December 4 2008

LCD TV Dead or Stuck Pixels

Tags: Dead Pixel, Maintenance, Repair, Stuck Pixel

A problem that one may encounter after using for some time their LCD TV is the dead or stuck pixel issue. Before learning how this can be fixed, let’s see first what are these stuck pixels all about.

Simple, a stuck or a dead pixel on your LCD will be noticed by you when a point seems to remain light, dark or of a constant color no matter what is represented on the screen. Needless to say, this can become quite a nuisance and you will want to be able to fix this and gain back the spotless picture you had enjoyed until the problem appeared. Luckily, there are do-it-yourself techniques that can help you.

Variations: Stuck, Dead and Hot

Stuck Pixels

A stuck pixel has a constant color, no matter what it is displayed on the screen. This occurs because one or two sub-pixels are on or off all the time. Because each pixel is made of three sub-pixels, one for each primary color – red, green and blue, when one or two of them are stuck either on or off, you will get an almost constant color. For example if the blue sub-pixel is always on, instead of black you will get blue. It can happen that all three subpixels are stuck, and in that case the result will be identical to the viewer as the one produced by hot or dead pixels. The difference is that you have a shot at fixing a stuck pixel (even if it looks dead or hot), as opposed to real hot or dead pixels that usually remain like that for good.

Hot Pixels

A hot pixel is always white, all it’s subpixels being always on. Most of the cases hot pixels are a variation of a stuck pixel that has all subpixels on. As opposed to dead pixels which can be the result of a manufacturing defect and harder or impossible to fix, hot pixels usually can be fixed.

Dead Pixels

A dead pixel is always black and it is easily noticed on a light (white) background. While it could be just a stuck pixel with all subpixels off, in many cases there is a bigger problem behind. It can be a manufacturing defect, a problem with a transistor that does not pass current to the pixel, or some other reason. If the pixel is really dead and not just stuck you have little chance to fix it.

How to Fix a Stuck or Dead Pixel

WARNING: Extra caution is needed when trying to apply these techniques; make sure that you follow through the steps as indicated, or you may end up ruining your equipment. Also, note that the following techniques are not guaranteed to give results and might even damage your screen more.

For starters, a word of advice is needed: avoid, by any means, to open the monitor, and try to repair it from the inside – this will render your warranty void and you will not get any money back from the manufacturer of your model. All the methods that will be described below involve only actions that you can undertake from the outside. Even if the LCD is out of its warranty period, fiddling with its inner components can damage it for good.

Using a Software Program

One solution would be to search for a software program that takes care of such problems. By turning on and off repeatedly the LCD, you can determine the stuck pixels to “move” and get back to their initial shape. If this method does not show any results, then it would be a good time for another type of workout for your screen. You can find a free program (Java Applet) that may help you with your stuck pixels at

Using this approach may be the only way to fix a dead or stuck pixel on an LCD TV. While the following techniques may work on computer monitors, some LCD TVs have a glass screen over the actual LCD screen. Because of that you can’t touch the actual LCD screen and in conclusion you can’t use the following techniques. Also, in the case of LCD TVs, the screen is usually coated with an anti-glare substance. Be careful not to scratch that coating because it will be visible when the TV is turned off. When the TV is turned on and an image is displayed on it, a scratch on the coating won’t be noticeable though.

The Pressure/Massage Technique

In order to begin the work, you will need the following items: a damp cloth (make sure that it is not wet), and an instrument with a dull point that can help you apply pressure on the LCD screen where the stuck pixels are located. For that purpose you can use a pen or a screwdriver, but the most recommended would be a PDA stylus.

Now, make sure that the screen is turned off and that you know the location of your stuck pixel. You can do this with your LCD turned on too, but it is not recommended. Start putting pressure through the cloth with the instrument of your choosing. You can also move it slightly, “massaging” the pixel. Be sure to fold the cloth several times, so that the tip of the pen does not pass through it and starts to scratch the surface of the display. This can determine other problems to appear, which would be the exact opposite of what you intended in the first place. When you put pressure, you can turn on the screen and see what happens. After several tries, the stuck pixel should disappear. The success of this technique is not guaranteed, but it is worth giving it a shot. Also, remember to apply the pressure exactly on the stuck pixel, as, if you start pressuring around other pixels, even the “healthy” ones can get stuck during the process. The amount of pressure should light so that you don’t break the LCD or damage the pixels for good.

Tapping Technique

Another method is the tapping technique. For that, you will have to project a black or white image on the display of the TV, so the stuck pixel can be easily seen. The next step is to take your dull rounded point “tool” and start tapping directly on the pixel. If you tap with the needed amount of power (not too hard though), you will notice the pixel reacting, by starting to glow with a white light, when it makes contact with the tip of the pen. A white image is then needed to see if the problem was fixed. Sometimes, if you tap too hard, you can determine the glass of the display to crack, or even cause more stuck pixels to appear.

As you can see, these methods are at anyone’s disposal. Yet, keep in mind the risks that are involved. If you want to play safe, it is best to check your warranty and see under which conditions you can have your LCD replaced by the manufacturer. Some of the manufacturers will replace your screen if it exceeds a certain number of stuck/dead pixels.

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