Sony GDM-W900 24″ Widescreen CRT Monitor limps on

My beloved monitor for the last 7 or 8 years has been a CRT. But not just any CRT, its a Sony GDM-W900 in all its 24″ 16:10 1920×1200 glory. Inky dark blacks, amazingly vivid colours, endless odd resolutions, 5x BNC input as well as VGA. They cost thousands and were used for CAD, film grading, special effects houses, pro photographers, etc.

I was originally gifted mine in a broken state after repairing some guitar amps. As I was leaving he casually asked if I wanted it for parts. His house movers had dropped it down a flight of stairs (weighs 41kg/90lb!).  He’d had 3 on his desk…

The main damage was to the row of buttons at the front, PCB snapped off and missing etc. Luckily it used the IO line saving trick of using an ADC witha different valued resistor on each switch. I was able to work out the value progression and fill in the missing values and switches.

GDM-W900 Front

Switched it on with great caution after making sure the rattling bits in the case were just broken bits of casing, there were no other broken PCBS and the tube neck was intact.

Cue the loudest degaussing twang I’ve ever heard and it popped into life. It was out of focus and there was a huge green splodge in the lower right corner which wouldn’t degauss away. After literally a couple of hours exploring its menus and controls I managed to adjust the landing and convergence so it looked fantastic.

5 years of monitor heaven and and an expensive GPU later it started slowly drifting out of focus and would then make a loud snapping noise and pop back into focus. I thought, and was told by others, it was the flyback transformer insulation dying and turns shorting out.

In the end I had to find the focus pot on the flyback and drill a hole in 3 layers of casing (that lined up when reassembled: about as much fun as it sounds). After that a long Philips head screwdriver was permanently inserted and used to tweak the focus. Worked amazingly well. For another several years.

Flybacks Flyback in GDM-W900

GDM-W900 Top with focus adj

The last few months I’ve been expecting it to finally pop every morning when I switch it on or whenever the res change relays click. Its been bright green for an increasing amount of time after being switched on, a sharp tap on the screen with a wooden spoon often resolved it.

It still soldiers on, Sony made an amazingly good quality bit of kit, assuming you could afford to pay for it.

But I did start looking for another monitor. Replacement 24″ widescreen CRTs are very rare now (2015) and go for silly money. Thats assuming its within range. Not sure I’d trust any courier with one.

Main candidates were either HP LP2475W or similar. 24″ 16:10, IPS, wide gamut, composite & S-Video inputs as well as VGA and DVI etc. Found several for about £100 but then saw one of those 30″ Korean IPS screens listed as broken which I won for £5.

See HERE for how that turned out.

EDIT:

Here is the service manual for the GDM W900 and for the GDM FW900, should be helpful to anyone trying to keep one alive.

There is also a zipped driver for the W900, install the .inf and all the screen modes should show up in Windows. Also has lots of ICM profiles etc. Its not just for the W900, I think it covers most of the higher end Sony CRTs (and probably the rebadged SGI, HP etc versions too)..

6 thoughts on “Sony GDM-W900 24″ Widescreen CRT Monitor limps on”

  1. Hi there! I ran across your blog and noticed you also have/had a Sony GDM-W900 24″ Widescreen CRT Monitor. I’ve had one myself, it has been sitting in a closet unused for years, and I was searching the web to see what it might be worth and ran across your blog. Mine is in very good shape, just has a few case/housing cracks on the far back, but otherwise the CRT, screen, and front controls and front fascia casing are in perfect working condition.

    I was curious if you would be interested in it, or would you venture to guess a value for it if I were to sell it?

    Curious for your thoughts!
    You’re welcome to email or text me:
    Stewart Clark
    (713) 818-0632
    stewartdclark@yahoo.com

  2. Sorry its taken me a while to pay attention to the site and approve your comment; just finished moving house and workshop – complete timesink nightmare.

    Unfortunately I detect from the format of your phone number that you are one of our colonial brethren – and I’m in England.
    Much as I’d love that monitor (and I REALLY would) I suspect the practicalities of getting it here would be eyewateringly expensive. Hopefully someone nearer you will see your comment and reach out.
    I reckon if you either edited your first comment or added another with an approximate geographical location you’d get more bites.
    Safely boxing up and sending a monitor of that size is a non-trivial undertaking so if people know you’re only a few hours drive away they’ll be more enthusiastic.
    There ARE still quite a few people who value these monitors, the W900 and FW900 were arguably the best CRT monitors ever made. Even with my enormous Korean thing I miss my CRT every day. Good luck, I hope it finds a home soon.
    There are still spares about, and repair men with the skills to fit and adjust them. The build quality is so high in pro gear like this that they usually last for ages.
    Mine came to me after being kicked down a long flight of stairs and after a bit of fiddling it lasted more than 10 years of being on 16 hours or more every day.

    1. Hi,
      I lve my GDM-FW900 too, but now I need a new flyback transformator. Do anybody know where to buy? In Eurpe for ex.?
      If you know something about spare parts please contact me
      bovoleone@yahoo.de
      thank to all
      Bovoleone

  3. Glad to hear there are still people who love and use these amazing screens.
    Sorry to hear about your fault.

    Flybacks are usually the thing that goes; mine finally died due to more and more turns on the flyback shorting and then one of the electron guns in the tube went as well. I got a good 10 years out of it, usually 12h/day or more use too.

    There is/was an American guy called Uncle Vito who was selling a lot of GDMFW900 on ebay. He repaired them too and was generous about giving advice on forums.
    He may well still have flybacks to sell. I know its from the US but as its just a flyback rather than a whole monitor so P&P shouldn’t be too expensive.
    There is an enormous 360 page thread on [H]ardforum that he posts in. Almost any problem you can possibly have with these screens is discussed and maybe solved. Its still a live thread too, been going since 2005!

    https://hardforum.com/threads/24-widescreen-crt-fw900-from-ebay-arrived-comments.952788/

    To find more about Vito and the monitors:

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Uncle%20Vito&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=Uncle+Vito+gdm+fw900

    I’ll have a look through the old notes, links etc from mine and if I find anything useful I’ll add another comment here.

    Best of luck with your search, hope you find one soon.

    1. Thanks so much for your answer. Do you think there is a difference for the FBT between the voltage of US and Europe?
      Hope so, to get it alive again!
      If anybody knows more, please contact me!!

      1. I don’t think so, the frontend PSU will convert whatever the mains voltage is to the standard internal voltage rails.
        From a quick scan of the FW900 service manual it looks like its universal input anyway; 100-240V. The W900 has to be switched between them I think.
        I have edited the post and attached service manuals for the GDM W900 and the GDM FW900 plus a monitor .inf with ICM colour profiles.
        If you don’t already have them they will prove very useful, showing you expected voltages and waveforms etc at various test points.
        If you can’t see the links just refresh the page.

        Due to the crazy way the world works I just this morning got an email about a new post in a thread on badcaps.net about the repair of these things.
        The new post may be helpful, there is discussion of spare parts.
        http://www.badcaps.net/forum/showthread.php?s=aef3e7f73f6295c465d1d4033961af2f&t=15248&page=2

        Hope you can work something out with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *