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Horizontal streaking on thinkpad R40 lcd screen


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#1
Dan R.

Dan R.

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Just bought this laptop, and really loved it until this problem started - Grrrr. I am guessing it is a hardware failure somewhere, just need to figure out where, so I can fix it.

Symptoms:
- Horizontal streaking on the LCD screen - pixels seem to be displacing themselves left-right by up to 20 pixels.
- very little streaking is apparent at the left edge of the screen, then it gets steadily worse toward the right edge, where text becomes illegible.
- The displacement is constantly changing, so it looks like the screen is shimmering (ie, the picture is not just distorted, it is ongoing flickering.
- problem shows up gradually - might see nothing for a half hour after powering up, then gradually flickering starts and gets progressively worse.
- The first time I saw it, it started quite accutely, then wiggling the screen it went away, but that has not helped since, so it might have just been coming and going regardless my wiggling.
- external monitor does not display the problem
- when I activate both monitors at once (either cloned or independent displays) the problem instantly appears at its worst level, even if screen was fine before that
- Even when cloned, the external display looks fine, while the laptop screen is showing the same image with distortion.
- Changing screen resolution does not help.
- Refresh rate is 60Hz with no other options

The problem first started when I had the laptop plugged into a power bar that I think has an unreliable current - eg when moved, a light plugged into it goes on and off. But it has persisted when not plugged in. The only other thing I can think of that might have damaged it is that I cleaned it with some lens cleaner, and maybe some ran down into the case? But that was a while back.

Everything was working fine for two months (with external display too), I did not change any software or display settings or drivers. Running Windows XP, the video card is an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500, the screen is a 1400x1050 UXGA display

A "screenshot" (taken with a digital camera): http://djnr.ca/IMG_3601.JPG

Very strange, I was jostling the laptop to plug in the USB to upload the picture, and the problem went away, both displays are active and looking fine. Still, I am guessing next time I bump it it will come back. Don't you hate it when you bring your PC in for repairs and it works fine when you try to demonstrate the problem. Then you take it home and the problem shows up again...

Anyhow, any ideas what could cause this? The screen? the video card? power supply? bad connections somewhere? Anyone seen this kind of problem?
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#2
dsenette

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i'd point to either the video card or the screen (with the jostling i'd point closer to the screen..but..)...i'm gonna assume we're past the wonderful world of warranties correct?
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#3
Dan R.

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Wow, thanks for the quick reply. :whistling: Never been here before but maybe I will stick around to help others - bit of a geek myself.

I just noticed that the problem seems to be in the bottom half of the laptop - if I flex the main part by sort of twisting the main case, the problem goes away if I get it to settle in the right place. If I hold it steady then, I can wiggle the screen and it stays fine, so I don't think the problem is in the screen.

Also, it seems like the problem does not appear in text mode, eg. during POST or while running a linux installation. However, once Linux was installed, it selected the external video out as the default display, and I don't know how to make linux use the internal display. I had the monitor plugged in during installation, but until it reaches the login screen (X server starts?), it used the internal display.

At about the same time that I first saw this problem, my touchpad was acting funny too (which has corrected itself), and I had plugged it in to a power bar that I am not sure is completely trustworthy (a light that is plugged into it sometimes goes off for a second when the cord is moved.)

re: warranty: I bought it from ebuy superstore through eBay as a reconditioned unit - I thought there was actually some manuf. warranty remaining but when I got it the paperwork with it said it was sold on "as-is" basis - I'll have to check that out.
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#4
dsenette

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it sounds like you bought a lemon...there could be a crack in the MOBO...or the graphix card is boarked...by the descriptioin of the "Flexing" to fix the problem....i'd say that there is DEFINITELY something hardware related as physical manipulation of hardware should not have any effect on the machine as far as software or driver issues..
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#5
Dan R.

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Yeah, sounds like something I won't be able to fix.

Turns out I have warranty till July, I called IBM and they are willing to repair it here in Winnipeg. I called the local repair place and they are talking about a 3-4 day turnaround, INCLUDING parts ordered.

Wow. In fall I tried to get a laptop serviced by future shop. It took two months, came back with different problems, and after 2 more months they gave up and just gave me a store credit for the damage they had done.

Thanks for the help.

Any suggestions though on getting Linux (Ubuntu 5.10) to use the internal display? I know, I should go to their forums...

Well, I hope to stick around here in the future anyway, this site is great. Poking around I stumbled across solutions to two other issues that have been bugging me, not even looking for them.
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#6
dsenette

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post the question about your ubuntu install in the "all other operating systems" forum here....our linux guys like to h ang around in there
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