View Full Version : Are Monitors Disposable Items?
12-10-2003, 07:42 PM
I've found that a typical PC monitor seems to last about 2-3 years and then - if the flimsy on/off button hasn't started playing up - the horizontal or vertical control goes faulty. Then the picture starts to shrink, or it varies with size depending on how long the monitor has been switched on.
Does anyone bother having them repaired these days?
Or are they just treated as consumables?
12-10-2003, 07:53 PM
a typical 17inch crt costs about $150 for an HQ item. billing rates for labor are usually about $60 per hour. It all depends on what is wrong. CRT are just High Resolution TV's they all have their horizonal hold's focus knobs etc. just not available for the normal user to adjust. If you are getting problems based on how long the unit has been on it's usually a heat problem and getting a can of air will probably solve the problem. If the tube goes yer better off getting a new one. they'll cost bout $100 then another $60 to replace. With most MFG's if the unit is still under factory warranty (I know my samsung had a 3 year) they want you to just send them back the monitor and they'll send you a brand new one. They take the broken one and sell it to a refurbishing company. Which then sells your once broken monitor for about 50-75% of a brand new one.
So to answer your question .. yes they are repairable. no it's usually not cost effective.
12-11-2003, 09:21 PM
I've had monitors last 9 years now, admittedly they aren't used for graphic work, but they are still functioning OK.
It is the newer monitors that have become more disposable. As Sualdam said, the flimsy on/off switches are the first to go in them. The more expensive & newer of my monitors has that complaint.
Years ago I got told that I should degauze my monitors regularly, but they are lucky to get done maybe once a year. I have never had an actual screen go down the gurgler, it has always been something else on it. I keep the dust away as much as possible, but no other maintenance. In fact my monitors (there are about 5 here) are in pretty adverse conditions for montiors....salty (coastal) & high moisture levels at times with the windows of the rooms open. So they really arent treated that kindly (shame on me!).
I put it down to shabby workmanship these days ! Everything has become disposable to increase sales.
12-11-2003, 09:43 PM
Well unless you notice a dis-coloration in the screen (purples-reds) usually in one of the corners then I'd degauss. Otherwise I see no reason to. Those that don't know this is usually caused by the magnets on speakers. I used to have a really neat wand that I'd use for large televisions that had this problem.
12-11-2003, 09:55 PM
I have had several different makes and models from Sony to LG. The 21 inch Sony 240GS that I had was a very good monitor. Lasted lasted lasted my brother has the same model and it has had the hiccups for months now. I have also had $99 monitors that have been in use for years and the resolution on some of these is as clear as the Sony. As far as power buttons breaking I can't comment much on that because I never use them. All computers these days have power management so I let the computer blank the screen so all of my power buttons have thier original click still intact. I think that is the other component to how long monitors last you basiclly power surge a monitor everytime you power cycle it so it stands to reason that a monitor which gets turned on and off frequently via the power button would not last as long. Also if the power company in your area has inconsistent line voltage you could suffer the same effect. My current monitor of choice is a samsung syncmaster753df which has been turned on now for over a year. I do restart the computer from time to time but have had no reason to power off the monitor. But as far as disposabilty which after all was the subject. The electronics market has gotten to the point that things are produced very cheaply back in the day when you spent several thousand for a computer system you would have half of your investment tied up in the monitor I used to have a Compaq 24 inch that was over a thousand new. Now with the push for sub one thousand units the materials and the production costs have dropped causing cheaply made monitors which cost much less. With the cost of repair being what it is it makes these cheaply priced monitors disposable. So I would have to say that yes when it costs more to fix then it did new or then it does to replace it is disposable.
Why did McDonalds quit selling hamburgers in styrene boxes? They needed the materials in the computer industry :)
12-12-2003, 03:25 AM
I've mainly used Hansol monitors in the past at home - though at work it is has been a whole range from whoever supplies the likes of IBM, HP, and Compaq.
I must make it clear that in raising this for discussion I didn't want to imply that every monitor in the world is as bad as the ones I've had problems with. The point was that for a large and fairly expensive ($150 is still not in the realms of 'disposable' in the classic sense) item, the failure rate in the timescale I referred to seems (well, 'is') rather high.
CRTs are just like that. Some last forever. Many don't.
Anyway, I just won a 22" NEC multisync in a bid on eBay for under $120 and I'm feeling rather happy about it :)
And I know one thing: if that breaks, I'm having it fixed!
12-12-2003, 04:44 AM
PC monitor seems to last about 2-3 years
2-3 years? Most manufactures cover them for 3 years, when my CTX failed, I phone them up and they swapped it Next Day.
12-12-2003, 05:06 AM
That's good, but after 2-3 years, how many people other than you :)
a) still have the equipment?
b) have a warranty?
c) even think about following up on the warranty?
d) have the guts to follow it up?
In the UK most people wouldn't have done what you did - we don't complain as much as we ought to. But you were right to do it.
But back to topic: in the cases where you are not covered by a warranty (or choose not to be :)), whether it is 2 years 364 days or 3 years 1 day we are talking about, monitors are often treated as disposables for the reason redcirdle gave...
...they usually cost more to repair than a new (and better) one would cost...
...except my nice 22" NEC, of course ;)
12-12-2003, 05:21 AM
Aren't computers disposables in general?
Once past 6 months they are out of date and at least need an upgrade, more RAM, new graphics card, etc...
OK! You could still run a 286 CPU with 4Mb RAM, but how slow and some programs will not work.
By the way. I'm from the UK.
12-12-2003, 05:26 AM
Aren't computers disposables in general?
In addition it has become more problematic to dispose of computers, European law stops any dumping, land fill, and people want the latest gear so what to do!
There are some recycling charities, which may handle them.
12-12-2003, 06:21 AM
You're right, of course - the whole system is 'disposable'.
But only by virtue of people wanting to ugrade.
After all, just like you said, 286s probably still work. Maybe a new disk drive, new PSU, etc... but they still work.
My beef with monitors is that they just don't seem to last (in my experience). I've used dozens and the number that have failed to my knowledge is quite a high. I'd say up to 10% don't make it beyond 2-3 years for one reason or another - often 'reason unknown'.
At the moment my own monitor has maxed out on the vertical size adjustment, and is shrinking. The on/off button has been faulty for about 18 months (silly push-button that you have to wiggle to get to 'make' sometimes).
At work I routinely use up to a dozen monitors on various systems in any given time period. I can think of several that have faulty adjustments (horizontal, vertical, pincushion) or dodgy switches.
You should see our IT 'graveyard' in this building - full of bits and pieces, many of which are monitors.
It just seems like a general observation to make is that they aren't reliable in percentage terms. And fixing them isn't a viable option.
12-12-2003, 09:31 AM
People turn these things off? What a novel concept. I always thought that button on the front was for turning it on when you bought it and not much more.
I've been fairly lucky with monitors, really. Not that I haven't had them fail on me though. Instead, I've got a guy who does tv repair for a local electronics company who doesn't mind getting parts at cost plus a twenty dollar bill to fix a monitor. I've acquired two broken 21" Sony Trinitron's for a total of 160 dollars this way. Company that had them was throwing them out so I took them on over to my buddy. I don't know or care what was wrong with them. What I do know is that 160 dollars is a great price for a pair of 21" monitors, and I love them.
Relationships are good. Spam is bad. That is all.
12-14-2003, 04:09 PM
I have a sony 21" trinitron monitor and it is now six years old and still has 95% of it original display qualities. But I think when it break I'm going for the Flant panel sceens if they manage to get above 20" and less than 1000.00. The programs I run are pretty graphic like 3d solid modeling and require a great monitor. To many people throw away stuff these days, and it isn't being very nice to the planet we've inherited.. I will have my monitor repaired if the CRT is still worthwhile. The whole problem is that people buying those cheap 150.00 disposable monitors.
Let all leave something for our children other than a pile of broken glass.
12-14-2003, 05:19 PM
What's the performance spec. on a TFT screen these days?
Someone told me the other day that they still allow up to 6% of the pixels to malfunction before they're considered faulty.
Is that true?
I must admit that I rarely see a TFT without at least one white dot on it.
12-15-2003, 01:47 PM
I am honestly not impressed with TFT displays. I don't know why it is, but they always seem dark, often fuzzy and expensive on top of that. I like saving space with a TFT, and certainly enjoy the novelty, but I don't see myself doing graphics work on one anytime soon.
12-16-2003, 05:09 AM
When considering monitors, why not consider a dual head graphics card like the Matrox, then run two slightly cheaper smaller monitors (eg my setup is 2 * 19" TFTs set at 1280 by 1024 and configured as one landscape monitor.
12-16-2003, 05:27 AM
My tongue is firmly in my cheek, but... does that make monitors last longer? :)
Seriously, though, you don't actually see a wide display like that when you use two monitors, do you? You have to use your imagination with the plasticky bit around the edge getting in the way ;)
12-16-2003, 05:34 AM
Strangely enough I had a similar level of disbelief from my work colleagues. However each one that I have persuaded to try out the configuration has refused point blank to revert to a single screen!
As for the plasticy bit, a decent hacksaw and some superglue sorts that out. (;)
With regard to making monitors last longer, it avoids disposing of a perfectly good smaller monitor to move up to a larger one which is unfortunately what I see too often.
When I read that question, I focused in on one word... Disposable. What we really have here are *two* questions --
> Are monitors disposable items?
Answer -- as long as it's cheaper to replace than to fix, then "yes."
> Are monitors discardable items?
Answer -- "not easily. And then, not cheap."
They are considered "hazardous waste." This means that the trash picker-uppers won't touch them. A few weeks ago I had to pay $30 to our local transfer station to get them to take the one I was "discarding." That was about 25% of its cost!
What happens then? I understand they will hold mine until they get about 30-40 together, then have it picked up by someone else... who dumps it right where they would have gone had the trash guys taken it.
Anyone see a trend, here? Sheesh! :-)