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Monitor on the Blink

Posted on 2009-07-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Dell Inspiron 1150 Laptop.
Problem: When I boot the screen lights up for about half a minute and then goes dark. The booting sequence continues properly but the display on the monitor is almost dark. With aid of torch you can just about see the Icons of the Desktop.
When tried with an external Monitor (I tried with two) the same occurred. The external monitor light for some seconds and then went virtually blank - dark. What is going wrong?
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Question by:Michael Murphy
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by:andrewc2189
ID: 24862543
That is odd, usually the issue you described is due to a faulty back light in a laptop which is a real pain since it's too difficult to fix on your own. However, you said you tried it on external monitors with the same issue? That I have no heard of before.
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by:Michael Murphy
ID: 24863323
I have rechecked.
The laptop boots perfectly, but after a few seconds (it varies) the display goes dark, almost black. Shining a torch you can see all the icons in place, plus the cursor - so it is possible to open files, etc and shut down normally. when I connect to an external monitor, the external monitor turns black (nothing on it - even by torchlight) while the screen of the laptop remains the same (the desktop iicons can be seen very dimmly, by torchlight, and it is possible to close down the laptop normally using the mouse)
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by:andrewc2189
ID: 24863361
You probably aren't switching to an external monitor view. You usually have to hit the function (fn) button + one of f1-12 in order to switch to using an external monitor. It sounds as if that is the reason it won't show up on the external monitors however the laptop is having a backlight problem for sure. If it is still covered under warranty you should be able to get dell to fix it.
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by:andrewc2189
andrewc2189 earned 125 total points
ID: 24863375
Try hooking up the external monitor and when the computer is turned on hitting fn+f8. This should allow the monitor to pickup the signal.
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Author Comment

by:Michael Murphy
ID: 24863437
Absolutely right. I've followed your advice and pressed Fn+F8 and external monitor works. What is involved in replacing the back light - as the laptop is out of warranty. I've done successful replacements on a former dell laptop (Inspiron 1100) and might be able to negotiate myself around this one too. As far as I remember I was able to download a service manual (or detailed instructions on replacing various items) for the 1100
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andrewc2189 earned 125 total points
ID: 24863590
From my understanding it's fairly involved. It's never been worth my time to even attempt. But, there are guides out there. Here's one on diagnosing the exact issue with it:

http://reviews.ebay.com/Diagnosing-laptop-backlight-problems_W0QQugidZ10000000005308726?ssPageName=BUYGD:CAT:-1:SEARCH:3

http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2007/09/05/troubleshooting-laptop-with-backlight-failure/

Here is a guide that will show you how to replace it yourself step-by-step: http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2007/12/09/replace-laptop-backlight-ccfl-lamp/

It can really be a pain so good luck with it if you decide to give it a shot!
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