Frequently Asked Questions

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These questions and answers have been culled from some of the talk pages of the various editing-related Help: pages. If you see a useful answer there or anywhere else, please add it here.

 

Contents

Buying a CRT

Q: I'm thinking about having a monitor shipped to me (or vice versa.) What can I do to minimize the chances of it getting damaged in transit? What are some red flags??

A: Many tubes are irreparably damaged in shipping. If you must ship a tube, try to message with the seller before hand to get a sense of how they plan to package the item. Look at their other items for sale and their feedback. Do you get the sense they will package the item professionally? As a general guideline, under ideal packing conditions, the smaller size the tube, the less risky it is to ship.

The likely most acceptable form of shipping is popular with fragile items. The "double-box" method.

What is Double (Over) Boxing?

"need layers of tight inside, soft outside" - Bepis

Double (over) boxing is an effective method of safeguarding fragile equipment like electronics from damage. While using a single box or the original manufacturer's packaging is possible in some instances, there are many situations when this shipping method is ill-advised. Many single boxes are not designed to endure the shipping process, which includes sorting impact, over-the-road vibration, and other kinds of package handling situations. The original equipment manufacturer's package is usually designed to ship the product once, and not multiple times. Even then, it is often designed for shipments on pallets, not single-piece shipments.

How to Double (Over) Box

   Make sure that the original packaging is in good condition and that the internal foam is not cracked or broken. If the foam is broken, replace with new foam inserts or repair with two-inch (5.08 cm) wide pressure-sensitive tape. It is important that the shipment cannot move within the original manufacturer's shipping container.
   Select a new shipping container that is at least six inches (15.24 cm) longer, wider, and higher than the original manufacturer's box.
   Fill the bottom of the new shipping container with at least two to three inches (5.08 to 7.62 cm) of foam-in-place, polyethylene corner or edge pads, inflatable packaging, loose fill peanuts, or other suitable dunnage materials.
   Place the original manufacturer's box on top of the cushioning material and in the center of the shipping container, allowing for at least two to three inches (5.08 to 7.62 cm) of cushioning around the remaining five sides of the package.
   Fill the remaining empty space in the package with foam-in-place, polyethylene corner or edge pads, inflatable packaging, loose fill peanuts, or other suitable dunnage materials.
   Seal the shipping container with either two inches (5.08 cm) or more width of pressure-sensitive or nylon-reinforced tape, or 60-pound, three-inch (7.62 cm) wide water-activated reinforced tape. Close the box securely, applying three strips of tape to both the top and bottom of the box, so the middle and two edge seams are sealed.

Q: What consumer sets (that aren't HDCRTs) are available with component?

A:  Generally late 90s and on. * denotes only some models feature it. ** very uncommon.

  • JVC*
  • JVC D-Series
  • JVC l'Art
  • Panasonic Gaoo**
  • Panasonic Tau*
  • RCA TruFlat*
  • Toshiba A*
  • Toshiba Cinema
  • Toshiba AF
  • Samsung TX-P####
  • Sanyo DS-#####
  • Sony FD/Wega Trinitron*
  • Need a complete list here

Q: Where can I find specs on a CRT monitor?

A: If at all possible, it is best to seek out the proper manual (even if just a user manual) and get the information from there. Marketing pamphlets can often at times have pre-release information that is subject to change (and usually say as such), and sites such as CNET are notorious for having incorrect, misleading, or improperly transfered information.

Resources for manuals

Google search for the model number + "manual" or "service manual" (Need links)

Q: How is the size of a CRT measured?

A: The answer to this depends somewhat on where you are located. In at least most of North America, the advertised size of a television is given in viewable inches measured diagonally across the face of the screen. If you turn on the TV and measure from the lower left corner to the upper right corner of what you can see, this is the size. Often times the model number of the TV will include somewhere the viewable size.

For PC monitors, the measurement is often given in two ways. What was advertised is the actual tube size and then often you'll find the viewable size in parentheses after. Be aware that a PC monitor advertised at a size of 19" has a considerably smaller viewable area than a 20" television. It seems like a small 1" difference but the 19" monitor is likely about 18" viewable, so the TV in this case has 36.5 square inches more viewable area.

Cords/Adapters

Q: Can I use a yellow, red and white AV cable for component, even if the colors don't match up?

A: Yeah, the color coding is just to help match the cable to the input jacks. The cables themselves are all RCA jacks and can be used interchangeably for composite video (yellow), component (green, blue, red), audio (red and white for stereo, white for mono) and any other signal type that uses RCA cables. Just make sure that you're plugging the right cable into the right jack.

Usually, composite and component video cables will also include stereo (red and white) cables as audio needs to be carried separately over a different cable.

Q: How do I hook up to TV / PVM / PC monitor?

A:

This is completely dependent on the signal type and connector type.

For more detail, see: (video signals, cabling section link here)

Generally speaking:

Consumer televisions: RCA connectors for composite/component, Mini-DIN for S-video, F Connector for RF

Professional and Presentation: BNC connectors, others found on consumer and pc monitors

PC monitors: Usually HD15 VGA, sometimes BNC, rarely 13W3 (Sun)


Q: How do I plug an RCA jack into BNC connectors?

A:

You can adapt RCA to BNC and BNC to RCA with adapter fittings. Just make sure that youre adapting the right way. Most Professional video monitors will have female BNC connectors, and RCA video cables will usually be male heads. In this example, you would want to use female RCA -> male BNC adapters.

Q: How/why should I use (x method) to connect my RGB consoles?

A:

 

Q: What are the pros and cons of SCART vs BNC for classic consoles in RGB?

A:

BNC connection is sturdy due to the bayonet "locking" mechanism and is the common connection method within the production/broadcast sector, thus more or less any professional monitor will be carrying BNC connectors, at least for the video signals. Getting direct console-to-BNC cables can be expensive. BNC cabling is usually simpler to make at home which can make it cheaper when making larger installations eg. with switching equipment and alike.

SCART is mainly a European thing and has the advantage of being able to carry different signals; composite, S-Video and RGBS plus stereo audio all in one plug. There are also RGB SCART cables readily available for many of the most popular gaming consoles, note that SCART does not mandate any of the signal types, so RGB compatibility is not given by default, although it can usually be expected. One of the largest disadvantages of SCART is that it is a large plug and has no locking mechanism. It usually also requires a voltage on pin 16 to tell the receiving end that RGB is being transmitted, a voltage that is often tied to the main 5V source within a console. This means a potential short circuit risk damaging the transmitting console.


Q: What is the difference between SCART and JP-21?

A: The only real difference is some of the important channels are on different pins. When buying scalers or cables from Japan that have what looks like the SCART connector, it's likely going to be the JP-21 pinout. Simple SCART - JP-21 adapters are sold or can be constructed.

 

Q: Why is GameCube component so expensive?

A: The fact that the GameCube can output component at all is basically an accident. It was not a common video signal yet and most CRTs of the time didn't support it. The port that enables component video—the Digital Out port—was originally intended for some sort of 3D glasses. Those never materialized, but Nintendo released special component cables that could convert the digital signal into analog. These cables were only sold online through Nintendo's website, retailed for $70 USD, and still required a normal AV cable to carry audio. What a deal. They didn't sell well, and are quite rare today. Since the GameCube isn't capable of outputting RGB without a mod and some CRTs don't support S-Video, many people have no choice but to either settle for composite or shell out for component. High demand and low supply equals a $200 pricetag. The proprietary tech that converts the digital signal to analog was built into the cable, and third-party solutions weren't a thing until recently due to how difficult it was to reproduce. These third-party companies have very little competition and cater to a niche market, thus they can get away with selling their cables/tech for up to $150 each.

Q: Is plasma any good for retro?

A:

CRT Tech

Q: Why are Sony CRTs considered to be better than others?

A: Sony originated the single electron gun design, which for many years was patented and manufactured solely by Sony. This was known as the Trinitron design. This provided a brighter picture than many competitors and for several decades, if not for the production span of CRTs, they were considered usually the best. Whether this is true is all up to personal preference. In 1996, this patent ran out and Sony's competitors were able to use the single gun, aperture grille design. This led to the lines Diamondtron (Mitsubishi), [insert more brands]

Read more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinitron

Q: How do flat CRTs compare to curved ones?

A:

Q: I see two lines going across my Trinitron PC monitor, what's causing this?

A: The horizontal lines, usually at 1/3 and 2/3's the monitor's height, are referred to as "damper wires". These are entirely normal and inherent to the design of aperture grille based CRTs, of which Trinitrons and Diamondtrons belong. They are there to prevent, or at least minimize tendency for the vertical wires that make up the "grille" of the tube from vibrating and causing ugly disturbances in picture.

Q: Why do CRTs have supposedly no motion blur?

A: The apparent lack of motion blur with CRTs is inherent to how they display an image, that is to say line by line scanning and the resulting strobing effect this creates. This strobing effect combined with persistence of vision results in a smoother transition from one frame to another versus then sudden and potentially jarring transition done by displays which sample and hold (LCDs/LEDs). Various methods such as "ULMB", BFI, and/or just plain "strobing backlights" used on LCD and LED displays seek to emulate this strobing to reduce motion blur in the same manner


Q: Why is no one manufacturing modern CRTs?

A: CRT's throughout their history remained expensive and time consuming to manufacture, and most CRT manufacturing ceased when LCD's became cheaper to produce. But most importantly, CRT's are awful for the environment. CRTs use over 4x the electricity required for a similarly sized LCD. Their construction requires lead, hydrofluoric acid, and phosphor. Recycling them is very difficult, requiring special facilities which still have difficulties with disposing the unwanted lead lined glass, as documented in countless news articles and Environmental Protection Agency reports. The CRT is obsolete, with LCD's providing consumers an unquestionably better image with better features at a cheaper price that won't eat up their electric bill. The last CRT factory closed in 2015, and it's highly unlikely one will ever open up again.

Q: Why is there only 15khz whine?

A: "15khz whine" is called as such because it is the frequency used by standard definition sets for horizontal deflection. 15 kilohertz (more accurately in the 15.6 to 15.8khz range) is audible because it is with-in the upper end of human hearing (often quoted as 20hz to 20khz) . Younger people are more likely to hear it as the ability to hear higher frequencies tends to roll off and diminish with age and/or the hearing damage that often comes with it, though it is by no means impossible for those 50 or 60yr+ to still hear it, just far less likely. PC CRTs and the like do not have this whine as the lowest horizontal frequency they're often able to generate is in the high 20khz range, most often quoted as 31khz (original VGA and broadcast 480p are in this range).


Q: Why not use a new TV/Monitor? Newer means better right?

A: New TVs/Monitors were not designed with old game consoles in mind. If you're able to plug them in at all, the TV will almost certainly produce a messy, blurry image and add noticeable input lag. Enjoying your favorite games becomes nearly impossible. Using a cheap adapter to plug in consoles adds even more lag and makes the image look even worse due to extra image processing. You can get around this by purchasing an external upscaler like the Framemeister or Open Source Scan Converter if you absolutely must play on a modern TV, but those are often expensive. CRTs produce an arguably better image than even the best LCD TVs, have no input lag, are more authentic since the consoles and games were designed with CRTs in mind, and can be had for very cheap if not free by checking your local listings. Some games only work on CRTs, like light gun games.

Q: For arcade monitors, what is are the differences between a standard-resolution monitor, a medium-resolution monitor, and a high-resolution monitor? What does it mean when an arcade monitor is "dual-sync" or "tri-sync"?

A: "Standard, Medium, and High" all refer to the resolution range that a given monitor/chassis is going to be able to operate in. Standard is 15khz, in the same range as standard definition and what your old television would have used. Medium is ~24khz, sitting roughly inbetween what standard definition would have been capable of and "Enhanced Definition" or more widely "VGA" required; This is quite uncommon and really only used for a select number of late 80s and 90s arcade boards as well as certain Japanese PCs. High is 31khz, comparable to VGA; 480p essentially speaking.

"Dual and Tri-Sync" support refer to a CRT+Chassis that is capable of displaying at more than one of the above resolutions. Dual Sync refers to support for both standard (15khz) and medium (24khz) arcade boards. In turn, Tri-Sync signifies the ability to display 15, 24, and 31 khz sources.

 

Q: What is this comb filter nonsense and why do some add lag?

A: A comb filter is a circuit that is used to separate 1 mixed signal into its constituent parts. In this context, it is taking in a composite video signal and separating it out into the luma and chroma signals of which it is made up. This mixing and separation is not a non-destructive process and artifacts and degradation is introduced into the signal with this mixing, and the comb filter's intention is to attempt to make this separation as cleanly as possible and in the case of better and newer filters, "restore" some of the lost detail. "3-Line" filters accomplish this by looking at multiple lines of video at a time to infer what information might have originally been there. "Digital" 3D filters take this a step further and rather than only taking a few lines of video into account, opt to use full fields or even frames of video to get a more complete picture and tend to offer a decent quality increase as a result. The one downside to this buffering of fields means that it can and will introduce a delay, i.e lag, into the equation. 3-Line filters are also technically introducing a delay, but a few lines of video are already well with-in the margin of error and variance introduced by even just having slightly more or slightly less overscan.

Q: What makes CRTs lagless? Are they really less laggy than a 1ms LCD?

A:

 

Signal Types

Q: Is it worth buying more than an S-Video cable for [system]?

A: The biggest improvement when upgrading video formats, is usually seen between composite and S-Video, especially due to the composite dotcrawl being eliminated. However, RGB cables (SCART or BNC) are readily available for many systems, so if you have a compatible monitor/TV, upgrading to that, will give the top of the line video output.

Q: There are red, green, and blue RCA jacks on the back of my TV but it won't take RGB from my SNES?

A: The Red, Green, and Blue found on consumer televisions are colloquially called Component Video, or more formally, YPbPr. While it is capable of roughly the same level picture quality as the RGB available from the SNES and many older consoles, it is not directly compatible without external conversion.

Q: What is the difference between YPbPr(Component), RGBHV, RGBS, and RGsB?

A: While all four of these can be considered and referred to as "Component" video signals, due to using 3 (or more) separate wires to transmit the complete picture, they are not all the same. In common conversation, if someone mentions component, they're going to be talking about YPbPr. This is the signal that gained popularity with the rise of DVD players in the early 00s and started to become common place on game consoles of that same era, specifically the PS2, Xbox, and technically the Gamecube. It is an encoded/"compressed" format that seeks to reduce the amount of information (bandwidth) required to properly convey an image while keeping loss of picture quality to a minimum, taking advantage of maximizing what the human eye is most sensitive to, and making cuts where they are very unlikely to be noticed.

RGBHV, RGBS, and RGsB conversely are all signals that are in an essentially "raw" format, unencoded or compressed and sending all information possible about an image without any concerns for redundancy or otherwise. Where as the aforementioned YPbPr needs to be "decoded" to be understood properly, these three RGB signals are made of of the three literal components that make up the full picture: Red, Green, and Blue, and viewing just one will show you exactly what parts of the original image contain that given color. The oldest of consoles opted not to use this (at least externally) for the sake of keeping complexity down, but most consoles from the late 80s through to the late 00s will usually have it available in some form, as well as nearly all PCs from the mid 80s up through just a few years ago. The only real difference between the three is how the three color signals are kept in sync with each other so that they can make up a coherent image, and that is what the extra letters signify.

RGBHV is the most separated of the bunch, opting to send it's 3 portions of video individually, and then split it's sync information into a horizontal (the H) and a vertical (the V) portion; This is the signal that is used on PCs in the form of VGA, DVI-A, and DVI-I, but is also available on the Dreamcast for certain video modes as well as the Xbox 360. RGBS opts to simplifiy things somewhat, leaving the three video signals alone, but combining horizontal and vertical into a single "Composite Sync", sometimes also refered to as CSync, Clean Sync, or rarely stripped sync. This is the format that is used by most video game consoles, most often seen carried over a SCART connector, but capable of being sent over BNC or other connector types just as easily. The last of the bunch is RGsB; The key thing to notice here is the capitilization and placement of the S has moved. This is "Sync on Green" RGB, called as such because rather than use an additional wire (or more) to send a display the sync information, RGsB places the information on the Green line. The two signals are sent at different times and don't interfer with each other, so there's not much of a down side to this. That said, this is the least common of the three and is really only seen on high-end workstations (think Sun, SGI, and the like, not fancy home computer) from the 90s, as well as the PS2 and PS3, the latter two only supporting it in certain video modes (480p) and the PS3 seemingly lacking support for it at all in PAL territories.

Q: Where can I buy transcoders?

A: Buy Jam's Shit

Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Q: Can I actually kill a display by sending the wrong resolution?

A:

Q: How do I know when a CRT is dying?

A:

 

Q: How do I know when a CRT needs its capacitors replaced?

A: There are many different CRT failure modes, some that can be caused as a result of failing capacitors, but it is unfortunately impossible to say with 100% certainty any failure mode is caused by bad capacitors all of the time. Television sets and monitors are very complex devices with lots of potential points of failure, capacitors being just one of them. For reference, though, here are some failures that can be caused by weak or bad capacitors:

- Weak or missing vertical deflection (besides caps, also check solder joints in the vertical circuit)

- Distorted/shrunk picture, or a picture that changes/shifts as the set warms up

NEED TO ADD MORE HERE

To reiterate, these problems are not ALWAYS caused by bad capacitors - basic troubleshooting skills are required to seek out the cause of these faults. While possible (and often paraded as a fix-all solution, or "preventative maintenance" by certain figureheads in the CRT community), it is not suggested one replace every single capacitor (known as "shotgunning") in their CRT in an attempt to fix a problem*, as there is a very real chance of mistakenly installing a capacitor backwards or installing the wrong value, which can cause the set to cease functioning entirely or at least be worse off than it was pre-recap. Even if the set is successfully shotgunned, there is a chance the shotgun recap did not fix the problem, as evidenced by the wealth of "I recapped this set and it still has this issue" posts on Facebook and the various CRT-related forums. In short, don't throw parts at your CRT, diagnose it first.

*Note: Vintage television sets from the 1940s through approximately the 1960s are a notable exception to this rule, as the paper-and-foil and electrolytic capacitors used in these sets are extremely unreliable and prone to failure; they should be changed to ensure reliable operation of the set and to prevent damage to the set's circuits due to off-spec voltages. This article mainly describes "newer" sets from the 1970s onward.

Q: How do I tell if my tube has a lot of wear on it?

A: Aside from the more obvious signs such as burn in and the like, a heavily worn tube rears it's face in several different ways. Firstly, if the picture displayed appears dim and flat even with contrast (sometimes referred to as "Picture") maxed, this can be a sign that the tube has seen a lot of hours. In this same manner, if the picture produced has little to no detail with the brightness setting maxed, this can also be a sign that the tube has lost a good deal of it's useful life. Lastly, an out of focus image, even at lower brightness and contrast settings, can also suggest that the tube has seen heavy usage; To be sure of this however, it is best to make sure that the focus potentiometer(or potentiometers if on a PC set or similar) aren't improperly adjusted first. This also applies to brightness and the "Screen" G2 pot. Raising G2 on a worn tube can restore some of the ability to resolve detail in dark areas but will NOT restore bright and vibrant whites.

Q: Is it normal my crt sizzles when it’s turned off?

A: Yes. This is entirely normal and simply the sound of static discharge caused by the CRT losing power, but still holding a residual charge. Dust build up on the rear of the tube can make this sound more audible if heavily coated.

 

Q: Putting speakers next to my monitor is making the image really weird, what's wrong?

A: CRTs use an electron beam to excite the phosphors on the face of the tube and the electrons are guided via electromagnetism. The deflection yoke is what guides the beam and is two electromagnets which can move the beam vertically and horizontally on the face of the tube. The position the beam lands is carefully adjusted from the factory in a process known as landing and convergence calibration. This is what ensures that the beam goes through the correct holes in the mask/grille and lands on the red, green, or blue phosphor that it needs to. When an external magnetic field is too close to the CRT it can move the beam as well as magnetize the mask and if the mask becomes magnetized then it will also move the beam from where it should land. This is why most CRTs will make a distinctive sound when powered on, that is the degaussing coil firing. The purpose of this is to demagnetize the mask. There are also external degaussing wands and coils which can be used for sets without an internal degaussing coil or in cases where that is not adequate. Incidentally, this means that a monochrome CRT does not need to be degaussed, although there are instances where a monochrome set might need degaussing as the metal parts around the tube can become magnetized.

Q: Should I be worried about burn-in? How can I prevent it? Will scanlines leave burn-in?

A:

Q: Should I unplug the TV when I'm not using it?

A: All electronics pull a small amount of charge whether they're on or off when plugged in to an outlet. Displays with sleep features pull a small amount of charge to detect command to come out of sleep mode. If you are not using a display for a long period of time (weeks or more), it is ideal to unplug it.

Some older displays are notorious for having poor design of their power section (for example the Sony KV-25XBR) and should not be plugged into a power source with draw at all if not in active use. These particular models are susceptible to potential electrical fires.

Q: What are the actual risks of working inside a CRT? (Anode, AC filter caps, hot chassis on older stuff, exposed deflection points)

A:

Q: What kind of capacitors should I use and where do I buy them?

A: Always replace electrolytics with electrolytics, and use a more well-known brand, such as Panasonic, Nichicon, et al. Always try to use replacements with the exact same capacitance (though, you can cheat a little with using slightly higher capacitance, for example, a 220µF capacitor in place of a 200µF one). The voltage rating has to be the same or higher.

Q: How do I get started with soldering, and what are some recommendations for good soldering irons and other accessories to make the job easier?

A:

Insert Summary here

See Repair section (TBA)

 

Setup and Calibration

Q: How do I use SMPTE or EBU bars?

A:

Q: How is TVL measured?

A:

Q: How should I adjust overscan to best match the video output of all consoles?

A:

Q: What is 240P Test Suite and why do I need it?

A:

Q: What is a good software to use to setup my PC monitor

A:

Q: Is there any DVD or Bluray for displaying test patterns?

A:

 

Q: What is 'blue only' mode, or why do some guides call for using a 'blue cell' for calibration?

A: Blue Only mode is a setting/option on monitors used for setting proper phase (Hue) and chroma (Saturation) when feeding encoded video signals. Depending on the monitor/display in question, it may display exactly as the name says, entirely in blue, or in a black and white monochrome image; The latter behavior is primarily seen on Sony's monitors. Use of a a blue gel/cel are to get the same effect on on televisions and other displays which don't offer a built-in blue only mode for making these adjustments. 

The way this adjustment functions is by using the appropriate test pattern (SMPTE Bars) which display various colors in specific combinations that, when viewed under a blue gel/blue only mode, demonstrates and highlights incorrectly set phase and chroma settings.

 

Q: I reset all the service menu to the numbers in the manual and it looks bad now, why?

A: Regardless of whether you're dealing with a professional monitor or television, every CRT is different, and requires different specifics to look "correct" and proper; This is down to every specific set and not just by model number. The numbers listed in the service menu are the initial values that the integrated circuit they apply to default to, or are pre-selected for every set that happens to use that configuration, before any sort of fine adjustment has been done. Even on the lowest of the low end of CRTs, every set was individually adjusted at the factory to settings that worked for it specifically, and these are not recorded down in any manual that you will find. Resetting to those default values can help to give you a clean slate to work with if you know the set needs a complete rework anyway, and you plan on doing as such, but doing this for reasons aside from that is not recommended.

Q: What are some tips regarding convergence and purity setup procedures on magnetic convergence sets?

A:

PC Monitors

Q: How can I tell if I have an Anti-glare layer on my VGA monitor? How do I remove an anti-glare layer of a VGA monitor? How can I tell if my anti glare is bad enough to remove?

A:

Q: I want to plug my HDMI modded N64 into my CRT PC monitor, how should I go about doing this?

A:

Q: Are there any recommendations as far as PC monitors go, and how about 240p content on them?

A:

Q: How does horizontal scanrate work and why does a higher number let me run higher resolutions/refresh rates?

A:

Q: My modern gpu only has digital outputs, how do I hook it up to a VGA monitor and can I still use custom resolutions/refresh rates?

A:

Q: Why is the Sony FW900 so popular?

A: