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Old 25th September 2008   #1
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Laptop Screen Flickering


Recently, the screen for my (Toshiba Satellite) laptop has been flickering. At first it will go from one brightness to a shade darker and back and forth. The length of time that it does this varies. Sometimes it will be for a split second, other times it will last for five seconds or more. When the flickering gets particularly bad, parts of the screen will start to distort.

I'm guessing this is happening because I'm on my laptop a lot for long periods of time, and up until about a week ago I had the brightness set at max. My laptop is also a year or two old, so that could be another factor that contributed to the problem I'm having now.

My question is...is there a way to replace just the screen for my laptop? Or anything I can do to (try and) fix it?

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Old 25th September 2008   #2
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Does it do this when you first turn it on or after its been on for a while and gotten hot?

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Old 25th September 2008   #3
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The first time, it happened after it's been on for a while. Now it's happening not too long after I've turned it on. Maybe 45 minutes or so after I've turned it on. It just flickers briefly, and doesn't get to the point where the screen starts becoming distorted.

[edit] And an hour after it's been on, the flickering gets more intense, and the entire display seems to "jump" now and then. The distortion lines start to appear too.


Last edited by Yukimi; 25th September 2008 at 19:57.
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Old 27th September 2008   #4
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I can't seem to find the edit button for my previous post... But I have more information regarding the issues I'm having.

I've found that turning down the brightness of my laptop screen to it's lowest setting will allow it to run for several hours without any flickering. When it starts to flicker and jump, I can mess with the brightness until it stops.

If it's on the lowest setting, I can turn it up to it's full brightness and it will stop, but not the other way around. If it's on full brightness and flickering, and I turn it down to the lowest brightness, it won't stop.

Although this could just be coincidence...I thought it might be a little relevant.

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Old 27th September 2008   #5
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Just to confirm, it's not just a problem with the backlight going on and off, right? The displayed content also has problems?

When I had a flicker problem on my laptop, it turned out that the inverter for the laptop had gone bad. The screen went dark, but if I looked close, I could see the display was fine, just very hard to see with the backlight off.

You noted that turning the brightness down helps. With my bad inverter, that was true too. Turning the computer off and restarting it helped as well. Since I replaced the inverter, the display on my laptop has worked fine.

But if you see distortion in the display content, it is not just the backlight. Instead, it may be that the connection to the display is loose.

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Old 27th September 2008   #6
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Yes, it's also the displayed content. When it gets really bad, distortion lines appear, and everything onscreen seems to "jump."

So I guess all I have to do now is find somewhere to take my laptop in and have the problem fixed.

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Old 27th September 2008   #7
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Did you try hooking the laptop up to a desktop monitor?

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Old 27th September 2008   #8
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I don't have an available one right now, but that was going to be the next thing I tried if I couldn't figure out what was wrong.

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Old 27th September 2008   #9
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From what you have said of the symptoms you are seeing, I'm pretty sure the image on an external monitor would be fine. But it would be nice to rule out any non-hardware problems by checking.

Since the displayed image jumps, gets distorted, and has lines on it, an inverter or backlight tube issue seems unlikely. Sounds more like a loose connection between the LCD screen and the video circuitry. Or some problem with the video circuitry or the LCD screen itself.

If you like to take the top off and poke around inside, it's not too hard to check connections for looseness. Or you could buy a new inverter and replace it to see if that's the problem. If that kind of poking around is not your thing, a repair shop is indeed the best bet.

[I'm not sure what type of Toshiba Satellite you have, but you can probably find instructions on how to replace the inverter and backlight, and check video cable connections. For example, http://www.irisvista.com/tech/laptop...D-screen-1.htm]


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Old 27th September 2008   #10
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I'm very tempted to check around myself, but I'm not very confident in my ability to put everything back where it belongs.

I'd love to be able to fix it myself, but if it involves soldering stuff in place...the last time I had to do anything like that was in 5th grade.

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Old 27th September 2008   #11
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Replacing the backlight usually requires soldering, but not replacing the inverter. And checking the video cable connection just requires re-seating the connection.

You can often find a good step-by-step explanation with photos on the Web by searching for your Toshiba Satellite model number and "replace inverter" or "check video cable connection."

I found an inverter for my laptop on eBay for $15 and replaced it easily (just one ***** and some push-on connections). It was kind of fun, and I was proud of myself when I fixed my flickering problem. But I too haven't done much soldering for years and would not want to mess with the backlight tubes.

On the other hand, if you have trouble putting things back together once you take them apart, laptops can be difficult, since they are quite compact with everything crammed in a small space.

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Old 28th September 2008   #12
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As I type this, my screen is completely dark. No light...at all...but I can still vaguely see. I had my brightness down as far as possible, when it suddenly started flashing out of control and distorting. It did this for a minute or two before everything fell dark.

I thought that when it died, I wouldn't be able to see anything at all...so I'm glad I can at least still sorta use it.

Still don't have a spare monitor I can use though.

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Old 29th September 2008   #13
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Good luck with that dark screen. That's rough.

It does sound like your inverter is bad. My laptop did exactly the same thing when its inverter failed. Worked for a while, as the flickering got worse and worse. Then died. Only thing different is the distortion.

What model is your Toshiba Satellite?

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Old 29th September 2008   #14
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Originally Posted by Daanii View Post
Good luck with that dark screen. That's rough.

It does sound like your inverter is bad. My laptop did exactly the same thing when its inverter failed. Worked for a while, as the flickering got worse and worse. Then died. Only thing different is the distortion.

What model is your Toshiba Satellite?
It's a Toshiba Satellite A55-S1064.

And now that there's no light coming from the screen at all, there's no distortion either... Which I guess is a good thing.

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Old 29th September 2008   #15
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It sounds to me like an inverter problem. But it could be the LCD screen, the backlight bulb, or the motherboard. All can cause similar symptoms.

If you want to try replacing the inverter, the following has one for $85.
http://www.laptoprepairparts.com/htm...egory=inverter

The following has one for $20.
http://store.notebookkey.com/g77100011222.html

The following has one for $24.
http://cgi.ebay.com/LCD-Inverter-For...d=p3286.c0.m14

The above-listed inverter should be the one for your laptop. Best way to confirm, though, is to pull the inverter and get the number off it. Then check the part number before ordering.

The following should get you into the inside of the laptop. Unfortunately, they don't show where the inverter is.
http://www.irisvista.com/tech/laptop...e_keyboard.htm

The following shows how to get to the inverter. But it's a different model Satellite.
http://www.irisvista.com/tech/laptop...D-screen-1.htm

If do-it-yourself scares you, I've used mail-in repair companies for laptops. A little expensive, but good.

If you don't mind losing the portability of the laptop, you can just use an external monitor for about the same price as a repair. Maybe less.

Good luck.

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