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Flickering LCD

Hello!

A friend of mine has a FSC Amilo laptop with a widescreen LCD screen. For the past while the screen has been flickering, i.e. the backlight flickers dimm to full.

It doesn't happen constantly, but happens often.

The FSC support has been extremely unhelpful in the matter from what I've heard, and the warranty has now expired.

I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas about what the cause of this might be...
Faulty backlight, invertor, battery, power supply??? The FSC support said they were pretty sure it was a faulty HDD, but they never actually looked at the laptop, just gave telephone support...

Your help would be much appreciated!
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Julian Matz
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Julian Matz
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3 Solutions
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
if you have a standard desktop monitor..connect that to the back of the notebook.  works???? then it is the panel.  with that said.. you have to repair/replace (Ebay is a good source out of warranty cheap parts)..but "buyer beware" before you do anything.

outside of that....evaluate the repair cost, and see if it will be almost that of a new computer...weigh that in the determination of getting a new system versus throwing $$$ at the older computer
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Julian MatzJoint ChairpersonAuthor Commented:
Thanks, irwinpks. We can try the CRT. We actually have one lying around somewhere...
The laptop is actually not that old... *Just* past warranty... I don't really know what happened with the FSC support...
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
if it is within 30-60 days past.. you may plead for mercy...sometimes that really works... even better if you have a female pleading and a male counterpart at FSC. I recall 4 instances that it came down to saying "please".
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rindiCommented:
You could open up the laptop and make sure all the cables are properly attached. Also turn up the brightness, this will often reduce the flickering. If neither of these tips help, it could be the inverter, which is also the cheapest part to replace, so ebay for a replacement and then try that. If that doesn't help you'd have to replace the panel, which of course is more expensive, but you might be able to get it cheaper than otherwise via ebay too. When you do get a replacement, make sure you first get the exact partnumber, as otherwise you risk the new one to be incompatible.
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Dark720Commented:
Does the backlight flicker dimm to full while the power supply is plugged in? sometimes power managment dimms the display to save battery. check power management options.
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterCommented:
>The FSC support said they were pretty sure it was a faulty HDD

I had to laugh at that! I have heard of some dumb diagnostics and this one is near the top. That is right next to the support person (Toshiba) who told my client that using her laptop recovery CD would "fix" her hard drive problem and she would not lose any data. Fortunately she was smart enough to be suspicious and called me first.

Questions:
Is it a rapid or slow flicker? Meaning does it stay full or dimm for long periods of time?
Is there any relationship between the flickering and....
  - physical movement of any part of the laptop
  - running on battery or AC
  - running computer in DOS (boot to a floppy disk)
  - BIOS power save mode
  - Windows power save mode

Your flickering screen in my experience is one of the following (not in order of likelyhood because I do not have the above answers):
cold cathod tube failure
invertor failure
electrical wiring
Windows power save mode
BIOS power save mode (if it exist)
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterCommented:
Also.... how often does this occur?  Is it really a "flicker" which means rapid change. Or is it simply a change of state (bright to dim) on occasion.

All my best,
Shawn
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Julian MatzJoint ChairpersonAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the long delay. I have not abandoned this question - it's just taking me a little longer because it's not my own laptop, and have to exchange information with a third party.

Thank you for all your input. I will try and get back to this ASAP.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@julianmatz...the question is already in the cleanup phase and rindi needs to resolve this in 4 days.  Unless you specifiy a date or finite timeframe, rindi will have to force a closure on this question.
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Julian MatzJoint ChairpersonAuthor Commented:
Ok, I will try and get back to it in the next few hours. If I don't, I will definitely do so tomorrow (12.07).
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
cool.. thank you!
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Julian MatzJoint ChairpersonAuthor Commented:
<< if it is within 30-60 days past.. you may plead for mercy...
irwinpks, I had also mentioned a grace period, but that didn't work out unfortunately... It was worth a try though...

<< Does the backlight flicker dimm to full while the power supply is plugged in?
- No, it's the same whether it's plugged in or not. I don't think it has anything to do with power management either.
It's not a matter of the screen going from dim to bright - it's actually flickering - kind of like a flickering light bulb, except that it doesn't go off completely - if that makes any sense....

<< >The FSC support said they were pretty sure it was a faulty HDD
<< I had to laugh at that!
So did I, but then I thought maybe a faulty HDD could cause power fluctuations or something. I checked the HDD though and there didn't seem to be anything wrong with it. I did wonder though why FSC would come up with this as an initial prognosis :)

<< Is it a rapid or slow flicker? Meaning does it stay full or dimm for long periods of time?
It's a rapid flickering...

<< Is there any relationship between the flickering and....
No, there's no aparent relationships.

<< Also.... how often does this occur?  Is it really a "flicker" which means rapid change.
It is a rapid "flickering" and it seems to occur randomly, sometimes only for short periods and sometimes longer...



If any parts needed to be replaced, how would the appropriate part numbers be identified?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Your best bet would be to ask FSC for parts replacement catalog for you laptop, and then order from there OR scour EBAY for the same parts.
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterCommented:
julianmatz: with your answers I am almost certain that your problem is one or more of three possibilities:
                 1 - Failing high voltage ps (for cold cathode tubes)
                      Easy to replace if you know your way inside LCD screen and you can find the replacement part

                 2 - Failing cold cathode tube or tubes
                      Often difficult to replace because they are usually embedded/glued in. The tubes are very fragile.

                 3 - Faulty wiring to high voltage power supply or to one of the cold cathode tubes
                      This is what you hope for! Of course you still need to know your way inside the screen.
                      If you can induce flicker by hitting the LCD screen than 3 is your answer

   
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Julian MatzJoint ChairpersonAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your comments!

I've never attempted to repair an LCD before... Are there any online guides???
To be very honest, I wouldn't even know how to get inside the panel : )

Anyway, thanks again for the help!
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Cool .thank you.

Well...if you can afford the loss of that computer and don't mind a small investment on another LCD component...take the chance.  Should you weigh the actual repair cost versus another computer...that may be another consideration.
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Shawn ConnellyTechnical WriterCommented:
julianmatz: Thank you.
Most repair shops will insist on replacing the entire screen outright. It is not really fair especially when the LCD portion is the most expensive part of a laptop and you only have a lighting problem. They will charge you the full price for the replacement part and still recycle your old LCD screen.

If you can find the replacement parts and a repair shop willing to replace just the broken component(s) your friend will likely save a lot of money.

I don't know how old the laptop is nor how important portability is. Your friend may want to hook it up to an external monitor.
 
I hope it works out for the best.
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