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The cathode ray tube in my monitor failed just as X was starting up. It might have been just a coincidence - the monitor is eight years old - but ...
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  1. #1
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Does starting X stress monitors?


    The cathode ray tube in my monitor failed just as X was starting up. It might have been just a coincidence - the monitor is eight years old - but I can't help wondering if it had something to do with the brilliant white flash that always appears across my screen just before X puts up its grey initial screen. It looks rather like the flash you get when XSetup or similar programs probe your video card. It made me wonder:

    1) Does X carry out its own probe and, if so, why? Surely all the information it needs about the card and the monitor should already be in the /etc/XF86Config file.

    2) Might this flashing weaken the monitor tube in any way? Would a monitor be more likely to fail at this point just as incandescent lamps usually fail at the moment when they are switched on? And would it be more likely to fail early?

    The monitor was an IBM MM75 multimedia with a very nice built-in sound system and they don't make them any more so I really feel its loss! I want to avoid repetitions with the replacement.

    I am running Red Hat 9 but I didn't do the XF86Config myself; anaconda did it, having recognised my monitor at installation; I assume (hope?) it put in the correct refresh rates. I have been using Linux for a year and a half and feel quite at home with it but I am no good at all with hardware.
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  2. #2
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    Hi Hazel,

    If monitor settings are out of range, it can stress your monitor. How long have you been using your current setup?

    I have 9 computer stations in my classroom. The monitors usually stay on 24/7 during the school year. They began to have a pretty high failure rate at about four years. The monitors would all be six years old now and only a couple are original. They are generic 17" monitors.

    I have a couple of monitors here at home a Nokia that is 10+ years old and a 22" Gateway that is over five years old. Both are working reliably. (Crossing fingers and knocking on wood )

    Jeff
    Registered Linux User #391940

  3. #3
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    I used to wonder about that myself. I'm pretty sure it's okay though. I have noticed that it's not nearly as noticeable in Xorg as it is with XFree86 though.

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  5. #4
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Does starting X stress monitors

    I haven't been using Linux on this box for long; that's why I was suspicious. I have another monitor now, a generic 17", but just for safety I have reset my default runlevel to 3. I like using the CLI and I can always startx if I want to do something graphical. Less stress on the tube thataway!
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    Uhh... Did you say you get a brilliant white flash when starting X? Because I definitely don't...

  7. #6
    Linux Guru fingal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gullible Jones
    Uhh... Did you say you get a brilliant white flash when starting X? Because I definitely don't...
    Me neither. I have a thing about monitors though: I hate it when they break. I found this discussion on another forum which might help a bit.

    A tv engineer told me that the average life of a CRT monitor is 10 years. You might manage 11-12 or (more likely) 7-8 years. I know that if your X settings are wrong it can blow a tube.
    I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

  8. #7
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Thanks, Fingal. That discussion you linked to was really interesting.

    The most stressful things seem to be switching on and off, and running the monitor too fast. I must admit, I do the former quite a lot because I seldom have my computer on for more than a few hours at a time. I know with Linux you can have it up and running 24/7 but it seems very wasteful of electricity. I don't think my sync rates are the problem because in both cases (the old monitor and the new) they were chosen for me by the Red Hat config tool.

    I have only used X once on this monitor and it didn't flash when starting. I wonder now if those flashes were a warning that the monitor was on the edge of failure.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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  9. #8
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
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    hazel, do you start your computer everyday? If so, you will use less electricity by leaving your monitor on and letting the OS put the monitor to sleep.

    It takes more electricity to start the monitor than it does to let it just sleep.
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  10. #9
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    I should be so lucky! Since I retired I have been frantically busy; I only get to play with my computer 3 or 4 days a week, less some weeks. Is it really worth leaving it on all week just for that?
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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  11. #10
    Linux Engineer psic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by budman7
    you will use less electricity by leaving your monitor on and letting the OS put the monitor to sleep.

    It takes more electricity to start the monitor than it does to let it just sleep.
    Just a question: does this apply to LCD monitors as well or only the CRT's? As far as I know, LCD's use less electricity to begin with...
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