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Black Screen, no error messages, on laptop


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#16
Termie

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Feel free to copy it! I can't find it on my system anymore (I'm sure it's there somewhere) or I'd send you the full graphic. But if it's too small...here's another you might like!

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#17
makai

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:) I've seen this cat before! Or maybe it was his cousin! :) Thanks! :)
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#18
Termie

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(You're welcome!)

On the lap issue...Fail. Twice. I drained it thoroughly, removed the battery...no go. Black screen. Hooked up our other monitor to it and it didn't even get a signal-the monitor light remained orange instead of turning green, and remained a black screen. I tried that Chkdsk ISO that Happyrock had me use for the other lap, thinking maybe...but still, nothing.

The thing is, and what's different about this now is...I no longer get the bootup song on it, either. If I did, and it was still black, then I'd be convinced it had to be the G card. With no bootup song (remember, it did play before, at the onset of the problem) I have to wonder if it's not a BIOS issue? It's like it does nothing at all except turn on and that's it. :)
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#19
makai

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Just have a minute to reply before I get ready for work.

You mentioned F2 to get into bios. I'm not sure if you know how to affect this function button, or have been doing it correctly all along, but you have to continually tap it just after you turn on the laptop. If you're just hitting it once, you may not be able to interrupt bios at the right time as it's starting up. Try continuously tapping the F2 button. I don't have time right now, so I'll look up information on which is the correct key to use for your machine. Maybe it's a different function key.

UPDATE

I did some quick looking around. You need to continually press the F10 key to access bios on your machine.

Edited by makai, 17 August 2009 - 01:08 AM.

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#20
Termie

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I will give this a try later on today, and will update afterwards to let you know. Thanks!!! :)
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#21
Termie

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Alrighty then...I did the power drain again, with battery out, powered up the lap, and continually started tapping F10 within a second or two of power-up. After about 10 taps, though, the thing just started beeping at me every time I tapped F10. :)

Well, at least it said *something.* :)
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#22
Termie

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Well I've been putzing with this all afternoon, searching this site for similar problems and any clues/suggestions I could try in the meantime. I came across a link to Troubleshooting Blink Codes. Egads! Why didn't I think of that? (Cuz I didn't go to school duh!) Anyway, I sat observing to see whether or not there were any blink codes on the lap after I boot it up.

What I observed...was the lights did not blink at all. (They did come on and stay on.) Nothing, nada. The speaker light was orange on boot (I think that's normal, right? protect speaks?) and then within a short time turned to blue. The Num Lock also lit up after a certain period of time, too.

Then, as I sat and watched, the speaker light went to orange again. So that might be why I don't hear the Vista boot song (welcome music, whatever you want to call it.) The Num Lock light would also go out.

Another interesting thing I found is that if I do a Ctrl Alt Del while the speaker light is blue, the computer will respond with a reboot. If it's orange, it won't do anything.

I have no idea if any of this means anything, just thought I'd throw it out there.

Edited by Termie, 17 August 2009 - 05:55 PM.

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#23
makai

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After about 10 taps, though, the thing just started beeping at me every time I tapped F10.

This normally happens if the laptop has already entered the state the user is commanding, or it's just grumbling because you're being so persistant! However bad this is, it may still be a good sign... as it means the bios is still alive. At least I'm hoping it is.

I guess I should have asked you to do this earlier but I forgot about it. It might not make any difference though since you stated an external monitor doesn't display anything either. But anyways... if you shine a flashlight on the screen as the laptop is booting, do you see anything. If it's just the lcd, or the inverter, you may see some text on the screen. You'll have to look close. Also, can you tell if the hard drive is being accessed when you power up? Are any of the power/HD indicator lights on?

I just looked at your Maintenance Manual more closely... I wasn't aware this thing had dual hard drives. You might try removing both drives and reseating them if you haven't already.
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#24
Termie

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I tried the flashlight, but I didn't see anything. I looked from every angle I could, since it's hard with the glare, but I couldn't see a thing.

Tried resetting the drives and yes, the power light and HD lights come on. Well, the HD light comes on, but I'm wondering if it's as often as it should, especially during boot-it flickers a time or two, then seems awfully silent for a good bit of time, and then it will liven up and start to flicker and shine. Since there's two, that makes me wonder if one goes, the other one is "gone" too (has to be replaced regardless.) Maybe only one drive is running? My big computer has a RAID drive and I was told that if one goes, you have to replace them both. This isn't RAID but maybe it works on the same principle. Or, even if not, having only one gone might affect the other? Shame is, I can't check them, or at least I don't know how, aside from trying to plug it into another laptop. At this point, I have 2 others in the house, but with all I've gone through with the one I just went through misery with, I'm leery of rocking the boat there, and I don't think these drives would fit in the other.

Edited by Termie, 17 August 2009 - 07:22 PM.

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#25
makai

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Even if you were to plug the drives into another computer, unless the other computer is identical, or at least close to identical, it wouldn't boot up off these drives. It's looking to be the graphics card as any activity of the HD means the laptop is at least communicating with the HD... which mean for all intents and purposes, its still alive. Do you hear any beeps during any time as you try to boot?

The only other option I can think of which isn't expensive (repair shop), and doesn't include shipping the laptop to me ( :) ), is to remove all power, and follow the manual to remove the RTC battery to reset the bios. The RTC battery looks to be on the underside of the laptop, under a cover, so you shouldn't have to rip the laptop apart to get to it. Just follow the instructions in the manual on page 56. If you don't have it, I linked it in my last reply.

Edited by makai, 17 August 2009 - 08:01 PM.

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#26
Termie

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Good morning! :)

I don't hear any beeps when I boot it up-I never have. Whether it's because of the speaker being muted at that point, I don't know. I didn't think it would beep, considering the information I read on the HP site regarding how to troubleshoot by blink codes said the newer laps don't beep but they blink...

I have tried removing the BIOS battery and replacing it, and it didn't make any difference. Hmmm....what would happen if I tried removing the batter and leaving it out and then booting? Would a dead battery (or no battery at all, which would be the same) make a difference?
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#27
makai

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The RTC battery is there to maintain the user settings of the bios. I don't know what "no" battery would do as I never tried it. However, a "dead" battery would cause the system to halt asking the user to enter the bios at each startup by hitting the appropriate function key. The halt would be due to the date being incorrect.
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#28
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So I guess it boils down to the graphics card after all. I know they can't be replaced individually (separate from the MB) so it would mean I'd have to replace the entire MB assembly, correct? I know this is going to sound weird but I think I'd actually enjoy doing that! But would that be cheaper than just buying a new lap? What is the general success rate for that kind of fix...?
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#29
makai

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So I guess it boils down to the graphics card after all.

Well... not necessarily. However, it's looking like that.

But first... I've been going through the maintenance manual and noted that there's a "display switch" on your laptop. I've seen where this switch can cause the display output to be gone and I never thought about it until now. Sometimes these things stick! I believe its the switch that engages sleep mode when you close the lid and most laptop lids have a protusion that engages the switch when you close it. Some, laptops, like Toshibas, have a plastic pin sticking out of the base and when the lid closes, it pushes the pin down to engage the switch. The dv9600 maintenance manual (page 89) is quite poor in showing detail of where the switch is in relation to everything else, and this is why I'm guessing it's the sleep mode switch the manual is referring to. I doubt there would be more than one display switch. In any case, try using something to GENTLY mess with the switch. Click it a few times, and if that doesn't work, become more violent... :) ... just kidding... we gotta keep our spirits up in times of distress! :)

As for your question about replacing the vid card. Some laptops have replaceable vid cards. However, yours is integrated onto the motherboard, so you would need to change the entire motherboard. I've repaired quite a few laptops in my time, and it's not diffiicult to do... it just takes time and patience. You have to be extra careful though and mark screws as you go along so you know where they go. If you put a longer screw in a place its not supposed to be, you could cause major damage. The procedure I use when working on laptops I've never worked on before, is to take pictures as I go through the disassembly. These photos come in extremely handy later on during assembly... especially for screws, and for laying cables. Laptops also have a lot of small plastic parts!

Unfortunately, laptop motherboards are expensive unless you're willing to go to ebay to get them. HERE's a link to a page with compatible motherboards. Prices aren't too bad, considering. I've bought motherboards off ebay and have had great success. Some of my repairs are still running after several years, so you can get lucky if the seller is top notch... 100% feedback over several years, and not just over 12 months like ebay has recently switched seller ratings to. If you decide to go this route, I can help you make a decision on the seller, and help you install the motherboard.

But lets not jump the gun yet. It could still be just about anything, so we need to check more things. Have patience.

Edited by makai, 19 August 2009 - 09:52 AM.

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#30
Termie

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Gawd I could HUG you! I needed to hear all is not quite lost yet (I'm very tenacious and I don't take to defeat easily LOL) I will give the above a try and see what happens.

I really truly want to thank you (yet again!) for your help. You are AWESOME! (The fact that you went through the manual on this lap just blows me away! Researched motherboards for me, too! Mwaaaaaah!)
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