Thursday, 20 February 2014


Ever since 2008 when I bought my first LCD monitor, I wondered what was inside it. I secretly hoped it would die on me soon so I could open it up. My wish came true back in August of 2013.

When I opened the monitor, I found several sheets of frosted plastic behind the plastic panel containing the LCD pixels. Then I found a rectangle of Plexiglas. At the bottom and top of it were a set of two miniature fluorescent tubes. These were what lit up the screen. I could tell they were fluorescent tubes because they glowed when held near the Lightning Ball gadget that creates static electricity.

Behind the rectangle of Plexiglas was a white sheet of plastic. I believe this and the frosted sheets reflected and defused the light so the screen would look evenly lit. This arrangement amazed me. I had assumed that all monitors were back-lit with LEDs. In fact, most are lit differently.

I also found the circuit board which directed the signals from the computer's video card to each pixel on the screen. Since it had no reusable parts, I tossed it out. I kept the plastic sheets since they might be useful for something someday.

I kept the blue power indicator LED since it can work without any other electronic part. With a nickel-sized battery from my security system's door sensor, I can make it light up. I've made simple night lights from these discarded LEDs since they consume so little power. This helps me get more life out of old cells.

About a month ago, I bought a new monitor which is back-lit by LEDs. I'm sure that taking it apart a few years from now will be as interesting as when I took apart the old monitor. I might even be able to make an emergency light out of the panel. Since I plan to do that with the scanning light from a dead print scanner, I can try that experiment at some future date.

Science and electronics have been favourite topics of mine since childhood. I mention my passion for discovery in Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School and How I was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. The latter e-book and paperback can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.