Here are some tips and tricks for troubleshooting and fixing laptop video problems. Video issues are very common within portable computers and with the following tips you should be able to detect and eliminate basic laptop video problems.
Laptop LCD screen has a faint image or is very dark
Look closely at the laptops LCD screen, and see if you can see a very faint image. If you can then it is possible that the Laptop's LCD lid close switch is stuck in the closed position. In this mode the backlight stays off, even with the LCD lid open. This is to conserve power when the laptop is ON with the LID closed. Check the LCD lid close switch. It is a small plastic pin located close to the back LCD hinges. Try tapping the lid switch a few times to see if you can turn on the screen backlight. If that does not help, then I would suggest to replace the FL inverter board.
Laptop LCD screen is solid white colour or garbled
Connect an external computer monitor to the laptop. If the external monitor display is fine, then you have a problem with the Laptop LCD screen or the LCD cable connection. If the external monitor image is the same as on the Laptop LCD, then it is likely to be a faulty integrated onboard video, this means replacing the motherboard of the Laptop.
A typical Laptop LCD display assembly
The above simplified block diagram illustrates the basic components that are involved on a Laptop LCD video display problem.
Connector Locations 1 - 2 - 3: Video data is sent from the motherboard through to the LCD screen at connector 2. The video cable also feeds voltage to the FL inverter board at connector 3.
FL inverter PCB Locations 3 -4: This section converts the low voltage DC source (connector 3) to high voltage AC (connector 4), as required to energise the backlight bulb. If the FL inverter PCB is faulty, the LCD screen will appear as a very dim image on the Laptop display screen.
CCFL (backlight bulb): When the backlight bulb is working, you can see the image on the LCD screen. With some Laptops, the backlight bulb is a part of the LCD screen assembly and needs to be replaced with a complete LCD screen assembly. It requires a specialized Laptop repair workshop to replace the backlight bulb.
Laptop Lid close switch: This switch is a small switch (mechanical or magnetic) that is located close to the rear display hinges. Most laptops will either hibernate or operate in standby mode when the LCD is closed. This is achieved by interfacing with the Laptop's BIOS power management software. In turn this is linked to the Windows operating system.
AC power adapter sensing an overload of power drain
Overheating processor due to a build of internal dust (clogged fan)
AC power adapter not able to sustain normal power needs (faulty power adapter)
Battery overheating, due to internal battery fault, or charging levels
Intermittent short circuit or open connection (check condition of power leads)
On older Laptops, the most common reason is poor cooling. Try going somewhere air-conditioned and see if that helps. Inspect the areas near the internal cooling fan; see if there is a build up of dust fibers. Easy way to check this; with the unit running, feel the flow of air from the cooling outlet(s) - is the airflow very low? If yes, and the unit is at normal operation temperature, this may indicate the internal cooling system is partially clogged.