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Dying MultiScan 17se, repair or replace?

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April 2, 2003 5:46:24 AM

Hey folks,

Before we even start, the "two stupid black lines!" DO NOT BOTHER ME!!!

Anywho, the old (November, 1995) girl is becoming !slightly! blurry these days, also, when she's cold, she displays interesting colours - the flourescent green overcast tone is particularly amusing - also, it will intermittently get darker (looks like changing the colour temperature) and go back to normal when it's cold. Most of these shenanigans go away once it's warmed up, as does most of the bluriness. I've taken to leaving it on all the time and turning off all the power saving features so it STAYS on, so it works okay most of the time - however, if I do inadvertantly turn it off, it takes 15-30 minutes of suffering before it works properly.

I've heard this means the tube is going, is this correct?

Presuming this is the case, it's almost certainly not worth repairing.

I've been peeking aronud at a couple of possible 19" replacements for the old girl, the short list includes:

NEC FE991SB ($365 CDN)
NEC FP912SB ($460 CDN)
Mitsubishi DP930SB ($500 CDN)
Sony CPD-G420S ($625 CDN)
Viewsonic P95F+ ($400)

Could anyone offer any words of wisdom as to which of these models might best pick up where my GDM-17se is leaving off? Any others I should look at in this range?

That Sony is getting a little pricey for me, but I am willing to pony up if it's noticably better than the rest...

What exactly is the difference between the two NECs?

Thanks,

--jeff
April 2, 2003 7:11:24 AM

From the description of your problem it probably is one or the other, or maybe both, of the most expensive parts of your monitor that are giving up the ghost: CRT or Flyback.

As general advice I suggest that people with newer montors (less than a year out of warranty) get a repair estimate before deciding to replace them. If the repair is less than half the price of a new monitor you might want to consider having it fixed. But a 1995 vintage monitor is going to be technically oudated so I'd say it's time for a new one.

As for the alternatives you've listed, I'd say go with either the NEC FE991SB or the Viewsonic P95F+ Personally I'd get the black version of the NEC (991sb-bk). As I've pointed out in other threads the black case gives you a far more pleasing display and considerably less eyestrain.









--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 2, 2003 7:17:43 PM

I disagree with your statement that black monitors have considerably less eyestrain. In fact they will create more eyestrain under certain lighting environments.

Black monitors cannot meet the new TCO-99 ergonomic requirements. There are two major reasons why black does not meet the TCO-99 specifications.

In TCO'99 there is a requirement that the reflection factor of the front frame (bezel) of the monitor shall not be more than 20%. This means that a dark colored or black monitor will not pass this requirement. The contrast of a white screen image next to a black bezel creates eyestrain during long periods of use. In TCO'95 there is no such requirement, although it is a recommendation.

I believe it was IBM and certainly TCO has done studies that back this fact up.

Jim Witkowski
Chief Hardware Engineer
MonitorsDirect.com

<A HREF="http://www.monitorsdirect.com" target="_new">MonitorsDirect.com</A>
Related resources
April 2, 2003 8:57:15 PM

"In TCO'99 there is a requirement that the reflection factor of the front frame (bezel) of the monitor shall <b>not be more than 20%</b>. This means that a dark colored or black monitor will not pass this requirement."
(accent added)

Black == 0% ... which is far less than 20%. Seems to me that a black monitor is the ideal way to meet that requirement.

I've worked with black monitors for more than 5 years. I've been able to set aside my reading glasses for all but the smallest type and I don't need them with the computer any more at all. Half an hour with a white monitor and I get a headache. After working with black cased monitors all this time, I actually have trouble focusing on the display on a white (or beige) cased monitor... This, as I've pointed out before, is because our eyes focus on the brightest object in our field of vision and in a well lit room that is often the monitor bezel itself.







--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 2, 2003 9:12:50 PM

Black actually reflects more glare than the matte biege finish. This is why IBM standardized on the beige color back in the 1960’s. Their studies concluded that the beige color was easiest on the eye.

Your environment has as much to do with eyestrain as the monitor itself.

Minimizing reflections and reducing ambient light are particularly important aspects of your physical-viewing environment. When your monitor power is off, it may surprise you to find that one of the reflections that you see is your own! In order to minimize reflections of things in front of your screen other than lights - including your own face - it helps to reduce the general light level (ambient illumination). Use window shades, blinds, or drapes to block out excessive sunlight, also reduce the internal ambient light if outside light cannot be reduced. Use proper lighting, overhead fluorescent lights tend to be an excessively bright source of ambient illumination, in addition to facilitating reflections. Reduce the lighting by using fewer light bulbs or florescent tubes or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes. I recommend using indirect lighting with a dimmer control, such as stand up halogen lamps that reflect light off the ceiling.

Once you have your environment set up, reduce the contrast setting of the monitor. Resist the temptation to run your monitor too bright. White should be a pleasant white, it doesn't have to illuminate your room. Operate your monitor only at a comfortable brightness / contrast level. This may help your eyestrain.

Also remember everyone’s eyes are different. Just because you do not have a problem does not mean others will not also. My corporate customers IT managers at large corporations will not touch a black monitor for fear of workman’s comp claims.

Jim Witkowski
Chief Hardware Engineer
MonitorsDirect.com

<A HREF="http://www.monitorsdirect.com" target="_new">MonitorsDirect.com</A>
April 2, 2003 11:40:03 PM

And only a couple of years ago everyone was shitting themselves over X-Rays and Gamma Rays until someone actually measured a couple of thousand monitors and found only background radiation levels.

I have quite a few people on black monitors (more than a hundred) and so far the only unfounded complaints of fuzziness or flicker I get are from the people staring at white ones.

What can I say... I will never own a white monitor again I almost ended up with bifocals before I got pissed off, tore the monitor apart, painted it flat black, put it back together and used it for a couple of years. I did the same thing with this one... used it in it's original white case and hated it, I was getting headaches, neck spasms and I was back to wearing my glasses full time... One can of black spray paint later... and now I'm off the glasses, don't have headaches and haven't had a neck spasm in months...



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 3, 2003 1:39:27 AM

Thank you, Teq, for your knowledgable and timely advice! Your experience is much appreciated.

It's a shame this thread had to turn into another fricking black vs white debate. I figure it's a personal thing. I have not spent much time with black monitors, but I will certainly give it a consideration - however, there's an even OLDER white 17" Trinitron (Dell UltraScan 17FS-N) sitting right beside my main one, which is hooked up to my music computer.

Hmm, Teq, I might as well ask you about the problem I have with this monitor as well - this one's from June 1993, and it has electronic buttons rather than knobs to adjust the screen parameters - the horizontal width one doesn't work at all - being a brave (and almost certainly stupid) soul, I cracked it open and found an adjustment screw that got it to be almost right, but the display is still a bit too wide. Also the thing is quite blurry. I suspect this is just the tube going south as well. Not a big deal on that one - I don't care that much if it dies - I'm happy to get a decent little 15" for that machine.

However I also have a NEC MultiSync 4FGe 15" from September 1993. That monitor has been great since day one. Still crisp, more so than this Sony Trinitron at this these days! Anyway, that's why I was leaning towards NEC in my new purchase - the old one is still kicking butt - a very reliable product.

What is the difference between the FE911SB and the FP912SB?

--jeff
April 3, 2003 2:05:43 AM

I've always liked NEC monitors, even more so now that they are getting their prices in line with other manufacturers.

For the difference between models. There are two groups of NEC monitors, one produced for the "value" market, intended to be on a few hours a day and the more expensive "pro" market models which are designed a little more robustly so they can be left on all the time. the features are almost the same between them. The main differences are in the powersupply and hot parts (power transistors etc.) which are usually industrial grade (rather than consumer grade) parts in the "pro" series.

Since you had the gumption to open the one monitor and adjust it... why not go after the focus adjustment while you're in there and see if you can get rid of the blurryness. You will find the focus adjustment on the "flyback" (where the red high voltage wire comes out for the CRT). Usually it will be near the chassis on the back of the flyback. You will find two adjustments there, one marked "blanking" or "blacklevel" and the other will be marked "focus". You can adjust it with a <b>plastic</b> tool quite easily to compensate for any blurryness. (Don't use metal tools and don't touch the red wire unless you want to find out what 30,000 volts feels like).

For the "black vs white" thing... Yes there is an element of personal choice involved but it is more than that. It has to do with the way the human eye reacts to object in your field of view. If the display part of your monitor is not the brightest object, you end up pulling your eyes to focus upon it and that's what causes the eyestrain... and it can mess up your vision over time. In a darkish room like a bedroom or corner of the rec-room this isn't usually a problem because the bezels aren't that brightly lit but in a well lit office it can make the difference between needing glasses and not.

Anyway... hope this helps.



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 3, 2003 5:19:02 AM

I'm trying to understand your "eye focuses on the brightest object" theory. I don't get it. I've never heard that the human eye focuses on the brightest visible object. If it did, everything we see would constantly be out of focus. In our day to day lives, we are constantly focusing on items that are not the brightest things in our field of view. Of course, if there is something very bright in our field of view, and we are not looking at it, it can cause visual stress (and if it's too bright, visual damange). But I don't think the eye automatically focuses on the brightest object in the field of view. If it did, I imagine we would all be living in an out of focus world because our eyes would be focused on very distant objects.

Also, the human eye does not measure brightness (or color) uniformly across the surface of the eye. The areas outside of the central regions detect light intensity different than the areas in the center of the eyes. That's why it's easier to see at a very faint star when you look slightly away from it (really!). Eyes work very differently than the CMOS sensors found in digital cameras!

More important than monitor color (not to say it's not important - it is, and I think it's best to study the issue both from empirical results and from scientific studies), is to adjust ambient lighting. Turn off standard flourescent lighting, and use lighting that isn't constantly strobing like those do. I've even heard that the new energy saver flourescent lights are an improvement (but that's just what I've heard, so I personally trust incandescent lights because I haven't had a chance to research it). Personally, I think it's reasonable to compare different light sources to see which feels the best, ask a few good eye doctors for information and recommendations, and read up on the scientific liteature and studies on the matter.
April 3, 2003 7:33:38 PM

Ok... I've already covered this about as completely as I know how to.

Unless you are an optometrist or neurologist, I pretty much doubt either of us is truly qualified to explain the effect...

Bottom line... I know from personal and professional experience with displays that black case monitors cause less eystrain. As I've pointed out already, I've even been able to set aside my reading glasses by geting rid of the bright white line around my display and several of my customers share this experience.

Your mileage may vary...



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 3, 2003 7:52:23 PM

Teq, I must thank you again for sharing your knowledge with me!

I wish this stupid black vs white case debate would blow over, and everybody should just use whatever they find works for them. Screw the TCO qualifications, I say - if you like the product and it works for you, then that's great!

Yeesh.

Anywho, in that case, I think I should probably go for the "pro" model - I would prefer to own a more robustly built monitor that costs a little more that I can use the heck out of and not worry as much. I've been researching my options, and it looks like the FP912SB is for me! I'm looking to purchase it within the next couple of weeks - money's a little tight at the moment as my Jeep is dying a slow death. I'll report back when I finally get a hold of one!

I did know enough to use a plastic adjustment tool when messing with the innards of the monitor - I know that there's some very high voltage stuff in there, however, I didn't know specifically where those high voltage components were, so I played it safe and didn't touch any part of the inside of the monitor except with the plastic screwdriver. I will look for that focus adjusment at some point when I have the time.

Any ideas about the horizontal width control not working?

Thanks again,

--jeff
April 3, 2003 7:53:53 PM

This is simply your opinion and from what I read not based on any scientific study. If you have some background information I would be happy to see it. So far both IBM and TCO say different.

Jim Witkowski
Chief Hardware Engineer
MonitorsDirect.com

<A HREF="http://www.monitorsdirect.com" target="_new">MonitorsDirect.com</A>
April 3, 2003 8:01:23 PM

Okey dokey... on the black versus whith thing :smile: ... I agree. I have customers who swear by both. People are certainly free to choose as they wish... But it is interesting to question the wisdom of some of those choices, even if for no better purpose than self-edification. I also agree that standards are a fools game. It's like Coolage once said "there are lies, there are damned lies and then there are statistics".

I think you'll like the pro-line NECs... the extra money is definately worth it. You will also find their customer support is surprisingly helpful... they've even read voltage checks out to me over the phone.

On the horizontal with adjustment not working... is it a menu item or a rotary knob? If it's the latter try spritzing it with some contact cleaner (get it at radio shack), otherwise it's probably a write off.





--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 3, 2003 8:14:21 PM

I'll give you this... you are persistent. :smile:

All I have to go on is my experience and that of several of my customers. We've all experience a lessening of eyestrain and neck fatigue since switching to black cased monitors. In my case (and that of 2 of my customers) I've found that I no longer need reading glasses when working with the computer...

It may just be an opinion or a series of flukes... but what a nifty fluke it is... no more glasses!

Now, frankly, I respect you and think you are a good tech. As I said before I am very impressed by your knowledge and willingness to roll up your sleeves and help out. About the only criticism I would ever think to level upon you is that you appear to value "standards" over real world experience. Beyond that, I have nothing but respect for you.

Can we not acknowledge that we have different, probably complementary, experiences to offer the others and work from mutual respect?



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 3, 2003 10:54:10 PM

Hi again, Teq.

I agree that it is interesting to question the "wisdom" of many of the choices of the masses, however, I've found it often isn't worth the bother - you can try and tell people that the sky is blue all fricking day long, but if they think it's teal, it'll stay that way for them... rarely do you find a person who is open minded enough to let go of his own opinions and try something different, even if there is a chance that something different will be better!

As for that FP912SB, it only comes in black, so that limits my choices somewhat :) 

The other one still in the running is the Mitsubishi, and at only $40 CDN more than the pro-line NEC, I do wonder, what is the difference? You wouldn't happen to know, would you? They look to be identical! Again, build quality is very important to me - I would much rather save up longer and get something that's going to go the long haul with me, rather than buy a cheapo and have to replace it sooner. So if it's an issue of yet another rung up the ladder for higher-grade components, then I'm more than willing to pony up an extra 40 clams - especially since it's Canadian money so it's practically worthless ;) 

--jeff
April 4, 2003 2:43:58 PM

I haven't even seen a Mitsubusi in my part of Canada yet, so I haven't had the chance to scrutenize and can't give you any real insight into them at all. But, since NEC and Mitsubushi are essentially one company now it wouldn't surprise me if they are merging product lines.

NEC is actually a highly diversified monster-corp not just a monitor company... check out the range of stuff they are into: <A HREF="http://www.nec.com" target="_new">http://www.nec.com&lt;/A> These guys were high tech before there was a high-tech to be.

Mitsubushi who has always made NEC's picture tubes is actually the same company that made the fabled "Hamp" fighter plane also called the "Jap Zero" used in the second world war.

It's an interesting marriage... My partner calls them "Kamakasi Monitors" :smile:


On the other point:
I've always found it very helpful to switch from teacher to student at the drop of a hat. Nothing is ever beyond reconsideration and there is very little not worth knowing...



--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 4, 2003 5:18:14 PM

Teq

FYI the new NEC/Mitsubishi Company is actually an independent company named NMV. They are for the most part completely autonomous from the parent companies of NEC or Mitsubishi responsible for their own P & L. This is actually very common in the industry.

Jim Witkowski
Chief Hardware Engineer
MOnitorsDirect.com


<A HREF="http://www.monitorsdirect.com" target="_new">MonitorsDirect.com</A>
April 4, 2003 5:49:21 PM

Thanks for that Jim, I wasn't sure what the exact organization was, but I've been watching as the product lines become more and more alike. Any word if they plan dropping one or the other eventually?

I've always had really good results with NEC monitors and would hate to see their quality and support compromised.


--->It ain't better if it don't work<---
April 4, 2003 5:56:04 PM

Teq

They do not publish this type of info, even if they did I'm under a NDA agreement with NMV since they manufacuer my p1750 for us.

From a quality point of view I think they are very good, or I would not have picked them as a vendor.

Jim Witkowski
Chief Hardware Engineer
MonitorsDirect.com

<A HREF="http://www.monitorsdirect.com" target="_new">MonitorsDirect.com</A>
April 7, 2003 4:42:44 AM

teq I think you are right about black vrs white. I painted a friends monitor black for him because he was having problems with eyestrain. no problems anymore. Dell is selling most of their top of the line products with black monitors and cases as well. now it's a given that a top of the line dell is still a piece of [-peep-] but it is something to think about. They have a lot of money to do research with, of course black monitors look cooler than beige so they may sell more...meh everyone is tired of beige but I suppose it's a personal choice, beige or black. which ever looks better to the individual is the one the individual should use. No one can decide which is "better", it's like saying the crest toothbrushes feel better on my gums than oral b's so they must be better for EVERYONE. Scientifically I believe that black is the way to go, but it's their choice. I also needed glasses with a beige monitor...but some black krylon has cured that problem :D 

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February 9, 2009 2:00:38 PM

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February 9, 2009 2:02:16 PM

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