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Please help w/ my Dell E771MM!!! CRT Monitor stinks smells like ozone?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by johnny_chronic, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. johnny_chronic

    johnny_chronic Private E-2

    I don't know where to go for this, I've searched google and found nothing about this.

    I fell the other day and my Dell E771MM fell with me. It's an excellent crt monitor with a built in mic (on the top) and speakers.

    I heard a quick decompression sound (like air coming out) that happened in about a second.

    It doesn't smell like burning electronic boards (I've blown an amp in my car and it's a sweet smell burning smell).

    This smell is kind of sweet (bare with me, it's hard to put a finger on). It somewhat smells like clean sheets. At other times it's like a chemical. It saturates the taste in my mouth and the air coming from lungs. The smell has lasted in the room for more than 3 days after the monitor was moved outside.

    I know I've busted a (turned off) tv screen before while extracting the copper from the back of the tube (working on multiple crt monitors and tvs thrown out from spring clean up). The decompressed air comes out and stinks up everything (my friend's whole garage--and it lasted for months!), this smells the same.

    I've left the house and I taste it hours after brushing my teeth (partially from breathing). I have had minor trouble breathing (tightness, feel like I was in a humid room or after swimming for a long time).

    I've researched that ozone is found in the air after thunder storms and happens when electricity arc interacts with oxygen and attaches additional oxygen molecules. O3 attaches to everything and oxidizes it. It upsets asthma. It can scar the lungs and causes artery walls to harden. The effect may not be immediate but long term noticeable effects can be present. Oxidization in the body also has been linked with cancer (thus we fight back with anti-oxidants).

    What is the decompressed air inside of TVs and monitors? What is this smell? Is it a chemical or is it O3? Is this smell and taste of it dangerous our health? I have a child and some baby kittens.

    Please help!
  2. gman863

    gman863 MajorGeek

    Unplug the monitor immediately and take it outside.

    Although not an expert on repairing CRT TVs and Monitors, what you are describing indicates something in the unit's transformer or other circuitry has malfunctioned. It is very possible for electric devices to emit high levels of ozone when damaged (in the case of a monitor, this can happen even if it is turned off but still plugged in).

    Given you have already had breathing issues, it is not worth risking your health or that of your babies and kittens by attempting to keep or fix this monitor. Take it outside (not in the garage or carport - totally outside in open air) immediately. Although I'm normally a fan of recycling, don't put it in your car. If you can legally dispose of it using curbside trash pickup or a dumpster, do so ASAP.

    On a brighter note, repl. monitors have dropped in price. You should be able to find a decent 20-22" flatscreen for about $120-$150. If the budget doesn't allow this, a decent used 17" CRT can be found at many used PC stores for between $15-$25.

    Not preaching...I just have a thing for babies, kittens and being able to take a deep breath without pain. :)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  3. johnny_chronic

    johnny_chronic Private E-2

    Thank you!! I really appreciate your quick response.

    I sent my daughter away for a few days while airing out the smell.

    As to figuring out what the smell is, I do not know. I would definitely like to know more about it though.... just in case there comes a time in the future this kind of thing happens from buying a used one or damaging one again. I would also like to help others with avoiding dangerous situations like the one I went through.

    I am looking into another monitor. For now, the Teamviewer app on my iPhone seems to be working great as a replacement monitor. Too bad it's net stream though. If there was a VGA plug kit that would be great! Oh well, it still works, I am grateful for that, and your advice!

    But this thread isn't finished. Anyone who can post with knowledge should. I hope to see this thread become one of the most informative about the gas & any other chemicals that are found inside of CRT monitors & TVs.
  4. gman863

    gman863 MajorGeek

    Glad this helped.

    Anytime an electronic device starts emitting a strange smell, noise or seems to be flickering off and on, it's a warning sign to stop using it and unplug it immediately until the problem is properly diagnosed and repaired. If a battery powered device the battery should also be disconnected (in rare cases, notebook PCs have shorted out and caught fire due to a defective battery).

    If several devices in the same area are flickering, an electrician should check the outlets, wiring and breaker boxes for issues that could cause a fire.

    Now that the monitor is out of the house the smell (and ozone) should dissipate quickly. If it's not too cold, you could open a window in the room where the monitor was for an hour or two to speed up the process.

    When growing up, my parents' TV started emitting the same ozone smell. Very soon after wisps of smoke starting coming out the back. :eek Although it stopped as soon as it was unplugged (no fire extinguisher or 911 call needed), this is the reason why I err on the side of caution on this type of thing.

    As for the chemicals in Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs), the main environmental disposal hazard is lead (up to a few pounds in larger TV sets); there may also be traces of mercury and lead on the circuit boards. Newer devices marked "ROHS Free" (Reduction Of Hazardous Substances) are mfrd. without using such chemicals.

    A final safety note on CRT monitors and TVs: They have a built-in capacitor that stores power for the "instant-on" feature. Even after they are unplugged for several days, touching internal parts poses a serious shock hazard that can cause injury or death.

    The good news is you caught the problem before serious injury or damage occurred. Don't lose sleep over the possibility of this happening again - just keep your senses open for anything that just doesn't look, smell or sound right.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2011
  5. hrlow2

    hrlow2 MajorGeek

    And if it turns out to be nothing serious, I firmly believe that it is better to err in favor of caution.
  6. gman863

    gman863 MajorGeek

    A few more safety notes:

    Check your smoke alarms at least twice a year. Ideally, you should have one in or near each bedroom.

    Invest in a larger "ABC" rated fire extinguisher (2A40BC) - about $30 at Lowes or Home Depot.

    If you have gas heat or appliances, install a battery powered carbon monoxide (CO) detector - about $25 at Lowes, Home Depot or Wal-Mart.
  7. johnny_chronic

    johnny_chronic Private E-2

  8. Just Playin

    Just Playin MajorGeek

    There are phosphorescent materials coating the inside front of the CRT tube which glow when struck by electrons from the electron gun mounted on the back of the tube, creating the display. The glass on the sides are impregnated with lead oxide as a radiation shield. There are no gases inside the CRT tube. It is a vacuum tube. The sound you heard was air rushing into the CRT tube to fill that vacuum.
  9. gman863

    gman863 MajorGeek

  10. johnny_chronic

    johnny_chronic Private E-2

  11. johnny_chronic

    johnny_chronic Private E-2

    In some more extensive researching, I've learned "e-waste" includes over one thousand different substances. Without proper recycling, 315 million computers will release 550 million kilograms of lead, 900,000 kilograms of cadmium, and 180,000 kilograms of mercury into the environment. Other chemicals released include barium, toners, phosphor and additives, and beryllium. Each of these toxic substances is found in different parts of computers and other electronics. Lead can be found in “glass panels and gaskets in computer monitors” as well as being used as the “solder in printed circuit boards.” Lead causes damage to humans’ nervous, blood, and reproductive systems. In children, lead has been found to impede brain development, causing what one doctor terms “brain drain.” Lead has no biological function and should not be present in the human body. In children, a measurement of anything close to ten micrograms of lead per deciliter can lower the IQ.

    Cadmium compounds accumulate in the human body, causing potentially irreversible effects on human health, especially the kidneys. Cadmium is generally found in “SMD chip resistors, infra-red detectors, and miconductor chips.”

    Mercury can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, as well as a developing fetus.

    Functioning as a radiation protector, barium is used in the front panels of computers. While long-term effects of exposure to barium are not documented, studies have found that short-term effects of barium exposure include “brain swelling, muscle weakness, damage to the heart, liver, and spleen.”

    Plastic printer cartridges containing toner are one of the most common forms of e-waste. Carbon black is the main ingredient of the black toner. Entering the human body through inhalation, carbon black causes respiratory irritation if a person is subjected to prolonged exposure. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies carbon black as a possible carcinogen.

    Phosphor “is applied as a coat on the interior of the [cathode ray tube faceplate]” and it “affects the display resolution and luminance of the images that is seen in the monitor.” Contained within the phosphor coating on cathode ray tubes are heavy metals such as cadmium, zinc, and vanadium. NEVER touch a CRT’s phosphor coating: it is extremely toxic. If you break a CRT, clean up the glass fragments very carefully. If you touch the phosphor, seek medical attention immediately.”

    Beryllium is found on motherboards and finger clips in computers, used to “strengthen the tensile strength of connectors and tinyplugs while maintaining electrical conductivity.” Beryllium is classified as a human carcinogen since exposure to it can cause lung cancer. Workers can develop beryllicosis, a disease that primarily affects the lungs, if they are constantly
    exposed to beryllium, even in small amounts. Beryllium exposure also causes a type of skin disease, such as the inability to heal property and the development of wart-like bumps.

    SOURCE (.PDF): http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1351&context=sdlp

    (more sources found in PDF article)

  12. gman863

    gman863 MajorGeek

    Creepy stuff. :eek

    This is why it's a good idea to properly recycle old electronics whenever possible.
  13. johnny_chronic

    johnny_chronic Private E-2

    With all of this said, I don't have anywhere I can go to escape. 2/3 rooms in this house have had monitors break in them. This room was my last line of defense.

    I have learned that phosphor dust is very fine and gets into everything! I don't know what to do....... I am not sure if it's phosphor or ozone! All I taste in the morning is the residue! It's making me feel sick, the kind of feeling one gets when you have too much of a certain food and when you taste or smell it you are like "ugh, get it away!" and you cringe!!

    I will need to know:
    -What year did CRT manufacturers ban phosphor in the tubes? (does a CRT monitor from 2003 contain phosphor?)
    -What is this smell/taste?
    -How to clean up this mess?
    -How to cleanse the body of this foreign chemical?

    Please help!!
  14. gman863

    gman863 MajorGeek

    If you are still experiencing these symptoms, I strongly suggest making an appointment to visit your doctor ASAP. Tell the physician how many monitors broke over what period of time. They should be able to do a blood test to check for these substances and/or any other possible fallout from the monitor issues.

    You can also contact your local poison control center for advice. The phone number should be listed with other emergency numbers such as police and fire in your phone book.

    If these issues check out and you still want to clean the air, a few tips:

    * If you have a forced air heat/AC system that uses filters, purchase and install a high-grade pleated filter such as 3M. Old-style fiberglass furnace filters are useless for catching anything except huge dust particles.

    * You might consider a HEPA room air cleaner. Good ones are expensive (upwards of $200 USD); however they trap particulates well. If you go this route, read the product description carefully and avoid any that mention "ion," "ionizer" or similar phrases. "Ionizer" air cleaners actually generate a small amount of ozone as part of the air cleaning process.
  15. johnny_chronic

    johnny_chronic Private E-2

    I went to the Dr for this.... I asked for a blood test. The Dr listens to my lungs, had asked me if there were several pieces to clean up, and gets both CDC & Poison Control on the phone. Both sources claim that nothing harmful is in the CRT and that I will have no immediate effects that could hospitalize. The Dr tells me to find a way to get the mess cleaned up or move and sent me home with out doing any blood work.

    The same day I found a great deal on an old air purifier from a charity organization. With that installed, the air has cleaned up majorly! I still smell the ozone (if it really is ozone!), but more and more faintly. I still wake up with the slight taste that is indescribable except new electronic/clean bed sheets. I believe sponging the walls & ceiling and shampooing the carpets is a good idea.

    I don't use it but That monitor still works, the weird smell still comes from it. I left it outside (in the next room) on the back porch until I have enough money to either fix or dispose of it. When I tested the monitor a couple weeks back it took longer to start by a few hundredths of a second with a slightly different power-up noise delaying image post for the same amount of time.

    I hate to get rid of such a great piece of technology! Look the monitor up on google images! Speakers + built in mic!!
  16. gman863

    gman863 MajorGeek

    Glad the doctor said it was nothing serious. I worked as a sales manager in the PC dept. of a large store for several years. No matter how careful we were, a monitor or two broke every year. Since the company did not include broken monitors in our safety/HazMat management training, I had a feeling it wouldn't be serious. Given your previous breathing issue; however, I would have done exactly the same thing in going to the doctor to get checked out.

    Renting a carpet steam vac from the supermarket or hardware store may be a good idea, especially if any of the monitor crud got on the carpet. This will also get rid of other dust and allergens that may be contributing to the wake-up taste. As people get older, it is also possible for allergies to other common items (house dust, pollen, etc.) to get worse - I know this from first hand experience.

    Not sure if you really need to wash the walls and ceilings. An electrostatic type ("Swiffer") duster cloth should do just as well.

    It was a great piece of technology - now it is a hazard that has already given you breathing problems and sent you to the doctor.

    Your desire to keep something you like is normal; however consider the hazards we've already covered in this thread. Please don't end up like a lady I read about several months ago who wouldn't part with her antique gas range that was "acting up" until after her kitchen caught fire (she wasn't injured; however the fire dept. forced her to disconnect and remove it).

    It's best to let this monitor go and move on.

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