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Question

How do I correct lines & distortions on my IMac OS X monitor

by Mamajanerush / November 24, 2011 10:35 AM PST

The monitor on my iMac OS X purchased 12-06--serial # xxxxxxxxxxxx-- is beginning to have colored vertical lines and distortions . Would hooking up another monitor to my computer be a solution for this or would these distortions just be mirrored on the attached monitor, or is there any other way to solve this problem?

Note: This post was edited by a forum moderator to remove serial number on 11/28/2011 at 9:02 AM PT

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All Answers

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Answer
The only real solution
by Jimmy Greystone / November 24, 2011 11:20 AM PST

The only real solution is to have the display panel replaced. An external monitor would be something of a workaround, assuming it's not the video chip that's bad (which is rather rare with symptoms like this).

Given the age of the unit, replacing the display panel probably isn't worth the expense. Even if you wanted to try it on your own, getting the front bezel off of those units is a PITA even if you know what you're doing. Try and do it without the proper tools, and you'll bend some very fragile clips inside the front bezel that will make it not sit right when you go to put it back on. This can be anything from a minor cosmetic issue to preventing you from being able to use your optical drive.

If you want to use an external monitor as a cheap temporary solution, you can certainly give it a shot, but I wouldn't spend any money on repairing this thing. Put that money towards a new unit.

Also, in the future, it's generally not a good idea to post the SN of your unit. I'll go ahead and report it to the mods and hopefully someone can edit it out of your post for you.

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Answer
How confusing is this?
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 24, 2011 1:00 PM PST

You complain about your iMac and you, foolishly, post what you say is the serial number of the iMac.

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Either way
by Jimmy Greystone / November 24, 2011 10:17 PM PST
In reply to: How confusing is this?

Either way, my advice above would hold. Replacing the display panel on an 06 MacBook would probably be even more of a PITA than an iMac, and wouldn't be worth the expense. Also, assuming it's the display panel that's going bad, an external display would be a viable temporary solution.

It's also equally not worth spending any money to get this thing repaired, as it would be far better spent on getting a new unit.

Can't argue with the poor judgment in posting a SN, as I already pointed out. Probably not quite as big a deal on something this old, but if it were a newer unit under warranty, that could be bad.

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Are newer monitors prone to have this problem ?
by Mamajanerush / November 24, 2011 11:44 PM PST
In reply to: Either way

Thanks for your reply to my post---didn't realize posting the serial # was not good---just thought it would help identify which iMac we have ---and it is an imac---not a macbook !! Guess I will just use this one as long as I can and then consider purchasing a new one. I have heard of others with older iMacs having this same problem..Has Apple done anything to correct this?

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I am going to answer no.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 25, 2011 7:08 AM PST

No maker, including Apple are making designs that will stand up to 5+ years without repairs.

I know I own toasters that are 10+ years old but not one Apple or PC has survived 5+ years without repairs.
Bob

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with all due respect
by macnerd10 / November 25, 2011 10:23 AM PST

This is not true. I own several G4-G5-Intel laptops and desktops and most of them still run without any major repair. Two did require repair (a Quicksilver'01 had a hard drive replaced once and is still working, and an MBP'2007 had video card replaced). A PB'04, an MBP'06, two G5'06 are OK.

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So they required minor repairs?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 25, 2011 1:19 PM PST
In reply to: with all due respect

I did not differentiate major and minor repair. I consider a fan or drive failure a minor repair but imagine the average owner. ANY failure is a disaster to them.

If you think folk are upset now, wait for the next wave of HDTV and tablet failures. You see it already where gear costs nearly as much or more to repair than replace. This is the way of today's gear.
Bob

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There's nothing to correct
by Jimmy Greystone / November 25, 2011 10:38 AM PST

There's nothing to correct. It's a failure of the transistors that control the subpixels so that they get "stuck". When you figure the billions of times over the years that unit has been in operation that transistor has changed those subpixels, it's hard to argue it didn't last a pretty good long time.

Like almost everything mass produced, quality will tend to vary a little. Some will last seemingly forever, while others will fail almost immediately. Most are somewhere in between, but yours is a bit closer to the former than the later at around 5 years out.

Bob's toaster example is a bit of a red herring since even your most bare bones of LCD monitors is many times more complex than even the average toaster. The average toaster is just some heating coils and springs. It also likely only gets used for a few minutes once a day, as opposed to hours on end, daily. You try that with a toaster and those heating coils will have likely melted within a fortnight. However, as computers age, things tend to break down. Plastics become brittle, solder joints dry out and go cold, capacitor gel loses effectiveness, there's a whole host of things that can, and will, go wrong given enough time. You have imperfect materials being used in an imperfect process, so expecting anything less than an imperfect end product would be silly.

The one thing I will say about Apple, is they stock repair parts for every model for 5 years after they discontinue it for a new model. Technically 7 years, but only people in California can get those parts in years 6 and 7. That is a pretty long produce lifecycle. A lot of companies *cough*Acer*cough* might only stock parts for 6 months, or until they run out of materials for a given run of a unit and they move on to the next iteration. Dell is almost as easy to deal with as Apple on getting parts... As long as the unit is under warranty. Dell just has no real system in place for getting repair parts out of warranty like Apple. I haven't been directly involved, but I've been hearing a lot of the discussions about Asus where I work, and it sounds like they're just making things up as they go right now. HP is only keeping their computer business so that places like Best Buy and Fry's will keep selling their printers, which doesn't instill me with a great deal of faith about them. So, while it's true all computers will likely fail eventually, there's a big difference between the relative ease with which you can get the thing repaired, and frankly, Apple is pretty much top of the heap.

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Will lines & distortion be mirrored on external monitor?
by Mamajanerush / November 26, 2011 10:14 AM PST

I may be missing something or not understanding, but it seems this has not been answered----, will the vertical colored lines & flickering distortion be mirrored on an external monitor ?

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That depends,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 26, 2011 11:01 AM PST

if the problem is with the graphics chip on the logic board, then the answer is yes,

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(NT) Does your iMac even have a video out port?
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 26, 2011 11:04 AM PST
In reply to: That depends,
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They all do
by Jimmy Greystone / November 26, 2011 11:21 AM PST

They all do, going back to at least the half-moon/sunflower iMac G4. I forget if it's a Mini-DVI or Mini-VGA, but it's there on the 06 and 07 models. I'm not sure when it was they enabled extended desktop via external video as opposed to simply mirroring, might well have been with the shift to x86 CPUs.

And just for the record, I did answer the question about the symptoms showing up on an external display in my first post. First paragraph of the first post even.

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Ooops, it sure does, but only mirroring
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 26, 2011 9:15 PM PST
In reply to: They all do

I had forgotten about that port on mine as I really have no use for two monitors showing the same picture.

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Guess I wasn't clear
by Jimmy Greystone / November 26, 2011 10:47 PM PST

Guess I wasn't clear in that I was talking to the OP with the second paragraph.

Anyway, that port is quite useful for diagnostic purposes when you need to figure out if you've got a bad video card or LCD panel, but yes, it's probably of limited utility for most everyone else if it only does mirroring. Could have sworn they added the ability to drive two independent displays earlier than Late 09, but then I don't get a lot of those older iMacs in, and I rarely have the time to sit around playing with obscure features like that when there's a backlog of units people want fixed and returned.

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