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LCD screen on laptop fades to white

adminsb
adminsb asked
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I've got a Dell X300 laptop with a screen problem.

The problem started when the bag the laptop was in was dropped in the ocean, and the laptop got slightly wet.

Most of the time when I turn the laptop on the screen is initially all bright white and will stay that way.
There hard disk activity lights are blinking and it appears that windows is booting normally despite the lack of video signal.

If I leave it off and unplugged for a while and turn it on then the LCD looks perfect for about 10 seconds.  As the computer starts to boot (but at no specific time) the screen appears to bleed back into full on bright white.

I replaced the inverter at the recommendation of another.  Now I have ordered a new video signal cable to see if that is the problem.

My questions are:
1. If the LCD screen can display an good image for 10 seconds then is it ok?
2. If I hook up an external monitor and it doesn't display anything what does that tell me?
3. How do I ensure that the external monitor port is enabled?

Thanks in advance
adminsb
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Commented:
If saltwater got into the Laptop problems will continue as a result of the corrosive nature of the saltwater.  If you have one of Dell's All Inclusive Warranties that cover everything except intentional damage then I'd call them to see what they will do under warranty - Maybe an exchange?  Otherwise might want to open it up and see what obvious issues exist.

To use your External Monitor Port attach a Monitor Per Service Manual:

Press <Fn><F8> to switch the video image to the display only, the external device only, or the display and the external device simultaneously.

If nothing comes up on your External monitor, with the problems you are having with the LCD and the fact that it may have gone for a swim.  I'd lean towards the Motherboard as the source of your issues.

If the LCD screen displays for 10 Seconds and then goes bright white is it good?  Maybe.  The possible problems are numerous.

For a long-term solution I would in sequence:
1.  Attempt to obtain an exchange under warranty from Dell if you have the all inclusive warranty.
2.  Disassemble the laptop, identify any parts which have obvious water/salt contact and attempt to replace under warranty.  Continue until laptop is completly rebuilt.
3.  If no warranty exist, disassemble the laptop, identify any parts which have obvious water/salt contact, clean and see if works.  If returns to an operational state use it until a failure occures.

I would suspect this will always have problems and Cost of Ownership will be excessive.  As anytime purchase of repair parts is contemplated I recommend consider the purchase of a replacement system/Laptop.  Following is a link to Dell's refurbished systems which might be a consideration.

http://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnlineSales/topics/global.aspx/arb/online/en/InventorySearch?c=us&cs=28&l=en&lob=LAT&MODEL_DESC=Latitude%20X300&s=dfb

Hope this Helps!!!

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Top Expert 2005
Commented:
Salt water and computers don't mix.  I would remove the video card, ram, etc. from the laptop;
here's the manual http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/latx300/en/sm/index.htm
You could clean off the components with a solution of isopropyl alcohol.

Author

Commented:
The laptop is not under warranty unfortunately.  There is slight corrosion on two external ports, but it doesn't appear that any saltwater got inside the housing.  The parts have already been cleaned w/ alcohol.  Using david523's suggestion I was able to get an external monitor to work.  It appears that the video card and mobo are intact for now anyway.  When the cable arrives I will install it and we'll go from there.

Thanks
adminsb
Commented:
The "bleeding into white" phenomenon is consistent with a loss of the signal connection, so exchanging the signal cable is a good idea. The corrorsion problems have already been mentioned, I could perhaps add that cleaning with distilled water is also a known good procedure, provided parts are allowed to dry fairly quickly and that the cleaning is done thoroughly as to remove all traces of salt(s) etc.
/RID

Author

Commented:
RID was correct in assuming the problem was the signal cable, and David 523 helped me with the CRT/LCD troubleshooting to determine that the problem was not the Mobo.  Tim_qui suggested I clean the components w/ isopropyl alcohol which is a good suggestion in this case.  I have split points between all.  Replacing the video signal cable fixed the problem.

Thanks.
adminsb  
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