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Backlight issues on old Laptop


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11 replies to this topic

#1
NARC

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So the backlight on my old Inspiron 6000 appears to be no longer working; BUT it works for the first second or so of the BIOS startup. And I sometimes see a second at login. It's consistent at startup, which makes me feel like this is not an electrical issue. But I'm really not sure. Any good way to diagnose this? I'm stuck shining a flashlight on the screen to see what's on it. :/ Win7-32 by the way; and there's no Win7 graphics driver for it, but it's been working for months now without a problem.



#2
WingsOverVA

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Have you popped out the keyboard and tried re-seating the screen connector? That has corrected many Dell laptop screen issues for me, also there is a correlation with the CMOS battery voltage state and the screen behavior. If you find that the CMOS battery is a cheap China version stamped as "Mitsubishi" but also "Made in China" , replace it with a reputable brand name 2032 and see if that doesn't change the screen behavior. If your laptop is older than 2-3 years it may not have the cheap China battery but may have a depleted CMOS battery anyway just from normal discharge and the replacement trick may work for that as well.
To Frank Lynn Sikes 1958-2008

#3
Alan

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To me it sounds like it's the lcd inverter. You can get one for under $10 shipped and they aren't too complicated to replace - basically involves just a few screws and the display hatch & bezel.

One thing I always liked about Dell is that they provide service manuals with instructions on how to take the systems apart.
Inspiron 6000 Service Manual
Display Assembly and Display Latch
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow - Woodrow Wilson

#4
steltek

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The Inspiron 6000 has an external VGA connector, so you can hook it up to an external monitor for troubleshooting. It wouldn't hurt to go ahead and do this anyway if for no other reason than to be absolutely sure nothing is wrong with the onboard graphics chipset. From what you are describing, I doubt that is the case, but it never hurts to check before you start spending money on nonreturnable parts. The CMOS battery is also a cheap replacement as well, so (though I haven't seen the problem before as described by WingsOverVA), replacing it couldn't hurt. I had to replace the one in my own Inspiron 6000 late last year, so it is probably something you'll be doing soon anyway even if it isn't related to your present difficulties. Before it failed, do you recall seeing any LCD flickering or a pale reddish or pinkish hue around the edges of or in the display itself? If not, I'm with Alan and you should start with the LCD inverter. LCD flickering or a reddish/pinkish display hue is generally indicative of the beginnings of actual backlight failure, and that is significantly harder to replace than the inverter (they aren't that expensive, but you have to tediously disassemble the entire LCD panel unit to get to it. Unless something has changed since I last did it - admittedly over a year ago -- you'll also have to do a little soldering to remove the wires from the old backlight and again to attach them to the new one).

#5
NARC

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Thanks guys for all the advice. I've got a battery on they way, it was under $2 shipped and I know I've never changed it so that seems like a no-brainer. No flickering of any kind with the LCD prior to this, and a big duh! on my end for not thinking about hooking up an external monitor. That was dumb that I didn't think of that. I'll let you know what I find.

#6
NARC

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So I've replaced the coin battery with no change to the symptoms. I've hooked it up to my monitor, and it seems to be behaving fine with the exception of the LCD of course. I'll try the inverter next. Alan or anyone, do you have any recommendations on reputable supply shops for this sort of part? There seem to be a number of 3rd party suppliers on Amazon or Buy.com.

#7
steltek

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So I've replaced the coin battery with no change to the symptoms.

I've hooked it up to my monitor, and it seems to be behaving fine with the exception of the LCD of course. I'll try the inverter next.

Alan or anyone, do you have any recommendations on reputable supply shops for this sort of part? There seem to be a number of 3rd party suppliers on Amazon or Buy.com.


I used to buy all my laptop parts from a local company, but they went out of business about a year and a half ago and I never seriously looked for a replacement supplier (I never cared much for doing laptop hardware repair in the first place, and even less so after I started seeing so many out-of-warranty laptop units with faulty nVidia graphics chipsets).

Thinking about it, I'm fairly sure that I bought the the last replacement inverter I needed off eBay for like 15 bucks shipped. I'm pretty sure that Dell uses that same inverter in multiple older model laptops, so they shouldn't be too hard to find and are probably even cheaper now.

EDIT: Looks like there are lots of them available on eBay in the $4 to $10 range, shipped.

Edited by steltek, 03 April 2011 - 12:29 PM.


#8
Alan

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Looks like there are lots of them available on eBay in the $4 to $10 range, shipped.

Yupp, that's where I go.

I don't necessarily deal with one specific seller - just the usual volume seller with good feedback.....you know the drill :)
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow - Woodrow Wilson

#9
NARC

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Indeed, if it's eBay, then I'm good to go. Gracias.

#10
NARC

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It's Alan and the LCD Inverter for the win! -banana- Very simple switch, and cost was under $7 shipped. They shipped the wrong part first time (ScreenAid on eBay), but were very prompt and believed me when I told them they shipped the wrong one, even though the outer packaging was correct. I wish I knew why chrome was running an installer on startup, but that's a separate issue. What's that Google Update running on startup? And adobe also? Grrr.....

#11
Alan

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It's Alan and the LCD Inverter for the win! -banana-

Great, glad you got it fixed. I must have experienced this once...or twice ;)
Nice $7 repair :)
I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow - Woodrow Wilson

#12
NARC

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Yeah, I'm really happy to keep this old thing going. I WISH it had SATA instead of PATA; I would have switched to a SSD a while ago. PATA ssd's are expensive and slow. But I'm going to keep it trucking as long as I can.




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