Troubleshooting CRT Monitors

Monitors seldom fail outright without obvious signs, such as a loud snap or a strong odor of burning electrical components. Most monitor problems are really problems with the power, video adapter, cable, or hardware/software settings. To eliminate the monitor as a possible cause, connect the suspect monitor to a known-good system, or connect a known-good monitor to the suspect system.

If the monitor is the problem, it is often not worth repairing. If the monitor is out of warranty, parts and labor may cost more than buying a new monitor, which also gives you better specs and a warranty. About the only monitors we’d even consider repairing out of warranty are high-end 19-inch and 21-inch models, and even there the economics are dubious.

Even if the monitor is in warranty, the shipping costs may exceed the value of the monitor. For example, shipping a monitor both ways can easily cost $75 or more. If that monitor is a year-old 17-inch model, you’re probably better off spending $150 on a new 17-inch monitor than paying $75 to fix the old one. Monitors have many components, all of which age together. Fixing one is no guarantee that another won’t fail shortly. In fact, that happens more often than not in our experience.


Never disassemble a monitor. At best, you’ll likely destroy the monitor. At worst, it may destroy you. Like televisions, monitors use extremely high voltages internally, and have large capacitors that store that energy for days or even ...

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