Dell laptop monitor not working

By BKLfarhang ยท 9 replies
Jul 5, 2009
  1. I have a Dell Latitude D800 laptop.

    I'm having a problem with the monitor.
    The display is barely visible. I have to use an external monitor.

    When I start the laptop, the monitor works for just 1 second and then it just suddenly becomes very very dim. Its so dim that I can barely see anything. I have to really strain myself under a light to see.
    The display is there, but very dim. Its like the stand by mode in cell phones.
    I thought it was a virus, so I formatted the hard disk and re installed windows. But it still didn't work.

    Now I think I might be missing some driver update. So I went to the Dell website to check for drivers, but it didn't show any display drivers.

    Any ideas?
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    Sounds like either the inverter or backlight is shot. Both seem to be cheap on eBay (inverter, backlight. Typically, inverters are a moderately easy thing to replace if you can follow directions and are somewhat handy. On the reverse, backlights are usually a pain to swap out.

    Your service documentation can be found here. See this blog post for a walkthrough on replacing your inverter.

    If the whole hands-on idea puts you off, it'd probably run you an hour or two of labor at a decent shop on top of the part.
  3. BKLfarhang

    BKLfarhang TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Thank you so much.

    I did a Dell Diagnostics Test and it revealed that the inverter is not working properly.
    But what if there is a problem with the back light too?

    There was no test to find that out.

    Also if I buy the inverter and the back light, how do I replace the back light?
  4. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,333   +101

    While I can't promise you that both haven't failed, I can say that the odds are so slim you shouldn't even be considering it. If I were in your shoes, I'd just buy the inverter and follow the links above to replace it. If you're careful and take your time, it should be an easy fix.

    Take one step at a time. It would seem the inverter is bad, focus on that. :)
  5. BKLfarhang

    BKLfarhang TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I guess you're right.
    I'll do that.

    Thanks a lot.
    You guys are amazing. Not many people help out others for nothing.
    Appreciate it.

    PS: I'll trouble you again if I still have problems though.
  6. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

  7. BKLfarhang

    BKLfarhang TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I live in South Africa and the Inverters that are available on ebay, don't ship here.

    I contacted Dell and they said they will replace the whole screen, but its very costly. And they don't sell the parts.

    I found someone who is selling a Dell laptop screen. But its a 15" and I have a 15.4".
    Will the 15" inverter work for a 15.4" screen?
    And does the model of the laptop matter? Is the inverter different for every model?
    Also if not Dell, can I use some other company's inverter?
  8. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    I do a lot of laptop repair. I'm sure I've personally fixed over a hundred of these 'dark LCDs' from various brands, models etc... If I could put a number on it, I'd say the chance of it being the LCD screen is less than 10%. Raybay could probably back me up on this with some of his crazy statistics. ;-)

    If you want to get a screen, that's totally your call -- Maybe you'll get "lucky" -- but you should be aware of the chances.

    If you can buy the *entire* display assembly with LCD, cables and such, it should also include the inverter. It's sad you may not have another option though. :-(

    To buy inverters, I usually take the display assembly apart and pull out the inverter itself. There will be a model/part number you can look up. They come in all shapes and sizes and for that reason, they are specific to certain brands and models of LCDs. The D800 inverter might work for a few other Dell models that use the same or similar LCD panel and have the same size constrains.

    I did a quick search on eBay for "D800 inverter" and filtered the results for "Available to: South Africa". There are quite a few options. I can't guarantee *all* of these inverters will work though. Different resolution screens may use different inverters, for example... and not all D800 have the same resolution LCD panel. You should take your display assembly apart, remove the inverter and look up the exact part number to make sure.
  9. BKLfarhang

    BKLfarhang TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Hey thanks a lot guys.
    My laptops repaired!

    I showed it to this guy, he said there was something wrong with the backlight (or the cold cathode or something). Its working now.

    Thanks a lot.
  10. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Awesome. So it *was* the screen, if the fluorescent backlight was to blame. I'm glad you got it resolved and I hope it didn't cost you too much. :)
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