A cheap monitor for Raspberry Pi users

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/02/a-cheap-monitor-for-raspberry.html


For that basic a model, you’ll be money ahead, picking up a widescreen LCD from almost any thrift store for less than $20.

Also, less e-waste.


This. My Raspi is plugged into a 32" Samsung TV I got for 20 quid. That plus Unified Remote on my phone and I’m living my best TV life.


I can’t imagine a screen with that resolution is a bargain at any price. It’s just too out of date.


I don’t need a monitor for my Raspi. I can sense the configuration of the electrons right at the HDMI interface. $0.


There’s nothing to sense until you perform the HDCP handshake.


You must be one of those people



All that’s been taken care of.

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Dammit, EMACS.


Out of date? It’s a screen. It needs to show things. And it does, at the stated resolution and size. It’s no less good at doing this job today than it might have been five years ago.

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All of the thrift stores in my area (N. Virginia) have gotten very picky, and none of them will take most electronics as donations. But $60 isn’t “cheap” to me, either.

Have you looked for “mom and pop” thrifts or even tried Craigslist? A local e-waste company? The world is awash in unwanted flat panel monitors, if you can’t find them cheap you aren’t hardly trying. The 4:3 ratio ones are particularly unloved. A quick perusal of Shopgoodwill.com shows a couple dozen for sale that would end up less than or close to $20 even with shipping.

It’s sub 1080p, which for a computer monitor is going to cause problems. A lot of websites assume that’s the minimum likely vertical resolution if you’re accessing them from a desktop, and become quite awkward to use if you don’t have at least that much vertical space for display.


I haven’t been too happy with Acer gear so far.

Also, if you have a flat panel that died, it’s worth opening it up and checking the capacitors. Replacing the bulging caps (or getting them replaced if you’re not handy with a soldering iron) will more than likely be all that’s needed. I have an old ViewSonic that got a new life this way.

I can’t help but wonder how many billions of dollars worth of otherwise perfectly good electronic gear has wound up in landfills because of bad caps.


A lot of them? I suppose there are some, but my primary monitor is only 1280 x 1024, my browser windows are far from full-screen, and I can’t remember the last time a page wouldn’t render correctly because of it.

That’s a terrible deal. Acer has a far superior 22" FHD (1080p) IPS with FreeSync for $90: https://www.amazon.com/Acer-SB220Q-Ultra-Thin-Frame-Monitor/dp/B07CVL2D2S/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?keywords=Acer+22+freesync&qid=1570120601&sr=8-3

This! Most failures are usually swollen caps in the power supply, with the occasional backlight failure. Both are easily fixed if you or a friend can solder. It’s quite satisfying to repair a several hundred dollar set with $1.95 worth of caps. I suspect that the manufacturers are using the inexpensive Chinese knock-offs 85°C rated electrolytic caps as planned obsolescence. Replacing them with properly rated caps with 105 or even 125 degree ratings will significantly increase the lifetime.

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For me, it’s mainly been a couple wi-fi routers that probably could have been fixed with new caps, but the price-point for a new one with better features isn’t that high. Hm, I still have the previous one. I should fix that. If nothing else, it could be a four port switch for the Pis.

Old Routers can also often be used as wireless extenders.

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