What Should I Know About Monitor Repair?

K. Schurman

Monitor repair can be a tricky process, with the potential for damaging the unit and potentially suffering an electrical shock. Any significant problems with a computer monitor will almost certainly require professional repair. Very few people have the technical knowledge or expertise to repair a monitor that has a serious problem. However, some minor monitor problems can be repaired by the computer user, either through a software upgrade or by swapping out a cable.

LCD monitor.
LCD monitor.

Most major repair problems involve opening the monitor case. Do not open the case if the monitor remains plugged into an electrical outlet because the risk of electrical shock is high inside a computer monitor. With some units, the power supply continues to hold a charge even when the unit is not plugged into an outlet. Monitor repair that requires opening the case is very dangerous, and novices should not attempt it.

In some cases, fixing a broken computer monitor is more costly than buying a new one.
In some cases, fixing a broken computer monitor is more costly than buying a new one.

Most computer monitors are of two types. CRT, or cathode ray tube, monitors represent an older technology that involves bulky units. LCD, or liquid crystal display, monitors represent a newer technology with flat-panel units. Monitor repair techniques are different for the two types, although a few minor problems can be the same on both CRT and LCD monitors.

The inside of a computer monitor may consist of a display screen, electrical components, a power supply, circuit boards, a backlight, and an electron gun. The backlight in an LCD monitor is a common reason for a malfunctioning unit, but it is difficult to repair without disassembling the entire unit. The electron gun in a CRT monitor is a very delicate component, and even a slight bump during repair can knock it out of alignment, ruining the monitor. Some CRT monitors will malfunction because of loose solder joints and connectors.

When preparing to perform monitor repair that involves opening the case, keep in mind that such an action will almost certainly void any manufacturer's warranty, unless an approved repair technician is involved. Anyone who will be attempting a monitor repair himself should do so as a last resort and only on a model that is out of warranty. An inexperienced person may end up further damaging the monitor or injuring himself when attempting a repair. The components inside the monitor are not easily fixed.

Before opening the case to attempt a major monitor repair, it's important to check a few potentially minor problems. For example, check the unit's power cord and display cable. It is possible that the cord or cable has failed, so test it with another monitor that is in working condition. Run all tests on potential malfunctioning components outside the case before attempting to open the case and perform monitor repair. Keep in mind that some monitor problems don't require a monitor repair at all, and they can be corrected through software fixes and upgrades.

Finally, before authorizing a repair technician to work on a unit, obtain a price quote. The cost of monitor repair might be greater than the cost of purchasing a new monitor.

Cathode ray tubes are fragile and costly to repair.
Cathode ray tubes are fragile and costly to repair.

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