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Fixing Stuck Pixels in LCD Screens

They aren't the worst things that could befall an LCD display or control room monitor. But chances are, if an end user spots a dead or stuck pixel, they'll fixate on it until someone gets rid of it.

They aren't the worst things that could befall an LCD display or control room monitor. But chances are, if an end user spots a dead or stuck pixel, they'll fixate on it until someone gets rid of it.

What's the difference? A dead pixel is exactly what it sounds like and usually manifests itself as a black dot on the screen. Truly dead pixels could indicate a problem with the display's transistors for which there's little you can do but check the warranty or live with it (manufacturer's often don't consider pixel problems a defect unless there's a certain number of problem pixels). But even pixels that appear dark and dead may only be stuck.

A stuck pixel–the kind you have a better chance of fixing–is often caused by uneven liquid distribution in the pixel. It may appear red, green, or blue–the colors that make up the pixel. Or it may appear white. Whatever the case, you should first determine for sure if you have a stuck pixel, then takes steps to remedy it.

1. Run Some Software. There are several computer programs, both installed and Web-based, that can find stuck pixels and fix them. So make sure your LCD is hooked up to an Internet-connected PC and try a few out. One oft-recommended software download is called UDPixel (udpix.free.fr). It runs on Windows machines that also run .NET Framework version 2. Another popular program is JScreenFix (jscreenfix.com/basic.php), which is a Java applet that works with Windows, Linux, or Mac computers.
Both programs bascially work by rapidly turning the display's pixels on and off to help pinpoint the stuck pixel and re-energize it. JScreenFix claims to fix most stuck pixels in under 20 minutes.

2. Use Some Elbow Grease. You have to be careful, but you can also poke a stuck pixel back to life. Turn off the LCD and grab a moist washcloth and pen or pencil (something with a dull point–a stylus would be ideal). Through the washcloth, press the stylus pricisely where the stuck pixel would be, then turn on the LCD. Take away the stylus and see if that fixed the pixel.
Alternately, leave the screen on and set it to display a black image (not a blank screen). Tap the screen with a stylus or other rounded tip until the pixel resets.

3. Get a Tool. There are also hardware devices that cliam to fix stuck pixels, such as PixelTuneup (pixeltuneup.com), which works through through the VGA port.
Whatever method you try, don't get careless. And go slowly lest you stick more pixels than you unstick.



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