Laptop screen is completely blank when booting, never shows any text or icons at all

Posted on 2005-04-26
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Model: Sony Vaio PCG-8C3L
OS: Win XP Home

Before the video went out, the laptop was starting to display some error messages, including the following:

Error 0280: Previous boot incomplete - default configuration used

But now, there is not any video display at all. The lights come on, and you can see the orange light for the battery charging it up.

I have done the following:
- tested DC voltage output from the AC adapter, and it reads 19.65 volts (19.5 Volts is what is required)
- removed the battery and tried booting the laptop; the lights still come on (except for the battery charging light), but still no video display
- booted the machine with a Win XP CD in the CD-ROM drive, but still no video output
- removed one stick of RAM and moved the remaining one to the other slot. Same error message.
- plugged in a CRT monitor to the video port on the back of the laptop: Still no display
- toggled the Fn-F7 keys to switch between display types - No joy

No matter what I do, I can't get to the BIOS, and I can't get Wndows to come up so that I can check on the status of my hardware. What do I do next? Thanks.
Question by:coderlen
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    is the unit under warranty as it sounds like the video chipset has failed

    The error 0280 previous boot incomplete was probably the video chip didn't allow the right video mode as it was starting to fail and now has failed completely

    internal and external will fail if this is the case

    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    IanTh: Thanks for the reply. No, the laptop is out of warranty. It's about 3 years old. So, if the video chipset has failed, is there a way to repair the video chipset without replacing the motherboard? And how can I be sure that the video chipset is actually bad?
    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    no real way unfortunately

    The part that has failed may be at the output end not at the begining as the system will beep if it can't find the graphics chipset

    Some companies may attempt chip reairs but most will swap the mainboard and I bet the price will be about the same as the labour on a chip repair will be longer than a mainboard swap  

    Where do you live as I may know or help you find a good repair shop  
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    Thanks, IanTh, for the response.

    >The part that has failed may be at the output end not at the begining as the system will beep if it can't find the graphics chipset

    What do you mean by "the output end not at the beginning"? I'm assuming that by "the beginning" you mean when the system first boots up. I take it you mean that, since it is not beeping, that the problem is at the "output end", meaning the system is trying to update the screen and can't because the video chipset has failed. Right?

    Actually, I am the repair shop. This laptop is for a customer. I've never run into a problem like this before. It's real hard to tell what's going on if you don't have video. So, I have to second-guess what the system is trying to tell me. I looked into using a POST Code analyzer, and I have one for laptops, but I couldn't find anywhere to plug it into. I also have one for desktops, but that's useless on a laptop. Maybe I'll have to take it apart to find the slot where it goes in. Do all laptops have such a slot? It doesn't have one available on the outside of the case. It would sure be nice to know what POST Code it's stopping on.

    Anyway, I live in Mesa, Arizona. But, pride might prevent me from taking it to another shop. The customer just wants to know whether to replace it or repair it, if that's possible. Looking like it's not repairable, unless you can come up with something I haven't thought of.

    Thanks a lot for your responses. You've been a great help already. Looks like 500 points will be going your way. Just help me get to a resolution, and it's yours.

    LVL 30

    Accepted Solution

    yes of course I use EE for some customers to my business !

    Anyway what I was aying about the outout end is think of a chip like a input/output device

    if the chip had failed at the input end bios post codes would have been heard
    whereas if the problem is at the output then post will pass as it can address the chip but you will not
    get any output to lcd or vga port

    what a post probe (post code analyser) for a laptop only seen them for isa/pci slots on desktop pc never seen
    anything for laptop. Who made the device as I may be interested as I do some laptop repairs as I am
    a computer engineer.
    LVL 4

    Author Comment


    OK, here is the link for the laptop diagnostic POST test card (for mini-PCI slot):

    NOTE: There are 2 types. One is a combo card which uses the new technology on new motherboards, which output the POST codes through the printer port!

    In reading over the documentation for this laptop POST test card, I realized that I have to disassemble the laptop to access this mini-PCI slot. Hmmm... I may do that, or I may not. You analysis has lead me to believe that this would be a waste of time, so I probably won't.

    By the way, you've earned your 500 points. Thanks for the response, and I'm glad I could help with getting you a laptop diagnostic POST card. And, they aren't very expensive. The vanilla version is $45, and the combo is $89. Not bad, considering what it does for you.

    Anyway, thanks for all the help. Best wishes in your business.

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