Extraordinary

Discerning elucidations regarding whatever comes to mind.

Monitors and Things 4 April, 2009

Filed under: Life — bonzairob @ 6:58 pm

Borrowing an adaptor from Pete, I now have two monitors set up.
This sounds simpler than it was. I have no problems now it’s sorted, I really, really like it. It’s extrememly useful. It was getting the second monitor running which has been giving me problems.

I had a pool of three monitors to choose from:
1) A cheap Belinea monitor from ebay, which has a broken backlight. Bought originally to make a DIY projector, canned after it was too dim.
2) Ruth’s old monitor that is pretty much just broken. The screen displays odd grey lines.
3) Our TV, a tiny flatscreen thing that hasn’t got very good resolution.
I am currently using 3, because the quality isn’t brilliant. Let me regail you with how this came to be:

I started with the intention of using 1, having a dim memory of teh backlight working when I tested it after it frist arrived. It was still in pieces after being used for the projector, so I laboriously reassembled it for 45 mintues, and then tested it. The backlight flicked on for a second, then died.
So I decided to try Ruth’s old one, 2, shelving 1 to fix later. 2 was still broken, of course, and I’m currently looking into fixing it (since, often, only one piece is at fault in dead electronics. Example to follow.) After digging this one out, I was getting annoyed that two hadn’t worked.
So, now, I had to find all the bits for 3, the TV. I found them after another half an hour or so. So after 2 hour, I could finally set up my monitors.

3, as mentioned above, works, but looks quite bad. The picture is fuzzy, and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. It automatically switches to PC mode, so it’s definitely not untuned or anything like that. So I decided to go back and start fixing 1 adn 2, whichever worked.
First I tested the backlight of 1 with the power supply of 2. This worked, but the two main circuit-boards in the monitors weren’t compatible with each other.
I began to wonder if the screen connectors were, though, so I managed to wedge the screen connector of 2 into 1 to see if 2’s screen was the problem, or the driver. Without a backlight I couldn’t tell, so I had to sort of stick the two monitors back-to-back and then test them. The connectors for the screens didnt match after all, and I’d bent the monitor connection a bit doing this.
At this point I had to give up for the night, since I’d been working on it for four hours. I made a mental note to google the monitor problems, and check sites like Instructables.

Next day, I checked the sites, tried a few different things in the morning (looking for shorts, dry soldering, bulging capacitors). Eventually, during a break in the afternoon after badly shocking myself, I hit on a possible solution: this thread. I ordered some capacitors from ebay, and then realised it said in the article I could substitute 35v for 25v. Monitor 2 had a 35v to use, so I swapped them. The first monitor’s backlight worked! Hurrah! Minus the £1.60 of those capacitors, I seemed to be on the right track. I could always swap them later and try to get 2 working.
I put the monitor mostly back together and tested it: no picture. Looking closer at the monitor connections, I realised when I forced 2’s cable into 1’s slot, it had broken it, and some of the teeny tiny soldered contactshad come loose. These things are like a single millimetre across.

So, now I need to get a very fine tip for my soldering iron, basically. I’m nearly there. Unfortunately, this process of trial and error with very little payload seems to be my modus operandi. Perhaps one day I’ll fix something first-time and won’t have to keep going through different possibilities like this. I’ll update when eitehr the monitor breaks, works, or with the result of my post-mortem posted by someone else.