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Dell screen or graphics?


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#1 millipede

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 10:49 PM

A while ago I worked on a friend's laptop that had an issue with the graphics chip.  It was a dell.     Dell Inspiron m5010
The topic I started back then was called "reflow?" as I was looking into that as an option.
The lady contacted Dell and they had her send it in and they fixed it free.  I will say, Dell has the best customer service of all the ones I've dealt with.


They sent it back... a while later it beeped again and all... and they replaced it AGAIN... The mother board that is.  It was a graphics chip issue.
Anyway...  She just messaged me on facebook to let me know that the screen is "fluttering"... reminded her of the old tvs and the vertical hold having issues...  only, the laptop has no vertical hold button.  ha.
So I'm thinking about it...  I'm telling her that I'm thinking she may just be better off buying a new computer.  We'll see.  In the meantime...  does this screen "fluttering" sound like it's that graphics chip again?  Or would the issue be in the screen itself?
With the luck she's had with the graphics chip, I'm leaning towards that.  But I really don't know.
I don't want to REALLY tell her to buy a new computer if it's something that I can fix easily enough...  but at the same time...  it may just be time.



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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 01:34 AM

You could check to see what the refresh rate is set to. This would be listed in Hertz or Hz for short.

 

Here's what you do.

 

Right click the desk top.

 

Choose Properties.

 

Choose MONITOR settings.

 

Depends on operating system on how to get there, really, because Windows XP has a different way from Windows Vista to Windows 8.

 

But choosing properties will hopefully get you to the right area.

 

Some video cards have their own software related settings, however this is more common on desktop computers with slotted add on PCI, AGP or PCI Express cards not laptop computers.

 

If the refresh rate is 60 Hertz, all should be well. Some windows operating system settings prevent the monitor from displaying refresh rates that they can not display correctly, however, sometimes those settings are not chosen by default and the monitor could be refreshing at a rate it can not handle.

 

If the refresh rate is off, a common sign is screen flicker or has the likeness of a strobe light effect on the screen.

 

A driver update can also cause this effect if the incorrect driver is used, often windows update drivers can cause this problem as well.

 

Bruce.


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#3 zingo156

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 10:54 AM

I personally have seen countless n5030's and m5010's with bad video chipsets/motherboards, I have not seen one specifically cause fluttering in the lcd, she could try and manipulate the screen (open close, wiggle) and see if that changes anything. If not it could be the video chip, lose or bad lcd ribbon cable, or the lcd itself.


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#4 millipede

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 11:15 PM

Thanks for the suggestions...
I intend to open it up tomorrow.  I picked it up today and while at her office I connected her office monitor to the back of the laptop.  When the laptop displayed on the desktop screen, it didn't flicker...  but on the laptop, it was still scrolling.  About enough to give you a headache... made it difficult to find where you were pointing your mouse...
I'm pretty sure if it was the chip, the display on the desktop monitor would have been the same.  So that has me looking at connections or the screen itself.
I wish I had some more extra screens in the house to test out.  I lucked out on a few repairs where I just happened to have compatible screens in the house already.  That's not happening this time. 
Anyway...  I'll post back if I find anything tomorrow of it I decide we just need to order a new screen.
I'm still tempted to suggest just buying a new computer because this one has just had a lot of problems... BUT...  she doesn't really want to learn something new(windows8, this has 7) and it really isn't THAT old. 
We'll see what happens I guess.



#5 zingo156

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 08:27 AM

I also suspect that you may have a bad lcd panel or ribbon cable. I have seen 1 computer where an external monitor worked normally, but the built in screen had problems. It was something on the motherboard because we ruled out ribbon cable and lcd panel by replacing them, this was an led lcd type. Make sure if you do any work on the laptop to unplug the power cord and pull the battery out.


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#6 millipede

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 05:40 PM

 

Make sure if you do any work on the laptop to unplug the power cord and pull the battery out.

Yeah, I always do...

 

 

we ruled out ribbon cable and lcd panel by replacing them

That's what I'm afraid of.  I don't want to tell her to buy a new screen and all and then have it still doing that. 

I don't have it open up to the screen yet but I have the rest all open and so far I don't see anything that looks loose or out of place. 
I'm not sure what I'm going to do next.    Wish I had an extra screen laying around that was compatible.  :/



#7 millipede

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 08:43 PM

Any thoughts on this?
Here's what I've done so far....  Hopefully this makes sense. 
I opened up the laptop and checked all the connections.  I have disconnected and re-connected a couple of times.  After seeing no change I disconnected the screen at the back of it...  found a screen that was similar, same connectors, same location...  Plugged it in and tried it.  It just beeped at me.  So, I can't test that screen I guess.
Put the other screen back in and made sure everything was still connected correctly.  Turned it back on and it's still just scrolling.
Here's a video of what it's doing.  BUT........   I am pretty sure it was scrolling quite a bit faster when I looked at it the other day.  It was moving so fast that day that it was difficult to concentrate on where the mouse was going, trying to open windows and close them etc...  So, I'm not sure if that change is random or if it hints at a cable or the screen being the problem.
http://s63.photobucket.com/user/millipede77/media/dell-screen.mp4.html

I'm still stuck on what to do.  I don't want to completely just say "hey, get a new computer" but at the same time, this one has been a headache for her and, what if I tell her let's try a new screen and that doesn't work? 
did I ever mention I'm not good at decisions?  I hate tricky ones where I'm just not sure what to do.



#8 zingo156

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 08:53 AM

Here are the things I would try: Try manipulating the screen by moving it around open close, push one way on one corner and the other way on the other corner (top corners when opened) to twist the screen. Do this lightly if the issue is with the panel generally moving it around will change what is happening on the screen. If you have the laptop apart and can see the video cable, you can wiggle the cable and see if it changes the output (wiggle it lightly). Make sure that you do not pull or tug on the cable at the connector ends because you do not want to disconnect them while it is on and running.

 

If moving the screen around or moving the cable around does not change anything you might start to suspect the video chip. Even if you do not see any changes it is still possible the lcd panel itself has a problem that is in the controller so manipulating it may do nothing. I will say if you move the cable around and see no change it is not likely the cable. The week point is usually where the cable runs by the hinge in the corner of the laptop. Anytime I have had a bad cable manipulating it would change the effect on the screen.


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#9 millipede

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:06 PM

Thanks for the reply.  I did all that today.  I'm leaning towards the cable at the moment...  Here's what happened.
I played with the screen and saw very little change at first.  But after a while I noticed the scrolling slowed down quite a bit...  Then it almost stopped completely.  The color was a little off and there was a weird bar at the top but it was almost stopped.  Problem then was, How do I get the scrolling to start back up to see if that particular movement actually slowed/stopped it?
Then I wiggled the wire and boy did the scrolling speed way up.  Firmly, from the top, moved the screen WAY back and it almost stopped...  Wiggled the wife and it went nuts again.
So......
My guess is it's either that cable OR the connection at the back of the screen.
I figure the cable is usually cheap enough, we'll order that first and see what happens.  If that doesn't fix it, then try a new screen.... 
And HOPEFULLY, it's not something else.  I would absolutely hate to purchase a new screen and have that not fix the problem.

EDIT:
please delete the reply under this one.  I came back to this page and saw ALL my text in a quick reply window and thought, I must not have hit the "post" button... so, I hit it.  Then I saw, double post and all my text is STILL in the quick reply box...  Odd...  Oh well.
It was a mistake.


Edited by millipede, 21 January 2014 - 06:58 PM.


#10 millipede

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 06:56 PM

Thanks for the reply.  I did all that today.  I'm leaning towards the cable at the moment...  Here's what happened.
I played with the screen and saw very little change at first.  But after a while I noticed the scrolling slowed down quite a bit...  Then it almost stopped completely.  The color was a little off and there was a weird bar at the top but it was almost stopped.  Problem then was, How do I get the scrolling to start back up to see if that particular movement actually slowed/stopped it?
Then I wiggled the wire and boy did the scrolling speed way up.  Firmly, from the top, moved the screen WAY back and it almost stopped...  Wiggled the wife and it went nuts again.
So......
My guess is it's either that cable OR the connection at the back of the screen.
I figure the cable is usually cheap enough, we'll order that first and see what happens.  If that doesn't fix it, then try a new screen.... 
And HOPEFULLY, it's not something else.  I would absolutely hate to purchase a new screen and have that not fix the problem.



#11 zingo156

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 08:30 AM

If you can see changes by wiggling the cable, you are correct in assuming that it is either the cable or lose connection, or possibly still an issue with the lcd panel itself. It is always a good idea to start with the cheapest part: the ribbon cable. Let us know how it goes, good luck!


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#12 mitchelwb

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:00 AM

I just posted a similar thread here last night about a Dell laptop.  It's not quite the same problem as mine boots but won't recognize the LCD... my thread is here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/521660/dell-inspiron-laptop-only-recognizes-lcd-just-before-hibernating/

 

But I'm not trying to thread-jack...reading this thread made me wonder the same question I have on mine... is it safe to assume that an external monitor is run by the GPU as well?  For example, on my machine, there are three video outputs... RGB, HDMI, and the internal LCD connection.  How is the circuit to these three split or different?  If one works, what does that tell us about the others, if anything?



#13 millipede

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:03 AM

As far as I know, the gpu does control ALL display.  It's the graphics for the entire machine.  If the output to the lcd is different than an external monitor, it's likely not the gpu.  As far as I know that is.



#14 millipede

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 07:08 PM

:killcomp:

Can you guess what happened?  Just got the cable in the mail today...  replaced it... tested it...  still scrolling...

How likely is it that the screen is the problem?  Since the display is only corrupted(scrolling) on the laptop itself, and an external monitor does not do that... My guess is that the gpu is not to blame...  But...
I don't want to order a new screen... wait a few more days... put it in and have the same issue...
Then I'll have to tell her... "well, I didn't fix anything but you still owe me this much money for the parts...    hmmmmm

Just for kicks... I again tried the one spare screen I have laying around that's the same size and the same connection... it's still blank.  I need to toss that thing so I don't keep testing it. ha.



#15 MrBruce1959

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 02:19 AM

Okay millipede, I've been successful in helping you before, perhaps I can successfully help you again.

 

First, let me ask you if your laptop in question is the Dell Inspiron m5010? In other words it is the M5010 and not the N5010 correct?

 

Bruce.
  


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