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How to get the lcd screen to come on when booting up

Posted on 2011-02-17
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I have a Dell inspiron 5150 that when I turn it on no video will show until it is booted up in windows, and most of the time the whole screen will shimmer extremely fast (or should I say, a very fast viberation)

I have updated the bios, updated the video driver (NVIDIA GeForce FX5200) but nothing has helped.  I also re-installed the OS system so any viruses or malware should be ruled out.  I can plug in an external monitor and everything works fine on that, so the graphics card is working the whole time.  I guess I need a little help with this.  Thanks in advance.
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Question by:beemmer
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by:Kidwell_03
ID: 34918113
Sounds to me like it is a hardware issue with the monitor itself.  I would suggest you plugging in an external monitor for testing but you already did that! If the external is working fine then you know the video card is working fine, it is just having a problem with the "built-it" monitor.

Do you still have a warranty on your 5150?
Have you contacted Dell about this issue?
  - they have an online chat support for hardware warranty's.  I would try going that route to see if they will replace the monitor component, can't hurt.  

Dell Chat link:
http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/chat/hardware_chat?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 34919705
I looked up the warranty on this laptop and the warranty end date was 9/30/2007, so I am shot down there.  The customer told me that he had it to another shop and they replaced the monitor but that didn't fix the problem.  But I already know that you can't always go on what the customer says.  besides, how do we know the other shop even replaced the monitor if he did have it to another shop?  

    This is what is interesting to me:  when I formated the hard disk and re-installed, the laptop monitor did not come on at all (I had to have it plugged into an external monitor during the installation process) until I installed the video driver.  Since the monitor does not come on until windows starts I am assuming that is when it is loading the driver.  

  Do you think it is possible that the BIOS is shutting off the laptop monitor and windows is turning it on? Or shall I risk spending the money it takes to see if another monitor will work?

    Another interesting thing I noticed:  When putting windows to sleep and then waking it back on the screen does not shimmer or vibrate like I described earlier.  

    Another idea came to mind:  I have a couple of other laptops (Dell Latitude D600).  If the cables fit, would it hurt anything to try that screen?
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Expert Comment

by:sjklein42
ID: 34920642
If you can see the BIOS by plugging in an external monitor then get into BIOS setup with F2 and look for a setting that controls which monitor should be enabled during boot.  On desktop PCs it is often called AGP vs PCI.   Not sure about that particular laptop, though
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nobus earned 500 total points
ID: 34925864
it can still be the video card - or it's connector to the screen
remove / inspect / reseat it first
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Expert Comment

by:asidu
ID: 34926113
To change the LCD you must be sure of the compatibility. There is a slim chance of interchanging the LCD.

Have you had a look at the BIOS options in 5150. Any setting there to set ?
I suspect some issues with the BIOS of your machine.

Usually dell have a diagnostic program which you could install and run to test the hardware.



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by:David_Hagerman
ID: 34926262
This is a BIOS problem on the machine - It has happened on other dell as well.
What Bios Version are you running? the latest version is A38 - 1/4/2005

Use this link to download the latest version.

http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.aspx?os=BIOSA&catid=-1&dateid=-1&impid=-1&osl=EN&typeid=-1&formatid=-1&servicetag=&SystemID=INS_PNT_P4_5150&hidos=WW1&hidlang=en&TabIndex=&scanSupported=False&scanConsent=False
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 34957987
I have attempted to download and run the latest version of the bios update, but when I did, It asked me if I wanted to replace version A38 with A38, so that meant that version A38 was already on the machine.  

    I have looked and looked in the BIOS to see if there is any settings that I could change, but I can't see anything that would be related to video.  here is a complete breakdown of all the options.

   Page one:  The only option is to set the date and time
   Page two:  The options here are to change the boot order
   Page three:   Boot Post:  Minimal, Automatic, Thorough
                         Adapter warnings:    Enabled, Disabled
                         Internal Modem:       Enabled, Disabled
                         Lan Controller:          Enabled, Disabled
                         Wireless control:       <FN+F2> / Application, Always off, Application
                         Wireless:                  On, Off
                         Enable Keyboard:     Only by <Fn> Key, By NumLock
                         Num Lock:                 Enabled, Disabled
                         USB Emulation:         Enabled, Disabled
                         Video Expansion:      Enabled, Disabled
  Page four: Show Battery Status and no Options
  Page five:  Gives options for screen brightness whether on battery or AC
                    Intel SpeedStep(tm) :  Enabled, Disabled
                    Auto On Mode:    Everyday, Weekdays, Disabled
                    Auto On Time:      
  Page six:    Primary Password:  Disabled, or password input
                     Admin Password:    Disabled, or password input
                     Hard disk drive password:      System primary:        disabled, password input
                     

This issue has me completly puzzled.  I too believe it is a bios problem, but how to correct it I have no Idea.  

                         
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by:David_Hagerman
ID: 34958296
i would try loading the a38 version or even an earlier bios perhaps the a37. Here is a link that can download the older bios files

http://search.dell.com/results.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cat=sup&cs=19&k=5150+bios&img=True&sum=True&ssum=False&qmp=10

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by:David_Hagerman
ID: 34978173
Beemmer did you have any luck with the Bios downgrade?
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by:nobus
ID: 34978749
did you look at the cideo cable and connector??
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 34979444
I did downgrade the bios version from A38 to A37 but that didn't help.  I have not looked at the video cable and connections.  I am going to do that next.  Do you think it would pay off to order another cable?  They aren't that much on eBay.  
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by:David_Hagerman
ID: 34979511
If they aren't that much it can't hurt but we know the cable does work when it boots into windows.

If you reboot the machine is it also off, I am think maybe it is an Initialization issue when it first boots?
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 34979729
    It doesn't make any difference if I turn the machine completely off or reboot.  It acts the same.  I am going to talk to my customer and try to find out some history on this machine today.  He told me earlier that he had it in another shop and they replaced the LCD but that didn't help so they put the old one back in.  I want to question him some more about it.  I really wish I had another LCD screen I could try out but I don't.  

    It does appear like the screen is not getting a signal until the driver that is installed in windows starts up, because when I formatted the hard disk the screen would not work until I installed the driver for that machine.  I had to keep it plugged into an external monitor though the whole process of re-installing windows.  
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by:nobus
ID: 34980529
in most cases, when you don't see anything broken, removing and reseating the plug helps
it often gets loose by opening the lid..
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 35023706
I have ordered another motherboard for this laptop so I will post the results when I get it installed.  
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Author Closing Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 35200290
Yes, it was the video card.  I went on ebay and purchased a used one, installed it and then the computer would not even start up.  Since I was getting voltage to the the switch board connector, I got back on ebay and ordered a switch board and  then the computer started up and run fine.  Thanks you very much for your help.  You did a great job and I gained some more knowledge and experience.
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by:nobus
ID: 35200310
tx for the feedback
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