Question Is there really such thing as a "break in" period for new monitors?

Nitromon

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I bought this: https://www.costco.com/acer-24"-class-fhd-ips-monitor.product.100674589.html

About 30 days ago and it works beautifully. However, there is a faint, I mind you, very faint, odor that smells like plastic. It doesn't smell like "burning" plastic, just heavy plastic smell.

At first I didn't think much of it since the monitor worked beautifully. However, soon I find myself unable to swallow my own spit b/c it became bitter and sour. Then I noticed my lips starting to dry and when I woke up in the morning, my throat is sore all the way down to my lungs.

I read online and only found one thread on this exact topic from Dell, some claim this is a "break in" period for monitors b/c the components are too new. Others suggest this is completely defective and should be replaced. (https://www.dell.com/community/Monitors/Monitor-Smells/td-p/346458/page/2)

I'm hoping to get more advice, hopefully from people with technical engineering background because if this really is a break-in period, then it would be fruitless for me to replace the monitor with a new one and restart the process. However, if this is defective, I should change it before the warranty expires.

Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Details:
  • monitor works beautifully
  • no heating issue, it runs cool
  • the odor is faint, not really noticeable, however the symptoms of the odor is heavy leading to dry mouth, sore throat, and bitter saliva.
  • at first I didn't know if it was my laptop fan or something, but when I smell them, they were fine. When I smell the vent of the monitor, immediately my lips went dry.
  • I've been running it for at least 30 days. The warranty is 90 days. If this really is a break in period, how long should it take?
 
Last edited:

velocityg4

Illustrious
Some electronics do have a new electronics smell. Which can be annoying. It does fade away over time. Just like a new car or chair.

Although it’s probably been ten years since I had any new electronics with a strong odor. Usually it’s pretty faint. Maybe it fades in the box too. Only noticeable on stuff fresh off the factory floor.

Although annoying to smell. It does smell like electronics burning. I’ve never had a bad reaction. Probably the worst was a new toaster.

but if you find it too annoying. Just return it and get something else. No reason to be miserable until it gets better.
 
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Endre

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Hello!
First of all I’m not a technical engineer.
By a turn of events, I’ve dealt with 4 different new monitors from 3 different brands in the last 6 months (2x Dell; 1x BenQ; 1x ViewSonic); I bought them, then I RMA’ed the first 3 of them.

All of the 4 monitors were brand new, and all of them had a faint smell, just as you described.

After about 3 months of usage of the ViewSonic monitor, the smell became a lot less noticeable.
 
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Nitromon

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Some electronics do have a new electronics smell. Which can be annoying. It does fade away over time. Just like a new car or chair.

but if you find it too annoying. Just return it and get something else. No reason to be miserable until it gets better.
After about 3 months of usage of the ViewSonic monitor, the smell became a lot less noticeable.
ahh 3 months is 90 days, just about the end of the warranty. but i suppose i should be able to tell if the smell is becoming fainter in that time?

If this really is just a new smell thing, I don't want to exchange it b/c it just means I have to start over. Yes, the smell is very faint, but at night with the windows closed and no ventilation, it does build up. Again, it is not the actual smell, but sorta like the residue of the smell. Even if I don't smell it, but my saliva gets sour and bitter and my lips are dry.

Since the monitor is working beautifully, it is hard to see if there really is something wrong. I mean, if there are flickering or a really obvious burning smell, then I know for sure it is busted.

Since I have several more days before the warranty, I'll wait a bit and see if it becomes weaker. So far I noticed last night for the 1st time I actually press the power button to turn it off and I woke up this morning quite refresh. So even in standby mode all the other nights, it still produces this plastic smell effect, that is why I woke up with a sore throat.

Thanks for your input guys, I hope more will be able to weigh in.
 

Endre

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ahh 3 months is 90 days, just about the end of the warranty. but i suppose i should be able to tell if the smell is becoming fainter in that time?

If this really is just a new smell thing, I don't want to exchange it b/c it just means I have to start over. Yes, the smell is very faint, but at night with the windows closed and no ventilation, it does build up. Again, it is not the actual smell, but sorta like the residue of the smell. Even if I don't smell it, but my saliva gets sour and bitter and my lips are dry.

Since the monitor is working beautifully, it is hard to see if there really is something wrong. I mean, if there are flickering or a really obvious burning smell, then I know for sure it is busted.

Since I have several more days before the warranty, I'll wait a bit and see if it becomes weaker. So far I noticed last night for the 1st time I actually press the power button to turn it off and I woke up this morning quite refresh. So even in standby mode all the other nights, it still produces this plastic smell effect, that is why I woke up with a sore throat.

Thanks for your input guys, I hope more will be able to weigh in.
In my case, I’ve never experienced the saliva or the sore throat issues that you’ve mentioned.

POSSIBILITIES:
  1. Maybe the smell that your monitor is producing is a lot stronger than in my case(s).
  2. It could be that you’re more sensitive to these type of smells.
Is there someone else sleeping in that room that feels the same disconfort as you?
If the answer is “yes”, then, it’s a real issue with that monitor and you must RMA it.

Actually, even if it doesn’t affect anyone else, but it affects you, I’d still consider RMA-ing it.

I wish you all the best!
 
Last edited:
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Nitromon

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In my case, I’ve never experienced the saliva or the sore throat issues that you’ve mentioned.

POSSIBILITIES:
  1. Maybe the smell that your monitor is producing is a lot stronger than in my case(s).
  2. It could be that you’re more sensitive to these type of smells.
Is there someone else sleeping in that room that feels the same disconfort as you?
If the answer is “yes”, then, it’s a real issue with that monitor and you must RMA it.

I wish you all the best!
Unfortunately no, it is just me. It is actually very strange. I had a Samsung monitor for over 10 years, but it never produced any smell. Though I did notice when I woke up in the morning, my mouth would be very bitter. But I had always attributed that to simply morning breath.

So one day, the monitor just burned out, a bad component and it was flickering and all kinds of problem. In this case, it left a really strong bad burning plastic odor. Even when I put the broken monitor in the garage unplugged, it stunk up the garage. I eventually took it to an e-waste recycling.

When I was waiting for my new monitor to arrive, I used a spare monitor I had in another room. I rarely use this one so I never noticed anything, but since prolong using in my room, I started to notice it smelled bad. It is not a burning smell, but a heating smell more like it.

Anyways eventually the monitor was here, but then there was more bad smell in my room. It turned out to be both my laptop fan and my cooling pad fan, both were just smelling like machine smell. In this case, it was because I've been re-oiling the bearings with sewing machine oil. However, I've been doing this for the better part of 10 years as well, but never noticed. All of the sudden they both just smell so bad I ended up replacing the 2.

So for a while it was ok, but then I suddenly started smelling it again and I thought it was my new cooling pad. It turned out it does smell, very bad like bad plastic. So I got rid of it and replaced it with my old one which I washed and is clean. This is when I started to suspect my new monitor.

Short story long...

I suspect it might be residues from my old broken monitor, because I had to air out the garage for a while and it still smells bitter. Perhaps the burnt plastic smell is ingrained in my furniture and carpet, so all 3 - the laptop fan, cooling pad, and the new monitor are just recycling the burnt smell, making themselves smell bad.

My only other possible explanation? The only other thing I did differently was getting that Covid-19 vaccine shot. Perhaps the vaccine made me more sensitive to these things. After all, it is designed to fight a virus that attacks the lungs.

Anyways, thanks for all your help. I think I'll wait a little bit see if it gets better since I have a while before the warranty runs out.
 
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Endre

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Apr 30, 2019
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Unfortunately no, it is just me. It is actually very strange. I had a Samsung monitor for over 10 years, but it never produced any smell. Though I did notice when I woke up in the morning, my mouth would be very bitter. But I had always attributed that to simply morning breath.

So one day, the monitor just burned out, a bad component and it was flickering and all kinds of problem. In this case, it left a really strong bad burning plastic odor. Even when I put the broken monitor in the garage unplugged, it stunk up the garage. I eventually took it to an e-waste recycling.

When I was waiting for my new monitor to arrive, I used a spare monitor I had in another room. I rarely use this one so I never noticed anything, but since prolong using in my room, I started to notice it smelled bad. It is not a burning smell, but a heating smell more like it.

Anyways eventually the monitor was here, but then there was more bad smell in my room. It turned out to be both my laptop fan and my cooling pad fan, both were just smelling like machine smell. In this case, it was because I've been re-oiling the bearings with sewing machine oil. However, I've been doing this for the better part of 10 years as well, but never noticed. All of the sudden they both just smell so bad I ended up replacing the 2.

So for a while it was ok, but then I suddenly started smelling it again and I thought it was my new cooling pad. It turned out it does smell, very bad like bad plastic. So I got rid of it and replaced it with my old one which I washed and is clean. This is when I started to suspect my new monitor.

Short story long...

I suspect it might be residues from my old broken monitor, because I had to air out the garage for a while and it still smells bitter. Perhaps the burnt plastic smell is ingrained in my furniture and carpet, so all 3 - the laptop fan, cooling pad, and the new monitor are just recycling the burnt smell, making themselves smell bad.

My only other possible explanation? The only other thing I did differently was getting that Covid-19 vaccine shot. Perhaps the vaccine made me more sensitive to these things. After all, it is designed to fight a virus that attacks the lungs.

Anyways, thanks for all your help. I think I'll wait a little bit see if it gets better since I have a while before the warranty runs out.
Perhaps you can do this test:

Try using another room, or try using a friend’s room, to sleep in there for 1 night with your monitor turned on.

If you’ll wake up feeling sick, then you’ll know that you must replace the monitor.
 
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Nitromon

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Feb 14, 2015
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Perhaps you can do this test:

Try using another room, or try using a friend’s room, to sleep in there for 1 night with your monitor turned on.

If you’ll wake up feeling sick, then you’ll know that you must replace the monitor.
Hi,

Sorry for the late reply. I figured out what the problem is. I'm wondering if you or anyone can give me advice based on the new information.

So what made me think this is not a new monitor smell was that it was actually fine when I first got it and progressively got worse. What happened is that my previous monitor had side to side vents in the back on the monitor on the center piece. This didn't give me any trouble.

The new monitor design is top and bottom vents. The top vent is not problematic as it is located on the center back piece behind the monitor. However, the 2 bottom vents are located directly beneath the monitor screen on two sides. I don't know if this is bad by itself, I think it is stupid to have the vent directly beneath the monitor screen instead of behind the monitor to keep whatever possible smell contained.

The monitor smell itself is not the problem, that's why it worked fine at first. Since I am using the monitor as a 2ndary monitor extended from my laptop, they were placed side by side. My laptop sits on top of a cooling pad. So one of the bottom vents is right next to it and directly below it. The cooling pad fan is drawing air from below, creating a funneling effect, siphoning air from the top vent of the monitor through the bottom vent and then blowing it out into the laptop and all over the room.

This is why it took about 2-3 weeks for it to completely build up and consume my room until it smells like a ewaste dump. It is so bad that I actually used a carpet cleaner with shampoo to clean the carpet and the furniture, but the smell is ingrained into the walls. It also funked up my laptop fan along with the cooling pad.

So right now, my room is cleaned and it smells fine. I think I can clean the cooling pad and maybe even the laptop fan to get rid of the bitter ewaste smell b/c they still smell when the fan is blowing.

But what to do with the monitor?

Can I "block" the bottom 2 vents? With packing tape? Or at least block the one next to the cooling pad? Also, the monitor smells now. But I think that is ok, I can probably get rid of the smell by wiping the plastic part with Febreeze on a paper towel. But if I cannot block the bottom vent, then I can't really use this monitor anymore in my set up.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Endre

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Apr 30, 2019
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Hi,

Sorry for the late reply. I figured out what the problem is. I'm wondering if you or anyone can give me advice based on the new information.

So what made me think this is not a new monitor smell was that it was actually fine when I first got it and progressively got worse. What happened is that my previous monitor had side to side vents in the back on the monitor on the center piece. This didn't give me any trouble.

The new monitor design is top and bottom vents. The top vent is not problematic as it is located on the center back piece behind the monitor. However, the 2 bottom vents are located directly beneath the monitor screen on two sides. I don't know if this is bad by itself, I think it is stupid to have the vent directly beneath the monitor screen instead of behind the monitor to keep whatever possible smell contained.

The monitor smell itself is not the problem, that's why it worked fine at first. Since I am using the monitor as a 2ndary monitor extended from my laptop, they were placed side by side. My laptop sits on top of a cooling pad. So one of the bottom vents is right next to it and directly below it. The cooling pad fan is drawing air from below, creating a funneling effect, siphoning air from the top vent of the monitor through the bottom vent and then blowing it out into the laptop and all over the room.

This is why it took about 2-3 weeks for it to completely build up and consume my room until it smells like a ewaste dump. It is so bad that I actually used a carpet cleaner with shampoo to clean the carpet and the furniture, but the smell is ingrained into the walls. It also funked up my laptop fan along with the cooling pad.

So right now, my room is cleaned and it smells fine. I think I can clean the cooling pad and maybe even the laptop fan to get rid of the bitter ewaste smell b/c they still smell when the fan is blowing.

But what to do with the monitor?

Can I "block" the bottom 2 vents? With packing tape? Or at least block the one next to the cooling pad? Also, the monitor smells now. But I think that is ok, I can probably get rid of the smell by wiping the plastic part with Febreeze on a paper towel. But if I cannot block the bottom vent, then I can't really use this monitor anymore in my set up.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Hi!
I wouldn’t block the bottom vents. Blocking them, might break the monitor later!
I’d, simply, replace the monitor.
 
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Nitromon

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Hi!
I wouldn’t block the bottom vents. Blocking them, might break the monitor later!
I’d, simply, replace the monitor.
Thanks! I think I will replace it. Even with the bottom vents both blocked, it doesn't work for me. The smell is faint and I think if used with a desktop, wouldn't be a problem. However, with a laptop, the fan is on the desk and siphoning air from the back and bottom, so this chemical plastic smell will eventually build up again and fast.

There's a LG at Costco that just became available for the same price with basically the same specs except its panel is TN and not IPS. However, I my original Samsung was not IPS either and I never had problems with it. This LG design doesn't even have vents, I think it is like a bigger version of a laptop monitor.
 

Endre

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Thanks! I think I will replace it. Even with the bottom vents both blocked, it doesn't work for me. The smell is faint and I think if used with a desktop, wouldn't be a problem. However, with a laptop, the fan is on the desk and siphoning air from the back and bottom, so this chemical plastic smell will eventually build up again and fast.

There's a LG at Costco that just became available for the same price with basically the same specs except its panel is TN and not IPS. However, I my original Samsung was not IPS either and I never had problems with it. This LG design doesn't even have vents, I think it is like a bigger version of a laptop monitor.
Buying a monitor is not an everyday thing. Meaning, you’ll be stuck with it for a longer period of time compared to other PC parts.
So, please make your choice carefully.

PS: In my case, I had to replace 3 different monitors until I got to the one that I am truly satisfied with.
 
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Nitromon

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Feb 14, 2015
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Buying a monitor is not an everyday thing. Meaning, you’ll be stuck with it for a longer period of time compared to other PC parts.
So, please make your choice carefully.

PS: In my case, I had to replace 3 different monitors until I got to the one that I am truly satisfied with.
Thanks man, the LG one works great. At first it has a faint smell similar to the Acer one, however after a couple of days, the smell completely went away. I think the smell is actually the anti-glare chemical treatment or something, which Acer added way too much. But very satisfied with the LG thus far, thanks for all the advice!
 
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