A blue monitor, but not the blue screen of death
November 30, 2010 10:02 AM   Subscribe

Why did my monitor turn blue? ... and now today, I cant seem to get it to work. (I'm sooo clueless.)

I have a cheap compaq laptop running vista. I have a very old flatish monitor (it reads acer al1715 across the top) that I use as a second screen.
I moved, and now its blue.
Did it get dropped? buttons pushed?
I'm so clueless I dont even know what keywords to search for. ('bluescreen of death' is not whats happening here... the color of the screen is blue.)
the laptop still works.
and now today, when I tried to work on it more, I cant even get the desktop to extend to the other screen.
is it broken? or some setting on my laptop not set correctly?
posted by saragoodman3 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Sometimes worn out or improperly connected video cables can cause discoloration. Try fiddling with the connection or swapping out the cable.
posted by reegmo at 10:17 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

A picture of what is going on would be helpful. Also, what model of cheap compaq laptop (model number is on the bottom)? That aside, is the color of everything "blued out" where you can see the images that should be there, or is it solid blue?

Blued out: check the pins on the plug going into your laptop and/or into your monitor. You might have a bent pin or two. You also may have a damaged cable, which can be replaced on many monitors. Do things change when you play with the cable and move it around?

Solid blue: bigger priblems. Could be a crack in the screen, could be a dying LCD, could be video card/video out issues on the laptop. Try connecting the screen to something other than your laptop, try connecting a different screen to your laptop.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:17 AM on November 30, 2010

Seconding check all the pins on the cable connecting the monitor to the computer. If you can swap cables, do so.
posted by zippy at 10:21 AM on November 30, 2010

Response by poster: does the cable have three rows of five pins in the connector thingie? if so, the middle row only has four. perhaps one broke off in the move?
I dont have any spare cables for anything. I will go buy a new cable and see if that helps.

yes - I can see the images that should be there, they are just all blue.

I dont have another screen. what else could I connect to see if its the card?
what else could I connect the screen to? I cant think of anything else I have here...

thank you. it would have never occurred to me to try a new cable.
posted by saragoodman3 at 10:26 AM on November 30, 2010

what else could I connect to see if its the card?

Bring laptop to work / conference room / friend's house.

Plug in their projector / monitor.
posted by zippy at 10:29 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

A missing pin in the middle row, second from the right as you look at the end of cable with the wide part up, is fine.
posted by zsazsa at 10:34 AM on November 30, 2010

We had a flat monitor that did something similar just prior to dying completely. As it was part of a larger, much more expensive piece of equipment (like $100k or thereabouts) a replacement was kind of a priority, and I couldn't understand why a cheap, no-name monitor was used in the first place. On a whim I disassembled the faulty monitor and found several bad capacitors. $0.60 and a few minutes with a soldering gun fixed the monitor. It still comes up with a reddish tint at first, but goes back to normal colors after it warms up for a minute.

I say, if it's broken for sure, take it apart. The best possibility is that you might fix it. The worst possibility is that it will be just as broken after disassembly as it was before. It's kind of a "can't lose" situation. But definitely test it on another computer / another cable first, to be dead certain the monitor is the issue and not your laptop or the cord.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:55 AM on November 30, 2010

A missing pin in the middle row, second from the right as you look at the end of cable with the wide part up, is fine.

If this is the pin missing, it's the "key" pin which often will be missing. Sometimes that pin is used for 5V+ power, but isn't necessary. The other pins in the middle row are red ground, green ground, blue ground and sync ground.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:00 AM on November 30, 2010

You need to narrow down the problem. Can you borrow a laptop or a screen? Also, if you hit the menu options on your monitor, do you see the menu come up? If the menu comes up fine, then you know the problem is in the data path somewhere. Borrow a cable, borrow a monitor and see if you can get a picture.
posted by defcom1 at 3:47 PM on November 30, 2010

Is it the sort of blue screen that (some) monitors display when they aren't getting a video signal? Does it also display ACER or something like that?
posted by 6550 at 6:12 PM on November 30, 2010

1- If this is a CRT, don't go jacking around inside unless you know what you are doing. CRTs store dangerous energy for a long time. We are talking knock you on your ass, arm hurts for a month kind of energy.

2- Hit the menu button for the monitor. See if the menu is also blue. If it is, something is wrong in the circuitry, not worth screwing around with.

3- If the menu has all the right colors, you might have simple cable issues. But still not worth trying to fix unless you already know how to fix monitors.
posted by gjc at 7:20 PM on November 30, 2010

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