Computer Monitor Power Supplies – Is It Time to Standardise Them?

I was using my computer on Thursday afternoon when, without warning, the monitor switched off. The screen went blank.

However I could still hear the audio from my computer playing through the speakers, so the problem was not my computer. It was the monitor.

My monitor is a (now discontinued) model by Nikkai, which I beleive is a Maplin brand. As well as being a computer monitor, it also has inputs for an aerial (for analogue TV), SCART, AV and S-Video – so I use the monitor as a TV with my Freeview box plugged into the AV inputs. In fact the Freeview box I use is my Grandmother’s old Humax one which is also now discontinued – but that’s not broken (yet).

As its a discontinued product, we decided it would be better to replace it. Using Dad’s computer downstairs, I started looking up possible replacements.

It was much easier to find TVs with VGA inputs for a computer, rather than computer monitors with AV inputs for a Freeview box. By Friday afternoon, we’d narrowed it down to the Technika 15.4″ HD Ready LCD TV with built-in Freeview, and the Technika 19-919 19″ HD Ready LCD TV with built-in Freeview.

We went to our local Tesco store to see if they had them in stock – and they didn’t. So we returned home and decided it would be better to order them online as soon as I get home after my Greek lesson. So I went to Greek.

When I got back, Dad had been playing with the monitor to see what the problem was: he’d taken it apart, couldn’t see anything so put it back together and then plugged it back in to found that it worked! I then pointed out that he was using the power supply for my external DVD burner. After testing it with the original power supply, we’d diagnosed the problem to the power supply. The actual monitor itself was fine.

So then we started the search for a 12V 3A power supply with the correct socket to fit my TV:

  • Maplin does a worldwide one for £16.99, but I don’t really want the EU, USA and Australian power sockets that come with it. Its a bit of a waste of money unless you’re going to need that sort of power supply regularly in all those countries.
  • do exactly what I want for £7.49. The trouble is, it says “out of stock”.
  • There’s one on Ebay which might be useful – but only with a US plug. I’ve never been to the US, and I’m not planning to either.
  • So we eventually decided to go for the High Quality New 12V 5A AC Adaptor on Amazon. Although its not 3A, it can be used instead of one.

Mum ordered it online this morning. So hopefully it shouldn’t take too long to get here. Meanwhile, I’m using Corinium Radio‘s laptop for all my Internet and e-mail access!

But I don’t see why the manufacturers don’t standardize the sockets. Why does every single monitor available seem to need a different power supply unit? Everyone in the UK has the same plug sockets on their wall. All computers by now have USB… All monitors connect to a computer using a VGA cable… All sets of speakers connect with a jack lead.

So why have power supplies which are unique to one particular make of monitor!?

Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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