Friday, April 30, 2010

Busted Laptop

My 8 year old laptop's LCD backlight is busted - it just suddenly turned off on Monday morning. It stays off during a reboot. If I shut down the box and turn it on again, the backlight does turn on, but after a short (and random) period of time it turns off again.

I'm pretty sure that it's the backlight that's busted because, under the right lighting conditions, I can still see the stuff displayed on the screen, but it's very faint.

I've tried to manually control the screen power saving mode by blindly typing
vbetool dpms on
at the console, but this has no visible effect.

The box is otherwise just fine, and it still functions as a backup server, web server, firewall, printer server etc. It's just that I can't use it as a desktop.

What a bummer.

I'm still considering my options. I've been thinking of getting a new laptop for my wife for quite a while, since the (extended) warranty on her current, 4 year old, laptop expired, and she does need a lighter machine (2.7kg is pretty heavy...). But a new laptop would cost more than fixing my box.

Decisions, decisions.

To be continued.


  1. You got nothing to lose on the LCD display so open it up and check the capacitors on the backlight power supply. A bulged end = dead capacitor. Replace it with same value but little higher volt rating.
    Ex dead cap = 6.3v 20uF use 10v 20uF replacement. Display makers have been using too low of working voltage caps to save space and money and so it fails after a few years of use so you can buy another one. :)

  2. It never crossed my mind!

    Sounds like a cool weekend project ... I'm hooked.

    I am worried though that I might end up busting the laptop even more.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions!


  3. If this was your main machine you would be screaming and fuming about your data, pictures... if you are an Outlook user, take a look at the Outlook Backup Blog:

    Good luck with your decision on repair or upgrade.

  4. Well, it's a Linux box, and it's still pretty much usable, even without a display.

    As for my data - I use Bacula to back it up to an external disk.

    And I made up my mind too - but I'll post about it when I'm ready.