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Notebook video display problems

21/05/11

Notebook video display problems

Permalink 03:36:49 pm by Eugene Gardner, Categories: Articles, Technical Tips

A steady stream of graphics related problems passes through my workshop. Hardly ever with tower PCs though. Here are the most frequent problem causes:

  • You may see lines on the display. This is usually the result of a combination of many heat changes (such as turning the PC on or off) and the age of the laptop. It is caused by a hairline fracture of some of the connections between the graphics chip and its housing - motherboard or ball grid assembly. There are two possible fixes: reflowing the chip or reballing it. Reflowing entails taking the GPU out, applying solder/flux paste and baking in the oven. Rebelling is much the same except that the old solder is removed first. Both techniques will often extend the life of the laptop by 6 months.
  • A cracked screen. Often caused by opening/closing the lid by the corner or putting a size 10 boot on the lid. This is usually beyond economic repair unless you can get an identical model that is otherwise broken and going very cheap on eBay.
  • Chafed cables. The wires that light the screen pass through one of the hinges and clip on at each end. If the wires or connectors become damaged, the display will be compromised.
  • Inverter problems. If you take the laptop into a room with no lights and there is a very feint image on the screen, your inverter board is probably pants. It is responsible for converting the battery power to the very high amperage required to fire the fluorescent tube(s) in the display. Replacement is feasible.
  • Pixel problems. There are thousands of tiny light beams in a monitor screen, and a few may be dead causing a tiny dot of light (Red, Green or blue) or a black spot on the screen. A replacement screen is expensive so it is often best to learn to live with it.
  • Broken bulb. Light is usually produced by a tiny, extremely fragile, fluorescent tube. If that tube dies, so does your display. These are replaceable but the delicacy of the operation warrants high prices. Could you use an external monitor instead until you can afford a new laptop ?

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