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Compaq Armada 1750 screen turns off after 15 mins

Posted on 2006-11-03
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
Hi

I have an old Compaq Armada 1750 whose screen turns off after 15 mins of inactivity. The problem is I am using it to watch movies on so this is really annoying.

Even more annoying is that the only way to seeming get it to come back on again is to reset or reboot the laptop. I have tried all the key combinations I can think of and none seem to work, including using the mouse..

The laptop only runs off the mains and all the power saving settings have been turned off both within windows XP Pro settings and the BIOS (via a Softpaq utility from Compaq).

I am going to test some more but it seems to happen after a consistent 15 mins so this leads me to think the screen is being purposely turned off by something rather than there being a hardware fault. I am not sure if it is the actual screen going off or just the backlight at the moment.

Any help would be greatly appreciated as this is driving me a bit nuts. I have a copy of windows 2000 that I could install, but want to see if anyone has any ideas first as installing it may not solve the situation (in other words it may not be an XP issue).

If you need any more info just ask.

Cheers
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Question by:freeflyer73
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by:garycase
ID: 17867966
Boot to a floppy [MemTest86+ (http://www.memtest.org/) would be a good choice -- you can let it test the memory while you're waiting]  ==> and let it sit for 15 minutes of no activity.   Does it still turn off the display ??

->  If so, it's clearly not a Windows issue.   In that case, look VERY carefully in the BIOS to be sure you haven't overlooked a setting (it may not be in the power management area ... there may be a separate display blanking setting).

->  If not, then something in Windows is blanking the display.   Are you SURE you have the power savings settings disabled?   For BOTH battery power and A/C power?  (each has its own settings ... which can be DIFFERENT)
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by:freeflyer73
ID: 17868308
Thats a good idea, at least i'll then know in which area the problem lies..thanks.

The laptop is at work and i'll be there in 3 hours, will post the results then.

Do you think it could be a memory problem, or is it just a case of it may as well be tested whilst I'm there?

Cheers
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by:garycase
ID: 17868404
I don't think it's a memory issue ==> it's just a case of "may as well be tested" while you're waiting for the 15 minutes :-)    [you could simply boot to a Windows 98 boot disk; or a Bart's PE CD; Knoppix; or whatever you may have available ==> the key is to boot to SOMETHING besides your Windows system and see if the problem still happens]
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by:freeflyer73
ID: 17870648
Ok

Using MemTest86+ the screen did not go blank after 15 mins. The memory test was running throughtout this time and I thought this might have affected it so I also booted from floopy into the BIOS (via the Softpaq utility from Compaq I mentioned above). After 15 mins the screen did go blank, although I was able to get it back by simply uising the mousepad (This I have not been able to do from within Windows which is strange).

Does this mean it is not a Windows issue as the screen turns off when Windows is not loaded (although I am confused as to why I can not recover the screen when Windows is loaded, but can when it is not?)

I have double checked all the settings I can find in the BIOS and none seem to allow me to stop the monitor switching off.

The only settings that I am not sure about is whether ACPI should be enabled. I also only have 2 monitor saving levels (Max and Quick). Both say they will blank the monitor with the Max setting also cutting the power (I have it set to quick). There is no apparent option to disable this altogether.

In Windows all the power saving settings have been disabled for both AC and Battery power.

any ideas
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by:garycase
ID: 17870759
Did NOT blank with MemTest running ... but DID if you were simply in the BIOS !! ?? (and NOT in Windows)

Where are the monitor saving levels set?   (BIOS?  on the monitor itself?  etc.)

What are your current ACPI options set at ??

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by:freeflyer73
ID: 17870881
"Did NOT blank with MemTest running ... but DID if you were simply in the BIOS !! ?? (and NOT in Windows)" Yep, MemTest ran for 20 mins before I quit out of it, just sat in the BIOS it blanked after 15 mins (I can have another go to see if it repeats).

"Where are the monitor saving levels set?   (BIOS?  on the monitor itself?  etc.)" They are set in the BIOS, although there are also the normal ones in Windows that have been set to never turn off the monitor.

"What are your current ACPI options set at ??" I have 2 choices enabled or disabled, it is set to enabled.

I don't know the significance of this but I sat in windows (with nothing running but the OS), the screen blanked after 15 mins but I was able to get it back by using the mouse. I ran a movie to see if it is the screen blanking whilst it is running that is somehow causing me to be unable to recover the screen when it blanks. The screen did blank, and I could not get it back.

So I guess I now have 2 problems. How do I stop the screen blanking in the first place and why is it only when a movie is running that I can not recover the screen ( I am going to check the settings in VLC which is what I use to watch films).

Thanks for your help so far by the way :)
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by:garycase
ID: 17870942
I'm surprised there's no ability to disable the monitor saving level => that's apparently what is causing the blanking (since you have Windows set to NOT do any screen saver and/or blanking).

Go into the BIOS and disable ACPI  ==> that tells the system to NOT manage the power;  hopefully that will also disable the screen blanking.   Since you're always using the laptop with the A/C adapter that's no big deal to do (otherwise that would shorten the battery life).
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by:freeflyer73
ID: 17871010
"I'm surprised there's no ability to disable the monitor saving level" so am I!

"Go into the BIOS and disable ACPI" I will let you know the outcome.

I've also just let Microsoft Word sit there for 15 minutes and could not recover from the screen blanking so it does not seem to be just watching films that is causing this...strange.
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by:freeflyer73
ID: 17871104
That didn't go too well...when ACPI was disabled I could not Boot into windows, I had to re-enable it to get it to boot.

I'm out of ideas at the moment, do you have any?

Cheers
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by:garycase
ID: 17871177
Well ... I'm sure your Windows system has an ACPI HAL; but I'm surprised it won't boot with ACPI disabled.   Not much you can do about that (shy of re-installing XP with ACPI disabled, so it will get the correct HAL for that state).

The auto-blanking is coming from the Compaq BIOS => NOT from Windows (since you have no screen saver and no "turn off monitor" times set in Windows.   But since it apparently doesn't even have the option to disable it, I'm at a loss as to what you might do.   I guess the solution is to simply move the mouse every few minutes -> that should be "activity" that will reset the counter that's blanking the display.   Certainly not elegant ... but it will work :-)

Note:  There WAS an update to the Compaq Power Management program that MAY have more options ==> perhaps this will have an option to disable the screen blanking:  http://h18007.www1.hp.com/support/files/armada/us/download/16637.html   I would download and install that and see if it helps.
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by:freeflyer73
ID: 17871200
Thanks for the help.

I've actually just tried that update for the Compaq Power Management program but unfortuantely all it does is make a few of the options in the BIOS avaiable from windows.

Moving the mouse is the solution I have been coming to resolve myself to. What I don't understand though is why the monitor will resume from a blank state (by moving the mouse) when no programs (other than the OS) are ruinning, but will not when one is running (I've only tested this once with word and VLC running). Do you have any ideas on that.

Cheers
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by:garycase
ID: 17872070
The resume-okay-from-idle;  not-resume-from-a-program behavior is indeed strange ... and I can't think of why it would behave like that.   I suspect it's related to the fact that the video shutdown is caused by the BIOS and not by Windows ... but it still doesn't make sense.   Just for grins:  set a Windows "turn off the monitor" time of 2 minutes (actually anything shorter than 15 is okay ... 2 minutes will simply let you test this fairly quickly); and see if everything resumes okay after the monitor blanks from that timeout (i.e. let it timeout while idle; and then try it with a movie playing).  
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by:freeflyer73
ID: 17899823
Thanks again for the help

In a last ditch attempt I went into Windows Services and set them all to manual (I had disabled some in the past in an attempt to reduce the amount of memory used by Windows and forgotten about it).

Since then eveything has worked as it should. I can only guess that I had turned off a service that resulted in this behaviour, and up until now had not had any other effect with other tasks I carry out on the laptop.

I don't really like not knowing the exact cause, but it works now and thats the main thing.
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by:garycase
ID: 17899840
Glad it's working :-)
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