HP LCD gone pinko; love it or leave it?
December 27, 2008 9:38 PM   Subscribe

I like pink, but not when it's all over my LCD. I like pink, but only when the other option is black. Help me confirm my novice diagnosis, please, concerning my screwed HP Pavilion dv5220us laptop.

Doing lots of internet searching (and scrolling through older MeFi questions), i'm pretty sure what's wrong with my laptop is either a blown backlight or a busted inverter board or less likely, a loose cable. What I could use some help with is figuring out whether it's clearly one or the other. That will help me decide whether I get a pro to fix it, try to do it myself, or just save up to buy a new machine.

For a week, when I booted the machine up or woke it from napping (HP Pavilion dv5220us, 2.5 years old), the LCD would be pink for a bit (c.30 sec) then "warm up" and be fine. An external monitor showed no problems at all. Then, after a week of that, suddenly it went black. You could still see an image on the screen, but it was very faint. I rebooted the machine, and again, it was pink for a minute, then fine for a minute, then poof: back to black. Now, after a few days, I don't even get the pink, just the black (with ghost image). An external monitor still is 100% fine.

Repair estimates cost $75 here in Melbourne AU. I've been told "if it's the LCD backlight, we'll need to replace the whole LCD, and that's $700." (MLN Laptop Repair) No dice. The machine isn't worth that much! I found the repair guide online, so I think I could manage to replace the inverter board myself. I'm not super handy, but I've done some hardware stuff. If I need more than a screwdriver, I should probably leave it alone.

I'm just wondering if those symptoms clearly suggest one problem vs. another to one of you extra-smart people. Or, if not, if the likelihood it's just the cabling or the inverter board means I should roll the dice with a pro shop.
posted by xz to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know how things are in AU, but I had the same problem and ordered an inverter from China for about 20 bucks. (I wrote this question, which you may have seen). I didn't end up using it, though. What happened was this: I unscrewed the panel on the laptop screen, took the old inverter out, put it back in, turned the laptop back on. No dice. The new inverter still hadn't arrived, so I closed the laptop and just let it hang out turned off. Opened it again a week later, just for kicks, and all of a sudden it started working again. I don't know what did it. But I would say it's worthwhile to try to replace the inverter yourself first (very trivial job, all you need is a screwdriver), then wait, then do the pro thing if all else fails.
posted by nasreddin at 9:52 PM on December 27, 2008

Response by poster: thanks nasreddin. i did see that post. so is your LCD screen working still? that's good news. i'll see what the hive has to say, and then probably try something like that.

while i'm thinking about it, though: i've got another question:

if i disassemble the top of the machine and remove it, will the rest of the computer still work? i.e., can I take off the lid and then use the rest of the laptop with an external monitor while i wait for parts/repair, etc?
posted by xz at 9:56 PM on December 27, 2008

I would take all the screws out, but leave the plastic bezel snapped on when you're not actually tinkering with it. (There's no real need to take the whole top off--the panel unscrews from the screen side.) That way, you lessen the risk of shorts and dirt and assorted other nasty stuff, and it's still easy to get at.
posted by nasreddin at 10:00 PM on December 27, 2008

Oh, and my screen is working perfectly. My WiFi antenna gets worse reception now, but I think it's just something I jostled when I was disassembling it.
posted by nasreddin at 10:01 PM on December 27, 2008

if i disassemble the top of the machine and remove it, will the rest of the computer still work?

Yes, from most of the laptops I've seen, you can remove the screen and use an external monitor; just be aware that, if your computer has built-in wireless, the antenna is probably in the screen's bezel.

As far as determining whether your issue is a backlight, inverter, or what-have-you, that I'm not sure about. I'd say, in a worst case scenario, just change out the whole screen -- see if you can find an inexpensive used screen online -- the actual labor involved is pretty simple. Also, inverters are usually relatively inexpensive, too.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:20 AM on December 28, 2008

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