Why is my monitor display distorted?

Question

I have 3 computers at my business. in the last 2 months i've had different computer people look at the monitors. When you look at the screen there seems to be dark lines going across the screen. Really bad when working with auto cad. each system is a seperate computer. The only thing that has changed is they put a cell tower about 300 feet from my business. My employees are starting to get headaches. Please advise what to do.

Answer

This question was answered on December 9, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Monitors these days operate using so little current, and have so little shielding, that the display can be distorted by any number of sources.

First, I'd look for any fans or transformers in the area. A desk fan or printer power supply plugged in near the rear of a monitor can cause many different types of screen distortion. Look especially for those "wall wart" type of plug-in supplies which seem to be about everywhere these days, especially ones which are rather large in size.

Don't forget to check the other side of the wall. Plaster board will not shield against interference from a refrigerator motor or fan.

Next, I would relocate one of those machines and see if the problem disappears. Sounds like it probably will.

Then I'd put the machine back in place and look in the phone book under your local municipality or county. Most people don't know this, but there are usually departments which check out problems with radiation. This includes all types of radiation, including interference from radio sources and power lines. They will probably help you out.

If this doesn't pan out, call up the entity who installed that cell tower. Complain loudly. If the problem really occurred concurrently with the tower, it might just be your problem.

Also, try adjusting the refresh rate of your monitors Right click on the desktop, click properties, and adjust the frequency. For reasons I never could understand, these things always default to 60 HZ, which plays off of fluorescent lighting and can give almost anybody headaches.

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Author

Posted by Robert of Mesa Community College on December 9, 2002