23 Mar 09 - 06:48 PM
s&r 23 Mar 09 - 07:12 PM
JohnInKansas 24 Mar 09 - 01:45 AM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Mar 09 - 09:50 AM
Acme 26 Mar 09 - 10:00 AM
Acme 26 Mar 09 - 10:07 AM
Austin P 26 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM
Bernard 26 Mar 09 - 01:21 PM
Acme 26 Mar 09 - 04:57 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Mar 09 - 06:08 PM
Andrez 26 Mar 09 - 06:16 PM
JohnInKansas 26 Mar 09 - 06:29 PM
Acme 26 Mar 09 - 06:35 PM
robomatic 26 Mar 09 - 06:36 PM
JohnInKansas 26 Mar 09 - 06:59 PM
Austin P 26 Mar 09 - 07:08 PM
pdq 26 Mar 09 - 07:37 PM
s&r 26 Mar 09 - 07:57 PM
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Subject: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 09:22 AM

Recently my screen image will contract by about 10 to 15 percent, and immediately expand again. This happens several times a day, with no connection to what I'm doing at the time, that I have been able to identify. Once or twice recently the screen went to black, for about one or two seconds, and then the image came back.

My wife suspected that it was caused by power changes from appliance or furnace motor turnings on or off. I personally question this, because I've not been able, when it happened, to detect that the furnace just came on or off. In addition, I do have the computer on a surge suppressor.

The computer is about four years old, which I understand is a relatively old computer. It is a Compaq EVO W-4000 work station, running on XP Pro. Lots of memory, and lots of hard disk space available.

My pure guess (and I can't really tell you why) is that the problem is associated with the monitor rather than the computer, but of course I stand to be corrected.

Does anybody have any sage advice or diagnosis?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 09:36 AM

Virus definitions up to date?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: GUEST,guest_olddude
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 11:13 AM

Uncle Dave
if the cords are all secure, plugged in and tight I can pretty much assure you the monitor is going. What you describe is a common feature of a monitor on its way out my friend.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: s&r
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 01:54 PM

CRT or Flat Screen?

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 02:05 PM

Four years is sort of "middle aged" for a CRT monitor, so it's possible that it's your CRT. The momentary "shrink and come back" is a typical sysmptom, but as noted it can also be caused by power line sags. A surge protector limits pulses of high voltage but can't do much about momentary low voltage sags.

The same symptoms can, however, be caused by the graphics driver inside the computer. Your computer may have an "integral graphics" setup using chips on the motherboard, or may have a separate plug-in card.

Four or five years ago, when your computer was new, is about the time that "more powerful graphics" started being popular, and some computers continued using older graphics components that weren't up to the new demands, so it's possible that some of the components inside the computer have started to lose their freshness.

The simplest way of determining whether it's the monitor or the graphics card is to swap in a different monitor and see if the same symptoms (or slightly different but still significant ones) are still there. Of course that's simpler only if you have another monitor handy for the swap.

WinXP is especially good at detecting a change in monitors and has default drivers good enough to tell if it's a graphics card going bad, so just connecting and then turning the computer on should be painless.

If you can get a convincing evidence that it's the graphics card (or motherboard graphics) in the computer, decent graphics cards can be had for $30 (US) and up to $1K+. One of the cheaper ones should be sufficient. "Modern" graphics cards typically have memory built into the card, which might free a little bit of main RAM, but they suck lots of power so they run HOT. Since they do dissipate lots of heat, they tend not to last long in older computers without extra fans and heat sinks. Some cards have built in heat sinks with separate fans; but you probably don't want one that fancy (they'd be in the $100+ range, usually).

Most computers with "on-board" graphics will switch to a plug-in card without changing anything on the motherboard, but a few may require you to move or remove a jumper to turn off the onboard components.

The symptom described sounds like a dying monitor; but it's worth checking out the graphics components in the computer, if you can, before paying the bigger bucks for a new monitor - although used monitors may be pretty cheap if you can find someone who'll give you at least a 30-day guarantee just in case the one you get isn't any better than the one you had.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 02:57 PM

Sounds like a dying monitor to me too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 06:48 PM

Susan: Yes, my definitions are on an automatic update schedule.


Stu: CRT.


Olddude and JohnInKansas: Thanx for the insights. I do have another monitor I can try. In the meantime, I'm web-shopping for a replacement monitor in case it's as I fear.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: s&r
Date: 23 Mar 09 - 07:12 PM

in which case monitor's the most likely

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 24 Mar 09 - 01:45 AM

We went through about four generations of computers (since about 1981), with Lin and I each having one of each kind, and each new computer came with a new monitor. (One DOS AT, one Win3.11WG, two Win95, two win98SE, One Win2K and One WinXP, and now a new WinXP and a Vista.)

With the earliest sets, the monitors generally outlasted the computers, so we had a few "leftover" monitors when - later - the computers started lasting longer than the monitors.

We made several "recycles," bringing back older monitors, with one monitor being used at least for a time with three separate computers, and a couple of others working with at least two different computers.

One WinXP "finished wearing out" three large CRT monitors.

The last "previous generation" when both our desktops were WinXP, both computers outlasted the new monitors that came with them, and we ended up using older recycled monitors; but in addition the Win2K computer required one graphics card replacement and the WinXP running at the same time as the Win2K required two replacement cards, before everything collapsed and we went to our newest setup.

We have flat panel LCD monitors on both current desktops, and with current models there's much to recommentd them. Perhaps five years ago there were still reasons to prefer CRTs for some situations, but for most people now the flat panel monitors are much the better choice. There may be reasons for some professional graphics artists to still prefer monster CRTs, but for ordinary mortals the flat panels are cheaper, with cleaner display and better resolution, and light enough to be moved to dust behind them.

The only real disadvantage of the flat panels is that the cats no longer have a warm place to nap.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 09:50 AM

Latest diagnostic report:

I'm getting fewer shrinks-and-immediate-expansions, and more frequent shrinks that last from two to perhaps fifteen or thirty seconds.

Yesterday, while the monitor image was contracted, I was pointing something out on the screen to my wife, and I touched the screen. Bip! the screen expanded at the instant my finger touched the screen.

Rightly or wrongly, this confirms my tentative conclusion that it's the monitor getting ready to die. I had thought of waiting for the monitor to "go away" before replacing it, but I have found the specific model of flat screen LCD and source on the web, and I don't dare wait--I'm going to order the replacement now, while I can still get on the web to order it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Acme
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 10:00 AM

This is a classic cathode ray tube slow death symptom. But a long time ago I decided that not only can CRTs die, but sitting right in front of one for hours at a time probably isn't good for me, either.

Think about getting a LCD monitor next time. They take less space and are less likely to leave an imprint of your rib cage on your chairback after using it for a few more years.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Acme
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 10:07 AM

Oops. Cross posted. Yes, it's a good choice, and a good idea to make the change before the other one dies. :)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Austin P
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 10:12 AM

Sounds like the power supply in the monitor is becoming unstable. If you can hear a click/ping/crackle when it does it that would confirm it. Plenty of free CRTs on Yahoo Freecycle, TFT's are now <$80 in many places, but be warned, they are now much more unreliable than CRT's in my opinion.


Get one with 3 years warranty if you can and check the small print. I recently had xerox (a "reputable" company!) monitor fail after 14 months, it turned out that the 3 years warranty only covered the parts, not shipping back to Xerox, or labour. So it was worthless.

AP


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 01:21 PM

The most common failure in a TFT monitor is the (switch mode) power supply, so it's better to try to find one with an external PSU that's easily swappable when it dies.

CRTs are usually repairable if you know the right person, but the replacement price has fallen so drastically that it's often uneconomic.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Acme
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 04:57 PM

That's why our dumps are filling up with the things.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 06:08 PM

Now, the next question is, once I replace the CRT, what can I responsibly do with the corpse? Any suggestions?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Andrez
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 06:16 PM

As with skeletons, I think that the best place is the cupboard!

:-)

Cheers,

Andrez

PS: Feel free to ignore the first suggestion and instead check out your local options for recycling. A call to a couple of resellers should put you onto the right track. The only thing, as I found out, it may involve a longish drive in order to do the right thing.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 06:29 PM

It took some digging, but I found a local recycler to take about 300 pounds of old computer parts, including five old CRT monitors and two printers that I'd been stashing for two decades or more simply because in my area there wasn't a responsible way to get rid of them. (Also some bits and pieces did get used occasionally for patches and repairs.)

As an example, the guys I found are American EWaste Recyclers; but you'll likely have to do some digging to find someone accessible in your own area.

Many computer manufacturers and some retail sellers claim to have recycling programs, but there usually are $tring$ attached that require you to pay for shipping, or that limit what they'll take. If your local government is on the ball, they may have a list of locally accessible "safe dumps" at least, and in some places the regular trash haulers may have special procedures.

All you have to do is find them.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Acme
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 06:35 PM

Goodwill accepts that stuff here in Texas.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: robomatic
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 06:36 PM

I saw this on TV a month ago, maybe our friends from Dateline taking a vacation from their "Toe catch a predator" series: some recycling outfit was making representation of how 'eco-aware' they were in disposing of electronic / computer items, but in reality they delivered 'em to a tranporter which took 'em to the dump.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 06:59 PM

To make a profit out of collecting e-waste to take to the dump, they'd have to charge you enough to take your stuff to pay the "dump fee." A "legitimate" recycler should be free, or with very minimal fees.

Another nasty habit is that some of the recycled stuff does get sent to third-world "mass recyclers" where the actual breakdown and separation of toxic wastes is done by manual labor under lax or non-existent health and safety conditions for the workers, and with little attention to avoiding local pollution. Even some of the "name brand" corporations' recycling programs have been accused of this.

It's very difficult to tell what anyone is doing; but local research and advice are about the best you can expect to be able to apply.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: Austin P
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 07:08 PM

It is important that the CRT monitor is disposed of at an approved recycling centre. In the UK, these are situated in every town, where the CRTs and TVs are then shipped on to a specialist plant where the copper and nasty and not-so-nasty stuff (rare-earth phosphors, gold, mercury and so on) are safely extracted and recycled.

18 months ago I did some voluntary work for a charity (we collected old IT equipment from Businesses, refurbished and upgraded the PCs and made them available to disadvantaged people and other charitable organisations).

The CRTs: we couldn't give away (at £5 each, guaranteed, PAT tested) and we shipped 2 metric tonnes per week to the recycling plant. It's a big problem. They should be made to last but ...

AP


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: pdq
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 07:37 PM

As Austin P said earlier, the likely culprit is the switching power supply.

The CRT (or cathode ray tube) is likely to fail by going dim by having one of its guns stop working.

Replacing the CRT will solve nothing, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Shrinking Monitor Image
From: s&r
Date: 26 Mar 09 - 07:57 PM

I think he meant the CRT monitor rather than the CRT.

Stu


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