Help Diagnosing Inspiron 9100 Screen Problem

By erasmus62 ·
I'm a bit baffled by this. Hopefully someone here knows more than I do and can help.

The majority of the time when I power on my Inspiron 9100, the LCD screen doesn't light up. Sometimes I hear POST Beep codes too and the computer itself fails to boot, but sometimes it actually makes it all the way to Windows (I can hear the startup sounds even if I can't see a thing).

However, if I keep powering the laptop on and off, EVENTUALLY the screen comes to life and then everything works fine. Once it has booted up and the screen is working, it continues to work without any issues and will run a full month with no problems whatsoever. Ok, so I tend to jiggle the screen back and forth while I'm powering it on and off, but who knows whether that just makes me feel better or if it actually has some type of impact in getting the screen to eventually work.

I opened up the display and checked all the connections and they seem to be tight, so no loose wires anywhere (but I would expect the screen to flit in and out during regular use if that was the case?).

Finally, tonight I tried plugging an external monitor into the VGA output and got a picture, so I'm not sure you can blame it on the vid card (though maybe you still can).

Anybody have any clue what might be wrong here? Thank you to all those wiser than me who can lend a hand.

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All Answers

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Ribbon cables

by mjd420nova In reply to Help Diagnosing Inspiron ...

Too often, the ribbon cables develop intermittent traces on the flexible plastic traces. Positioning of the screeen and even minor temperature changes can affect the operation. Beeping usually does indicate either a GPU or video memory failure. Sometimes the ribbon cable is wound in a loop to take the stress off when the lid is open, but can also cause the connector to work irself loose on the motherboard.

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Re: Ribbon Cables

by erasmus62 In reply to Ribbon cables

Thanks for your reply mjd. I don't think I understand what you mean by intermittent traces on the ribbon cables. Although, I am with you on the beeps and possible loose connections.

My question is how does any of this account for the fact that after the screen eventually manages to power up it will run indefinitely with abosultely no issues?

I cracked the case open and checked for loose cables hoping it would be that easy, but all the connections looked tight and good.

Could this be something with the piece of hardware (FL Inverter?) that provides the charge for the backlight bulb? Although come to think of it, the screen looks completely dead and not dim so blaming it on a bulb that sometimes isn't lighting up doesn't seem to be the right answer either. It would just be very very dim if that was the case, right?

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Re: Ribbon Cables

by erasmus62 In reply to Ribbon cables

Ok, I read up on it a bit and decided that replacing the flex cable assembly sounds promising. I'll let you know if this fixes the problem. Thanks again for your help mjd.

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dell inspiron 9100 issues

by duffrey In reply to Help Diagnosing Inspiron ...

Hi: You are just beginning a long journey into what is known as Dell ****... basically the 9100 is a turkey and your failure is likely the motherboard failing as it has been with thousands of other 9100 and Inspiron XPS computers. They shared the same motherboard but it was so bad Dell withdrew the XPS and came out with a Generation 2 model with a different board. Dell and many others tried using desktop CPU;s in notebooks and they are just too hot... despite INTEL telling them not to do it!

Dell knows this computer is crap and refuse to deal with any customer complaints beyond offering a REFURBISHED motherboard for about $700 with installation.. DO NOT fall for this as the "new" board will do the same after a few months!

Check the dell forums using keywords like "Inspiron 9100 problem" or "inspiron 9100 overheating" and you will see the problem in detail.

Also use the direct2dell blog site to send your comments as it is much more likely to be seen by dell executives who might be pressured into doing something. FORGET customer service, they are there to stonewall you and will not be of any use to you with this problem!

You can fight them or you can just junk the computer, but forget a solution which would see you with a fixed 9100, ain't going to happen!

regards, duffrey sigurdson

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Inspiron 9100 dim Screene

by dharam_dj In reply to dell inspiron 9100 issues

I have had a similar problem, I came accross it for the first time about 1 1 year after I got the laptop in 2005, you have to learn to live with the problem.

The screen comes back to normal after many (close to infinite) restarts.

This DELL teaches you patience, another white elephant. I have stopped recomending friends to buy DELL, the service is not worth it and the guy on the phone is equally helpless.

Using a DELL is ****.

No takers on e-bay as well.

stick with it untill u get a different laptop.

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class action

by duffrey In reply to Inspiron 9100 dim Screene

There are class action law suits being contemplated to cover the 9100, even if it is out of warranty register a service call with Dell to be on record. These things are turkeys.

Then check out

or my blog at

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