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  • Laptop will not boot up

    Posted on Slowpoke47 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge
    Viewing 42 reply threads
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      • #2264979 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Not exactly a Linux question, but I’m posting it here anyway.  Acer Inspire E1-731-4699 will not boot.  All was fine last night.  Lights on power button and mouse illuminate.  Several small pilot lights, blue and orange, on edge of case also lit.  Battery fully charged, but no bootup with charger plugged in either.  Screen completely dark.  Tried a different battery just in case, even though unlikely.  Display screen replaced some months ago, has worked as expected since installed.

        Looking for suggestions re diagnosis.

         

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2264994 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        Are you sure it’s not booting or could it be no video? Can you plug in an external monitor to check if it is video?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2264997 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        Try plugging in an external monitor and then booting the computer.

        When you boot the computer, try tapping on F2, ESC, or whatever the Acer keystroke is to get into the computer’s setup. If you can get into Setup but not Linux, this could be a Linux issue.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265005 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks both.  MrJim- I did try those keys, no response.  That machine still has W7 alongside Mint and so normally offers a choice of OS on bootup.  As stated, screen remains dark.  My first thought is as anon said- the screen itself is the issue.  But the only other screen we have is connected to our Dell desktop- as a non-tech I’m a little leery of screwing up the desktop if I try to patch it into the laptop.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2265012 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        You won’t hurt the desktop computer by unplugging the monitor from it. Power the computer down before unplugging the monitor, and then plug the monitor back in before powering it back up, and there will be no chance of it having any effect on your desktop computer when you unplug the monitor.

        In my opinion, plugging in an external monitor is an important troubleshooting step for the laptop, because you replaced the screen on it a while back, and therefore there could be an issue there. Perhaps the connection came loose. Perhaps you broke a tiny clip when you installed it (easy to do with a laptop), and the connector has finally worked itself loose. If you bought it used, perhaps it had a defect which is just now showing up. Even a new monitor could be defective. The fact that you replaced the monitor, then a little bit later the monitor quit working, means that it is likely that this is the source of the problem.

        You could also try replacing your CMOS battery. Since you have a Windows 7 laptop, it is several years old, and therefore it is probably time to replace the CMOS battery if you have never replaced it.

        Hopefully it can be replaced on your laptop – it is soldered onto the motherboard on some laptops.

        I have an eMachines desktop computer which one day died. I tried everything, and I could not get it to run. I was about to replace the motherboard when, on a lark, I decided to replace the CMOS battery. After I did that, the machine fired right up.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265029 Reply
        Marty
        AskWoody Plus

        In my experience, a bad CMOS battery does not prevent boot-ups.  I have had a couple of laptops that refused to boot, and in both cases it the hard drives had gone bad.  These were Windows 7 machines, and once I replaced the drives, I was able to restore functionality from a Win7 image.  If you need to replace your drive, I hope you have a Linux backup.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265034 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        Do a search for “Computer wouldn’t boot because of dead cmos battery” and you will find others whose computers wouldn’t boot; they replaced the CMOS battery, and the computer booted right up.

        It doesn’t make much sense to me why a dead CMOS battery would have prevented my computer from booting; but I am convinced that it did, because when I replaced the battery, the problem was solved.

        A CMOS battery is only a few dollars, so it is worth trying this to see if it will fix the problem.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265078 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        You won’t hurt the desktop computer by unplugging the monitor from it. Power the computer down before unplugging the monitor, and then plug the monitor back in before powering it back up, and there will be no chance of it having any effect on your desktop computer when you unplug the monitor.

        This seems to me like the first logical step.  The desktop monitor has two substantial plugs on it- one that seems to be line voltage and the other with a pair of screws that apparently keep it from working loose.  The back of the case has a matching plug.  The laptop has a socket with three staggered rows of holes that I’m guessing would be for a remote monitor.  Are these connectors of a “fits-all” configuration?

        Any of the possible scenarios you mention are certainly plausible.

         

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

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        • #2265093 Reply
          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          Actually, I was talking about his unplugging the monitor from his desktop computer and then plugging it into his laptop, to see if he gets any video on it. If video shows on the external monitor but not on the internal monitor, then the problem is with the internal monitor.

          Something to consider: you need to have the same kind of connection on your monitor that you have on the computer. For example, my laptop has a VGA video port; my monitor has VGA, HDMI, and DVI video ports. Therefore, I can use my monitor with my laptop by connecting them via the VGA ports. If my monitor didn’t have a VGA port, I could use still use it with my laptop if I had an adapter which would convert from one type of video port to another. If you are in the USA, Office Depot sells lots of these video adapters.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2265284 Reply
          Rick Rixot
          AskWoody Lounger

          Replacing the battery also resets the bios which may be why it works.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2265289 Reply
            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            BIOS settings should be stored in NVRAM and should not change. The clock will not keep time without a battery, but machines update from the internet every day or two so it’s never a major issue.

            cheers, Paul

      • #2265080 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        I hope you have a Linux backup.

        We have full-system backups using Veeam that include both OS’s.  BTW, we have long since (tearfully) abandoned W7 but it remains on our machines.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2265088 Reply
        cyberSAR
        AskWoody Plus

        I’d definitely try the monitor before the cmos battery. Changing the battery could possibly change bios settings and prevent booting your OS. Without a screen to view you wouldn’t be able to reset the settings.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265091 Reply
        PKCano
        Da Boss

        Some troubleshooting possibilities:
        Can you boot into safe mode?
        Have you tried booting the laptop from a Linux live CD?
        If it boots, see it you can access the HDD – if not, it may be your HDD is bad.
        If it boots and there is video (either on the laptop screen or external monitor) then you eliminate another possibility.
        If it doesn’t boot on the live CD, it’s probably hardware related.
        Use the F key to try to boot into the BIOS – see what hardware shows active.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265149 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Further attempts to start this machine have yielded a couple of clues that seem to point toward a monitor problem.  Upon pressing the power button to start, I can hear the disk (or the fan) running.  Once or twice during the attempts, I saw the same “less black” flash for an instant as you normally see during bootup.  My wife said she saw very faintly the Mint “quit” menu, not enough to read, but recognizable. I think, with the computer supposedly powered up, she must have been holding the mouse button and passed over the spot on the start menu (opened via Windows key) where the quit icon would be, because a minute later, the machine shut down.

        Question- if I am able to connect the desktop screen to the laptop, how do I get the laptop to recognize it and light it up?

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by Slowpoke47. Reason: added "or the fan" to 2nd sentence
        • #2265150 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          There is an F-key with a little square (monitor) on it. You need the “Fn” key too.
          It is usually a three-way toggle – Laptop screen, external screen, both screens.
          Try it – maybe by accident you found the F-key combination and turned it off. But once you hook up the external screen, you can toggle to it. Give the computer time to recognize the external screen and come up with drivers for it.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265155 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        There is an F-key with a little square (monitor) on it. You need the “Fn” key too.
        It is usually a three-way toggle – Laptop screen, external screen, both screens.
        Try it – maybe by accident you found the F-key combination and turned it off. But once you hook up the external screen, you can toggle to it. Give the computer time to recognize the external screen and come up with drivers for it.

        No cable on hand and can’t get one today.  Possibly the connector on the desktop matches the port on the laptop- haven’t pulled it off yet, as it’s in a bundle inside a flex conduit, not much slack.

        But I’m not fully clear (sorry!) on what you’re telling me to do re the laptop keys.  Here’s a pic of the keyboard:

        Laptop-keyboard

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        Attachments:
        • #2265161 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          As best I can see, it looks like fn + F5 or F6.
          Hold the fn key down and toggle one three times (internal monitor, external monitor, both monitors) slowly to give the PC time to switch. The picture on the F-key should be clearer to you.
          Or it may be fn+F5 then fn+F6
          I am not familiar with Acer.

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        • #2265162 Reply
          Elly
          AskWoody MVP

          The top row of keys are F1-F12. Bottom left, second key in is Fn.

          Non-techy Win 10 Pro and Linux Mint experimenter

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2265296 Reply
          GoneToPlaid
          AskWoody Plus

          Holding down the Fn key and pressing the F5 key will toggle display output back and forth between the laptop’s screen and an attached external monitor.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265176 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        As best I can see, it looks like fn + F5 or F6.
        Hold the fn key down and toggle one three times (internal monitor, external monitor, both monitors) slowly to give the PC time to switch. The picture on the F-key should be clearer to you.
        Or it may be fn+F5 then fn+F6
        I am not familiar with Acer.

        I cannot make anything happen with any combination of those keys.  I did see the “less black” flash again.  Before I try an external monitor (the desktop’s) I’m going to check the Acer info to see just what those F5 and 6 icons mean- they are somewhat ambiguous.  If the laptop was in fact booted up, no telling what screen config is currently in play after my experimenting.  I’ll report back with the sordid details.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2265178 Reply
          PKCano
          Da Boss

          When you see the “less black” – there is a brightness adjustment using the fn key and the right/left arrow keys on the lower right. See it you can adjust it brighter.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2265180 Reply
            Slowpoke47
            AskWoody Plus

            I’ve seen that flash maybe two or three times during all the time I’ve spent with it today.  To my untrained eye, it looks the same as what I have always seen with either computer during bootup, back in our Windows days as well as now in Mint.

            I’ll be able to try the other monitor tomorrow- the result might be a good clue.  Just looked at the Acer documentation and found that Fn + F5 “switches between the display screen, external monitor, or both” and the Fn + F6 turns the display on/off.  Also says “press any key to return.”

            Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2265206 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        Question- if I am able to connect the desktop screen to the laptop, how do I get the laptop to recognize it and light it up?

        It will in all likelihood automatically recognize the external monitor.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265263 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Question- if I am able to connect the desktop screen to the laptop, how do I get the laptop to recognize it and light it up?

        It will in all likelihood automatically recognize the external monitor.

        Yep, that’s exactly what happened.  Laptop lit up the external monitor and seems to be running A-OK.

        Screen on laptop was replaced end of last Jan.  Machine has not suffered any trauma, i.e. dropped, etc.  Worked fine up until Saturday morning, when screen did not light up when computer was booted.  Next move will be to contact vendor.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2265297 Reply
          GoneToPlaid
          AskWoody Plus

          My best guess is that the power inverter for the screen’s backlight has failed. Whoever replaced the screen should be capable of replacing the power inverter.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265266 Reply
        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        You can get a 27″ monitor for $145 right now at Office Depot. Your laptop will feel like a new computer with a big, nice monitor. If you can’t get satisfaction from your vendor on the internal monitor, then this will make your laptop very usable. And if you do get the internal monitor fixed, you will have a nice 2nd monitor for your laptop – excellent to have when you are working in your home office. I work from home with a laptop, and I have a 2nd monitor. When you start working with a 2nd monitor, you will soon wonder how you ever got along without one.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #2265274 Reply
          Slowpoke47
          AskWoody Plus

          I’ll keep that in mind- but we use the laptop at various places in the house, so portability is a big plus.

          Linux Mint Mate 19.2

          • #2265288 Reply
            Rick Rixot
            AskWoody Lounger

            A very faint image on the screen points to a bad inverter board, the part that powers the monitors backlight. It’s separate from the screen so a new screen wont help. They are replaceable.

            Good luck

        • #2265358 Reply
          Slowpoke47
          AskWoody Plus

          My best guess is that the power inverter for the screen’s backlight has failed. Whoever replaced the screen should be capable of replacing the power inverter.

          If you are correct, would the laptop light up the external monitor and proceed to run as expected?

           

          Linux Mint Mate 19.2

          • #2265365 Reply
            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            If you are correct, would the laptop light up the external monitor and proceed to run as expected?

            Yes.  The inverter board only serves to power the LCD backlight, and has nothing to do with external monitors.

            Several things can cause the backlight to fail. It could be the inverter board, if the display does indeed have one (as others have noted, newer LED illuminated panels do not use inverters), but it could also be a failed CCFL tube, a pinched or broken wire, or just that the cable for the backlight came loose.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265317 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        GoneToPlaid wrote:
        ______________________________________________________________

        My best guess is that the power inverter for the screen’s backlight has failed.

        and

        Rick Rixot wrote:
        ______________________________________________________________

        A very faint image on the screen points to a bad inverter board, …

        Old problem that applies to older technology! Newer laptops, since about 2015, use LED backlighting–no power inverter used! It was older CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Light) backlighting that required power inverters.

        Reference: Does my screen come with an inverter?

        LED Screens do not come (with) or use power inverters.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2265332 Reply
          Rick Rixot
          AskWoody Lounger

          Very true, seeing a faint image would imply otherwise. The laptop is a 2014 model but does have the led backlight. So your completely correct.

      • #2265359 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Very true, seeing a faint image would imply otherwise. The laptop is a 2014 model but does have the led backlight. So your completely correct.

        OP here- just to be clear- we saw a faint partial image, unrecognizable, for a few seconds.  Nothing more.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266760 Reply
          GoneToPlaid
          AskWoody Plus

          I am searching to verify if your laptop does have an inverter board.

      • #2265362 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        OP here- it does seem to me that the issue has been narrowed down to a failed display (which proves my thread title to be in error).  Of course, this sort of thing always happens on a weekend (holiday, to boot) but I have initiated a contact with the vendor, who sells through Amazon and has many good reviews.  I have included a link to this thread.  I’ll post back with any developments.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2265376 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        If you are correct, would the laptop light up the external monitor and proceed to run as expected?

        Yes.  The inverter board only serves to power the LCD backlight, and has nothing to do with external monitors.

        Several things can cause the backlight to fail. It could be the inverter board, if the display does indeed have one (as others have noted, newer LED illuminated panels do not use inverters), but it could also be a failed CCFL tube, a pinched or broken wire, or just that the cable for the backlight came loose.

        Obviously it does no good to replace the wrong part.  FWIW, the donor display used earlier to test the laptop was borrowed from our 11-year-old Dell desktop and I have no info on whether is has LED or LCD technology.  As a non-tech, I have no idea what components are in that monitor along with the display.  I do have some electronic testing background and a decent multimeter if needed, but need some guidance to determine what exactly is wrong.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2265439 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          The inverter is typically mounted inside the lid assembly, usually right below it. Sometimes it is mounted on the other side of the hinge, near the screen, but on the base part of the laptop instead of the lid.

          The output of the inverter is high-voltage, high-frequency AC. The panel in my Asus F8SN has a typical operating voltage of 655 Vrms and a frequency of 650 KHz, with maxima of 880 Vrms and 80 KHz. The same panels are typically used in models from many manufacturers, so yours could be in that range also. Just be sure your multimeter is rated for the voltage and frequency. Dimming the display (even though you cannot see it) would reduce one or both of those numbers, but I have no idea how much.

          The high voltage output is a 2 pin connector (usually white plastic), and the panel portion of the connector has pink and white wires in all of the panels I’ve seen.  I don’t know if the inverter will remain on if the expected impedance is not detected across the CCFL bulb, so I don’t know if you can just probe the two contacts directly with the panel disconnected.  You may be able to get a really skinny probe (or a pin, or something like that) into the back of the connector(s) and test it while it is operating. You could also pierce the insulation of the wire(s) somewhere and use a bit of electrical tape to cover the hole when done, or probe the solder joints on the opposite side of the connector (that is what I would try first).

          The wattage of the LCD panel is very low, but it’s still a lot of voltage. I really don’t know what would be the outcome if you used yourself as a wire with such a high voltage, low current item. My guess would be not much, but that’s exactly what it is, a guess. If you don’t already know, probably best not to find out.

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265377 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        FWIW, the donor display used earlier to test the laptop was borrowed from our 11-year-old Dell desktop and I have no info on whether is has LED or LCD technology. As a non-tech, I have no idea what components are in that monitor along with the display.

        Since the external monitor is connected to the laptop via some kind of video port (HDMI? DVI? VGA?), it doesn’t factor into the equation of what’s wrong with the laptop’s built-in screen. It doesn’t matter whether the monitor is LED or LCD. In all likelihood, it’s one of the built-in screen’s components that @ascaris listed that’s gone bad, and that will require opening it up to check things and perform tests.

        When you replaced the screen, did you send your laptop in to the vendor, or did the vendor send you the screen for you to replace yourself?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265453 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        The inverter is typically mounted inside the lid assembly, usually right below it

        Have we established that, with LED technology, there is no inverter?

        When you replaced the screen, did you send your laptop in to the vendor, or did the vendor send you the screen for you to replace yourself?

        Replaced it myself- lifelong history of repairs to many types of electrical and electronic devices, but no formal training.  Replacing the screen was a simple out-and-in but for this problem,  I don’t know just how to proceed.

         

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2265466 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Have we established that, with LED technology, there is no inverter?

          Yes, that’s correct. An 11 year old laptop is, to my thinking, probably CCFL.

          What was the model number of the display? That will tell us what we need to know.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265477 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Yes, that’s correct. An 11 year old laptop is, to my thinking, probably CCFL.

        The desktop whose display I “borrowed” is 11 years old (originally had Vista).  The laptop is 5 yrs.

        What was the model number of the display? That will tell us what we need to know.

        Assuming you mean the desktop display- the ID on the back is CN-OP702X-72872-918-OC5S.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2265959 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          The desktop whose display I “borrowed” is 11 years old (originally had Vista). The laptop is 5 yrs.

          Ohhh… okay, sorry, my mistake.  I would think a 5 year old laptop would probably use a LED backlight.

           

          Ascaris wrote: What was the model number of the display? That will tell us what we need to know.

          Assuming you mean the desktop display- the ID on the back is CN-OP702X-72872-918-OC5S.

          No, I meant the panel in the laptop. The part number should be in the paperwork. If you have the old panel still, that would work too; even though it may be a different part, it will have the same backlight configuration.

          LED backlights should be more durable than the CCFL+inverter combo. If that is what you have, I would think a loose connection or maybe a damaged or defective video cable.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Ascaris.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2265981 Reply
            Slowpoke47
            AskWoody Plus

            Screen invoice does not show p/n and old screen long since discarded.  However, the original purchase invoice id’s this beast as “Aspire E1-731 17.3″ LED Notebook.”  I get the idea that, since this is a LED display, the list of possible problems is shorter.  If the fault is in fact a bad connection, I hope to spot that by eye.  Beyond that, I don’t know just what to test or look for.  Hope to get into it today or tomorrow.

            Linux Mint Mate 19.2

          • #2265988 Reply
            Slowpoke47
            AskWoody Plus

            LED backlights should be more durable than the CCFL+inverter combo. If that is what you have, I would think a loose connection or maybe a damaged or defective video cable.

            Another thought just occurred to me- this whole issue came up back in January because the original screen went to black and could not be revived.  It’s possible that that original screen was not in fact at fault and there was a defective connection or the like that was nudged into operation by my work inside the lid.

            Linux Mint Mate 19.2

            • #2266390 Reply
              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              That’s a good point. Unless there is something killing the screen backlights one by one, it seems likely that the issue is not in the screen itself, after having had the issue before.  It could be an intermittent connection with the video (flex) cable, either at the connection at one end or in the wires inside it themselves.

              You might be able to learn something by opening the lid and try gently moving the cable around and pressing on the connector and see if the backlight comes on for a moment.

              I just had another thought… how is the OS set to behave when it detects the lid being closed? Closing the lid usually turns off the panel backlight… if that lid-closed switch is bad, it could be sending the signal that the lid is closed when it’s not.

              My older laptops had a pin switch that accomplished the lid-closed detection, but the newer ones I’ve seen have used magnets and (presumably) reed switches. Either way, it’s possible that the switch is not working properly.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

              1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2266391 Reply
                Slowpoke47
                AskWoody Plus

                Some very good suggestions- I plan to work on this today.  Is there a way to test the switch that turns off the screen?

                Linux Mint Mate 19.2

              • #2266395 Reply
                Ascaris
                AskWoody_MVP

                Some very good suggestions- I plan to work on this today. Is there a way to test the switch that turns off the screen?

                If it is the magnetic type, and if you know where the sensor is, you could test to see if it responds to a small handheld magnet, but in your case, it’s acting like the magnet is there all the time, so that wouldn’t work.  That’s why I suggested seeing what the OS (in the power saving settings) is set to do when the lid closes.   It’s the same in Linux and Windows, so either one would work.

                The default is probably to turn the screen off when the lid is closed (which matches the symptoms so far), but you can change this in the power settings.  If you set it to do nothing, it is possible that this would cause the operating system to keep the light on even though the switch says it the lid is closed. If so, that could end up being the “fix” for the issue, since the switch is probably soldered to the motherboard and not easily replaceable.  You would lose the ability for the laptop to take action if the screen is closed, but that’s better than having the screen dark all the time.

                I just tried it in my Dell G3, and it did indeed keep the light on with the lid closed. This may not work on every laptop… it is possible that some BIOS/UEFIs will turn the screen off no matter what you select in the power settings.  If setting it to do nothing does not help, you could try setting it to lock the screen/session or something like that when the lid is closed, and see if it locks without you closing the lid.

                Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

                • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Ascaris.
                1 user thanked author for this post.
              • #2266406 Reply
                Slowpoke47
                AskWoody Plus

                Thanks- I’ll be getting to this later today.

                Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2265515 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        If I reconnect the borrowed monitor to the laptop, start the laptop and go into BIOS via F2, is there anything to be learned there?

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2265914 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Probably not. Your video card is working, your laptop screen is not. It’s dismantle / fix / replace time.

          cheers, Paul

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2265944 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Just heard back from screen vendor.  Says screen is out of warranty but very unlikely it has failed.  Suggests possible loose connection.  Looks like first move is what Paul T and others have advised.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2266168 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        @ Slowpoke47

        Slowpoke47 wrote:
        ________________________________________________________________________

        Says screen is out of warranty but very unlikely it has failed.

        Interesting Assumption. Most electronics, if they are going to fail, do so within the first 3-6 months of use. I can confirm that from personal experience. But, granted, I have far more electronic devices that have worked properly, and for years, than I have that have failed. So, I guess the *unlikely* statement isn’t completely *wrong*.

        Did the vendor offer any method(s) of testing, other than checking the connection, to determine where the problem may be, given that he does not suspect a bad LED?

        You could dismantle the laptop’s lid to gain access to the display pin-connector (I think yours is a 40 pin connection). You could try disconnecting the connector, and reconnecting, and then test to see if there was a bad contact of the connection that now works. If the screen now lights up, you’re good to go.

        If that does not work, further testing is probably difficult. You would probably need a wiring diagram to identify which of the 40 pins of the connector are involved in powering the LED. Then test the circuit on the laptop side of the 40 pin connector to see that power is arriving there for those pins. Then trace the power circuit for the LED from the identified pins of the 40 pin connector on the display side of the circuit to the LED solder points. (Another test that might give useful clues would be to test the LED circuit of the display at the 40 pin connector on the display side to see if there is continuity–this might identify if there is an *open circuit* for the LED like one can do with a light bulb. But, I’m not sure if LED circuitry works the same as light bulb circuitry.)

        Tracing the circuit might be difficult if the circuit is internal on the display, and would require splitting the display in half to gain access to the internal circuits–and that will be where the LED is actually located.

        Then the question becomes, are there even LED replacements for that display. A quick search resulted in no hits, so I suspect the answer is *No*. If you had the old display that you replaced in Jan, 2020, you could attempt to disassemble that unit to see if access is even possible–but that option apparently is gone as of now. It may be that the display is not designed to be *repaired*, and only replacement as a unit is the only option.

        One could search for any YouTube videos that is specific to your display, and shows how to replace the LED. Again, I suspect that no such links will be found.

        Good luck on your testing.

      • #2266182 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        @ Slowpoke47

        Slowpoke wrote:
        ______________________________________________________________

        It’s possible that that original screen was not in fact at fault and there was a defective connection or the like that was nudged into operation by my work inside the lid.

        Well, not *inside the lid* because you removed the old lid and installed the *new lid*–so the only place you could have nudged something would be the connection of the 40 pin connector, and some possible circuitry internal to the 40 pin connector inside the laptop. But, most likely that circuitry is within the circuit board of the laptop that the 40 pin connector is soldered to. Hard to nudge much on the circuit board circuitry. So, probably only the connection of the 40 pin connector would be in play as a possible problem.

        If you disconnect the 40 pin connector, and then reconnect it, most likely if there is a connection problem, that should solve the problem.

        There could be a fault in the connector itself that can be okay at first, but somehow loosens over time, and once again causes the same fault.

        Testing, and retesting if the fault returns again (if re-connection of the 40 pin connector solves the problem with your now non-functional display) is the only way to tell.

        Hard to know for sure, but sometimes one has to go with *most likely* explanation.

      • #2266205 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Well, not *inside the lid* because you removed the old lid and installed the *new lid*

        Not exactly accurate- I split open the lid and changed only the display panel.  If possible, I’ll check the wires going from the base to the lid for continuity, since they move whenever the lid is moved.  I’m not anxious to buy another display just in case the current one has croaked, but the laptop did light up a remote display, which eliminates several hardware and software possibilities.

        I hope to get into this tomorrow.  If nothing seems overtly amiss, then I have a choice to make.  I have repair experience in a multitude of different contexts- electrical and electronic items, cars, trucks, heavy equipment- and it has never been my practice to throw parts at a problem, hoping for a winner.  Just like that punk in the Clint Eastwood movie, I’ll have to ask myself, “Do I feel lucky?”

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266453 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Update:  With laptop booted and trim bezel removed, no onscreen response to poking/moving connecting wires in lid.

        Laptop starts as expected using remote display, however, the initial bootup (grub?) screen does not appear- goes directly to the familiar screen that offers the choice of installed OS- Mint or W7.  Selecting Mint generates the familiar desktop screen, but without tray, so could not go further.  Mouse cursor offscreen to left, but when I found it, the only thing I could get from it other than response to mouse movement was a right-click context menu that had no choices I could use.  Pressing Windows key does not generate start menu as expected- so the only way to shut down is via the power button, which generates the familiar dialog box, “suspend, restart, shut down…”

        If I start the laptop and press F2, the BIOS menu appears, but I did not see any options to change backlight behavior.  In general, BIOS looks as normal.

        On restart, choosing W7- boots up and seems to work normally, desktop and tray as normal, except cannot connect to Internet via wi-fi.  (Previously, IIRC, wi-fi Internet service was available in W7, although we have not used it for several months.)  I did not connect a router cable to try and get an Internet connection, didn’t seem to be relevant.

        Since all the above was via a remote display, something appears to be amiss that does not involve the installed screen.  Comments?

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2266753 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          It seems that your external monitor is set up as an extension of the main desktop.  When this is set up and everything is working, you can move your mouse pointer off the screen and it goes to the other monitor, as if they were both part of the same thing. The panel (or taskbar, in Windows) can be set to extend over both monitors, or to just remain on the main one, which is what it seems to be doing now. Pressing the Windows key (usually called a Meta or Super key in Linux) probably did bring up the start menu (main or application menu in Linux, depending on the desktop!), but it was on the dark laptop panel, so you could not see it. The computer doesn’t know it’s not visible.

          If that is what happened, what you describe is perfectly normal. If you press Fn and the F5/F6 keys some more times, you might get it to a setup where it either clones the main display to the external, or simply turns off the main display and uses the external. Either one should fix the missing panel and main menu.

          So wiggling did not work, but there’s still the cable itself, and also the screen-closed sensor/switch.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2266474 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Edit- just remembered- the reason W7 cannot connect online is that I disabled it when we abandoned that OS.  My memory is as good as ever, just somewhat shorter these days…

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2266782 Reply
          Slowpoke47
          AskWoody Plus

          Laptop reconnected to donor screen- initial bootup produced same results as yesterday- first screen shown is familiar black-screen option menu for choice of OS.  Initial sequence that precedes that does not appear.  Selecting Mint generates the same Mint desktop as before- no tray, no icons.

          Fn + F5 produces no visible results over several tries.  Fn + F6 results in brief black screen, then fully realized and fully functional Mint desktop, all elements present.  All in all, the only difference in booting with the donor display is the lack of the initial sequence that normally shows the Acer logo and provides the chance to go into BIOS or change boot options.

          Before trying the above, I removed the laptop screen again (see photos).  The connector is secured with tape and appeared tight but I unplugged and re-plugged it anyway.  The model # is obscured by an inspection sticker, but there are several numbers on the back of the screen:

          7105A3X8VHZZ-ZS0112

          CN- 00D41C-72090-OBO-0593-AOO

          J15917B100160BL0001103I187100

          E204356

          DP/n 00D41C

          The hardware in the top center of the lid is a camera for Skype etc.  I didn’t to my untrained eye see anything that might be an inverter board.

          With these results, does it appear that I have a dead screen?

          Behind-display-Acer-laptop

          Rear-view-Acer-display

          Linux Mint Mate 19.2

          Attachments:
      • #2266727 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        It seems you’ve tried all the things to try to fix the screen and the fault is major rather than minor.

        Now you have to decide whether to replace the screen or laptop, or get an external monitor.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266752 Reply
          Slowpoke47
          AskWoody Plus

          I’d be more confident that a new screen is the answer if the laptop worked 100% on the borrowed monitor.

          We have what I believe is a full-system backup made with Veeam about a week before this all happened.  Perhaps I should try a restore using the borrowed screen?  Not sure if this resets any of the boot process.

          Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2266757 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        If that is what happened, what you describe is perfectly normal. If you press Fn and the F5/F6 keys some more times, you might get it to a setup where it either clones the main display to the external, or simply turns off the main display and uses the external. Either one should fix the missing panel and main menu. So wiggling did not work, but there’s still the cable itself, and also the screen-closed sensor/switch.

        Many thanks for this description- Just to be clear am I to press Fn and both F5/6 or Fn and 5 or 6?  And would this be with the external monitor connected?

        I was able to get into BIOS by pressing F2 multiple times during boot even though no boot sequence showed.  Using the borrowed screen, I didn’t see anything there that seemed to address screen open/closed.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2266821 Reply
        Cybertooth
        AskWoody Plus

        I was able to get into BIOS by pressing F2 multiple times during boot even though no boot sequence showed.

        I hypothesize that you’re not seeing the boot sequence because, at that stage in the bootup process, the laptop hasn’t yet recognized the presence of the external monitor.

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266822 Reply
          Slowpoke47
          AskWoody Plus

          Sounds like a good bet.  If you’re correct, is that further evidence that the laptop display has croaked?

          Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2266869 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Of the three possibilities given there, the first one has been tried and eliminated. How about the last two?

        Assessing the condition of the cable other than by hairy eyeball doesn’t seem practical (as far as testing conductors for continuity).  I think any exploratory surgery would finish off the patient.  And, as mentioned, when I did trick my way into the BIOS, I could not find any reference to display on/off behavior, much less a menu to that effect.  IIRC, if left for a while, the screen timed out to black, as you would expect, but perhaps there is no user control over screen behavior.  If the screen-to-black function is buried somewhere in the BIOS, and non-adjustable, it’s also likely non-fixable as well.

        Looks to me like I’m back to the Clint Eastwood thing.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266903 Reply
          Cybertooth
          AskWoody Plus

          Yeah, it sounds pretty dire. Assuming that you’d rather keep using the laptop, it’s looking more and more like your options are limited to these two:

          1. Keep it connected to an external monitor, with the limitation that you won’t see the initial bootup screen; or
          2. Replace the laptop screen completely.

          🙁

           

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2266918 Reply
            Slowpoke47
            AskWoody Plus

            Well… dragging a remote monitor from place to place around the house isn’t overly appealing.  If I throw another 80 or 90 bucks at this machine, it’s still a lot less than starting with a new one, from which I would presumably have to purge W10, and install Mint (This computer dual boots W7 and Mint, mostly because it came with 7, which we have abandoned. But, no W10 for us!).

            There are multiple vendors on ebay (a.k.a. the Wild West) and some offer that 2-yr warranty for about $8.  I’m going to sleep on it and likely bow to the inevitable tomorrow.

            Linux Mint Mate 19.2

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2266919 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Assessing the condition of the cable other than by hairy eyeball doesn’t seem practical (as far as testing conductors for continuity). I think any exploratory surgery would finish off the patient.

          The only way I know of to test this, feasibly, would be to replace the display cable. They can be hard to find, but eBay often has this kind of thing… I’ve replaced a display cable and had it fix what was wrong before.

          There is also the possibility, however unlikely, that the display backlight did just fail even though it is new. New items do fail sometimes; I think we have all seen it happen.

          I would not give up on the unit just yet. At the very least, you could have a laptop shop do a diagnostic (if you have a reputable one nearby) and see what they say. You don’t have a spare cable or display to swap in for testing, but they probably would.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2266929 Reply
            Slowpoke47
            AskWoody Plus

            Thanks for the encouragement.  I do think a failed display is more likely than a failed cable, just because of the cable’s limited range of movement.  Actually, even if it takes both parts, it’s still a better deal than starting over.  I’ll fret over it tonight and then probably go for it.

            Linux Mint Mate 19.2

      • #2266985 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        @ Slowpoke47

        Look at the *preponderance of evidence*:

        You had the exact same loss of screen display back in January, 2020:

        Symptoms of laptop battery failure

        Read thru that thread again, and you will see that you had the same questions, did essentially the same testing by hooking up an external monitor (your 11 year old one), and determined that the video circuitry of the laptop was working okay.

        I could not find a discussion about wiggling wires, or disconnecting and reconnecting the laptops internal display wiring connectors, nor anything about the laptop lid switch.

        There were the suggestions that your laptop may have a defective *inverter*–and it was determined that your laptop does not have one–because it’s a LED backlit technology.

        You finally decided to replace the display screen, and once that was done, the laptop was working fine as it had been doing before the old display LED went bad.

        (Now, could it still be that some wire got jostled, or the lid switch got shaken during the replacement of the old display which made it start working again–sure–but what are the odds–high or low?

        Here’s a question: will a laptop that has its video output transferred to an external monitor still show the behavior of turning off the external monitor’s display when you close the lid the same way it would shut off the internal display? I’ve never had reason to test that … but, maybe a way to test the lid switch if that function is present for both internal and external displays.)

        There are multiple vendors on ebay (a.k.a. the Wild West)

        What’s the deal there? Have you had problems with Ebay vendors? I’ve been dealing with Ebay sources for years–I’ve had no more problems with them, then the independent vendors on Amazon!

        … and some offer that 2-yr warranty for about $8.

        https://www.ebay.com/itm/Acer-Aspire-E1-731-4699-LED-LCD-Screen-17-3-WXGA-HD-Laptop-Display-New-/200789900874

        https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Acer-Aspire-E1-731-4699-LCD-Screen-LED-for-Laptop-17-3-Display-Glossy/352443915697?_trkparms=aid%3D888008%26algo%3DDISC.CARDS%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20200220090753%26meid%3Dffb8d11a75db4d83b8f2a483dff2bfa8%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D200789900874%26itm%3D352443915697%26pmt%3D0%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2047675%26algv%3DDiscV1%26brand%3DUnbranded&_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982

        And, if you click on the *2-yr protection plan* link, you get a popup that lets you select 2 or 3 year plans–3 year plan costs $14.99.

        ***********************************************

        I think you have simply experienced an unfortunate event–a weak replacement component (display), that failed prematurely.

        I think if you replace it (again), you will once again have a fully functional laptop, and the other potential sources for the problem will not be found. (And, just to be safe–invest, at least, in the 2 year replacement option!)

        (Another possible source of the problem–maybe the laptop’s internal power regulator that’s sending power to the display’s LED is causing some type of random surge that’s blowing out the LED circuitry!–> maybe!)

        Good luck on making your decision.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2267018 Reply
          Slowpoke47
          AskWoody Plus

          Thank you for a comprehensive summary.  I have been pondering whether to try to test the video cable, and, in theory, assuming I could readily get to the other end, I could test it with the continuity tester without knowing the actual circuitry.  If I probe each contact in turn, at one end, there should be continuity between one of the contacts on the other end.

          But my thinking has evolved along the same lines as yours.  Even though I’m normally loathe to throw parts at a problem, I think in this case, that’s the way to go.

          What’s the deal there? Have you had problems with Ebay vendors? I’ve been dealing with Ebay sources for years

          I’ve both bought and sold on ebay.  I can tell you that ebay makes up at least some of the reviews, and, if you notice, those percentages given to vendors are always 98%+.  Still, I have had generally ok experiences there- but- ya pays ya money and takes ya chances.

          Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2267058 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          You finally decided to replace the display screen, and once that was done, the laptop was working fine as it had been doing before the old display LED went bad. (Now, could it still be that some wire got jostled, or the lid switch got shaken during the replacement of the old display which made it start working again–sure–but what are the odds–high or low?

          The odds of having a LED backlight setup fail are pretty low, but in a laptop, which may have been exposed to all kinds of bumps and extremes, it would still be the first place to look when you have a failed backlight.  When you add in the second failure of the same system (LEDs being inherently quite reliable), it begins to look like it wasn’t the panel that caused the failure in the first place, but perhaps a poor connection between cable and panel, and the action of replacing the panel (which involves reseating the cable as a matter of course) got it to work again (temporarily, as we now know).

          Using the process of elimination, you would want to take an educated guess at what the problems might be and eliminate the most likely things first.  Since testing the lid close switch and wiggling the wires cost nothing, that’s a good place to start, and since a replacement flex cable costs less than a LCD panel, that’s a reasonable second choice.

          Here’s a question: will a laptop that has its video output transferred to an external monitor still show the behavior of turning off the external monitor’s display when you close the lid the same way it would shut off the internal display? I’ve never had reason to test that … but, maybe a way to test the lid switch if that function is present for both internal and external displays.)

          By default, the BIOS/UEFI behavior would normally be to have the lid-close event turn off the panel backlight and nothing else. In the OS settings, it is possible to assign other actions to the lid-close event, and the options you are given depends on the OS, though generally they’re quite similar.  Turning off external monitors when the lid is closed isn’t one of the ones I’ve ever seen… putting the laptop into standby (sleep) is one of the options, and that would have the effect of turning off all the displays, but that is not the same as simply turning off the display.  It doesn’t really make any sense to have the LCD backlight on when the lid is closed, since you can’t see it anyway, but you can use a laptop with the lid closed if there is an external keyboard, mouse, and display.

          (Another possible source of the problem–maybe the laptop’s internal power regulator that’s sending power to the display’s LED is causing some type of random surge that’s blowing out the LED circuitry!–> maybe!)

          I thought about that, but any excessive power to the panel would cause noticeable visual signs (any overvoltage would make the backlight brighter for as long as it was being overvolted), and Slowpoke47 did not mention any strange fluctuations in brightness.  If the particular laptop had a voltage output for the backlight that was unusually high (5v being the standard), beyond the capability of the panel, that could eventually cause a failure if the panel brightness was cranked all the way up, but that does not seem likely.  I’d bet on them all being 5v.

          Transient spikes that were still within the voltage range of the LEDs shouldn’t harm them, as PWM brightness control is a normal thing with LCD panels, and that involves rapid switching on and off of the backlight. It doesn’t harm them, and can actually extend their life by reducing the number of hours they’re on (ie at 50% brightness, you’d only add a half hour of actual “on” time for the LEDs in an hour of use).

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2267082 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Since testing the lid close switch and wiggling the wires cost nothing, that’s a good place to start, and since a replacement flex cable costs less than a LCD panel, that’s a reasonable second choice.

        I was never able to find anything in the BIOS re the lid close switch and didn’t see anything during my efforts that I could say was that switch.  Perhaps there are no options there?

        Before I ordered a panel this morning, I did look for a video cable, but didn’t find one that was spec’ed for this machine.  I imagine these cables are more or less generic, but perhaps the length varies, even if the 40-conductor config is the norm.  This laptop has a large display, and could be that a cable for a smaller screen would be shorter.

        In any case, the vendor I patronized has a return policy, and if the new panel does not correct the problem, I’ll go back to trying to probe the cable as mentioned above.  I thought that through, and as stated, no schematic should be needed to test continuity.  I would attach darning needles (which I have) to the probes due to the tiny size of the contacts, but it looks do-able.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2268595 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          I was never able to find anything in the BIOS re the lid close switch and didn’t see anything during my efforts that I could say was that switch. Perhaps there are no options there?

          Not in the BIOS… in the operating system power settings.  I don’t know what Mate’s look like, but here’s the KDE version:

          Screenshot_20200601_222601

          You can see the various options that are available for the laptop lid-closing event in the open dropdown. Note the tabs at the top… there are separate settings for when the laptop is on AC power, battery, and when battery is low. I have my Swift set to lock the screen on lid close when on AC, as that generally means I am at home, and I often have processes running (Syncthing, FSLint, etc) that I do not want to interrupt. When on battery, I have it set to sleep, which also locks the session, but in that case, I would not be running any tasks like Syncthing, and I would rather have the battery savings from sleep.

          If you selected one of those (besides do nothing, of course) and it happened when the lid was open, you would know that the computer thinks it wasn’t.

          Your power settings will look somewhat different, but the laptop lid close action should still be configurable.

          The video cables are not generic, though Acer may have used the same cable on several machines besides yours, so ones for other similar laptops might work… but knowing which (if any) those are is the $64,000 question. I’ve yet to replace a panel as new as yours, but the ones I’ve seen (with CCFLs), there were a few different connectors on the panel end, but the length of the cable to that connector, the length of the lead to the CCFL (if it is integrated… in my F8Sn, it isn’t), and the connector on the motherboard end can vary. If it had been available for a cheap price (I’ve gotten some for $10 shipped, while others were more), it would have been worth a shot, but that wasn’t to be, at least right now. You never know when someone will decide to list one, of course!

          Like you said, though, if the panel does not fix it, you can return it, and that will give you some important information too. Until some possibilities can be eliminated, all we have are guesses about where to start the search for the problem.  Educated guesses, but guesses nonetheless.  I suggested the things I did not just because they seemed like a good place to start the process of elimination, but also because they were cheaper than buying a new panel. There’s a good chance that (the panel) is the problem, though, so we shall have to wait and see.

          I would advise keeping the old panel (if you keep the new one), packed in whatever protective box/ antistatic bag the new one comes in, in case it was needed for some future reference.  If at first it seems to work, but you again find that it fails after a short while, it might not be the panel, so your old one may still be good. No sense in throwing out a good panel by mistake!

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          • This reply was modified 3 days, 16 hours ago by Ascaris.
          • This reply was modified 3 days, 15 hours ago by Ascaris.
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          • #2268680 Reply
            Slowpoke47
            AskWoody Plus

            The new screen is due to arrive some time on Thursday.  If I have time today or tomorrow, I’ll again use the borrowed display to look for the screen-close settings.

            In my lifetime of repair experience, I have always been more confident of a given repair’s success if I have isolated the failure, as opposed to replacing parts, hoping for a win.  If the new display does in fact light up, I may reinstall the old one to see if it wakes up.  If it doesn’t, that’s as close as I can get to identifying the root cause.

            As you mentioned in an earlier post, a second screen failure, if true, seems unusual.  This machine lives in a quiet indoor residential environment, two mature adults, and has never been dropped or abused.  We do use it in several places in the house, but we are careful.

            A question, though- if these screen failures are so unusual, why are there dozens (at least) of vendors selling replacements?

             

            Linux Mint Mate 19.2

            • #2268700 Reply
              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              There are a lot of reasons to replace LCD panels besides backlight failure.  LCD panels are are quite fragile and can be cracked easily, and it’s even easier to scratch them.

              I’ve replaced several panels over the years, and a dead backlight has never been the reason. All of these were the CCFL models (still generally reliable, and I don’t have any statistics, but LEDs are an improvement).  I replaced one because of a scratch and a few dead pixels, and another because (as I found during the “autopsy”) the backlight CCFL was held in with glue that had turned yellow over the years, casting sickly yellow shadows over parts of the display.  I knew it had ugly yellow discoloration at the time I ordered the new one, but I didn’t know why until I opened it up.

              I replaced another one because I didn’t like the uneven lighting of the backlight, and yet another to upgrade the laptop to a higher resolution, which also required a change of the flex cable.

              I’ve also pondered replacing the panel in my Dell G3, as it has a tiny color gamut and is incapable of rendering the color red (it comes out orange).  It’s not a priority now, but it is something that bothers me, so if I saw a deal on a compatible display, I might consider it.

              My other Dell, a low-end Inspiron 11, had an annoying flicker that would happen under certain circumstances (not related to the backlight) and since it was under warranty, I sent it back to them to fix it.  They did, and the new one does not have the issue.  Had I bought the Inspiron used and out of warranty, I may have replaced that panel too.

              Over time, both CCFLs and LED backlights will lose their maximum brightness, getting dimmer and dimmer over the years.  If someone uses the laptop in a brightly lit room or outdoors, you will need to turn the brightness up a lot more than if you are using it in a dimmer place.  That will cause faster degeneration of the backlight element (though it’s over several years that this would happen), and since the user in question already wants the display to be pretty bright, he’ll begin to notice the inability of his laptop to get bright enough, even at the maximum setting. When it no longer gets bright enough for how you want to use the laptop, you’ll have to replace the backlight to get that functionality back.  Generally, that’s done by replacing the whole panel.

              With CCFLs, it is possible to replace just the lighting elements, but it’s a delicate procedure, and after trying it once (resulting in a damaged display), I decided it was easier to replace the panel as a whole.  I am sure I could eventually get the hang of it, but I would need a supply of panels I don’t mind ruining to get to that point, and given how cheap CCFL-era panels have been, I didn’t bother to try.

              I don’t know if it is possible to replace the backlight by itself on LED-lighted panels.

              Getting back to the main topic…

              Keep in mind, also, that in your case, we are starting from a position of knowing that there was a failure.  Statements about the reliability of various bits are more to establish a hypothesis about the point of failure to begin the troubleshooting process.  Failures do happen, even on things that are relatively reliable… the point is to guess which is the most likely to have happened.  To have the LEDs fail once is possible, and that’s why the advice all centered around replacing the panel (which appeared to work).  The second failure happened in a much shorter time than the first, and that’s the thing that makes it seem as if it is not the LED backlight itself causing the issue.  It very well may be exactly that, but the odds of a non-backlight cause seem to be higher than when we just knew the display had gotten dim.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

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      • #2268573 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        @Ascaris

        Ascaris wrote:

        The odds of having a LED backlight setup fail are pretty low, but in a laptop, which may have been exposed to all kinds of bumps and extremes, it would still be the first place to look when you have a failed backlight. etc., etc. …

        Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough answers in the above reply to my various observations and questions. I appreciate your answers.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2268584 Reply
        anonymous
        Guest

        @Slowpoke47

        Slowpoke47 wrote:

        Even though I’m normally loathe to throw parts at a problem, I think in this case, that’s the way to go.

        I don’t think you are *throwing parts at a problem*! I think you are making an informed decision based on the facts that you have gathered, and you are acting in a logical, and most efficient manner given that you would rather repair and keep the laptop you have, rather than throwing money at a whole new replacement laptop.

        You have been tossed a bunch of other possible explanations as to why the backlight of your laptop has failed a second time. What you should do, once you get the new display, is a re-challenge of of the problem to see if you find any possible explanation other than a failed LED backlight.

        Install the new display just enough so you can boot the system, and check that the new display is functioning as it should and as expected. Close and open the lid to make sure the LED backlight turns off and then back on again. If the new display lights up properly–that probably rules out a defective (shorted) video cable, and at least for the moment the laptop display lid switch is functioning as it should.

        Now, remove the new display, and put the old display back in. If it once again fails to light–then it’s most likely because the LED backlight has failed, and there is not a bad lid switch or defective video cable.

        Just to hammer the information home–re-install the new display, and determine that its LED backlight is lighting up as it should. If it is, that should pretty well demonstrate that the problem with the old display is a dead LED backlight, and not other *possible* defects.

        Of course, you’re still stuck with wondering why you have had the LED backlight fail on two displays in a relatively short time period–but, you should feel pretty confident that you have identified the problem.

        (Now, on the other hand, if your old display now lights up as it should when you re-install it for the *re-challenge*–you have a whole new set of trouble shooting that may need to be done!)

        Good luck.

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      • #2269121 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        The new display arrived this afternoon, a day early.  Those who questioned whether the “old” display had failed are proven correct- the new screen does not light up either.

        With the help of Ascaris, I found the menu item relating to power management and checked the settings and operation using the borrowed display from the desktop (see photos, somewhat obscured, but viewable).  Having tried various settings, I found that the lid-close switch works as expected in all respects- tested, again, with the borrowed display.

        With the external screen connected, the laptop boots as usual except that the field icons and the desktop tray are missing.  But, as before, Fn + F6 causes the screen to go momentarily black and then reappear with all elements, tray & icons included.  In this configuration, the laptop is fully functional.

        Also, the Fn/F6 combination turns the display on and off as expected.  But I did not see any response from the Fn/F5 combination, which I believe is supposed to cycle between the two screens, showing one or the other or both.

        While waiting for the replacement screen to arrive, I searched online for a replacement video cable, but could not find one.  Absent a new theory, I think my next move should be to remove the cable and test each conductor for continuity if I can.  On that topic, I am confident that the connector has always been secure, as it is visually obvious when it is seated, and is also held firm with a piece of transparent shipping tape.  Also, there was no trauma to the laptop that would/could have dislodged it.

        I’ll be sure to return the new display within the allowed time frame, IIRC 1 week.  The vendor will accept the return and charge a 20% fee.

        This is a small town, and I am not aware of any good computer shops in the area.  I am not inclined to roll the dice with an unknown quantity.

        If this is a software, and not hardware, problem, we have a full-system backup using Veeam (again, grateful thanks to Ascaris), and I think this backup includes the OS.

        Comments?

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        Attachments:
      • #2269227 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        If you can’t switch between the external and internal monitor then the laptop thinks the internal monitor is not connected. This could be a either cable or video controller failure, as you’ve tried the new screen. If it’s controller then a new / secondhand motherboard / laptop is the only solution.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2269357 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        Update- trying to get to end of led cable in base of laptop for testing.  Two halves of base separated except for some ribbon-type wiring pigtails.  Not enough slack to reach the cable connector.  Are those ribbon connectors unpluggable?

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2269410 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          I can’t imagine a laptop not having a removable cable.  The ones I’ve seen have had a white 2-row plastic connector that slides down over the rows of pins that are part of the motherboard.  Those plastic connectors are a friction fit and just slide off.  There are other kinds of connectors, though.

          You said the unit is a Dell, right? Dell is pretty good about making service manuals for their laptops online.  When I was considering buying my Dell G3, I made sure that the service manual was available, and that the various bits within (especially the battery) can be replaced without much trouble (unlike models that have glued-in components).  If they have one for your model, it should tell you how to remove the cable.

          The most likely failure point for the cable would probably be where it has to flex at or near the hinge for the screen/lid (assuming it was not damaged when it was exposed during the screen replacement).  One or more of the wires within the cable might have fatigued from the flexing and broken.  These kinds of failures are common where wires have to flex a lot.  The broken wires inside the insulation can sometimes make contact and sometimes not, intermittently causing the problem (but working fine at other times), so they can be maddening to diagnose.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2269472 Reply
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          The connector may be soldered to the MB with a connector on the screen – saves money doncha know…

          cheers, Paul

      • #2269483 Reply
        Slowpoke47
        AskWoody Plus

        You said the unit is a Dell, right?

        This machine is an Acer Aspire E1-731-4699. 

        The most likely failure point for the cable would probably be where it has to flex at or near the hinge for the screen/lid

        This is exactly what I have been picturing since you suggested that the cable could be the culprit.  I have as yet been unable to find a replacement cable, nothing to date on ebay, the only vendor who lists it shows it as out of stock.  New Acer Aspire E1-731 E1-771 V3-731 V3-771 Laptop Lcd Led Cable  But according to that listing, the same cable fits several other models, and today I’ll try cross-referencing those numbers on ebay.  In spite of my stated aversion to bypassing diagnosis in favor of replacing parts, if I am unable to test the cable and if I find a source, for 12 or 15 bucks I’d try one.  The alternative is for this machine to be demoted to paperweight status.

        This whole effort has added to my education (largely thanks to you!).  The Acer site does not show manuals per se, but it offers help of some sort if I submit the i.d. numbers of the machine.  I’ll do that today as well.

        Update:  Acer site does not offer repair manuals.  It does offer “carry-in” repair service.  The impression I get is that, by the time I went through this, I will have paid for a new laptop.

        Linux Mint Mate 19.2

        • #2269493 Reply
          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          Oh, my mistake. Thought it was a Dell for some reason.  My other laptop is an Acer, and as you mentioned, they don’t make repair manuals available, unfortunately. When I was about to first open my Acer Swift 1 (SF113-31-P5CK), I found a video on Youtube that showed the process (easy peasy, as it turned out).

          That listing for the LCD cable showed the Acer part number, so you should be able to look at yours (hopefully) and see if it is the same one.  You could order the cable from them, or search for the Acer part number specifically instead of the laptop model it’s to be used in.  But before you try that…

          I found this video on Youtube… not sure if it is the same model of Acer as yours, but the creator of the video repaired an Aspire with a screen issue that was a function of the cable not being plugged in all the way after the LCD was replaced. He says it’s supposed to click into place, and apparently, people don’t always get it all the way in.

          One of the commenters noted that he had the same issue.  Is it for sure plugged in all the way?

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.5).

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2269497 Reply
            Slowpoke47
            AskWoody Plus

            Currently the machine is disassembled, except for the two or three ribbon cables between the two halves of the base.  But I did double check the display connector when it was installed, and I’m sure it was plugged in as far as it would go.  There are matching flat plates on the connector that go under flat plates on the display, and though there was no “click,” it’s visually obvious when fully seated.

            Just checked ebay again- no led cables for any of the alternate models in the link I posted.  But, I will make a wider search for it using the part #, which I missed because I didn’t scroll down the page after seeing the “out of stock” notice.

            Linux Mint Mate 19.2

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