Save your monitor from landfill!

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My Samsung SyncMaster 215TW started playing up recently, taking longer and longer to turn on and then flickering on start-up before picture stabilised and then finally the display not coming on at all. Even though this monitor is getting on a bit now, it still has a pretty good picture from its 21” screen so I was loathe to just to put it in the skip.

A bit of on-line surfing came up with likely suggestions for the issues which looked to come down to the power board as the power light still showing – just no display. The chaps at Corporate Computer have produced a 3-part YouTube video on how to 1) disassemble the monitor, 2) change 6 capacitors, and 3) re-assemble and test.

Some more surfing on eBay and it turns out there are sellers who make up a kit with the correct 6 capacitors. It had to be worth a go, especially as including delivery from the USA to the UK, it was only going to cost just over £10.

The delivery from the USA was very fast – about 5 days from order – and the pack I received from LCD Alternatives has everything you need, including the 6 capacitors, solder, de-solder braid, swabs and some cleaning pads. Impressive stuff!

Capacitor Kit

The YouTube video is equally impressive with a step by step guide for every stage. I had no trouble following the videos to take the monitor apart and remove the power board. De-soldering is probably just practice but this was the most difficult part for me – maybe my soldering iron wasn’t powerful enough, but I found it hard to get the capacitors out. I had to waggle the capacitor from underneath whilst trying to de-solder. The de-solder braid did work OK in the end but it looks so much easier in the video. I also tried a ‘solder-sucker’ but couldn’t get this to do much – probably due to my incompetence at de-soldering(!). Make sure you pay attention and work out correct points to de-solder when working on the reverse of the board! I managed to unsolder something I shouldn’t have but luckily was able to solder it back in – phew!

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I did them one at a time to make sure I put the correct values back in the right places. The replacements in the kit varied in size very slightly from the originals but were an exact match for microfarad value. I definitely suggest buying a kit like this from someone who specialises in monitor repairs. I think it would be too easy to get the wrong sort of capacitors as there seems to be a wide range available with different specifications.

After replacing the capacitors, I partially re-assembled and tested the monitor. It worked! Patted myself on the back 🙂 and completed snapping the shell back together and screwing shut.

Three days later as I type this, monitor still working perfectly. My monitor has been saved from landfill and my wallet saved from having to pay for a replacement! I would say even it you have a modicum of computer and soldering skills it’s worth giving it a go – for $16 or £10 it has to be worth it! LCD Alternatives have kits for all types of monitors and their speed of service was great too.

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