Can you get display to a data projector or external monitor without the external monitor plug?
February 3, 2005 12:05 PM   Subscribe

The external monitor plug on my laptpop (Toshiba Staellite 1700, XP, about 2 years old) has stopped working. Are there work-arounds to get display to a data projector/external monitor? (more displayed inside).

This is my main computer that follows me to the office, back home, to the field, and, most relevantly into the classroom 6-9 hours a week where it is meant to display externally! I have taken it to two repair shops, one a Toshiba dealership place, and both said it is not a software problem, it is some sort of hardware problem, and that their only suggestion is to replace the motherboard ($700 Canadian). Obviously that is not an attractive option. Is it worth getting someone to open it wide up and try to solder any loose connections, etc.? Can the TV-out plug be hacked or co-opted for data display? Any other ideas? (BTW, this laptop has been a real lemon: battery died after about 50 cycles despite by-the-book-care, the hard drive died after 15 months, now this. Memo to self: ALWAYS get the three year warrantee; NEVER buy another Toshiba).
posted by Rumple to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
 
You can buy converters that change a TV signal into a VGA signal for a monitor, but the quality won't be very good.

Toshiba Satellite laptops are fairly simple to dis/reassemble. I've repaired the power socket on one when it came loose from regular use, perhaps the port is just loose on yours? If you have a hand for soldering, and a set of tiny screwdrivers, you could try opening it up and seeing if the connection looks solid or not, and touching up any questionable pins.

I'm assuming you've tried the hotkey sequence to toggle between the LCD and the CRT...right?
posted by odinsdream at 12:31 PM on February 3, 2005


Does your Toshiba have a PC Card (PCMCIA) slot?

You might try looking into a PC Card-based video adapter, like this one.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:05 PM on February 3, 2005


odinsdream - yes - tried the damn ctrl-f5 thing ad nauseum (definition of insantity - keep tryingit hoping for something different to happen) and also had the data projectors checked out. It is definitely laptop hardware. By lousy resolution, do you mean, 800 X 600 say? Or worse than that? I remember VGA but not sure how it looks in todays world..... I am mainly showing lecture text-bullets and some pictures - perfect resolution is nice but I could live with a bit less. (Or, the students could).

I am not at all handy with a soldering gun but have a friend who is so maybe let him loose on. Teh Toshiba shop said they wouldn't do that because of risk of static or something -- is that ass covering, or likely? I'd rather not toast the laptop which otherwise works perfectly.

AlexReynolds -- thank you! I take it that is basically a PC-card sized video card that would slide in ... and would work even if the hardware video card was toast? That could be a good solution, though not cheap. (Toshiba has two PCMCIA slots)

Thanks both, and if anyone else has more ideas..... keep them coming.
posted by Rumple at 2:15 PM on February 3, 2005


Rumple, it is its own graphics card. Since you have use of the LCD, you should be able to install the drivers and use the card to drive a second monitor.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:23 PM on February 3, 2005


Oh, and it is a bit expensive, but still cheaper than a mobo replacement job, by about 2/3rds. I wouldn't recommend this direction if you had planned to replace the laptop any time soon, anyway.

And look into an IBM Thinkpad next time ;)
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:25 PM on February 3, 2005


Seconded on the Thinkpad suggestion. I'm not sure why the Toshiba shop would tell you that they were afraid to open it because of static electricity. That seems like a very odd thing for a repair shop to be afraid of. I've opened and worked on several laptops. Just ensure that you touch something grounded before reaching for the board and minimize the amount of hands-on stuff you do in the first place.

Anyway, the TV resolution is around 640x480. The image quality will depend on the converter you buy. I'd go with Rumple's suggestion first, though, that seems like a great idea, and it's probably not much more expensive than a TV to VGA converter.
posted by odinsdream at 2:35 PM on February 3, 2005


err, AlexReynold's suggestion, I mean.
posted by odinsdream at 2:36 PM on February 3, 2005


Thanks again -- the shop was willing to open it, but not to consider soldering on the motherboard. I thought that was odd too, but then, what do I know? Maybe there is nothing to solder or too tight to solder and maybe its risky to solder .... or maybe they just couldn't be arsed.... they said: "it basically only has three parets and if one breaks we replace it". huh.

I've just asked our tech guy to get a quote in C$ for that PC video card and/or equivalent.

I got a thinkpad PII 333 in 1999 and it is still running strong for my daughter. Meanwhile this piece of shit has been a constant headache. And I know at least three other Toshiba laptops that have ben very unreliable for colleagues. Still, the university's attitude is if you want a new computer take it out of your grant money, which I would rather spend on beer and other kinds of research. So yes: next time, thinkpad all the way. (ob.OrMaybeIwillswitchtoMACcomment)
posted by Rumple at 2:44 PM on February 3, 2005


I hate Toshibas ... have them for work .... and I second the notion that they are headaches.

As for your question, I've found that the newer projectors have USB cables, but that may not solve all your video needs (if you need to hook up to a monitor or old style projector).
posted by forforf at 3:47 PM on February 3, 2005


Most projectors have a video in. If you still have a video out, you're set, but the image quality will suffer.

Or you could get hold of a Margi Display-to-Go PCMCIA video card. I have one on my desk right now, though it's currently not being used because I've run out of monitors. I'd link, but I don't think they're being sold new anymore, you'll have to search anyway.
posted by krisjohn at 4:32 PM on February 3, 2005


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