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Please help me diagnose this display problem on Gateway Laptop


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#1 MJ JB Mommy 2

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:39 PM

We have a Gateway Laptop (17 months old) NE56R31U. 

 

The display started getting pixelated about 2 months ago.  First it was just a couple of lines.  The next day it was about an inch at the top of the display.  About two days later I could only see anything if I hooked it up to another monitor.  The day after that it wouldn't even start up.

 

Haven't touched it since then...

 

Decided I was going to post something today because I really need to get it working again.  I powered it up and it came right on.  Display is still distorted at the top, but its working.  I am afraid to turn it off as I have 17 months worth of backing up to do now (I am an avid photographer).

 

Any advice of what to try to diagnose?  I called the local "Geek Squad" and they told me it was not worth the money to even bring it in.  :-(

 

Thanks!



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#2 ElfBane

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 01:29 PM

First off... get everything regarding personal data (pix, docs, etc) backed up to some sort of external storage ASAP.

 

Now that's done, what do you want to do? If will consistently boot normally, AND you are willing to live with it using an external monitor, is that OK with you? If it is, then leave well enough alone. If not, then post back and we can start troubleshooting.



#3 MJ JB Mommy 2

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 02:02 PM

Best case scenario, we would like to have it running like it should.

 

Worst case scenario, I would like to use it with another monitor, but don't know that I can trust it to start again.  The week it failed, I attempted to power it up for what seemed like a million times.

 

Right now, I have it plugged in to a reliable outlet & have turned off the screen saver & other power off options to keep it running.

 

:-)

 

P.S.  Been working on the backups since I got it back running.  :-)


Edited by MJ JB Mommy 2, 05 September 2014 - 02:03 PM.


#4 ElfBane

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 02:54 PM

When you're backed up and ready to test the lappy, go ahead and shut it down.

Turn it back ON. Make note of any error messages you see when it's booting.

If it doesn't turn ON, make note of the behavior it demonstrates (do the fans spin up, do the lights blink, etc).

Do all of the above on the adapter, don't use the battery yet.

Post back here.



#5 MJ JB Mommy 2

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 03:03 PM

Will do!  Thank you!



#6 MJ JB Mommy 2

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 12:11 PM

Okay, I think I have what I need off of it... 

 

Now the screen is flickering/jumping so bad I can hardly see what I am typing.


I guess my other question is will I still someday be able to retrieve everything off here if things don't go well or it's not worth fixing?



#7 MJ JB Mommy 2

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 07:30 AM

Almost seems like it is overheating???  It will work fine upon start up but the longer I use it the worse the flickering gets.  If it is not used for a long period of time I can get maybe 15-20 minutes out of it.

 

Also occasionally (I remember it was doing this before) the screen will gradually get brighter & brighter until its completely white.  At this time the cursor will not respond either.



#8 ElfBane

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 08:20 AM

Here is your machine ... http://www.meetgadget.com/gadget/64936/Gateway+NE56R31u . At the bottom of website page there are videos of doing maintenance and teardowns of your lappy. Watch those videos.

 

You want to be able to open the lappy up enough to be able to blow out the dust bunnies from the cooling fans. Use canned air or a blow dryer (not on high heat) to do this. If you use canned air, use short bursts. BE CAREFUL working in a laptop. There are numerous screws and the ribbon cables are delicate and easy to break.

Now see if the lappy's behavior has changed. Let us know.



#9 MJ JB Mommy 2

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 09:31 AM

Will do!  Thanks!



#10 MJ JB Mommy 2

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 06:23 PM

Here's what I have determined so far. 

 

  1. I'm scared to go any further because of your one statement..  BE CAREFUL working in a laptop. There are numerous screws and the ribbon cables are delicate and easy to break.   :whistle:
  2. It seems to be at least partially a fan issue.  It's been so long that I have been able to use it that I wasn't sure how much the fan should be running.  I sat down to use it about 30 minutes ago & just realized that the fan has been running the whole time.  It has not been doing that since it started working again.
  3. It works better when on a flat surface.  Run time is very limited if I have it on my lap - especially if on an angle.
  4. Sometimes when I move the monitor that affects the display.

Any thoughts?


Edited by MJ JB Mommy 2, 10 September 2014 - 06:24 PM.


#11 ElfBane

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 03:58 AM

If you are uncomfortable tearing down the lappy, then stop. You can blow out the dust bunnies using canned air. Direct short bursts of air (don't use long bursts, overspinning the fan may damage it) into the intake baffles. That should be good enough to allow it to run cooler. Tearing the lappy down just allows you to be more thorough.

 

If the above fixes the heating problem, then we still face the display problem. Here is a quote from previous posts of mine about screen problems;

"So you'll know what we're looking at, there are 3 or 4 things that could be at fault;

1. The screen itself.  They are usually around $70-$100 in price.

2. The inverter. A small part, not very expensive usually, but it's usually not the failed part. But it's in the signal path and must be considered.

3. The wiring harness. If it's crimped, bent or partially broken, it can cause odd problems.

4. The mainboard. Usually quite expensive, and very challenging to replace if you've never done it before.

 

A PC shop would charge $250-$400 to troubleshoot and repair this. You can do it cheaper, but it won't be fast. You'll be ordering one-part-at-a-time, changing it in the lappy, then seeing if it's fixed. If it turns out to be the mainboard, then you've ordered those other parts for nought.

 

So, your options are,

A. Fix it yourself. Cheaper in the long run and you'll get a wealth of experience tearing down a lappy, but it won't be fast.

B. Let a PC shop fix it, at the above mentioned estimate.

C. Apply any monies mentioned toward a new lappy, instead of trying to fix the old one."

 

End quote.

To be honest, you face a daunting task since you are uncomfortable with working in a lappy. I recommend option C mentioned in the quote. I also recommend spending the money on an extended warranty (3 years worth) if the manufacturer offers them. Toshiba used to offer very good extended warranties.

 

DISCLAIMER: In a previous life as a PC repair tech (6 yrs. ago) I was a certified Toshiba Laptop repair tech. I DID NOT work directly for Toshiba, however, and own no stock or have any other interest in the monetary success of said company.

 

Hope this helps.






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