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Why won't screen come on when I turn on the laptop

Posted on 2013-01-16
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have this Dell inspiron N5030 laptop that a customer brought to me that she had spilled water on it.  She traded it for another one that I had for sale. So I purchased a new motherboard & keyboard and the laptop ran perfect for a couple of days and then suddenly when I wanted to start it up to let a customer look at it, the screen would not come on. I then purchased a new screen cable to see if that would fix it.
In the mean-time another customer needed a screen for his laptop so I robbed the screen from this one to get him going and ordered a new screen for this laptop.  So now this Dell in question has a new motherboard, new keyboard, new cable, & a new screen.  

    It still has the same issue.  Intermittently, the screen will not come on when I turn on the laptop and if I turn it off and then turn it right back on the screen comes on fine.  This only happens when the charger is not plugged in. When the charger is plugged the screen comes on every time.

Could the battery be the cause of this? I have already did a BIOS update but that did no good.
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Question by:beemmer
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by:dbrunton
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Test by swapping battery.  

Also check battery contacts for corrosion or dirt.

And does this happen if laptop is plugged into external screen.
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by:beemmer
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It comes on fine with an external monitor plugged in.
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by:beemmer
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The Battery connections look fine. I seated and re-seated the battery several times but that made no difference.

I am wondering if spilling water on the laptop could have done something to the battery? I don't have another battery to test. I will have to purchase a new to know for sure.
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by:dbrunton
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Hmm.  But your battery has no problems with connecting to an external screen.

So it is like it doesn't quite have enough juice at times to fully power up internally but take the load off powering up the screen and it has enough juice.

You would need a known good battery swap test to confirm this.  You'd have to judge the merits of a new battery yourself.

You could try discharging the battery in the laptop until the laptop reports zero and recharging.  See http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/helpdesk/the-care-and-feeding-of-li-ion-batteries/124  That might kick it back to normal but no guarantee.
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by:beemmer
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Ok we are going to cycle the battery a couple of times and see what happens.  If that don't fix, I will order a new battery.
Will let you know how we come out.
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by:nobus
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it looks like the AC adapter delivers a bit more power, and so allows the screen to stay on
imo - it can be the battery, look if the contacts are clean on the battery AND laptop side; but the only other way is testing with a new battery
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by:beemmer
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Thank you nobus. The customer and I both took a good look at the terminals on the battery and mobo and everything looked perfect.  

The customer says he will discharge and re-charge the battery a couple of times to see if that will help.  

I didn't want to purchase a battery if I didn't have to due to the fact that the profit margin is getting thin.  But if I have to I will.
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by:rojosho
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Hello Beemmer y et al,

Something to consider, both the AC Adapter power and the Battery are managed by the Mother Board.  If you have a warranty on the new MoBo, then you may want to send it back...
Again, trouble shooting from another angle.

Rojosho...
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by:beemmer
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Thanks Rojosho,  I checked on the warranty status. It had only a 30 day warranty and I purchased it on 12-16-12.  They might still help me with it.  I am going to check with my customer this afternoon and see if discharging and recharging the battery made any difference.
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by:nobus
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in Europe, the warranty period needs to be 2 years, they even sued Apple for the 1 year period on the ipad
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by:beemmer
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yea, it don't seem right to sell a new motherboard and only give one month warranty.  The customer says that it is still doing the same thing after he charged and discharged the battery so I am ordering a new one.
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by:nobus
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that looks like he only thing left to do
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by:beemmer
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Sorry I did not get back any sooner.  I replaced the battery with a new one but that made no difference either.  

   The company that sold me the motherboard claims that the motherboard is new, or rather, pulled from a new laptop.  They also told me that the warranty period is gone, but they claimed it could not be the motherboard.  They blamed it on the CPU or the memory.  I do not see how this could be, since the laptop runs flawlessly otherwise. If it was the memory or the CPU, how would that effect the screen not coming on at start-up and then coming on perfect when the system is turned off and then started right back up again?  

 Could it be the BIOS chip causing the trouble?  I reset BIOS to it's default settings and also did a BIOS flash.  That did no good either.
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by:rojosho
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Hello Beemmer y et al,

Wow, talked about a good problem!!!!  I LIVE FOR THESE SORT OF PROBLEMS... NOT!!!!

I read and re-read your case content and it sure seems like you have covered all of your bases, SO, why doesn't this work.  In times like this, only a virgin sacrifice will fix it... OK, just kidding.

I still think it is the Mother Board, but since the vendor who sold you it is digging in their heels, we will have to take another path – ‘the long way around’.

Question:
Is it possible that the ‘new’ screen is marginal?
> Not likely as it has the same symptom.

Are you using and has this unit had original Dell parts?

Are the batteries the ‘original’ Dell units?
> I know from experience that some of the Dell units require the Dell models of batteries as they have built in logic and features that the BIOS uses.  ‘Look-alikes’ will work in delivering power, but some of the monitoring features are missing and you end up having to ignore BIOS errors at bootup.

What we need are ‘known working parts’, key parts that we know work and if possible in another machine and if possible, another system that we can test the parts in the problem system.  In theory, you should be able to remove the MoBo, set it on a table, connect the screen, power supply, and battery and boot the system up.  It sounds like you have a work shop, lab if you will, and you have other systems available, maybe one of your units is close enough to the Dell that we can ‘test and confirm’ parts, this is the only way we will be able to move forward.
… if you have a known working MoBo with Battery, you can test the screen.
… if you have a known working screen, you can test the MoBo in question.

I known that this is a bit on the edge, but if you want to find root cause, I would like to hear/read another option.

“… that which does not kill us, makes us stronger…”  Gu-Ra!!!

Rojosho…
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by:beemmer
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Thank you, Rojosho.  This is indeed an interesting problem.  I email the company that sold me the battery, and am waiting on an answer.  But then, the laptop was purchased brand new by the customer that brought the laptop to me so it would have the original battery in it.  The problem stayed the same after replacing the battery.  

 About the screen:  The reason for the screen got replaced was because another customer was in a hurry to get his laptop back so I robbed the screen from this laptop and sold it to him and then purchased a new one for this one.  The laptop behaved the same for either screen.  

There is a company in New York where I sometimes ship laptops to for motherboard repair and they suggested to first change the LCD and clean the cable connectors.  But then the cable is brand new and the screen is brand new.  

I do not have equipment to repair motherboards nor the training to do that.  I am a free lance technician and have been working with computers for nearly 25 years, but never went to any schooling other then burning a lot of midnight oil on the internet in research and hands-on experience.  

There is one more thing that I just thought of.  I mentioned at first that it only happened when the charger was not plugged in, but I noticed today that it was doing it with the charger plugged in.  I believe it is getting worse because at first the laptop was only doing it once in a while but now it is doing it nearly every time the laptop is started.  

  By the way, the charger is the original charger that came with the laptop.  

I would be glad to try a different processor and memory, but they are both original and i have a hard time believing they are the problem.  

I contacted the previous owner and she says they had no problem at all with the laptop before they spilled water on it. They said that the battery and charger had never been replaced.
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nobus earned 250 total points
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could be the new mobo is flakey...ask a warranty replacement
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by:beemmer
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I decided to blow another $120.00 on another board the original venders would not refund or replace.  Laptop works fine.

I apologize for not getting back any sooner.  It took some time to decide what to do and then wait for the next motherboard to come and then with all the other things going on.
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by:nobus
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beemmer, tx for the feedback
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by:rojosho
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Hey Beemmer,

I echo Nobus's comment - the feedback is how we learn.

BTW, if you purchased the first MoBo from Amonzon or Ebay, you may want to consider writing a 'black mark' on the vendor.  

Rojosho...
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