Solved: Dell Inspiron 8200 video problem

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justfoo

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About a week ago in the middle of work my 3 1/2 year old laptop video went goofy, I get intermittent vertical bars across the display aprox. 1/2 " wide and 1/2" apart., This problem is pretty constant although it seems to clear up at times.
The bars are generally yellow tinged and are not alway as described above but side by side and filling the display. I can change how they look by jiggling the laptop as well I think.

Sorry for the lousy problem description but the little buggers just wont stay put !

I have rebooted into safe mode and the problem persists. It is much worse in any DOS type screen.
I took the keyboard off in hopes of finding a loose video card but no luck, the problem went away for a bit after I did that.
I also connected to an external monitor with no improvements.

I really do suspect a bad connection, does anyone have a guide to dissasembling one of these beasties? Or give me some friendly pointers?

I would like to get into the guts of it and try reseating the card if possible, but I really don't want to frag my laptop at the same time. (Have no worries crawling into desktops, its just laptops are more errrr crowded inside. ;) )
Service Tag, 3HNNG21
This is the card description from my service tag:
1 4U284 CARD (CIRCUIT), GRAPHICS, ATI TECHNOLOGIES INC, M9, 64MB, COMANECI
Hope this helps.
Thanks a lot in advance.
 

bassetman

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Do you have an external video output you could test (with external monitor) to see if it's your card or screen?
 

justfoo

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Hi Bassetman, yes I did connect an external monitor/display and had the same results.
 
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I would try updating the video driver first, if you haven't done that.

I have an 8600 and have taken it completely apart and put it back together. The only part that is difficult is putting the correct screws back in the right places as there are many of them. There are dis-assembly and re-assembly instructions somewhere because I downloaded them from Dell's website for the 8600. I know you have to take off the keyboard and the LCD and you may be able to get to the video card from there. Not all model had a separate video card--I know the 8600 does and I'm pretty sure the 8200 does as well.
 
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I've seen (and had) similar display corruption on ATI graphics.

It's almost always the hardware itself. Not sure what you can do, if anything, on a laptop.

I had to replace the display card on my Desktop Dimension 8200

You can probably find laptop dissasembly instructions for the model on the Dell site (look for the "service manual"), not that I think it will really get you anywhere unless you can replace the graphics chip.

In fact, here it is:

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins8200/en/index.htm#online_documentation

Graphics board removal: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/ins8200/en/sm_en/vidbd.htm#1084976
 
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Well if shaking the display changes the problem I would open it up and reseat the display connector at both ends and see if that fixes anything. Use the manual posted by Rollin' Rog
 

DaveBurnett

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Right, you scratch my back etc...
I have a Latitude C840 and my son has the Inspiron 8200. They are basically the same machine and nearly all of the parts are interchangeable.
You got pretty close with taking the keyboard off. That is the first thing to do. I advise you to unplug the ribbon connecting the keyboard to the Motherboard. The ribbon is in fact two ribbons that fit into one plug. The plug is a push fit into the Mobo, ease it out gently from the bottom with a small screwdriver. Now if you fold the screen back so it is almost flat at the back of the machine you can ease up the flat hinge cover/ button bar cover that has lights in it. It is not screwed in, and, once removed you have access to the CPU and the graphics card/ connectors.
At this point you see a funny shaped board usually with a white plastic cover over it that is screwed to the mobo. You cannot actually remove it at this point as one of the screws is hidden under the palmrest bit. But you can check that the screws you can see are firmly screwed in ( but not too tight) You may also like top ush gently on the bottom right of this as the connector is under there. You should also unplug the cable (it has a handle) that runs to the screen and re-seat it.
Put it all back together and be careful not to tighten the keyboard screws too tight as that sometimes caused the video card to twist slightly and disturbs the connector.
Shout you need to replace the graphics card, get the Geforce4 Go one as it is a faster card than the ATI one.
You can download the service manual and the user guide form Dell and they do include these instructions.

Now the bit I would like you to do for me.
Download CPU-Z from http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php and run it. I would like to know your BIOS Version and the Stepping and Revision of your CPU. Also, if you know it without taking the CPU out, the spec of the CPU. This will be SL6xx
Thanks
 

justfoo

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Hi Dave thanks for your help, and you others as well.
I did try reinstalling the drivers as well as graphics bios and took the unit apart and cleaned it and reseated the graphics card and its cable, all with no success.
I'm shopping for a used geforce4 go right now as a new one is $300 + CAD.

Now to Daves questions:

Stepping = 7
Cpu Revision = C1

Bios Version I got with a little utility I found on Techguy:

Program: eSupport.com BIOS Agent Version 3.55
BIOS Date: 12/10/02
BIOS Type: Phoenix ROM BIOS PLUS Version 1.10 A08
BIOS ID: Dell Inspiron 8200 BIOS Version: A08
OEM Sign-On: None
Chipset: Intel 1A30 rev 4
Superio: Unknown
OS: WinXP SP1
CPU: Pentium 4 2400 Mhz MAX: 2400 Mhz
BIOS ROM In Socket: No
BIOS ROM Size: 512K
Memory Installed: 512 MB
Memory Maximum: 1024 MB
Memory Slot 01: 256 MB
Memory Slot 02: 256 MB

Now the CPU spec, I'm not exactly sure how to obtain this info for you Dave, can you give me some more hints on how to find it?

Thanks again.
DF
 

DaveBurnett

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It is written on the top of the processor chip. Don't take it out just to find that for me. You have given me enough already to prove my point to someone.
 
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That's peculiar.....after searching the web trying to find how to fix my Inspiron 8200 display problem, I find you who has the exact same computer, exact same age, and appears to be exact same problem.

I have yet to remove the keyboard and mess around with stuff inside but sounds like you've had no luck with that anyway.

Dell Technical Support told me they thought it was the video card and would cost almost as much to replace as a new laptop would. I guess they figure it's time I send them some more money.

If you have any luck fixing this, let me know....

Thanks
 

justfoo

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Dec 31, 2004
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Well NLCanuck, I've succumbed and signed up to ebay and purchased a video card for just under 100 CAD hope it will be here late next week, I'll let you know how it turns out. Strange, not 15 minutes ago my video cleared right up, i forgot how nice it is to look at a good display, and then once i posted back to you the video cratered again, sigh.
Thanks for letting me know i'm not alone though.
P.S. Alberta here, how bout you?
 

justfoo

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DaveBurnett said:
It is written on the top of the processor chip. Don't take it out just to find that for me. You have given me enough already to prove my point to someone.
Ok Dave, but if you don't mind me asking..... what's it all about?
DF
 

DaveBurnett

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I bought a 2.4 cpu on ebay and it would not work in either my or my son's machine. So I sent it back as faulty and the guy sent another, which also did not work. I just needed proof that that specific chip does work in these machines. You have the same chip in yours.
 
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Hi Justfoo!

Perhaps just a coincidence, but I'm facing the same problem. Bought my system in October 2002, worked flawlessly until yesterday. Now I got yellow lines in WinXP, sometimes the whole screen gets a shade of blue, and the boot mode is completely scrambled, although operational. I completely dissassembled my machine, but it's gotten worse. Screen gets clear after ... well hitting the keyboard is the only strategy that works at the moment. So please let me know if the replacement graphics card works, then I'll do the same and buy one. Good to know I'm not insane seeing these strange things on my screen :( Good luck and greetings from Germany, madhonour
 

justfoo

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Dec 31, 2004
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Will do madhonour, I am still waiting for the card to show up, I'll post back here on how it goes.
By the way, welcome to Techguy, to you and to NLCanuck as well.
I think you will find this site is a really big help when you're really in trouble!
DF
 
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