You are not my tech support, but you are my tech support
October 24, 2016 5:03 AM   Subscribe

My friend has a Lenovo G770 laptop that has developed problems with the screen display and the battery. Coincidental? Or related? What is the hypothesis space and how do I whittle it down? More inside.

My friend's Lenovo G770 laptop has developed an issue with its screen. The display is pixelated in certain areas and the colors are too bright. It flickers, but not on and off--it's the pixelated areas that flicker. The severity of the problem changes, from almost nonexistent t making the computer unusable.

I would have guessed a screen failure of some kind, but it developed a problem with the battery at the same time. The battery is wildly incorrect about percentage and time remaining, and the battery power light on the front of the case is always flickering.

We're in a developing country and have no acccess to qualified tech support nearby. We also have painfully slow internet; it is very difficult to research online, and impossible to sign up/post to a tech forum, which is why I'm posting here...

What I need to do is (a) diagnose the problem, and (b) figure out if I can fix it. I'm technically minded but the extent of my knowledge of computer hardware is limited to assembling PC towers back in high school. So, I can follow instructions, but I can't do anything that relies on expertise.

Does anyone immediately know what this problem is, or have diagnostic steps to share? (Even if it's a link to a website? I can sometimes get those to load after ten minutes of refreshing...) One concern is that if the solution involves replacement parts, it's expensive to ship them here -- we'd want to be as sure as possible that we'd correctly identified the problem before that.
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
The battery problem, and the display problem, are almost certainly unrelated. Batteries age and go bad. Your description matches that fact.

The display is a bit more unclear. A typical failure for displays is the cable between the motherboard and the display; it flexes as you open and close the lid, and hence is a source of potential failure.

The battery is simply a replacement, available online. Most online experience is that genuine Lenovo batteries are more expensive, but worth the price.

There are descriptions online of how to replace the screen, or just the cable.

I would also investigate alternatives, such as purchasing a newer computer. That computer was released in 2011. Newer laptops are much faster, with very long battery life. Compare the price of the repairs to the cost of a newer laptop.
posted by blob at 5:41 AM on October 24, 2016

Remove the battery. If it's got serious problems, the charging system could be causing
electrical problems. Batteries are impermanent. A 5 year old battery generally holds little charge.
posted by theora55 at 6:47 AM on October 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think the screen and battery problems are related.

Plug the computer in, but take the battery out. Use the computer and see if the pixelization/screen problem still happens. If it still happens without the battery in, it's not the battery.

Try to take a screenshot of the area that has the pixelization. If the screenshot has the pixelization in it too, then it's probably a problem with the graphics card or motherboard. If the screenshot looks fine then it's probably an issue with the display/display cable.

If I had to guess it's a problem with the graphics card or motherboard. It looks like you can a replacment on Ebay for ~$75.

A piece of advice: don't bother buying a cheap replacement battery; they are terrible.
posted by gregr at 6:53 AM on October 24, 2016

I had a problem that sounds similar with my Y580 - I used to be able to knock it back into sanity but one day it ended up stuck that way. I bought a new monitor cable off of newegg for like $13 and was ready for surgery - it turned out unnecessary. The side of the monitor cable that plugs into the motherboard takes a sharp 90 degree turn to be routed along the bottom plate of the laptop. This part was easily accessible by just removing ~8 screws on the bottom of the laptop and removing a plate. I removed the monitor cable from the motherboard side, plugged it back in and it was good to go. I assume the lack of strain relief makes that part of the cable a problem area, and I expect it to fully fail at some point (hench my continued ownership of a replacement cable), but the temporary fix seems to be working for the moment.

I also had a battery problem: It would claim to be out of power after running ~25 minutes. It was solved by letting the laptop battery fully run out of juice in BIOS setup mode which you can probably get into by hitting F2 or F3. Letting it drain while windows was booted did not solve the problem.
posted by Dmenet at 11:51 AM on October 24, 2016

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