This post is a bit long (really? A long post from Cromely?! I’m shocked) so I’ll start with the summary:
To sum up:
- Samsung Mount Design: FAIL
- Ergotron Monitor Arm: WIN
- Ergotron Customer Service: EPIC WIN
- Introduction to Extended Desktop
- My Samsung monitor
- Introduction to VESA
- Problem with the Samsung 2490HM and Ergotron LX
- Contacting Ergotron
- How the Fix Works
- Wrap Up
Introduction to Extended DesktopOne of the best kept secrets of Windows (besides System Restore) is that fact that Extended Desktop support has been available in the OS since at least Windows 98. It’s easy to see this on a laptop. Simply go into your monitor setting and on the screen where you can adjust the resolution, you will likely see two displays, though one may be disabled.
Extended desktop means that I can have two monitors connected to one computer and see different things on different screens. For example, I can have Tweetdeck and instant messaging apps on one display while I have my email program and web browser open on another screen. When I move my mouse off the left hand side of one screen, the pointer shows up on the right hand side of the other one. It’s a fantastic productivity tool, and, let’s face it, having multiple operating displays just looks cool. Who doesn’t want their desk to look like some sort of command center?
My Samsung monitorSome months back, I bought a second, bigger monitor for my desk. I got a decent deal on it at Costco. It’s the Samsung 2490HM. I like the size, and for a monitor, the quality is OK. There’s a band in the middle that appears to be slightly fuzzier than the rest of the screen, but it works. I already had an older Samsung 19” monitor attached to an Ergotron monitor arm on the desk.
The monitor arm means I don’t lose physical desk space to the monitor, and that it’s easier to position it exactly where I want it. I recently picked up a new Ergotron arm for my new Samsung monitor. That’s when the trouble started.
Introduction to VESAThere’s an industry standard, called VESA, that describes (among other things) where the holes go in the back of a monitor so you can attach arms and other mounts. The same standard applies to TVs which is why you can get most anyone’s flat panel TV, and any vendor’s wall mount, and, as long the weight is right, they’ll work together.
Problem with the Samsung 2490HM and Ergotron MXUnfortunately, the Samsung 2490HM does not appear to be fully VESA compliant. The holes don’t match up with the Ergotron mount and there is a weird rectangular depression in the monitor that keeps the brackets from fitting.
Because of where the screw holes are, even if the brackets did fit in the depression, the washers for the display will not. And even if the washers fit, the holes are too small for the screws.
I don’t know why Samsung would choose such an odd design. It’s not like they sell their own competing monitor arm.
In fact, my first attempt to fix this issue was to shop for an adapter from Samsung or someone else who might make an appropriate one, but I had not luck.
Contacting ErgotronI next contacted Ergotron through their website live chat. While I was doing this, I also Tweeted my frustration. On the live chat, I spoke with (or typed with) Laura S who was awesome. She asked about my problem, asked appropriate questions about the issue, and didn’t type down to me.
She had not heard about the issue before and said she would forward it on to her engineers. I offered to send pictures of the issue to make it more clear, and she gladly accepted the offer. She gave me an email address and I sent over the above images, plus a few more.
A couple days later, I heard back from her that their engineers found a solution involving some spacers, and she promised to send out a kit. She followed through and sent me the additional hardware, at no cost.
How the Fix WorksThere are a few components to the fix. They include screws, plastic spacers, and a metal plate.
The goal is to attach the monitor to this plate on the arm.
(Yes, that is a Nancy Pearl action figure in the background. And Rafiki)
First I add the spacers into the holes on the metal brackets that originally came with the arm.
Then I place the black plate in the center of the indentation. This is important, because ultimately the silver plate on the arm will screw into the black plate in the monitor.
The spacers now mean the long silver brackets don’t need to go in the indentation. They can firmly attach to the monitor and sit between the silver and black plates.
And it’s fixed all I had to do was attach it to the arm, and now my control center is in place.
Wrap UpOne more thing. Remember how I mentioned Tweeting about my frustration? While I was in chat with Laura, I got an @ reply from Ergotron offering assistance. I responded that we seemed to be on track and @Ergotron followed up again a few days later just to make sure.
To sum up:
Samsung Mount Design: FAIL
Ergotron Monitor Arm: WIN
Ergotron Customer Service: EPIC WIN
Next time I need a monitor arm, I'll look at Ergotron first.