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It is a Sony Vaio NW series laptop, 2009 production. Recently the screen started turning off when you move the lid (the backlight turns off).

However if you move the lid forwards slightly then it usually comes back on. Which component has failed? I believe this is definitely a hardware issue as it happen both in Windows and Linux. Is there a DIY fix for this (have repaired desktops before so not too afraid to take the laptop apart)? or is it a pro repair only?

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Sounds like a bad connection in the flex cable between the display and the base. –  Daniel R Hicks Jun 25 '12 at 21:49
    
So i just open it up and reseat it??? aparently it could be the inverter going, which is a definite repair job... :( –  Thomas E Jun 25 '12 at 22:09
    
Yeah, the first rule of computer repair is to take everything apart and put it back together again. –  Daniel R Hicks Jun 26 '12 at 3:23
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2 Answers

As has been stated, a loose or damaged screen wiring harness could be the cause of the issue, provided the laptop has suffered some impact. They don't work themselves loose over time, as there isn't that kind of tension on them in the way they have been assembled. I'm not saying it is impossible, just that it has a low probability.

Replacing a screen inverter is essentially just as complex a job as replacing a wiring harness. You'd have to remove the bezel around the screen, and most likely remove the LCD panel itself to be able to get at the inverter and remove it from the bracket it is attached to at the bottom of the screen. You'd know if it was an inverter that was going, because you'd be able to still see what was being displayed if you pointed a flash light at the screen while it was dark. However, they don't tend to flicker when the screen is moved or opened/closed. Some will flicker when they are going bad if you tap the bezel at the bottom of the screen though.

It is more likely that the issue is more expensive. Most people open and close their laptop screens from one corner of the lid, rather than from the center... or evenly holding both corners. Over time, opening from one corner puts a twist on the screen and over time, the LCD panel separates from the PCB mounted to the top edge of the screen. For some people, this manifests in colored vertical lines on their screens that will either show up or even disappear when pressure is put on one corner or another.

Now... checking to see if the wiring harness is loose or damaged is most definitely part of the diagnostic process. Why? Well, it costs you nothing but time, and by doing so, you either discover or eliminate it as the cause.

There is also a VERY small possibility that the issue is the CCFL (cold Cathode Fluorescent bulb) itself as well. In one case with an HP laptop, the wire at the left side of the bulb had actually burnt off the bulb. The bulb itself would still function (when the wire was re-attached) but otherwise obviously would not light. But again, you can use a flash light when the laptop is on to see if it is the bulb or inverter.

So... time to take apart your screen, and see if it is the harness. If it is still connected soundly (at both ends), and there is no damage at any of the places where the harness bends, then you are looking at replacing your screen.

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just had a look around the screen.opened up the screen cover=> all cables seem in place. although at the bottom the small board that it connects to it seems charred a bit=more of a yellow electronics burnt mark than charrred. screen replacement??? . I mean it still works and i only have to move it periodically. how much is the replacement likely to cost? if it is on par with a monitor then id rather buy a monitor and plug it in... –  Thomas E Jun 28 '12 at 19:43
    
@AntonK the short (3-4 inch) printed circuitboard mounted to the bottom of the LCD panel? That would be the inverter. If that's all the problem is, then it's not that expensive. Again, when the screen blacks out, break out a flash light and put it up close to the screen. If you see the desktop, that'll confirm it is the inverter. –  Bon Gart Jun 29 '12 at 4:52
    
Ye i can still see the desktop. I guess ill have to hunt around for spares now .... :-( . thanks to everyone who helped :-) –  Thomas E Jun 29 '12 at 17:36
    
@anton you might get lucky with an inverter from another screen, but expect to spend the $20 or so for a replacement –  Bon Gart Jun 29 '12 at 23:11
    
ok, Thanks Bon Gart i'll have a look –  Thomas E Jul 1 '12 at 22:20
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Try blow air at the base of the screen; it worked for mine

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