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Dell N5010 screen trouble


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#1 Lynne647

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 04:25 AM

Laptop Specs

I am having an issue with my Dell Inspiron N 5010. The OS I am using is Windows 7. 

 

Issue

The screen on my laptop has started to almost mirror itself every few seconds on the bottom half of the screen. I say almost because the bottom half of the screen is still visible beneath the sort of ghost like top half. The color on the entire screen gets lighter and has a stronger magenta hue to it. I have not recieved any error messages or heard any beeps when it starts up. The flashing/mirroring starts from the moment I power up. Every few seconds when it isn't flashing/mirroring, the screen is perfect. No color hues, no lines, no mirroring or flashing. 

 

Troubleshooting I have done

I have tried opening and closing the screen all the way and the issue is not effected. I have gently twisted the screen by pushing slightly on each top corner while open as well as pushing all across the bottom and this also has no effect. I removed the battery and disassembled to the point where I could remove the screen connection from the motherboard and reconnect. No effect. I updated my Norton virus software and ran this to see if maybe a virus was the cause and none was found. I also uninstalled the video driver and reinstalled the latest version. I checked the refresh rate and it was still 60hz as it doesn't give me any other option. I went to the Dell website and updated the BIOS as well. 

 

Possible Causes?

I am left with considering the video card? I have seen videos where people have heated the video card up to melt the solder to "reflow" (not sure if that is the right term) the connection. I am fairly mechanically inclined but using heat directly on the motherboard stil scares me a little. I'm not under warranty any longer so any troubleshooting advice would be wonderful. I really hate just ordering random parts if it could be something simple. 

 

Thank you for your time! 



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#2 ElfBane

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 05:42 AM

It almost certainly isn't something simple. This thread has wonky screen troubleshooting advice ... http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/546834/left-half-of-monitor-cloned/ .

 

The thread isn't for your model lappy, but the general principles are covered.



#3 Lynne647

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 07:21 AM

Thank you. The only thing I haven't tried yet is hooking it up to an external monitor. Would a wireless connection this way work? Or could hooking it up to another laptop work? I don't have a plain monitor to try as of right now but I do have my Toshiba that I am using now. Also my Hp (which is presently tore down) I figured since I was replacing the keyboard I might as well dust it out lol I'm by no means an experienced computer repair tech but I do enjoy figuring these things out myself.

 

I read another thread this morning where someone said that my model had a recall on the motherboard? They had a different problem (hard drive failure) but I was wondering if this could be the case since the video/graphics card has not been ruled out yet.



#4 zingo156

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 10:38 AM

The Dell N and M 50XX series dells had issues with video chipsets but your issue sounds more like a cable or panel issue to me.

 

The first thing you should try to do is hook it up to an external monitor, if you have a flat panel tv that is relatively new you may be able to connect the laptop to that.

 

Since you mention this happens right after powering on (I assume also when the dell post splash screen is shown) then this is most certainly a hardware level issue.

 

What it could be: The lcd panel itself, the ribbon cable, the video chipset. As I mentioned above, the panel and cable are my first suspects in your case. Something you can do while the computer is on and running is wiggle the lcd ribbon cable (CAREFULLY), if you notice no changes when wiggling the cable at any spot ont he cable, it might help rule out a cable issue. I tend to wiggle the cables at any point the cable bends back and forth when opening and closing the lid.

 

Just a reminder: ALWAYS remove all power sources including the battery when disconnecting anything from the laptop motherboard, simply unplugging the ribbon cable to the lcd panel can cause a short that will damage the motherboard.


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#5 ElfBane

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 12:50 PM

It needs to be an external monitor, there s no way to do it wirelessly that I am aware of.

 

Here is a teardown of your model ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YumiMlucrUY . There is no video/graphics card on this model. Some, not many, laptops have replaceable discrete vid-cards, but that option is usually only available on high-end expensive machines. The video output duties of your model are handled by a graphics chipset on the mainboard.

 

OK, now you see what you're getting into.

 

BE CAREFUL working in a laptop!! There are numerous screws and the ribbon cables are delicate and their connectors break easily. BE VERY careful of using excessive force. DON'T work on the laptop energized!

 

You'll need a screwdriver (probably Phillips head), a container to place screws, and maybe a hard plastic wedge (a hard plastic guitar pick is perfect).

 

Good Luck! Let us know how it works out.

 


Edited by ElfBane, 10 September 2014 - 12:51 PM.


#6 Lynne647

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 03:33 PM

Thank you for the tear down. I actually had it apart yesterday and found it to be pretty easy to disassemble  :) Luckily I found a thread on a different forum before I joined this one that warned me about removing the battery.

 

I have seen suggestions to wiggle the cable and see if that makes a difference but I would have to partially disassemble it to do that right? And it would need to be on to tell if it stopped the problem? Like I said before I'm not a tech but am mechanically inclined. I just want to be sure of the exact steps to do that to avoid a short. 

 

I also mentioned that I saw a few videos where the video chipset (I apologize for saying card as I knew it was part of the motherboard but am still getting a hang of all the terms lol) was bad so they used a heat gun or blow dryer to basically melt the solder and let it cool to reform a connection. I know this is a temporary fix but if it turns out to be the chipset then is this even something I should consider doing?

 

I will try to connect the laptop to my TV tonight. The ports are there, just have to find the cable. (Not an easy task lol) By the way, does the panel have to be specifically for my model or is it possible to use one from another laptop? I have three. The one I currently use and an HP that I can put back together after I clean it or use the screen for my Dell if that is a possibility.



#7 zingo156

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 07:39 AM

I have seen suggestions to wiggle the cable and see if that makes a difference but I would have to partially disassemble it to do that right? And it would need to be on to tell if it stopped the problem? Like I said before I'm not a tech but am mechanically inclined. I just want to be sure of the exact steps to do that to avoid a short. 

 

Yes it will need to be on and running to test the cable by wiggling it, do it carefully and don't pull on it, you want to avoid pulling the cable out of the lcd panel or out of the motherboard ends. I tend to wiggle very gently on the cable where it would run through the hinge or near the hinge. Basically do this: disassemble the computer to the point you can see the entire ribbon cable, pull the lcd panel out and hold that with one hand, wiggle the cable at all of the points where it bends, especially where it was routed through or near the hinge, the bending back and forth from opening and closing can cause failures.

 

I also mentioned that I saw a few videos where the video chipset (I apologize for saying card as I knew it was part of the motherboard but am still getting a hang of all the terms lol) was bad so they used a heat gun or blow dryer to basically melt the solder and let it cool to reform a connection. I know this is a temporary fix but if it turns out to be the chipset then is this even something I should consider doing?

 

I have done "reflows" for many years, this is not a model I recommend doing it on, every single one that I did failed again within a few months or less. Also nearly every single model after reflowing failed again within a few years or less. I reflowed a dell "luggable" 3 times within 4 years and the customer kept coming back until they bought a new computer. So this is not something I recommend doing unless you have experience with reflow stations. Using a heat gun to reflow a chipset can be done but: it is also very easy to destroy the motherboard/chipsets completely. There are very precise temperatures that should be used and only on the targeted area. I have an IR reflow station for this exact purpose but find myself using it less and less to reflow and more for rework. Reflow is really a last thing to try.

 

I will try to connect the laptop to my TV tonight. The ports are there, just have to find the cable. (Not an easy task lol) By the way, does the panel have to be specifically for my model or is it possible to use one from another laptop? I have three. The one I currently use and an HP that I can put back together after I clean it or use the screen for my Dell if that is a possibility.

Ironcally a lot of the panels are the same or nearly the same, if the cable fits, most likely it will work, however there are many many different panels, some are CCFL backlit and the others LED, to be safe, I would recommend using the exact panel to replace it. Some panels are very very specific, I had a samsung that only took 1 panel, it had to be the exact replacement, it was a $300 panel.

 

Because this is a dell, it likely uses a non specific panel, which means if the cable end fits, it should work. Just verify that it is indeed the same connection.


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