Fixing a Monitor With a Breadmaker: AKA Don't Throw It Out!

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Locally in Victoria, BC we have a guy who is taking discarded but usable IT equipment and passing it back to the community for free. His efforts are keeping used electronics out of landfills and helping people out which is fantastic. I picked up a monitor from him the other day and whilst it was indicating that power was available, no video was displayed. Noting the efforts that he goes to in order to recycle I really didn't want to just dump the monitor. After a bit of Googling, some disassembly and basic repairs, I now have a working monitor (and the admiration of my sons!).

I am not saying that at the end of this Instructable you will be able to repair your defective monitor, but hopefully you will have an idea on the methods that I use when investigating and repairing items, and what is possible when you look around you.

Safety. Please ensure that you observe any and all safety precautions when working on electronic equipment. Lethal voltages can be present and if you do not know what you are doing, leave the repair to those that do.

Step 1: Tools

  • A broken device (in this case a monitor)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • The Internet!

Step 2: Troubleshooting

One of the most powerful tools that we now have in our toolboxes is the internet. There are vast amounts of information available on nearly every subject.

It should be the starting point for nearly every project unless you are the expert that wrote that particular wiki page.

A quick search on my particular monitor type and "no display" indicated that the capacitors on the driver board are a common failure point. With this in mind, the work began!

Step 3: Disassemble

Every monitor is likely to be different so I am not going to go into to specific details here. As I said in the previous step, the internet is your friend and you may be able to find detailed instructions on how to take yours apart. In my case, the internet failed me.... So the following is what you want to think about if you can't find disassembly instructions:

  • Look for visable screws and identifying marks. Sometimes manufacturers put a diamond bedside the screws that need to be removed for disassembly.
  • Look for invisable screws. Sounds wrong but go with it! Have a good look and think about where the major stress points are, then look for lables or plastic covers that are hiding addition screws. My monitor had a couple where the stand attached. The stand is unlikely to be just clipped on so there had to be something else securing it.
  • Keep a record of which screws came from which hole. I have found that you will often end up with three or four different screw lengths, it is frustating when you didn't observe this during removal.
  • Look for lever points on the joint between the two halves. There will often be small cutouts on the join where a screwdriver can be inserted to split the two halves of the display. This is always a nervious step as a fair bit of pressure is required but you obviously don't want to break anything. Keep a close eye on the joint and if it isn't coming apart easily, look for more screws.
  • Once you have the back off the monitor, there may be another cover over the electronics. Same as step one, look for screws and remove.

Step 4: Inspect and Replace Defective Component

My friend, the internet, indicated that the capacitors in this type of monitor often fail and therefore this is where I started looking. It was immediately obvious that one capacitor was bulging and didn't look to be in the best condition, so it was my focus. All the other capacitors where checked but only one looked to be in bad condition.

Before the capacitor or any component is removed, you need to check its polarity to ensure that the replacement is inserted correctly. This should be printed on the circuit board but I have seen cases where this has not occured. Specifically for capacitors, ensure they are fully discharged prior to removal.

Remove the component and source an equivalent. Check the part for identifying features - the capacitor I removed had the values on the side, so I checked in my garage before heading to a shop. I was lucky enough to have a replacement on the control board of an old breadmaker that happened to be in the garage. I may have only saved a few cents but it is a good justification as to why so many broken items stack up in the shed!

Solder in the replacement item making sure the correct polarity is observed. Also take the opportunity to check the board again for any other items that may have failed (burn marks), foreign objects causing a short etc.

Once the component is replaced the monitor can be reassembled. This is simply the reverse of however you got the monitor apart.

Step 5: Test

Power up the monitor before plugging it into your computer or laptop. It should power cycle and then show that it has nothing connected to its input. I like to do this "smoke test" prior to connecting it to my good equipment just in case...

Once you are happy that everything is working correctly, turn off the monitor, connect to your PC and bask in the glory of fixing an item that was destined for a landfill!

I admit that I got lucky with the capacitor showing an obvious defect, you may not be so. In this case some basic test equipment should be able to narrow down possible issues. Yet again, the internet will be your friend in this quest.

I hope that this Instructable has given you some ideas on a basic monitor repair and that you will have a go rather than simply throwing it away.

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    41 Discussions

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    antioch

    Question 7 weeks ago

    Great one! Sounds simple enough, alright. A bit dangerous, but with some respect for power and death most somewhat knowledgeble amateurs should be able to pull this off.
    But please be more specific about how to discharge a capacitor.

    1 more answer
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    mattawantioch

    Answer 7 weeks ago

    Afternoon, you are 100% correct that any electronic circuit is dangerous if you have limited knowledge. There are great resources available online to help build understanding of circuits and components and they should be the starting point prior to having a go at a repair. I think that there is even an instructables class.

    There are a number of ways to discharge a capacitor that include a calculated wait time or a specific tool. The most appropriate method is generally based on the rating of the capacitor. Try searching the web and compare with the component that you have.

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    dphillips

    2 months ago on Step 5

    I have fixed 8 of 9 I looked at by replacing damaged filter caps in the power supply. A quick indicator is if the screen flashes on when powered from a cold start then goes out it will be this problem.

    1 reply
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    antiochdphillips

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Filter caps? What are they, what is being filtered? How do you identify them?

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    AngstromLogic

    2 months ago

    Nice Job!

    For those people planning to test capacitors in a circuit (without removing them) consider purchasing a 'Blue Capacitor Tester' or 'Blue ESR Meter' available at anatekinstruments.com or amazon or ebay…. I have saved a number of high priced instruments (such as the HP54111d digital oscilloscope) using one. These will indicate a bad capacitor before the bulge and the capacitors can be tested without unsoldering. Just remember to shut down the power and discharge the caps.

    1 reply
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    RubenP51

    7 weeks ago

    I fixed a monitor several times like that. I replace a cap and it works for 2 months then fails again. After the 4th time I soldered a 220nF ceramic cap parallel to the electrolytic cap on the back of the board. It has worked problem free after that. Apparantly the high intensity voltage spikes of the switching power supply were too harsh for a generic electrolytic, but ceramic caps don't flinch.

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    tiron

    8 weeks ago

    Thank you. My monitor (22" iiyama ProLite E2208HDS) received a second life.

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    GeorgR

    2 months ago

    Oh heck yes! Some popular monitors, but also TVs and PC power supplies are notorious for the bulging caps problem. I already repaired plenty of monitors, like the Samsung BBW226 as well as my PC's PSU. In almost any case, the symptoms are that the device doesn't work at all anymore, so normal persons are just throwing them out, or they get quoted insane rates for a repair. When you open up and look at the components, most of the time the bulging caps are obvious. If you don't have an old radio or in your case a bread maker with those caps, I mean you can get them on ebay or any electronic vendor. They are pennies, literally. And soldering old caps out and new ones in is relatively easy, even if you're not a pro with a soldering iron. Anyway, yes, be careful, especially with power supplies and TVs.

    2 replies
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    SteveDay72GeorgR

    Reply 2 months ago

    I have exactly the same monitor and it also died from bad caps in the PSU. It was an easy fix fortunately, but with it being common in that model it shows bad manufacturing/design in the first place.

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    WhiteTigerTails

    2 months ago

    I've repaired a TV in a similar fashion, however I did have to source a part from Mouser. The part you replace does have to be equivalent, but there are certain values that are allowed to be higher, which in turn, will allow the device to last longer. I forget which, though, so make sure you do your fact checking ahead of time!

    3 replies
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    ivak245WhiteTigerTails

    Reply 2 months ago

    If you are replacing electrolytic capacitors (as in the example shown), the actual value can vary slightly (200 or 250 uf to replace a 220uf unit), but the voltage must be equal or better to the original. The only problem you will find is that the higher the voltage rating, the larger the capacitor will be.

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    SteveDay72ivak245

    Reply 2 months ago

    You also need to match the capacitor's ESR value for a similar one otherwise it can throw out the entire circuit.

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    SteveDay72WhiteTigerTails

    Reply 2 months ago

    Capacitors with a higher temperature rating usually longer-lasting in household electronics.

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    MarioL111

    2 months ago

    If one of the caps bulged, the others on the power supply board are all suspect. No reason to stop now, spend another 2 bucks. Maybe the cap was defective, maybe it was over-volted, both?

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    Bumjelly

    Tip 2 months ago

    Re: Remembering where the screws go. Make a cardboard template.

    I'll share a tip from an old mechanic friend of mine that he showed to me when, as a teenager I was replacing the water pump on a Ford 302 V8 engine. The pump had 7 or 8 bolts with 3 different lengths and they all needed to go back in the CORRECT hole or there would be a big surprise later resulting in a coolant leak and more time spent redoing a simple replacement job!

    Use a piece of Cardboard as a template. Note on it for Top, Bottom, Right, Left and sometimes Front and Back. Using a nail or an awl, poke a slight hole in the cardboard in relation to where the fastener goes.

    As you remove a "fastener", twist it into the appropriate hole in your template and this performs 2 functions - locations and by twisting the fastener into the cardboard, they are much less likely to be misplaced or lost. Have fun!

    cardboard bolt pattern example.jpg
    2 replies
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    mattawBumjelly

    Reply 2 months ago

    Great tip and its definately the way to go. I have done this several time times when rebuilding engines but never thought to apply to electronic projects!

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    maxhuey

    2 months ago

    Did the same but with slightly higher voltage rating. if old cap is rated 25 volt, I use 35 volt replacement.