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further laptop LCD question

Posted on 2001-06-25
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I posted a question about my laptop's LCD blacking out from time to time (only fixed by reboots). So now...

1) I ruled out a BIOS problem
2) I ruled out any other software problems
3) The LCD does not black out when I touch the screen or move it open and shut

but,

4) It blacks out when I touch the  AC power supply cable where it connects to the laptop

SO IS IT A DIRTY CONNECTION I COULD CLEAN WITH ELECTRONIC CLEANER, IS IT A BAD AC POWER SUPPLY CABLE, OR IS IT A LOOSE SOLDER CONNECTION INSIDE THE LAPTOP NEAR THE AC OUTLET?

or something else or combo of above?...
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Question by:jefhatfield
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7 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:Kiekerjan
ID: 6227014
Dous the problem also show up when you use the internal powersupply?
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Accepted Solution

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jhance earned 200 total points
ID: 6227126
I really doubt that this is a simple as cleaning a dirty connector.  If that were the case, I'd suspect that you would disrupt other things in the laptop as well when the screen dims.

My guess is that you have a bad connection inside the laptop where the power to the LCD panel taps off.  Could be a bad component, a bad solder joint, a broken connector, or a broken circut board connection, to name a few.

If you're comfortable with disassembling your laptop (i.e. you're experienced in handling sensitive electronics) then it may be worthwhile opening it up and taking a look.  Be aware the opening up laptops is often difficult and you can very easily damage the case or the components if you are not careful.  Further, they are often put together like those Chinese puzzles.  Many interlocking pieces that all seem to need to come apart at once.

Is the laptop under warranty?  If so, don't risk voiding the warranty by trying to fix it yourself.  If it's not under warranty, you may find that laptop repair prices are very high and it might not be worth fixing.

In any case, it seems pretty clear from your description and history that it's not a simple "outside the case" fix.
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Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6228293
Rather than inside the laptop, I suspect the cable.  I had a laptop die because the power cable broke inside the flexible part where the cable goes from being just cable to being the hard connector into the laptop, know what I mean?

This is a replaceable part and shouldn't cost too much to try.
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Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 6228310
Magarity,

Any ideas why this would only affect the LCD?

It seems to me that if it were the connector itself, which provides power to the entire unit (and I guess I also assume that this thing has a battery and so it really should keep working even if the plug is removed) why doesn't the thing shutdown or crash.

I think that wherever the problem lies, it's in a part of the laptop that is specific to the LCD.
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 6228463
I would go with jhance on this one. Many connections inside laptops are a sort of ribbon cable that are nothing but metal traces on flexible plastic. The contact surfaces i the ends are often silver and they are sort of clamped or pinched in the connectors on the circuit boards. These connectors are not an ideal design (in my opinion) as poor contact develops from time to time. Disconnecting and reseating have helped for me in some instances. Once I ran into one such "cable" where a trace had broken (going from MB to the screen, actually; the bending in the joint obviously did this). Some laptops let you remove the keyboard pretty easily, and this gives you a good view over the internal organs, including perhaps some of these connections.
Regards
/RID
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Author Comment

by:jefhatfield
ID: 6229599
i gues if it were the cable only, i would lose all power (i don't have a battery on this machine...it died a long time ago...one of those NiMH models)

maybe either a connector is loose or a component is shot..i will have to look inside this machine but i hope to get a spec sheet on this model (first introduced in late 1998...Compaq Presario 1272: 366/32/3.2 so it's pretty old at 2.5 years in this field

i am just a desktop repairman with some knowledge of networking...hardly the type who will open up a laptop, but no shop where i live in my rural area will even attempt it...i would have to travel to San Jose to find someone willing to fix an older laptop like this one w/o a spec sheet

jefhatfield
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Author Comment

by:jefhatfield
ID: 6229685
one thing i forgot to mention...i got two blackscreens in may and 5 in june...all during bootup except for once when i was on the internet...i don't think this will change the result

thanks all for your thoughtful answers

jh
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