Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Website Up

I've just launched a new website for my little side design/consulting business. It details a few of the projects I've done in the past. It's just a small sampling of what I and my partners can do, so if you need something crazy designed or just want to get some feedback on your ideas, check out the Contact page on the site.

Thanks everyone

Monday, September 28, 2009

HPvs19e Monitor Fix

***UPDATE*** This project summary and any further comments/updates have been moved to Please visit the new site for up-to-date info, and to see all the other cool projects!

OK guys, my post on fixing the HP vs19d monitor was immensely popular and it looks like it helped a lot of people save some money on buying a new monitor. I've had several comments made about people that have successfully applied my fix to the vs19e monitors. To help those of you that may be a little uncertain about applying a fix to a different monitor, I've posted images and short instructions for the vs19e below. If you want more explanation, visit the previous post for the vs19d monitor. It goes into a little more depth and detail (vs19d).

So, first things first, here's the image of the monitor:It's almost identical in appearance from the outside to the vs19d. There are a few differences on the inside. The dis-assembly is pretty much identical to the vs19d. First, flip the monitor onto it's front and remove the screw cover at the base. Then remove the three screws holding in the stand:
Next, remove the stand from the monitor, and use a flat head screwdriver to pry the front (light silver) cover from the dark gray main portion of the monitor. See the image below:

When it's all said and done, you should have two pieces now, the main monitor portion and the monitor face plate:

Now, carefully remove the monitor from its case. The switches will still be attached to the main case via a bundle of wires, so be careful not to damage them as you remove the monitor. They will stay attached, so make sure you have room to fold everything out.
As you can see in the above image, there are, like in the vs19d, two metal enclosures in the monitor. We're concerned with the larger of the two. Remove any visible screws securing the metal box. Also remove the screws that hold the power port in place. When you remove the box, you should see the board, like below:

The next step is to find your busted caps. In the monitors I've repaired, they tend to be in the lower right hand corner (referenced to the above image). Someone had already tried to repair this particular monitor and put the caps in backwards. They should have read this post. Oh well. Busted caps seen below:

As an aside, because the question has come up before, that white goo is nothing to be concerned with. HP likely slops that stuff on components that have bare leads to ensure nothing shorts out. I didn't spend too much time inspecting it, but that's my theory. Now you need a way to prop up the board so you can get to the terminals underneath. The board will remained attached via the ribbon cables at the top, so this portion can get a little interesting.
Now heat up your soldering iron, and while melting the solder on the busted caps, pull gently on them to pop them free. Then use some desoldering braid or a desoldering tool to remove the excess solder to make room for the new caps. **I was out of braid, so I used a very small drill bit and very carefully bored out the solder in the holes. Be careful doing this. A dull bit that bites with the torque of a power drill could split the PCB into pieces, then you're screwed.**

The new caps were 1000 microF, 35V (which is overkill) caps from Radio Shack. I recommend these caps over other brands. Some of the other brands I've seen have a different profile and will actually be too tall. Just make sure you get polarity right.

Once everything is soldered in, clip your new caps leads, screw the board back down, screw the metal box back down, reattach the screws at the power port, carefully put the monitor back in the gray case, make sure the switches and speaker wires are all in place (or close to it), reattach the front plate (just press down around the edges, it will snap back together), insert and screw down the stand, and replace the screw cover. Now, hold your breath, plug it in, and hit the power button....

And that's it! You've just fixed your monitor for about $3.00. Also, one more note. It's always nice to work with someone, they can help hold the board or soldering iron if needed. I've included a pic of my work bench buddy below:

UPDATE: I've added some info about finding the busted caps and getting polarity correct. Thanks JoAnna!

1. A cap is blown if the 'X' shaped vent on the top is busted or bulging. You will likely see some brown paste oozing out, but not always. Sometimes, the 'X' vent doesn't fail and the paste comes out the bottom. They're usually pretty easy to spot.

2. On the boards I've worked on, the polarity is indicated on the PCB where the caps are soldered into place. Look at the capacitor on the right in this image ( Underneath, you can see that half of the circle is black. This is generally the negative terminal, and you want to line up the negative pin of the new capacitor with the black semi-circle. You'll also notice the other two caps in the picture are backwards (hence why they exploded and required fixing).

Good luck to everyone. Post questions, comments, successes and failures in the comments below.

If this tutorial saved you lots of money or time, a small donation would be enormously appreciated. This little stream of income allows me to dedicate more time to helping others with their problems. Thanks for stopping by!