Tag Archives: LCD-screen

Tips for Buying the Best LCD Monitor

This post was actually written by Jeroen De Mol, another intelligent community member-at-large. If you have any further tips about hardware or software, feel free to send ’em in!

After looking at some of your videos on YouTube, I came across: “I want to buy a monitor. This video has some great tips, but it was missing something that might be important to the people who are considering buying a new monitor.

The only real tip missing in the video is the one about different LCD Panel Technology. At the moment there are 3 different technologies used in LCD displays: (1) TN Panel; (2) VA Panel; (3) IPS Panel. When buying a monitor, it is pretty important to know what technology you want, and what is the best for you.

TN (Twisted Nematic) is the technology that is used the most. Monitors using this technology are cheap and have a great response time. The low response time is great for gamers. However, they do have a downside. Color reproduction, viewing angles, and contrast ratios on these panels are the worst of all the LCD panel technology. They are unable to display the full 16.7 million colors that 24-bit has to offer. They can gimmick it, but the result is not the same when you use an 8-bit VA or IPS. TN only offers 6-bit. Pro: cheap. Con: lesser-quality display.

VA (Vertical Alignment) is better than TN, but not as good as IPS. They have beter color reproduction and better viewing angles than TN panels, but the response time is often terrible. They are almost the same as IPS, but the response time is holding them back. The contrast ratios are better than any other panel technology, and because
of that, they are the leaders when it comes down to levels of black. The biggest problem these panels have is color shifting. When you view from an angle, the image looks to have different brightness levels across the screen. Cheaper than IPS, more expensive than TN.

IPS (In Plane Switching) are considered to be the best of the best when it comes down to image quality, color accuracy, and viewing angles. However, all of this beauty comes with a price. These panels are the best for graphic designers. Gamers might not be so fond of them, since the response time is slower than TN panels.

How to Fix a Laptop LCD Screen

Geek!This is Sarah’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

There can be many difficulties when fixing a laptop. Problems can arise with a laptop at any time, including with the screen. People simply buy a new computer when the screen burns out because it is too expensive to replace the screen. What people don’t realize is that fixing a laptop screen can be quite simple. In order to perform such a task as fixing a laptop screen, you have to be somewhat familiar with circuitry. Any electronic hobbyist can learn how to fix the backlight of a laptop screen.

First, you must gather the necessary equipment and hardware to perform this task successfully. You will need solder and a soldering iron with the soldering station to be able to properly set the temperature of the iron. Also needed is desoldering braid to remove excess solder; you will need an open area such as a kitchen table or workbench to be able to spread out the parts. Be sure that you are not worried about damage to the area you are working on because hot solder can damage work areas. The final equipment needed is an anti-static wrist band to prevent damage to the circuitry, screwdrivers to disassemble and reassemble the screen, and a micrometer or caliper to measure the backlight.

Second, power down the laptop and remove any power supply from the laptop; this would include the power cord and battery. Connect the grounding wrist strap to a grounding point. A grounding point may consist of metal pipes in the house or even a metal window sill; wearing this strap prevents any static damage to the circuitry of the laptop. You will now need to take the bezel or plastic piece off the front of the laptop screen. In many cases, the screws holding the bezel together are covered with rubber feet on the front of the bezel; in order to remove the rubber feet, simply take a flat head screwdriver and pry lightly underneath the rubber foot; the rubber feet are magnetically attached to the screws. Once the rubber feet are removed you can start to remove the screws from the bezel. Once the screws are removed from the bezel, take a flat head screw driver and gently pry the front of the bezel from the back panel of the screen.

Third, you will need to remove the cover plate above the keyboard. This cover plate will sometimes have the power button mounted to it as well. In order to remove the plate, you will need a flat head screw driver. On one side of the plate, there will be a small cutout next to it; this is where you place the screw driver to pry it from the laptop. Remember to be gentle; not a lot of force is needed. With some laptops, you will need to tilt the screen all the way back to remove the plate. Once this is removed, you can proceed to unplug the screen from the motherboard. In order to unplug the screen, the keyboard will have to be removed; remember that this depends on the brand and type of laptop. To remove the keyboard, you can remove several screws located at the top of the keyboard. After the screws are removed, you can gently pull the keyboard away from the motherboard which is under the keyboard. You can now proceed to trace the screen cable to the appropriate connector and remove the connector from the motherboard; some additional screws may need to be removed.

Fourth, you can remove the screen from the back panel of the laptop. Depending on brand and type of the laptop, some screens will be attached to the back panel with a few screws. If the screen is attached to the back panel, remove the screws before removing the screen. Once all the screws holding the screen into place have been removed, you can proceed to remove the screen from the back panel.

Next, you will need to disassemble the screen itself, a laptop screen, also called a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), consists of several layers within a housing. The housing consists of a metal or plastic frame with a plastic plane located on the back of the LCD. This plane also holds the backlight control circuitry. Proceed to remove the screws from the side of the frame in order to gain access to the internal parts of the LCD. When the screws are finally removed from the side, you may have to cut the tape from the top or bottom of the LCD and frame. Be careful not to cut the wires that lead to the LCD; if these are cut, the LCD will be irrepairable and a replacement will need to be purchased. After the screws and tape are removed, proceed to find the backlight, which is located on the top and bottom of most LCDs. The backlight will have a metal casing to protect it and this can be simply pulled out without having to remove any attachment methods.

Now you will have to determine the type of backlight used. Many laptops have Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps or CCFLs. A CCFL looks like a miniature straight fluorescent light used in ballasts in houses and office buildings. The CCFLs are attached by a couple of wires. Turn on the soldering station to approximately 500 degrees. You will also need the desoldering braid. Use the solder iron to heat up the solder on the cable and backlight. Hold the braid to the solder on the cable to remove it. Once the backlight is completely removed from the cables, use a caliper or micrometer to measure the diameter as well as the length of the CCFL; the measurement must be taken in millimeters. You must find a company that sells CCFL backlights. One company that distributes CCFLs is Digikey Corporation. Find a CCFL that matches the length and diameter of your previous CCFL; you cannot order the new CCF until the measurements are taken. Wait for your order to arrive. Once the order has arrived, proceed to replace the old CCFL by soldering the new CCFL to the cables and place it back into the metal casing.

Finally, you can start to reassemble the screen. Place the metal or plastic frame back onto the screen; attach the screws. Before reassembling the laptop screen with the bezel, plug the screen into the connector and plug the laptop into power and power up the laptop to verify that the CCFL works. Once you have verified that the CCFL works, turn the laptop off and reattach the screen into the back panel with the proper screws. Once the screen is on the back panel, snap the bezel to the screen and back panel and insert the appropriate screws and then attach the rubber feet onto the screws. Reattach the keyboard with the appropriate screws and attach the cover plate. Now your laptop is ready to have the battery installed and power applied. Start up your laptop and enjoy your new and bright screen.

Reasons to Have a Second Monitor

Geek!This is Taylor Brazelton’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

  1. A second monitor is a way to expand your desktop interactivity. You can work faster and you’ll be able to see more than one application (in a maximized mode) at the same time. This insures the most enjoyable desktop experience.
  2. Are you a professional video editor? You don’t have to be one to enjoy the use of a second monitor (or more, if you wish). A second monitor is almost essential to a video editor, as it allows you the best work environment for your editing by allowing you to expand your video editor software’s timeline across both screens. This gives you the most workspace – so that you can easily see the spot at which you are editing in a more detailed position.
  3. What about web designers? Well, don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you – for I am one, too. The second monitor might sound like a stretch, but it is actually a good thing. You know when you’re developing and you have to switch back and forth between your source editor, your web browser and maybe even your database tools? Well, with a second monitor it is simple to switch between your web browser and your source editor. Using the second screen you can put your source editor on one screen and your web browser on the other screen. That way your OS doesn’t have to re-draw the GUI for the applications each time you want to switch windows. This gives you more time to work on your project instead of waiting for the GUI to load. Assuming your computer is as slow as mine. πŸ˜‰

Now that we’ve talked about the top 4 reasons on why you should have a second monitor, I think it is time we talk about why you shouldn’t or why you can’t.

  1. A second monitor is a great thing to have, but what if you have a slow computer? How will this give you a better experience? Well, the hard reality of it is… it doesn’t truly help THAT much. If you want to use a second monitor to it’s fullest extent, I would suggest you buckle down and buy yourself a new computer. I know times are tight right now, but when I was a 13 year-old, there was always a lawn that needed mowing.
  2. What if you don’t have enough room for a second monitor? There is always the option of getting a new desk or cramming a monitor on the desk you already have. This isn’t really the ideal place to have a second monitor. If your desk is always cluttered and messy then this is probably not a good option for you (if don’t want your monitor to fall off your desk). I have seen this before, and it’s not a good thing. It took my friend and me about two months to clean up all the shattered pieces of broken monitor! Every time you walked in with bare feet, you’d get a small piece of glass or a different part of the monitor stuck in your foot. πŸ˜›
  3. “Okay, so I have enough room for a second monitor but what about money? I don’t have enough.” This is a common problem for everyone today, although there is always a way. Try doing odd jobs for your friends, family, or around town. Maybe mowing the lawn for a friend or helping the computer illiterate fix a problem with their computers. You can find a job just about anywhere you are, just find one that suits you and what you can do. Also, remember when saving for a big item like a monitor, that you do not spend / waste all the money before you’ve reached your goal. I suggest that you put away 90% of your earnings and then carry around the other 10%.

Don’t forget that no matter what you want, you always have to work for it. Nothing in life is totally free, so be sure to save every penny you can because somewhere down the road you may want to use it. Like… if you were to buy a second monitor for your computer.

Dual Monitors: Is There Any Need?

Codename Frost has a burning question:

Hey Chris, I was just wanting your opinion on dual monitors. Is there really any need for them nowadays? Considering we have applications like “Spaces” on OSX and Compiz on Linux, where it allows you to have multiple desktops running at the same time. Considering you can only look at one monitor at one time, where’s the need in having more than one, when you can run multiple desktops on the one monitor, and being able to switch between them instantly. The only real reason I see, in having more than one monitor is for the people who like playing simulation games. ie. Flight Simulator / Forza Motorsport who not only want to see in front of them, but around them as well. But even that isn’t a viable reason to have more than one monitor, as these games allow you to look to your left/right using a mouse/stick…

Dude. Since I’ve connected the MacBook Pro to my second 30″ monitor, I totally miss it as a secondary screen to my primary one. I like using that second screen for my tracking tools (widgets, IM, chat, etc.). I couldn’t live with a single monitor. Just couldn’t.

Multiple Monitor Madness

I’m so in love with Stefan Didak’s desktop. I can’t even think of what I’d do with that much desktop real estate (or how I’d pay the monthly electric bill to support that many screens). Two is more than enough for me, although some people find three indispensible – and Windows hardly supports more than one. Here I thought I’d be doing well with a 30″ plus one! Stefan claims “You can never have enough screen real-estate!” Maybe not, but you can certainly push the desktop envelope.

Jeez. My desktop isn’t even big enough to support that much hardware. I’m still waiting on Office Depot to redeliver the hutch (as well as other items I had to add to a second order). I’m beginning to think that home ownership is nothing more than one neverending task.