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Old 03-30-2006, 07:48 PM   #1
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ubuntu ruined my monitor!

I have a KDS Xflat 17" monitor. When I booted up ubuntu, and logged in, nothing happened. So i hit ctrl+alt+backspace, and when it brought me back to the login screen, my monitor was way whacko! Now there is about a 1/2" margin on the top/botom of my monitor, about a 3" area on either side where i can not see, and the sides are way curved (windows look like an hourglass!). I've tried messing around with the monitor settings on the monitor, and i can fix the top/bottom thing, but there is no way to change the left/right, as if the monitor is now broken. I know it's not just ubuntu, because the same thing happens when i boot windows and use the monitor on my laptop. Is this ubuntu's fault? Is my monitor permanantly screwed? Is there a way to fix it? If not, can the ubuntu people reimburse me?
Old 03-30-2006, 08:34 PM   #2
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Er, no, it's not ubuntu's fault. It's YOUR fault for not making sure that a compatible refresh rate was selected., XFree86, and heck, even Windows all warn you that some monitors can be damaged if you select an incompatible refresh rate, that you should consult TFM (The "Fine" Manual), etc.

Will the Ubuntu folks reimburse you? No, this is a good lesson where you learned that one should RTFM and not blame one's problems on other people, especially not volunteers who provided you a FREE operating system successfully used by millions of users who bothered to RTFM.

However, give this a shot:

- read TFM for your monitor and see if there is a "reset to factory settings" feature
- Connect the monitor to the laptop, set the display to 640x480@60hz, switch to the VGA port, and see if that mode works, If it does, the monitor is fine. If not, it's toast.

As far as the monitor's being toast:

I have only ever had ONE monitor ever die from a video driver issue, and it happened on WINDOWS; it was the result of a Windows service pack breaking an ATI video driver. I was astonished, as I have NEVER had any monitor die like that, before then and nor have I had it occur since then. What do I blame it on? Coincidence. I think the monitor may have been on the edge of failing to begin with, and being thrown into an incompatible mode probably just pushed it over the edge.

I've developed a video driver for X (on Slackware in 1994 or 1995) where I had to write assembly to crawl through various registers setting values and logging the results so I could figure out which registered controlled which parameters. The monitor I was using at the time did not have all of the overscan protection circuitry that modern monitors have, and yet that monitor survived unscathed - and that monitor was a piece of crap Compudyne (a CompUSA house brand "el cheapo monitor of the day" monitor). I managed to adapt the ET4000 X Server to work with my system and abused the heck out of the monitor to find the registers I needed to write the mode information to.

My point? Ubuntu is NOT to blame. Documentation is plentiful. Warnings are plentiful. Warnings are based only in CYA, not in typical results. I have personally witnessed drivers killing only ONE monitor, that was on WINDOWS, and I do not believe the software was directly responsible, but merely the hair which broke the camel's back. I've worked on thousands of computers over the years; the vast majority being PCs, a lot of Macs, and a good number of *nix boxes. Out of all of those, the only monitor I've seen die in the PC world which coincided with a resolution/refresh change was on WINDOWS.

Try diagnosing the problem a bit better (the monitor may not be toast), if the monitor IS toast it was very likely not the software that killed it, but just pushed it over the edge, and next time around consult The Fine Manual for your monitor and check out the man page for xmode and some basic Xfree86/Xorg howtos.
Old 03-30-2006, 08:37 PM   #3
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One last thing: before you go blaming Ubuntu for your monitor problems, check out THIS thread:

Don't act like the Tuttle town manager.
Old 03-30-2006, 10:21 PM   #4
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I've used dozens of monitors on as many computers (and many overlapping combinations) and while I have many times made my screen (temporarily) unusable by playing with the settings, I have never seen one broken by bad settings. Most monitors display something like "Out of Range" if bad settings are specified. Were you using DVI or VGA in making your connection?
Old 03-31-2006, 12:38 PM   #5
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Oh man Ubuntu's gone too far this time!
When will the destruction end?
Old 03-31-2006, 08:28 PM   #6
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My experience is similar to Matir's -- try powering everything down, then connect the monitor to another PC, or alternatively, boot up a Live CD. I'd be willing to be that the condition you're describing will disappear. If not, trying adjusting things with the monitor's control buttons (usually on the front of the monitor itself)

Either way, Ubuntu and/or Linux isn't the culprit. Good luck with it
Old 04-01-2006, 09:27 AM   #7
Registered: Apr 2005
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Due to monitors getting fried by unwitting users, manufacturers have started building in protection circuitry to avoid problems with bad refresh rates, etc. Like Matir said,
Most monitors display something like "Out of Range" if bad settings are specified.
This had already been implemented on crt monitors, and therefore are standard equipment on lcd monitors. Also i don't reckon it'll display anything at all if the monitor is toast. Story time A long long time ago, i didn't rtfm (in my defence, there wasn't one) and set wrong rates for the monitor. It went blank, and after some seconds smoke started coming out of the casing. Fearing for my life (i was a kid who watched too much tv, images of the glass exploding in my face was scrolling through my brain) so i cowered under the table...eventually i regained enough sanity to pull the plug, which was right beside me
Back to seriousness. xf86 version 4 onwards supports DDC - meaning it communicates with the monitor to determine the allowable refresh rates, making it impossible to get the values too high (unless you deliberately do so).
But does anyone know why exactly excessive refresh rates kill monitors? A quick google didn't turn up any answers...a hardware repair guy once told me it's the electronics that get fried, not the tube itself (this was before lcds). But no details as to why exactly the electronics gets fried-i didn't think to ask at the time. Perhaps someone might care to clarify?


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