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Specs of machine at the bottom (Alienware m15x)

Short Version: non-functioning WLED screen on laptop

Problem history:

Screen had been ever-so-slightly flickering (very sporadically) for the past 1-2 weeks. I barely noticed, though in retrospect it was lazy of me not to check that out or be concerned earlier.

Then last night (6/18), with multiple programs open and while on Skype, the screen flickered, went black, and would not come back. I could still alt-tab and hear ambient sounds of various programs, and my Skype chat was still live.

Eventually I gave up and turned the machine off. Upon turning it back on, it seemed to start as normal, I could hear Windows noises signifying I'm on the password screen, nothing sounded weird with the hardware.

But nothing shows up on the screen.

I tried removing battery and doing a few basic things to no avail.

Eventually I tried using a VGA plug into an external monitor, which works perfectly.

As I was checking my email and typing, I noticed suddenly my laptop screen flickered back on.

Furthermore, I can flicker it on and off whenever the middle section of keys are hit at a normal typing strength (T, Y, U on that row, then F, G, H, J, K, L next row, and similar on the bottom row, plus the spacebar).

If I type ever so soft and careful, the screen will stay on and not flicker. But it appears to be a tossup (if I type at normal strength) whether the screen just flickers or goes out completely (until a few button mashes bring it flickering back once again).

For now, I am using the external monitor and I have turned off the dual display so I don't have constant blackout / flickering on the laptop screen itself.

I am not sure how to remedy the problem and gain back the normal use of my laptop screen, though I appear to have at least a short term solution in the external monitor.

I have little knowledge in hardware. It seems something inside under the keyboard, a connector or cable, maybe has a problem. I could open it up ...

But I don't want to break anything.

My warranty on this laptop finished as of two months ago, so I've got no help there.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

System specs:

Alienware M15x Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English 15.6-inch WideHD+ 1600x900 (900p) WLED

Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Quad Core Processor 1.6GHz (2.8GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB Cache)

250GB SATAII 7,200RPM 3GB DDR3 at 1333MHz

1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M

Slot-Load Dual Layer DVD Burner (DVD+-RW, CD-RW) Intel WiFi Link 5300 802.11AGN Half Mini Card

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Possibly a bad ribbon cable to the motherboard, possibly a bad inverter on the LCD. Is there any sort of high pitched whine or anything of that nature? – francisswest Jun 19 '12 at 20:50

It sounds like a loose or damaged connection in the ribbon cable between the laptop display and where it connects into the computer.

Google shows several tutorials on how to remove the keyboard. See for a short one. There's also links to some more comprehensive teardown guides, but those are probably way more than you want to do.

I'd take off the keyboard and look to see if there's any loose cables or obvious damage. There are several wires which come down from the display, one of which has a wide connection plug on a thicker white wire; that's the one I would doublecheck. It could be loose (easy to fix) or broken. If it's broken, you'd need to fully disassemble the lid to remove the LVDS display, and then get a replacement wire.

Pity it's not covered by warranty still. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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