Random Access   chris, kp & rob
Toolbox Tip
Fix a Stuck Pixel
by rob

Stuck pixel
Stuck pixels can be annoying
Flat screen LCD displays are a great leap ahead from CRT displays that were bulky and tended to flicker. Seemingly, the only flaw to LCDs is when they develop a tiny black spot, also known as a dead pixel. An LCD is made up of millions of tiny pixels that are turned on or off with transistors. If one of these transistors is defective, the pixel it controls will fail to function. But not all black spots are pixels that have died forever. Sometimes they are simply stuck (to either always black, always white or always some other color) and can be reset.

If your display is out of warranty and cannot be replaced, and you don’t want to live with a spot on your display, there are several methods to possibly fix a stuck pixel.

The first thing to try is to cycle the color value of the pixel rapidly using software. One such program is the free, web-based Java applet JScreenFix. This didn’t work for me in either case but it’s something to try before using pressure.

If software doesn’t work, you can attempt to reset the pixel by applying pressure to the display. Be warned that there is a chance that following these steps could cause more stuck pixels than they fix, or worse.

For both of these methods, display a black image behind the stuck pixel or a white image for a pixel stuck on black. The best implement I’ve found for applying pressure is an unused pencil eraser.

Pressure Method

  • Gently add pressure (not too much, you don’t want to crack anything) for a second. You should see a bit of a glow while pressing on the screen.
  • Remove the eraser and check the pixel.
  • If the dark spot has dimmed, it’s working.
  • Repeat until the pixel is displaying properly.

Tapping Method

  • Tap the screen gently on the pixel. You should see a bit of a glow on contact.
  • After 5-10 taps check the pixel.
  • If there is no change, try more pressure (again, not too much, you don’t want to crack anything).

Both of these methods worked for me and I was suprised each time with the success. If you’ve fixed the pixel with either of these methods, make sure you didn’t affect any surrounding pixels. To do this, display a black image and check for any stray pixels. Then do the same with a white image.

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