How to repair a dead monitor

Back in September, long before I got caught up in repairing the damage caused by a water leak in my bathroom (which turned into a full-scale remodel of the entire shower unit), I had a dead monitor. Aside from the fact that it wasn't that old, I resented the idea that the only way to fix it was to chuck it and get a new one. I'm not made of money, you know. [Although if you bought my book, it would help the cause, hint hint.]

So, with a little help from Google and the geeks who have trod this path before me, I diagnosed the problem and fixed my dead monitor. For the sake of anyone who might have the same problem, let me offer up a little search term Bingo to assist Google in bringing this solution to you. If you want to know how to fix a dead LCD monitor, or how to repair a Samsung LCD monitor, or if your Samsung LCD monitor doesn't work, please keep reading.

Now that the Bingo is out of the way, on to the pictures!

The monitor is a Samsung 906BW. Apparently, Samsung had a period where they bought cheap capacitors, the consequence of which was a lot of Samsung monitors with lousy durability. 

 The first step in this repair job, as with any repair job, is to pour a cup of coffee. The second step is to remove the stand base and get ready to pop the bezel from the front. In this case, it was easier to lever the screen up, allowing the bezel to press against the desk. Note that I put a towel down first to protect the screen and bezel from scratches.
The bezel took a bit of persuading to come free. There were a couple of snap tabs holding it on, and a grooved rim. Gentle wiggling with the edge of a thin bladed screwdriver was enough to separate it.


There are a great many connectors and mini wiring harnesses to keep track of. I found it easiest to take lots of pictures to refer to as I went.

Some of the connectors are physically identical, but orient separately to control different parts of the screen, sending streams of data to the different pixel zones. Don't mix them up. Crossing the streams would be bad.
Once the backlight and control toggles are disconnected and removed, the mainboard is exposed. 
Here's the mainboard unscrewed from the frame and flipped over for inspection...
... and there's the problem! See how the tops of the two middle capacitors are bulged upwards? Those are popped capacitors, semi-exploded from the degradation of the electrolytes that let them hold the electricity. I have no idea if PopCap games (makers of Plants vs. Zombies) took their name from popped caps as a geeky joke, or if they just like the closures for soft drink containers.
These capacitors look OK, but since they are from the same manufacturer as the popped capacitors, I replaced them all.
An electronics clip stand is helpful for this kind of thing. Rather than hunting around for individual capacitors, I bought a repair kit from LCDalternatives. I searched for my particular model of Samsung LCD monitor, paid my $19 and got a set of six replacement capacitors, rating matched to the originals.
I removed all the capacitors (FYI, this is a nice video on how to desolder capacitors) and soldered in new ones. Here is the backside of the circuit board after the replacement. The wires sticking up are the capacitor stems, before trimming...
... and after trimming. I should note that I used a voltage meter to check the integrity of the solders and the new circuits before sealing everything back up. I didn't want to have to rip it all apart again! Once the circuits were good, I put it all back together and ran the initial power-up smoke tests. It all checked out, so I plugged it back into my computer and...
... success!

This was a $19 repair that saved me the $200-300 for a new monitor. There are lots of videos and blogs about people dumpster diving for "dead" monitors, brought back to life via this method. I don't know that I'll pursue that course, but it was satisfying to be able to bring mine back to life.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. When I wrote up a series of blog posts about cleaning up & installing a fireplace insert, it became the major search term that led people to TFM. You're probably going to find this will have a similar effect.

    I'm looking at a similar situation. The battery in my iPod 5G (aka iPod video) is starting to go, and I'm faced with the decision of dropping several hundred bucks on a new one or $29 on a battery replacement kit that includes tools. Not a tough decision, really.

  2. Tony,

    Good for you! But, I do have to ask how much time you spent on this? For me, this is a project that would take hours and hours, mainly because I am not as dexterous as you seem to be. So while I certainly would save considerable money, I think I would lament the loss of time it took. Especially since, if my experiences remain to true to form, I would've broken two other things whilst fixing the one :-)

    Happy Thanksgiving lad!

    All the best,

  3. @ FAR: A while ago, I wrote a blog post titled "How to behave like a professional". It's still one of the top search terms.

    iPods and such are a harder call than a screen. With those, the technology moves so fast that you might want to get the new capabilities rather than keep the old one going. OTOH, a refurbished iPod makes a nice present for someone not on the bleeding edge.

    @ D. Paul: The time vs. money calculation is complicated. I'm aware that part of the reason I was able to do this job for $19 is that I'd already spent money on the soldering gun, wire nippers and other tools. Much like money spent on tools, time spent acquiring skills is amortized over multiple jobs. For example, swapping the popped capacitors on this circuit board took a while, since I'd never done it before. However, in repairing my secondary computer, I did the same job on the motherboard in about one-fifth the time, thanks to the expertise & confidence gained.

    I've always been interested in gaining new skills. That way, when the Russians drop the bomb or when the giant meteor hits, I'll be too valuable to be killed and eaten by the ravening hordes of post-apocalyptic cannibal bikers.

  4. Using it today for the same issue! Thanks for capturing this process.

  5. Awesome! I'll be sure to use this!

  6. What exact tools did you use to do that?

  7. My problem was just a loose connection. I found the hardest thing was removing the plastic facia without damaging it. After that easy. This was a useful guide to disassembly though. Only other thing I'd recommend is that people take a lot of photos on their phone as they go through so you have a.visual record of the process to.revserse.


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