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Getting a 21" Trinitron monitor tomorrow (Got it and loving it!)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I thought it would be time to upgrade my monitor here at my grandparents' place, since this 50Hz refresh of the TV is killing me. I have a 24" Thomson flat CRT TV that serves as my monitor also. It's a standard TV, so its resolution is pretty limited, the max is 1024x768 and that looks pretty bad since it's downscaled by the graphics card so the TV is able to display it. I've been living with it for the past 3 years because i've been mostly gaming and watching movies where it does great, but since lately i've been spending more time on forums and doing some graphics and web design, i need a real monitor.

I went to a used computers store and found two 21" monitors. No bigger ones unfortunately, but a 21" will do. One is a Dell, the other one is IBM. Both have the same Trinitron tube and actually the same menu. The difference between them is the design (the IBM is ugly, the Dell is pretty but i hate Dell), and the IBM's picture looked a whole lot better when i tried them out today. The Dell's focus and convergence were seriously off.

Both had the same $88 price tag so i'll be picking up the IBM tomorrow. If the Dell was cheaper i would have gotten that and fixed it, but at the same price i'll obviously take the better one.

What's funny is that i last went to this store about two years ago. I could swear that these two are the very same monitors i saw back then, as i remember two large monitors sitting in the right corner of the shop. Only that the price tag has been dropped a few notches since then.

Anyway, pics coming tomorrow. 2048x1536 here i come. Heh. I bet the Dell is still gonna be there when i come back for winter holidays... If it still is there i'll be grabbing that one too.
post #2 of 9
If it's good, it's a deal. The only bigger trinitron PC monitor is the Sony 24FW900, its widescreen. HP and Sun and IBM I think, had versions. I'm using a Sony G400 19" right now.
post #3 of 9
If it gets too bright to an image restoration from the OSD. If you want to push it to the limit use Powerstrip so you can do 2048x1536@80HZ instead of 75 or do 178HZ at a low resolution. Might need it just to get the 2048 since for me out of the box it would only do 1800x1440 (recommended max resolution).
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've read the manual and it says it has a maximum resolution of 1920x1440. Don't worry, i know what PowerStrip is. But any refresh rate lower than 85Hz burns my eyes, so i'll just stick to the highest i can get with 85Hz refresh.

Anyway, mom's computer at home has a 19" Eizo, which does 2048x1536 too. Not that it'd need it... But i have the feeling that 1600x1200 for the Eizo and 1920x1440 for this Trinitron is the actual maximum resolution of the tube. They accept higher res but it is scaled internally. At least that's what i think. My main computer at home has a 19" Nokia 920C that i picked up for $14 last year. It's not a Trinitron, it's not even perfectly flat, but after calibration it looks real nice. And it's also got a short tube - it fits in my setup like it was meant to be there. I couldn't fit a 21" there. I run 1440x1080 @ 85Hz on it. Once i set that up i finally understood why Vista's icons and fonts are bigger than XP. So that you can see them on a high-resolution display.

Yeah i've read about the color restoration function, i think it's neat but it says it requires 30 mins of warmup. It's not like i wouldn't have time as that store isn't busy, but i just want to get it home quickly. The brightness levels were very good on the IBM, while on the Dell the picture looked washed out. Anyway, i just read about doing a factory restore on everything, including the convergence and colors. I'll try that on the Dell, although i hate Dell as a brand that thing's design is pretty indeed. If a reset works or it takes less than 5 minutes to adjust the convergence with the user menu controls, i'll take the Dell.

I could take it apart and calibrate it internally at home, but i'd rather not bother and get one that works in the first place. Because, you know, time is money.

Edit: I'm leaving in :20. Be back in about two hours with PICS.

Edit 2:

As you can see the convergence is a bit off, though it won't be a problem correcting that with only the menu controls. But what you don't see in the pictures is that the focus is a bit more off. Time to take 'er apart and calibrate focus i guess. Btw, i used the Color Return function and i must say that the difference between "before" and "after" is significant. I'm used to 6500K colors and before this all color modes look a bit bluish, also the brightness control didn't quite range enough to the left, the picture was a tad too bright. Now all color modes are the way they are supposed to be, and the brightness control is centered.

This is a serious monitor.
post #5 of 9
I understand your impulse to max out the rez attainable at a given refresh rate; I did the same for a long time.

But with a large enough CRT of a given dot pitch, you can start to notice blurring at the highest combination of refresh and resolution. Backing off helps the sharpness a great deal.

For example, in games that are limited to no more than 1024 x 768, I try to hit 135Hz on my 19" G420. But for the desktop (where sharpness is important) I would run 120Hz in the same resolution; 100Hz is very slightly sharper still than 120Hz, but not a worthwhile compromise.

Because the rez I'm talking about is so low, I don't believe the video card can be to blame for this differential blurring, occurring only at the highest refresh rate.
post #6 of 9
Trivial is right...
Even with a 21" I don't know about going to anything above 1600x1200. My 17" will do this, yes, but it's almost unbearable. Optimal resolution for me is 1280x1024@85 (or 100) on a 19" or 21". 1152x864 was the sweet spot for my 17" (all my opinion of course, everyone has their own...)
Maybe I need to try Powerstrip (haven't w/these yet, but have used it in the past), as that may force 85Hz at higher resolutions...

I agree needing 85Hz for sure. 75Hz is barely bearable. 85Hz is "just right" and anything better is a bonus

Whatever the case, it'll be a HUGE improvement over an old TV for a monitor!

IMHO, these Trinitron's were the best monitors ever built. Sure, some were duds, others burned out too quickly, but when they were working and set up decently well (let alone calibrated professionally) they were/are awesome.

LOVE my 21" flat Trinitron and 17" one too and will use them as long as they keep up. Heck, the 21" has a new lease on life and has been saved from the dumpster thanks to 1 resistor - I might as well keep it and use it! (Can't post link to fix here as I'm too new, but you can google this guy
eric.hutzelman.com - I had the EXACT one shown, other models ARE different on the inside so this trick probably won't work).

Best of luck getting it set up!
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by trivial View Post

I understand your impulse to max out the rez attainable at a given refresh rate; I did the same for a long time.

But with a large enough CRT of a given dot pitch, you can start to notice blurring at the highest combination of refresh and resolution. Backing off helps the sharpness a great deal.

I know what you are talking about. CRTs do blur with higher refresh rates, it's a phenomenon occuring in the phosphor. 75Hz is much sharper than 85Hz, but i can't stand the flickering.

For now, i settled for 1280x1024 @ 85Hz because:

1) I'm still running XP on this computer (and forever will be since it's an older machine) and XP uses fonts of size 8, it gets kinda hard to read anything smaller

2) It gets this stupid geometry issue on higher refresh rates - the bottom right corner toes in a bit, and it is unfixable

3) This monitor has a 5:4 aspect ratio (ie it is taller than your average monitor, so 1280x1024 is the optimal resolution, a 4:3 AR would look horizontally stretched on it

4) The convergence issues are still bothering me a bit. Hasn't had enough tweaking i guess.

Originally Posted by kansanian View Post

Trivial is right...
Even with a 21" I don't know about going to anything above 1600x1200. My 17" will do this, yes, but it's almost unbearable.

1600x1200 on a 17" will kill your eyes indeed. However, if you are running Vista, you will find 1440x1080 to be perfect for a 19 inch. The larger text and icons make for a perfect high-res experience. (1440x1080 is the actual correct res for a 4:3 monitor, you will have to custom define it).

Anyway, that TV wasn't old (it's about 4 years old and has got a flat screen), but it was standard def. Actually, this monitor is 7 years old (fabrication date April 2002).

Anyway, things i've noticed on this monitor (FYI it's the IBM P275, but i think you knew that already):


It has a small scratch in the anti-glare coating on the right side. Not enough to be annoying but enough to be noticeable. I have not decided yet if i want to remove the coating.

It takes FOREVER to warm up. Right now i just came from outside (i had just calibrated the monitor before i left), and i can see that the focus is a bit off again, and that it's brighter than i left it. Slowly the brightness and focus are going down to a normal level.

I have not noticed any hardware convergence controls (ie physically on top of the tube), which is a bit of a surprise. Also the flyback only has two focus knobs (that i made good use of), there is no G2 voltage adjustment knob. Now i understand the idea of that resistor mod. FYI, in place of that resistor should have been the focus knob. There are two coils with adjustment cogs on the side of the tube, i haven't messed around with those.
The convergence controls on the menu are comprehensive, but lack a "balance" function so i can't really set it up right. When i converge a tube, the first thing i do is mess it up the worse i can (applies to vertical convergence only, as that has the most issues). I split the R, G and B lines as far apart as they go. Then using the top and bottom knobs i adjust the error to be the same on the top and bottom, then turn the balancing knob back and the lines will align like magic, combining into one solid white line. Unfortunately i wasn't able to do the same on this one. Nothing beats analog controls...

(EDIT: I just noticed the one i was talking about, it was the "normal" vertical convergence setting. Silly me. There is a tendency of bowing up in the red at the top so the line isn't totally gone, but now it's enough to be hardly noticeable.)

The vertical convergence errors are most noticeable at the top of the image. I can't seem to get that right without messing up everything else. Horizontal convergence is okay, not perfect but close enough.

The contrast does not go as low as i'd like. At night, i like my monitor very dim. Because of the high brilliance of the Trinitron tube, this is not achievable. It does however have a very pleasant picture when the contrast is turned to zero, with no color hue.

The picture is a bit "jittery". I'm sure it's not the cable as it happens in the OSD too, as a matter of fact it is the most jittery when the OSD is displayed. It is not noticeable under normal viewing conditions though. I assume it's the moire correction doing that, i've seen this on other monitors as well, and my Nokia does it too. It doesn't bug me.

The "Color Return" functions did WONDERS. I mean, really.

A few pics of the inside. By the amount of dust, this thing has never been serviced. That's good.

Sony Trinitron, made in Japan.

After a bit of a cleanup.

What it's replacing. The small monitor on the left i found in the dumpster, it's a 15", it has a crappy picture, but it was alright for IM'ing when i was watching TV.

The calibrator's companion.

Tube operating.

The setup now.

And finally a photo of how some text looks on it. Not bad, not bad. There is room for improvement though - check the bad convergence at the top.
post #8 of 9
Very nice

Such sweet tubes...

"I can't seem to get that right without messing up everything else."

Almost every single one of those FD Trinitron's seems to have something like that - a corner that isn't quite perfect (they're well known for geometry issues), a convergence area that you can get close, etc.

My 17" is pretty good, though I could probably stand to get the focus a little better on it someday. For now it's a great 2nd monitor though... I paid a pretty penny for it when new (also because it was an said Sony on the front instead of "IBM" or "KDS" or something else...)
The 21" has a couple of minor issues, and I also have slightly imperfect convergence in one spot, but it's not terribly distracting.

Take your time getting the geometry as best you can, it takes a lot of patience... I'd bet you can get the bow at the top to be a little better

As for warmup, yeah, they really do take at least 20 minutes or so to get there... And heavy? Yeah. Kind of scary carying one down a flight of stairs.

Good to hear the "color return" worked well too! ...I've honestly never seen it on mine, but I don't know if I waited the 30+ minutes and then tried looking for it. Might try it someday... Looks good enough for now, so I'm not too worried. Had to try a couple variations of the resistor mod to get a good balance of brightness/color as one of the tries resulted in way too much red for some reason. Once it warms up, it now has good color, excellent contrast, and looks good to me.

Anyway, very cool you got it, and that it's working pretty well!! Enjoy owning one of the coolest tube monitors ever created (and one of the biggest and sharpest)!

And to think these were around $800 when new!

The jitter... Is likely caused by interference from something nearby. They're pretty sensitive to things like power supplies, fans, etc. In one pic, your tower is also kind of close and it could even be that... I'd bet it's some device nearby causing that, and that it could be eliminated if you experiment a little. Try moving the tower, and/or ANY other power supply (esp. noisy little 9 volt types, or speaker power supplies, etc. etc.) a little closer and see if it gets worse - then you'll know for sure what's causing it and what to move a little farther away
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Time for an update.

You can say that again about the corner. The top left corner has got pretty soft focus compared to everything else, also the bottom part is ever so slightly out of focus. I think i should redo the focus adjustments - i did them at maximum resolution (1920x1440) and my eyes had a pretty hard time seeing the small patterns of Nokia Monitor Test - too far and i couldn't notice the details anymore, too close and i would start seeing moire (if you ever looked at a CRT display from *very* close, you know what i mean). I should redo them at 1280x1024, or use a magnifying glass.

The geometry is perfect at 1280x1024. It's the best geometry i have ever seen on a CRT. As for the top convergence, i have gotten it better. It involved a little compromise - letting the blue bend up a bit in the top left corner, but on anything else than a test pattern it isn't noticeable, and it improved the red convergence a great deal.

Right now it has warmed up fully after 10 minutes. It's getting better. And yes it really IS heavy - especially that i had to carry it UP the stairs. My grandparents live at the first floor, and the elevator does not stop at the first floor.

As for the G2 voltage, yes, too little will result in the screen going red. I find it awkward that there is no hardware G2 voltage control, but two focus knobs are nice to have. Also i've noticed that there is a serial port inside and i've heard of some service software that can be used to change just about every setting. I should look it up, as my computer still has serial ports.

The jitter, well, that was there even when i first brought it, i turned it on in another room, connected to the laptop. I don't think it's got anything to do with external sources and i'm sure it's not the computer. Sure, it's right next to the TV now and when one is degaussed the image shakes on the other one, but that's about all.

I had some issues with the left side shaking, but it turned out to be the transformer powering my subwoofer amp. I have a sub amp i built myself, ghetto style (no case yet, it's sitting on the floor ) It's powered by this HUGE transformer, it weighs almost 8 kilos and it's over 30 years old. It can deliver 400W, and along with the 10.000 microfarads/100v capacitors, it's seriously overkill for my 75W amplifier. It is actually intended for another project, me and my friend have to build a 200 wpc amp, and we're gonna be using TWO of these behemoths. We work at supplying sound for a various events, and we're gonna have to cover about 200 people at a wedding in November. We're going to build a pro-grade amp, i'll be taking care of the electronics and my friend will build the casing. Now imagine the noise we're gonna make while testing that... 75W in a 12" sub with 96dB sensitivity is already damn loud, 400W in a pair of PA grade speakers is going to be ridiculously loud. But i've always been of this opinion: It's always better to have headroom and not need it, than to push the poor thing with a limiter and have something blow during the event.

So of course, big transformer, big magnetic field. I moved it further to the left and there is no more interference. The jitter is still there though.

I have decided upon the scratch in the anti-glare - i will not remove the foil. It isn't annoying, and it doesn't seem to be extending, so i'll leave the foil on for now. I'm actually looking for ways to fill in the gap, but i doubt i'll find any.
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