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gateway Laptop with very dark LCD screen


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pierjean pierjean is offline
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12-Jun-2008, 11:45 PM #1
Question gateway Laptop with very dark LCD screen
I have a gateway Laptop 9300 VE with 15.7 inch screen. It works great exepted that the LCD screen became suddently very dark (very faint image barely visible)
I was told it could be the back light or more likely the LCD inverter.

I bought one on Ebay that was said to work great, tested & pulled from a very bright 15 inch screen same laptop model. (mine is a 15.7 inch)
That did not work with mine.. even worst. I was unable to see any faint image.
when plugging an external display on the laptop, it is working fine.

I decided to buy a complete screen not to take anymore chances..
I bought one that was tested working great complete with hinges. 17.7 inches from gateway 9300
I just had to plug the brown rubban in and I beleive I did it correcly...

same as previously: the new screen is dark with a very faint image (I can recognize a very dark gateway logo and then the windows Logo upon booting. after that , too dark to read anything..
External display still working fine but too big to carry. the laptop itself is working perfectly.

My batery is dead but present. the laptop is plugged directly onto the power converter so the battery is not at fault here....
I am really puzzled.
Any idea what it could be? I suspect now my original screen may be good after all !!!

Now that I recall, few months ago I experienced the same problem but it came back to life by pressing some buttons.
(I could not recall what or why....)
I do not think pressing a button would change anything (even If I tryed again with no result) I do not see why a button would switch off the screen almost totally. I beleive that was a warning that something was getting weak...

Any help will be greatly appreciated...
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13-Jun-2008, 10:30 AM #2
Gateways do have Fn keys to switch from internal video to external to both - it does sometimes hang up. You have to hold the Fn Key while hitting the key along the top that has an icon of two monitors (One open/One solid). See if that switches things.

A second thing to try is to closed the lid and open it again. Mind you, this only works if you did not set the automatic power settings to send the computer into sleep mode when you close the lid. Also, if this fixes it, it usually is a sign that the ribbon wire is not connected properly.

A-N
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13-Jun-2008, 10:40 AM #3
Try adjusting the Brightness of the monitor using the function keys.

Unfortunately, Gateway doesn't have the full user guide online anymore for that model so I can't tell you exactly which buttons.
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13-Jun-2008, 07:49 PM #4
Thanks guy! I wanted to try your suggestions ,but I find out that some keys on my keyboard did not respond when using the external monitor. So that might be the reason why the Fn key did not respond! I am still in limbo so I may have to buy a keyboard now! (I check the connection on the end of the rubbon and it does not look good.)
Meanwhile none of the power lights are NOT getting lit now despite me being very careful with it... I may have get a short somehow(?) but that does not stop the computer to work, still using the outside monitor...my LCD gateway monitor is still at the same point.very dark.. But I am unable to check the keys at this point... do you think I should change my keyboard> ? is there any video card or other hardware that can be at fault and is not included in the whole display? I am willing to try changing the keyboard despite the money already involved in this...
also Arknorth, you are talking about the lid switch. I have checked both my LCD (the new one and the old supposely deffective that is completely naked... I checked the hinges and could not find any switch or wiring connected to it of any kind.. is that normal? I am kind of new into autopsying a laptop....and at 63 my eyes are not so sharp! Thanks again !

Last edited by pierjean; 13-Jun-2008 at 08:52 PM.. Reason: typos
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arknorth   (Robert) arknorth is offline
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14-Jun-2008, 12:01 AM #5
Possibly - My Gateway Solo 1400 has a contact switch that is triggered by a small cog-like protrution at the base of the screen. When the screen is swung down, the cog inserts into a hole on the back of the keyboard's face. shutting it off.

A-N

Last edited by arknorth; 14-Jun-2008 at 09:18 AM..
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14-Jun-2008, 04:06 AM #6
Unhappy Gateway LCD dark screen
I cannot find any on my solo1900 but suddenly I thought of the latch itself ! How could have missed it? the switch could be coupled with the latch, don't you think? seems logical. ...so either the switch or the Fn keys....(?) by the way no keys with a little icon representing 2 screens but only the F3 key with the mention LCD/CRT in green on my gateway 9300. so that must be it...no way to know until the keyboard is working.

concernng my keyboard that is malfunctioning, (as it seems,) I though about cutting the tip of the keybord rubon in order to be able to insert it a little further in, so the contacts will touch a virgin part of it. It may be a delicate operation but since my keyboard seems lost I have nothing to loose...From what I have heard, it seems it could not be nothing else (exepted of course what is contained in the lid (LCD monitor). ? (hopefully, I suppose it is in working order as announced at Ebay.)

This laptop is getting expensive to me! I just lately upgraded it with full memory and larger 80 GB HDD!!!! but I may find an inexpensive keyboard on ebay. last chance....
I may have to resale my extra LCD display if this is ever going to work (I do hope so)...
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14-Jun-2008, 09:42 AM #7
Yes, it does help to have the subject matter on hand when describing it, doesn't it? I finally brought my 1400 into work today to run off some signs, and lo, the icon is the LCD/CRT one. Oops. It still does the same thing though.

As for clipping the ribbon wire, that's one thing I would only do if the end was frayed. What I would do is get some cleaner and make sure that it was free of any oxydation and wax (they coat these wires with a wax sealant to protect them). I would then reinsert it into the clip while damp with the cleaner, making sure the latch was pushed firmly down. This way I would know that it was properly installed, and should work. If it doesn't, then I would consider that the keyboard membrane is probably dead, and that its time to replace it.

I'm in the same boat as you with my Solo though - she's been dependable for me ever since I got it from Gateway - but the older they get, the more that they need, and the more tempting it is to just replace her with something newer and shinier. (As for me, I need to climb inside and re-solder that damn power jack again, since it's melted off the motherboard again! Yarrrgh!)

A-N
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14-Jun-2008, 01:16 PM #8
Thanks for this reply Arknorth, I will follow it to the letter! I did see some oxidation on the rubbon but it seems that some parts of the wires inside the ribbon tip are ripped off. (I have to take a magnifier since my sight is no so good anymore..I am glad I don't have Parkiston's yet !!!!.That would be the real challenge... The thing is, I left the partly dimantteld laptop in an open box with its keybord and parts just laying on top with the rubbon still connected.... and my charming gandson (1 year 1/2) went straigt to the keyboard and pulled it out the connection to proudly hand it to me., He does not speak yet but he meant to say :" What is this? ". - What can I say? the nice kid is already interested in autopsying computers too... I am the ONLY one to blame, I said thank you, with a smile for teaching me to be more careful next time... Neverthless, that was the night before you suggested it could be the Function key or lid switch problem..Grrr. the other membrane connected part with the light and power switch does not lit anymore, I supposed he damaged it too in the process...but still functioning as powering exepted followig my last try... happy grand-father day to me!...

you said the membrane can be relaced? I suppose you have to open the keyboard in two, ( it seems to be sealed with plastic knobs) but that must surely be loose parts inside to be aware off.. Also.I doubt I can find only the membrane on ebay... A new one surely may cost the price of the whole thing. I have seen some broken LCD Solo for sale for $12 +SH/H, so I might follow this idea unless your advice works..(does clear -dry alcohol like Vodka would work, you think? It does miracle to remove ink from cloths and hands...I know acid would remove oxydation but I don't want to destroy the plastic membrane.. coke maybe as it is good for battery oxydation???
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14-Jun-2008, 02:45 PM #9
O-O

I think it needs a new keyboard now...

LOL...

Uhh... no, membranes normally can not be replaced. They might make for a cheaper, easier to build and lighter keyboard, but get them wet, dirty or just dinged, and you may as well get a new one. Taking them apart only makes it worse, as getting them back together correctly and with the right registration of all the holes with the openings is practically inpossible without the original alignment machine. That being said, I've seen it done and gawked as it worked, while watching my attempts fail miserably.

I'm currently pricing Dell D600 keyboards at around $29, so a Gateway should be in or around that range as well.

Just remember, little fingers = big messes.

A-N
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15-Jun-2008, 11:49 AM #10
Thank you for all this...
I guess I will have to go for the extra expense because I hate abandoning a project...Money is an issue (retired, very limited income) but learning and especially finishing what I started is more important...Then also, I am to the point that, regardless of the money already spent, and since I am here, replacing the laptop will cost me more NOW than just buying a used keyboard...Getting rid of it would be sensless I think...
I'll go for an other try, hoping for the best.
Thanks to all for your support! I will put a note to tell you the outcome, hopefully from my laptop.
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26-Jun-2008, 07:28 PM #11
Hello again!
I have bought a solo9300 (15 inches screen only not a 15 1/2) for parts.
The lady I bought it from said she bought it on ebay supposely working but has the same problem as mine on arrival..(dark screen)
It seems indead hr problem was really similar, the lcd inverter I have bought did not repaired it neither... (very dark images- working on external monitor)
I bought it for the keyboard and the power led.
I also installed the complete screen 15 1/2 that I previoulsly bought on ebay supposely tested and working.
Back to case one... same problem as before. dark screen with barely visible images.
I can plug it on my external monitor and it is working ..(after all this mine might be ok after all???)


(only now something I have never seen before is happening with windows..the mouse (either the pad or the USB ) is not opening files on left click exepted in the start menu.instead, left click open properies on the folders on the desktop...(????) the right click tries to open a windows that switch off right away. never seen this before... mouse setup in control panel seen ok.

so I am really confused as you can imagine.

My first question still regarding the display problem : Unless incredible bad luck that made me purchase a NON working screen and before this a NON working LCD inverter (both said in good working shape) what else could it be?????? I have carefully checked the connections...
could it be a mother board problem that give me all these other trouble now?
This computer never gave me problems before exepted the same one that corrected by itself by touching keys on the keyboard (I thought)
Now that I changed my keyboard since mine may have been defective I am touching the fn key and F3 (LCD/CRT) without difference. it does not stop the CRT nor lit the LCD

I just realised that the fan under the keyboard is now not working anymore.. ... so I do not want to run the laptop too long. I am getting pretty fade up with all this... That was my last attempt at buying parts as I already invested more than $300 in this including the previous upgrading... If you have anymore idea on how to find this problem I really appreciated it. Thanks again.
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26-Jun-2008, 10:18 PM #12
Seriously, I think you need to stop digging a hole with this thing. A Gateway Solo 9300 listed as functioning is for sale on eBay for $100 or less. You've definitely sunk way more money into it than it's worth, and you've already replaced several parts. About the only thing left is a new motherboard. Buying anything listed on eBay as "for parts" should be assumed as non-functional.
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