FLICKER PROBLEM WITH SAMSUNG SyncMaster 204T MONITOR
BACKGROUND: For 3 years I've had the fortune & misfortune to own two SyncMaster 204T 1600 x 1200 monitors made by Samsung. When they work, it has been wonderful to have 3200 x 1200 pixels of display. When they don't work, its frustrating to have one's concentration interrupted.
The monitors were purchased in September 2005. Sometime in 2006 I had my first encounter with Samsung Customer Service. Flicker problems. I was quite impressed with customer service and the "no questions asked" replacement policy. Then in Jan & Feb 2007 the replacement monitors started acting up. Similar problem. More calls to Customer Service; Two weeks downtime; Warranty replacements; Arguments with UPS store, Wrong color plastic case sssue. In May 2008 when monitor problems re-appeared, any positive impressions of customer service were replaced with negative impressions of Samsung quality.
The customer service representative lead me to believe that the May 2008 replacement would be the last covered under the 3 year warranty. So in March 2009, just 10 months latter when flicker on both monitors rendered them useless within two weeks of one another, I was left with a costly problem.
INTERNET INFORMATION: Web searches uncovered ....
.... obviously lots of Samsung SyncMaster 204 owners have a flicker problem. The general theme seems to be video card <--> monitor interaction which is ruled but in my case. From what's posted, the likelihood is low that's the major problem for these 30 users as well. Also on the web is this short comment....
....where user n7qj posted a possible fix -- replace capacitors C110 and C111.
FIX YOUR MONITOR: Much to my joy and satisfaction, I tried nj7qj's fix and it worked. In a nutshell the repair is a fix to the charging circuit for the inverters that power the fluorescent backlights [the principle of operation is similar to charging a camera strobe, but the operation is continuous and the light output is much lower]. Both monitors my are now in tip top shape. Thanks nj7qj whomever you are.
Being an electrical engineer with analog design and hands-on experience made the fix simple for me [truth be told, the repair to the second monitor took just 10 minutes and a short trip for $4.40 worth of electronic parts -- far less time than calling Samsung Customer Service and interacting with UPS.] The fix is a bit techie and involves opening the case, removing a printed circuit board, and replacing [unsoldering] two capacitors. I've documented the process in a 6mb .pdf file with lots of pictures. [It will take just over 3 minutes because my connection isn't that fast]
If you cannot find the parts at a local electronics parts store, visit www.ebay.com and search for item #220521212196 [Rev 0.0 board] or item 320457819939 [Rev 0.2 board]. Ebay seller "coreweave" sells these for under $10 and ships from Wisconsin. Thanks Katharina, for emailing and sharing this source.
If you're not confident in making these kinds of repairs, take the instructions to a local TV shop [not a computer store] and just about any TV repair person should be able to get the job done for you.
Another alternative is to order a replacement inverter printed circuit board. I've seen these for $50 on eBay. The assembly/disassembly steps are the same, one only saves the de-soldering/soldering task. Search for printed circuit board model IP-58130A. Here's a picture of the label from my board.
Note: If I were Samsung, I'd be pretty embarrassed at shipping refurbished monitors to customers who had already experienced problems with questionable REV 0.2 PCB's !!!
SAMSUNG: Anyone owning a SyncMaster 204 monitor can form their own opinions of Samsung. I found their customer service impressive. I am disappointed by Samsung's product quality. But having spent some years in electronics manufacturing and also seeing the quality problems of China's growth and culture. I can appreciate how a bad batch of capacitors can find their way into a production run. But there is no excuse whatsoever to continue to ship refurbished replacement monitors 3 years later [2005 to 2008] with identical problems.
Samsung's lack of closed loop quality management has already cost them over $2000 of my recent electronics purchases.