This section of our site is designed to help you, the user, learn any confusing terminology you may have come across. If you would like us to add something, please contact us, and we will add it!

Back light

In LCD displays, the screen does not produce light by itself; it needs a back light bulb to make the display visible. The back light bulb sits behind the display, and when powered on shines brightly, making the display visible.
A common example is a digital watch; you can read the display in the sunlight, but in a dark room, you can not. When you press the glow, or light button, then the watch face lights up so you can read it. The light you are seeing is being produced from a back light.


Burn in is a common occurrence in CRT monitors. When a static image (that is, non changing) is displayed for a long period of time, the pixels are actually burnt, leaving a shadow of the image etched into the glass.
A common example of a static image on your computer would be the start menu button; even though the images on the screen change all of the time, the start menu button is always present. On an old display, it is very common to see the start menu button burnt into the glass.

This is an old display with a burnt in “shadow” image


In an industrial setting, a controller is an entire unit, commonly composed of (but not limited to) a computer, a display, a hard drive, a mouse, a keyboard, and a touchscreen.
All of these components work together to produce the desired result, such as controlling a CNC machine.

This is a complete controller, complete with a display, a keypad, and a computer (not shown)


Cathode Ray Tube. These displays are based on very old technology (the first CRT television was produced in 1934!). These displays are bulky, and are characterized by a slightly curved screen.
Some CRT units are available with a flat screen; these should not be confused with LCD’s. CRT monitors excel when they are used in monochrome applications; they display different shades of grey extremely well. This is very apparent when used in medical imaging equipment.
These displays are prone to burn-in after a long period of operation.


The frequency is the refresh rate of the display. It is directly related to the resolution of the screen; the higher the resolution, the faster the refresh rate.
For example, VGA has a frequency of 32 kHz (kilohertz), and a resolution of 640 x 480, while XGA has a frequency of 54 kHz and a resolution of 1024 x 768. The benefit of having a higher frequency is that the screen can display the image faster.
On a resolution that has 480 vertical pixels, it takes 32 microseconds for each line of the 480 pixels to display the image. On a display with 768 vertical pixels, it only takes 18 microseconds to display each line.
Therefore, higher resolutions, frequencies, and refresh rates are desired if you are using the display in a high motion application, such as video gaming, or precision engineering.

Three cyclically flashing lights, from lowest frequency (top) to highest frequency (bottom). f is the frequency in hertz (Hz), meaning the number of cycles per second. T is the period in seconds (s), meaning the number of seconds per cycle. T and f are reciprocals.


Liquid Crystal Display. These displays are based on a much newer technology; by comparison, the first LCD television was not introduced until 1983. These are the traditional “flat screen” displays. With an average thickness of 3? as opposed to 14? (cathode Ray Tube), a more accurate description would be “slim screens”.
These monitors are superior to alternatives for several reasons; the cost is lower, the technology is more reliable, they are immune to burn in, and replacement is easier.
Monitech manufactures LCD replacements for many different applications, for many different makes and models.



The term Legacy is used to describe any old technology that is still in use. For example, NASA uses equipment from the 1970’s still, because it still works. The old adage is true; if it aint’ broke, don’t fix it.
The same holds true in industry; there is no point in replacing a million dollar machine simply because it is outdated (so long as it still works). One of the common problems with working with legacy equipment is that repair or replacement parts are either rare or non existent, and many modern products will not interface with legacy equipment properly.
Monitech has solved that problem; our displays are specifically designed to work with legacy equipment.

This is a legacy monochrome display

Low Scan

A low scan display is any display with a frequency of under 32 kHz (kiloHertz). 32 kHz is the industry standard. Modern displays are not compatible with old video signals, and as such, customers are forced to use old technology when their display fails.
Monitech monitors are designed to work with low-scan applications, so you can get the reliability of an LCD on a machine that would not otherwise be able to support it.

This is an old KME legacy style connector


Another common name is “display”. When you think of a monitor, think of the thing you are reading this on. It can be the display on a television, computer, phone, or even a GPS.
Many of our customers are not sure exactly what the term monitor means. The monitor is the actual screen, nothing more, nothing less. The touch screen is a separate component, as is the computer it is connected to.
If it is being used in an industrial setting, then the monitor is one part of the entire controller. The computer of the controller is separate.

This is a Monitech replacement display for a Cincinanti Milacron 950 with a frame


This means that the display only produces one color. These colors are commonly green, red, amber, or white (as well as black).
For example, an old “black and white” television was monochrome; it produced black, white, and all of the shades of grey in-between. These are still common, as they are cheaper to produce.

This is a monochrome green display


A pixel is a group of three colored dots; red, green, and blue. By changing the intensity of these three colors, every color in existence can be produced.
If the intensity of all 3 colors was set at 0, you would see black. If red and green were set at 0, but blue was set at max, you would see blue. If all three colors were set at max, you would see white.
Cheaper LCD screens can actually have pixels become blocked, (generally by dust), which will cause them to appear as black dots. Pixels can also burn out, but this is not very common.

This is a closeup of pixel groups on an LCD display


The resolution of a screen refers to how many pixels are running across the length and height. For example, a resolution of 800×600 has 800 pixels along the width of the display, with 600 pixels going up the height. This makes for a screen total of 480 000 pixels.
The higher the resolution, the sharper the image on screen, as more detail can be shown. The most common desktop resolution is 1024×768, while the most common industrial resolution is 640 x 480. This is because a computer is typically displaying much more information, and the extra resolution is simply not needed in industrial applications.

This is a comparison of video signals and corresponding resolutions. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia


A touchscreen is a separate component from a display. Essentially, it is a piece of glass or plastic that goes in front of the display and accepts input from the user. It can either be flush with the display (like in a touch phone, or a GPS), or it can be a few inches in front of it (like on an ATM / ABM).
There are hundreds of different types of touchscreens, from many different manufacturers. At Monitech, we can replace many of them; please contact us and let us know what it is you need.

14? ELO-Touch Touchscreen

Video Connector

The video connector is what sits on the end of the video cable, and what plugs into the display and the computer. There are many different types of video connectors, from VGA to BNC.
The most common is probably right in front of you; the blue VGA cable that plugs your computers display into your computer. Since there are so many different types of connectors, we have built a database of which displays use what connector. For example, we know an Allen Bradley 1400e will always use a VGA connector.

This is a VGA 15 Pin High Density connector

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