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I have an Acer Chromebook 13 on which I have installed Ubuntu. Today, something strange happened. Every other column of pixels has turned slightly darker, and the screen has gained a slightly pink or magenta hue. One moment the screen was fine, then it flashed for a second as described above, then it was normal for a second, then it became permanently stuck as described above.

More interestingly, over the last few hours it seems images have started to burn into the screen (such as the unity launcher bar and chrome header) in very short time. In the 15 minutes I took to write this, there is already noticeable screen burn from superuser.com's header and the "how to format" box on the right. It is definitely a hardware problem because the alternating columns and burn-in are visible during the boot screen.

It's hard to capture with a camera, but here's my best try:

screenshot photo colors screen burn

The lines seems to effect saturated hues, but not shades of grey or white. The green pedal seems less affected, but brighter greens are affected. The columns at the borders between cyan&blue and red&yellow is especially noticeable. The screen burn is somewhat noticeable in the last picture (set screen to show #777777).

I'm not too worried about losing this computer, but the symptoms are very strange, unlike anything I was able to find online, so I'm curious as to what happened here.

  • This appears to be an ARM Chromebook with an Nvidia Tegra chip. You didn't say how you installed Ubuntu on it. Does it involve Crouton? Is the problem reproducible in the default operating system Chrome OS? Then you have a hardware issue (check if it still has warranty before opening it), otherwise it's specific to how you installed Ubuntu and you need to be more specific about that. You can buy display cables and entire displays for this device online by the way if you search for it. – LiveWireBT Apr 25 '17 at 7:02
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The one thing that is very apparent is that this is a hardware issue, not software related at all.

The two most likely possibilities are:

  • The connection between the display and the graphics adapter is damaged or loose. You will need to take the laptop apart to check the connection, and possibly to replace the cable if it seems broken.
  • The graphics adapter is dying. This is not easily (or ever) replaced.

Considering that you might throw it out if it's dying, it might be worthwhile to at least check for a loose connection. This is not that that rare on old laptops.

  • I played a lot of League of Legends on it, which pushed it pretty hard since it is just a Chromebook. Do you think that could help kill the graphics adapter? – Mingwei Samuel May 10 '16 at 6:39
  • It could be many things. You'll never know for sure anyways. But do check the connection first. – Julie Pelletier May 10 '16 at 6:44
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I'm having the exact same issue with my Acer Chromebook 15 (CB5-571). I did try purchasing a new $20 video cable (50.MUNN7.006) and replacing it with the existing one, but it made no difference. Assuming it was a faulty video controller, I held a 750-degree heat gun near the motherboard where the video cable plugs in and around it for about a minute.

This is a similar fix to the Xbox "red ring of death" and PlayStation "blue light of death". After letting the Chromebook cool overnight the display worked fine. I'm not sure how long it will last but sharing regardless.

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