Monitor Brightness and Contrast
November 19, 2005 7:12 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a good picture on an aging CRT monitor?

I've had a Sony HMD A440 Trinatron monitor for a couple of years and I love it. Over the past year or so though the picture is becoming more and more washed out. I have to set the contrast higher and the brightness lower to maintain the same picture quality. Soon the brightness will be turned all the way down and the contrast all the way up and I'll be stuck.

Is there a way to crack open the case and recalibrate things? Could it be done with software?
posted by joegester to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
If you take a look at past threads, you'll see my warnings and warnings from others:

Monitors, even when unplugged for a week, can store voltages in excess of 20,000 volts. Yes, that many zeroes. While the charge stored isn't likely enough to kill you, the six foot backflip you'll do into the note spike will.

Take it to a professional unless you know what you're doing. By asking here what to do you have shown you don't know what you're doing. :-D

And no, I wouldn't touch the inside of a CRT with a 10 foot pole because I don't know what I'm doing inside one either. Although I have re-assembled one that was dropped. That was dangerous. Luckily I discharged the anode safely first.

Well, since you don't want to believe me, click here on how to begin to repair a TV. Your monitor isn't much different.
posted by shepd at 7:33 PM on November 19, 2005

You can:
1. Spend lots of time and woe fucking about with the thing until the colour is half-way like it used to be; spending many many hours reading websites and taking the thing to bits
2. Buy a 2005FPW flat panel from Dell, which looks better and is better and takes up less room.

I did 1, then 2 and wished I'd gone straight to 2.
posted by bonaldi at 9:18 PM on November 19, 2005

Contrast and brightness settings are inter-dependent. At two years, it sounds like you got a badly made specimen, or you've been over-driving it, by not adjusting it properly in the first place.

As a general rule, you can expect to get between 10,000 -20,000 hrs from a properly-adjusted CRT. CRT aging occurs when the cathode of the electron gun oxidizes, decreasing beam current; while phosphors age, and become less efficient.

How many hours do you have on this thing?

Oh ... and what shepd said.

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:54 PM on November 19, 2005

Seriously, if you crack open the case you stand a good chance of being seriously injured or killed; I cannot emphasize this enough. Get a new monitor.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:40 AM on November 20, 2005

Odd. I had exactly the same problem as you (except by now, my contrast is all the way up, and my brightness all the way down), on a Dell-branded Trinitron.

Odder still, I did exactly what bonaldi did, and got a 2405. Great monitor, though the 1900x1200 looks too small at first; try using a lower resolution at first to ease in.

In extremis, you can get a slightly darker picture on the Trinitron if you adjust the color temperature down. But in the end, it's a losing battle.
posted by orthogonality at 5:39 AM on November 20, 2005

Been there. Mine went dark, and I fought it for a couple of years thinking it was just out of cal. It turned out, it was just dying of old age.
The thing is, CRTs are so cheap now, you might as well give up and buy a new one. That's assuming you want one. Otherwise, maybe it's time for the fancy flatscreen you've been wanting.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 8:59 AM on November 20, 2005

Replacement is pretty much the only solution.

... But how does one go about properly disposing of a no-longer-desired CRT monitor?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:25 AM on November 20, 2005

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