Dell Monitor Randomly Going into Sleep Mode for Up to 30 Seconds

anuneznyc used Ask the Experts™
I have a user working on a Dell Precision WorkStation 380 with an ATI Radeon X1300/X1550 Series video card. Running Windows XP Pro SP3.

Everything has been fine for months but for the past week she is complaining that her monitor will from time to time randomly go blank and she has to wait up to 30 seconds for the image to reappear. The monitor is a Dell E196FP 19" flatscreen Monitor.

When I took a look I was able to see the same behavior. I also noticed that the power light on the monitor is going from green to orange during the time the screen is blank, so it seems like it's temporarily going into a power saving mode.

I downloaded & installed the most recent drivers for the ATI video card, but the same problem is still occurring.

Currently running "sfc /scannow" to check for corrupt system files.

As a side note, I also noted that on boot-up the PC is displaying a "Warning: system voltage level low" message so the CMOS battery probably needs to be replaced. In googling for a solution, I read one post where someone claimed that changing his CMOS battery solved this same problem, but I can't see how a dying CMOS battery would have any connection at all to the monitor blanking in and out. I'm leaning towards this being a software/driver issue.
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Have you taken the monitor off and tried it on another system?  Have you attached another monitor to this system?  The orange light doesn't necessarily mean that it is in sleep mode.  It could just be that it is not getting a signal.  Is the timing always exactly the same for the outage time or does it fluctuate by a few seconds?

I would definitely try the first two things I asked.  That will help you determine whether it is the card or the monitor.


Thanks. Tried a different monitor and still got same problem. Also replaced the CMOS battery. I guessing there is a problem with the video card, so just might try replacing it.
I would think it could be the video card.  CMOS def wouldnt be the cause unless there is some power setting in there causing it (which I doubt).  You could possilby check the power setting for BIOS and the system as one other avenue to explore.


Going to order a new video card. Thanks.

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