Monitor gets Fuzzy

Dear Computer Lady,

The image quality on the computer color monitor is bogus. It is fuzzy (out of focus) and distorted.

AOC brand 19 inch CRT color monitor, model 9KLR, from April 2007 – in use daily since. Further described: the center part of the screen is fuzzy-out of focus. The left and right edges of the screen the images are distorted by shrinking to smaller size and vertically distorted – taller than wide. Upon start up – when ‘cold’ there is no evidence of out of focus or distorted. After a few minutes (5-15), the screen ‘blinks’ followed by the out of focus and distortion. The Degauss adjustment does not clear up the image quality. It has 19 on-screen display settings. I restored to factory settings. Checked the ‘pin cushion’ setting. None of the OSD settings had an affect.

This started a week ago. With summer temperatures, the room environment is warmer now – room temp about 87 degrees F. The user’s manual states it has an operating temperature range of 32-104 degrees F.

Is this a hardware or soft ware problem? How to tell the difference? Can I do more diagnostics? If it goes into a shop, what would they do?
What to do when a good thing goes bad?

Thanks for listening to the problem. If you have any suggestions, I await your response.

Sincerely, Dee


Dear Dee,

Without doing any diagnostics on the computer and monitor myself, I can only guess, but I am pretty sure that this is a hardware problem. There are a lot of reasons that I suspect a hardware problem, here are a few of the things that stand out to me.

1. You are using a CRT monitor that has been in daily use for 4 years. A CRT monitor does wear out over time, and while 4 years would be a rather short life for a CRT tube, it is not unheard of. LCD monitors have a much longer lifespan, and usually the electronics wear out before the display does.

2. Your monitor works fine when you first turn it on. This really tells me that I should suspect something like overheating. Either the computer is overheating and sending a bad signal to the monitor, or the monitor is overheating and not able to display the image clearly.

3. The operating temperature range is different from the room temperature. Please don’t try to measure the temperature inside the monitor though, there are potentially lethal charges stored in a CRT monitor.

There are some easy diagnostics that you can do, which would probably be the same thing I would start with.

Either hook your monitor up to another computer, or hook your computer up to a different monitor. If the monitor displays the same problems with another computer, you know the problem is with the monitor, and you can simply replace it with a new one. Trying to get it repaired (if you can find someone willing to repair it) will probably be almost as costly as a new, LCD monitor that will last longer, and use a lot less electricity.

If a different monitor displays the same symptoms while hooked up to your computer, you can be fairly certain that the problem is with your computer. Then it is probably the video card in the computer, and you should be able to get it (the video card) replaced.

I hope this helps, Elizabeth

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