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Monitor or Video Adapter

Posted on 2002-05-21
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
The monitor on my sister's PC after being on for a short time will turn all yellowish and greenish. I can still see everything on the screen, but the color is just bad. After a reboot it will be alright for a little while, but it's not long before it screws up again. To me it sounds like the video adapter, but I thought I would ask some of you more experienced experts before I tell her to go buy a video card. I can't remember the type of video card she has, but I can find out later if you need to know. I'm just hoping it's not the monitor.
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Question by:Millwood
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jhance earned 100 total points
ID: 7023629
In theory either the display or the adapter could be the culprit.  But that said, I've never, even once seen an adapter have a problem that caused this.  The "weak-link" here is the display itself.

My advice is to try swapping out the display for a different one and see if the problem clears up.
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Expert Comment

by:slink9
ID: 7023714
My advice says to verify that the monitor is tightly screwed into the video card and also verify that all pins are straight and the proper length.  It sounds like one or more pins may be losing connection.
Other than that, swap out the monitor and see if the problem goes away.  I guess it is possible that the video card is overheating.  Try tunning it with the case off and a fan on it.  Does it still happen?
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by:c661jmb
ID: 7023717
Check the heat on the video card, I have seen some Creative cards do this, M64, TNT2 with no fan, just a real small heatsink. check the card around the main IC. Is it starting to go a bronze colour? sure sign of an overheating video card.

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by:WiZaRd
ID: 7023846
Sounds like the colour guns are going on the monitor. Don't know what it's like where you are but here it's generally cheaper to repair a small problem like this one than it is to replace the monitor (unless you go 2nd hand of course).
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 7023849
Find a repair agent that will quote before going ahead with the job.
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by:jhance
ID: 7023858
Wiz,

It's almost inconceivable that the "color guns" on the display go out.  These are inside the CRT and never wear out.  There are really only two failure modes for a CRT (apart from physical damage) and they are:

1) Filament burnout. I.e. the heater filament breaks and no longer heats the cathode.
2) In-gassing.  The seal leaks and lets air destroys the vacuum.

The guns are just parts of the cathode that generate and focus the electron beams.  They do not wear out nor can they be practically repaired.

The most common failure in a display is a solder join failure.  It could very well be in the RGB drive circuit and this would certainly cause the problem described.  Unless the asker is proficient in such repairs (and if he were, he would likely NOT be asking such a Q here) then I certainly DO NOT RECOMMEND attempting any self-repair.  Further, unless the unit is still under warranty, such repairs are almost never worth the cost/risk.  With the price of new display lower than a minimal repair bill, it just doesn't make sense to repair these things.

(My opinion, yours may vary.)
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 7024105
jhance "With the price of new display lower than a minimal repair bill". Either the repair rates are extremely high or the monitor prices are extremely low in your country.
Here (Perth, Australia) the average price of a 15" monitor is $200. My repair agent (I have at least one monitor per week repaired) has never charged more than $130 & that included fitting a new cable. Average is more like $90 for minor repairs such as above.
"Find a repair agent that will quote before going ahead with the job" comment made as an afterthought in case Millwood needs to consider which is cheaper option.

I think we're both agreed here the problem is with the monitor but I know from my conversations with and invoices from my repair agent this is not an expensive job.
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Expert Comment

by:hopmedic
ID: 7024272
In actuality, there are only two ways to prove whether the failure is in the video card, or the monitor itself.  The first way would be to solve the problem - for example, as suggested above, point a fan into the case (or at the back of the monitor) to see if that resolves the issue.  If it does, you know where the problem is.  If it doesn't, the ONLY way to know with 100% confidence if the failure is in the monitor or the card, would be to test another monitor on the system, or test the monitor on another computer.  Have you tried testing on a friend's/relative's computer yet?  After that, if the problem is in the card, that's easy to fix - buy a new card.  If it's in the monitor, it is NEVER a good idea to open a monitor unless properly trained, as there are very large capacitors in the monitor, and the monitor works under very high voltage (in the 25,000 volt range).  Capacitors hold a charge, so even unplugged, if you don't know what you're doing, the inside of the monitor can be a dangerous place to be.
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by:jhance
ID: 7024656
Wizard,

Indeed, very different market conditions...

In yesterday's advertisements I see 17" display for US$99.00, 15" units are as low as US$79.00.

I have not been to a repair shop recently but the last time I got a quote the repair was US$100.00 MINIMUM just to look at it.

But in different places, the ratio of purchase to repair may be different.
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 7024709
Probably due to the huge market there compared to here.
Saw what is a very good price here for a 17" monitor a couple of days ago and it was $289 AUS. Roughly US$140. Average for a reasonable quality 17" here is $330 AUS or about US$160. So you can see why even an "expensive" $130 repair would be worthwhile here especially if you have a larger monitor.
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Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 7024842
If you have analogue tint and color controls you could try tapping them, maybe they are a little dirty, in which case if the pots are reasonable near the knob cutouts, a hosing down in there with switch cleaner might get results. With the monitor off of course, and it's wise to leave a while before powering it on again if you sprayed a lot in there.

Otherwise I'd lean toward the vid card being the culprit, since with a reboot a monitor won't cool off all that much whereas the vid card could. Some attention to vid card cooling may improve things, it could be as simple as vacating the slot next to the vid card and leaving the blanking plate off. That's not to say it is not the monitor, just with that fault going away with a reboot, it just sounds more likely it's the card.

Oh, something else might be worth a try, you could try lowering the refresh rate, if the DAC on the card is getting tired and cranky, then working it less hard might be a temp solution, if you've got the refresh rate at say 85hz you could lower it to 75, or if it's at 75 you could try 72.

Road Warrior
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Author Comment

by:Millwood
ID: 7025844
Thanks for all the responses. I haven't gotten a chance to try any of your suggestions yet. It may be a day or 2 before I get a chance to look at the PC again. I will let y'all know and award points as soon as I can. Thanks again!
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Author Comment

by:Millwood
ID: 7040881
Turns out it was the monitor. I swapped it out last week and it is still crystal clear. Thanks for all responses. Sorry for the delay in accepting an answer. It's been a busy week.
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 7042178
"But that said, I've never, even once seen an adapter have a problem that caused this."

Good call jhance
No surprises here!

Glad you got it fixed Millwood
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by:c661jmb
ID: 7042227
Not a dig at you Jhance - But I have seen this loads of times. Especially with "Creative" TNT Cards. The Vanta range seem to be the main culprits. They really do overheat badly. I have tested them using Creatives product testing software and they all pass, but do display this problem. They also produce "Banding" such as black lines smudged over the screen.


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by:jhance
ID: 7042249
No offense taken.  I'm not a gamer and have no use for high-performance video cards where operational limits are being pressed.  I'll certainly concede that such misbehavior is possible, perhaps even likely in that environment, but it seems out of context with this question.

As always when debugging and diagnosing, it pays to look into and eliminate the most likely candidates before pursuing the less likely ones.  In almost all cases, the display itself is the weakest link and is the MOST LIKELY component in a modern PC to fail, with the possible exception of cheap sleeve-bearing CPU fan...  ;-)
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by:WiZaRd
ID: 7042258
c661jmb: no one is saying you were wrong here (but in this case you were).
Sure the symptoms were in line with what you describe in the overheating scenario but the fact is it is usually the monitor in this scenario. Can happen but I would suggest the incidence of this problem being adapter is probably in the <5% area.

"They really do overheat badly. I have tested them using
Creatives product testing software and they all pass, but do display this problem. They also produce "Banding" such as black lines smudged over the screen.

Very broad statement. Make sure you have the latest drives
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by:slink9
ID: 7042267
Latest drives?  What would that be - 300G?  Latest driveRs, perhaps?
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