Aotearoa People's Network

How to destroy a PC monitor (in one easy lesson)

When you have computer equipment in a public environment where anyone can use it, it's inevitable that at some point something will get damaged either through vandalism, normal wear and tear, or because someone accidentally pulled or pushed or twisted something a bit too forcefully.

On the whole modern computing equipment is fairly robust and breakages are less frequent than you would imagine.

But recently our helpdesk staff took a call about some PC monitors that were behaving "oddly". How oddly? Well, the photos below give you an idea.

Photo of LCD monitor showing damage at bottom of screen

Photo of LCD monitor showing damage at bottom of screen

As you can see, there's some quite noticeable damage along the bottom of each screen (all four monitors at the library were affected).

As you can imagine, this makes doing anything with the taskbar at the bottom of the screen a bit difficult. While most of the screen area is okay the life of these pieces of equipment have been shortened significantly and we'll be replacing them in the near future.

And what heinous crime was it that caused the damage?

In a word: cleaning.

What you see above is the result of cleaning products being sprayed directly onto the screen, possibly combined with a bit too much pressure.

LCD monitors are lighter and more compact than the glass CRT screens of old but they're not as rugged. In fact, when it comes to the actual screen component, they're downright delicate and require a light touch.

That's why we've got an FAQ on how to clean them*.

So how do you destroy a monitor? By doing the following:

  • Applying a lot of pressure to the screen. Poking, prodding, jabbing or rubbing an LCD screen can result in discoloration where the impact occurred.
  • Spraying or spilling liquids on them. Spraying cleaning fluid directly onto a screen can cause liquid to pool at the bottom and seep into the electronics, "killing" pixels.
  • Using the wrong kind of cleaner. Use only water or products that are made specifically for LCD screens. Other cleaning products may contain chemicals that can "eat away" at the plastics and components that make up an LCD screen.
  • Wiping anything that isn't a very soft cloth across the screen. LCD screens are made of plastic rather than glass and it scratches pretty easily. Even something seemingly as harmless as a paper towel can create scratches on the surface that will lessen the clarity of the screen. Use a microfibre cloth or a lens cleaning cloth instead.

So now you're all ready to go out there and ruin a monitor. But maybe you could use this information for good and not evil...

*Or you could let this dog do it.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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