We have an Dell Inspiron 1521. Everything runs fine except that external displays are no longer getting a signal. It just stopped working the other day. If you get the VGA cord just right it will get a signal through for a second, but then it goes away. I figure there's something in there but can't see it. Does anyone know how to clean these things or if it's possible to just replace that part without a whole new computer?

4 Answers 4


As far as cleaning the port goes, blowing it out with a can-o-air usually works pretty well. Have you checked to ensure that all the pins still exist in your monitor's cable?

As for replacing it, this piece is soldered to the motherboard, and is usually fairly expensive to have replaced, but it may be done at a local shop.

Have you ensured that the external port is enabled? Dells have a shortcut key (F7 or F8 as I recall) which turns on/off this display. You have to hold down Fn to do it, though. Tapping it slowly should cycle from Internal => External + Internal => External => Repeat.

  • It did turn out to be faulty, but the board was under warranty so Dell replaced it for free.
    – user3048
    Sep 6, 2009 at 17:31

Blow it clean, then clean it with rubbing alcohol. There might be some trouble with the soldering for the plug, in which case it would help to resolder it.


Are you sure that the cable you're using isn't broken?

Have you tried wiggling the internal connector to see if it is loose?


If something is stuck in the adapter how about trying to use an air compressor ( made for cleaning pcs/etc) to try to clean it out.

You can't really easily replace the vga port, but you can purchase a usb to vga adapter if cleaning doesn't work.

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