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  Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600 
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T Niiler Dec 21, 2004, 05:28pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
I tried posting this as an edit to a previous post, but it seems that failed. If this shows up double...sorry about that...
*****Update (December 21, 2004) ********

The backlight eventually went out. One could still see the image on the screen, especially when illuminated from the front with fluorescent lighting, but despite everything, I could not get the backlight back on.

The problem is now fixed. I originally tried Bob's fix, but sadly, that was not the problem. Then I ordered a new inverter board which I got for about $59 plus shipping from one of the afore mentioned companies. Still no dice. I was getting VERY worried as I didn't want to spend a bunch of money to have someone else fix my machine. My experience is that the hacks at Best Buy and CompUSA can only work on Windows machines and if the problem isn't very simple, they can't fix it without sending your machine out and charging you lots of money.

I started looking for how to repair/replace an LCD backlight, and that's when I hit gold. Check out They sell backlights for $8-$12 plus shipping. The caviat is that you need more than just guts and some jeweler's screwdrivers to do it yourself. You also need a fine tipped soldering iron and the know-how to use it. If this does not appeal to you, find a good local (as in not a chain store) computer repair place, and see if they will do the work if you supply the parts. Big chain stores won't (in fact, they'll sell your mostly useable screen for $$ to someone who will replace the backlight and then sell the screen as refurbished while then charging you for labor and a new screen.)

Moniserve does have a nice HOW-TO on their website, but your milege may vary depending on who specifically made your monitor. Mine was made by Sharp even though it sits inside a Toshiba laptop. Also, my old CCFL (Cold Cathode Fluorescent Light) most certainly did NOTcome out as easily as advertised and required me to open up my screen quite a lot more than I hoped to.

For those with a further interest and a love of ASCII art...your LCD screen is set up like this - you are looking down on a cross-section of your screen (not to scale). For best viewing maximize the width of your browser window or minimize your font.
|========================== - a) hard plastic backing of computer (the lid)
| ______________________________________ - b) layer of white plastic (reflector of sorts)
| |========================= - c) plate glass about 1/8th inch thick (serves as light conduit)
| |______________________________________ - d) LCD (paper thin and translucent)
| |______________________________________ - e) transparent plastic (paper thin "surface" of screen)

Parts b) through e) are bracketed together with screws and comprise the actual screen, which is removable from the computer as per either Moniserve or Bob's instructions. Interestingly enough, the screen is illuminated by the CCFL bulb, this light is transmitted through the glass and reflected by the white plastic through the translucent LCD. The CCFL that I needed to replace sat at the very bottom of the screen (near the TOSHIBA label) and even with the plate glass light conduit.

[Caution - if you do any of this yourself, wear a static cord or choose a wet day on which to work so that you don't fry any components.]

After removing my screen and disconnecting it from the inverter and ribbon cable, I removed some black tape which held the wires from the screen to the inverter in place against the bottom of the screen. The screen was face down with the bottom edge facing away from me. Near the bottom edge, you will find a series of screws, two on each side (right and left) and one on each corner which need to be removed. This will loosen the brackets that serve both as mount points for the screen in the frame, and as brackets to hold together the screen components. After this, things get dicey.

There is a 3/4 to 1 inch wide metallic bracket that inserts into the bottom edge of the screen and which stretches from side to side. Carefully pry this loose using a jeweler's flat head to release the fasteners on the bottom edge. You will now see a thinner metallic bracket (1/8 inch x screen width) at the bottom edge. This is wedged into place very securely and requires much care in its removal. Prising part of the plastic from from the bottom of the screen, I lifted it up slightly and slid it out to the right side. This is the piece that contains the CCFL. If you are careless or just unlucky, the CCFL will break as you remove it. A broken CCFL can leak mercury (bad) and broken glass in between the layers of your screen. If this happens, you will get dead pixels. I was lucky in that mine did not break.

Removing the CCFL from the thin metallic bracket is a pain. You need a set of wire cutters and nerves of steel. If I were you, I would put the remainder of the screen elsewhere and cover it up with tin foil to keep any breakage away from it. With one hand, carefully hold the bracket. With another hand pull back the flexible plastic covering of the end of the CCFL. With your THIRD hand (didn't I say this was a pain?), snip the wires at about 1mm distant from the end of the glass. You need to leave enough to solder the new CCFL into place.

At this point I had not yet received my bulb from Moniserv. So I reassembed everything sans CCFL, plugged an external monitor into the video out port and started my laptop. It worked like a charm with the external monitor. Nothing was broken. Good. By the way, since most Toshiba laptops use NVidia cards, you can plug them into external monitors which will be auto-detected and used instead of the LCD on startup. I functioned for about 1 week like this with no issues.

Then, yesterday when the CCFL arrived, I dissembled my laptop to the point that I could install the new bulb. After much trial and tribulation, I discovered that the plastic coverings of the end wires do actually retract when pulled ever so carefully so that it is possible to expose the plastic and solder the ends without burning your friend. The specs are that the CCFL must be soldered at about 2-3 mm from the end of the glass and that your iron can have a maximum rating of 25 W. Also, you can only apply heat for 4 seconds without risking damage, so you should have some experience with solder.

When I had finally soldered the wiring on each end satisfactorily, I fit the CCFL back into the bracket and reassembed the screen in reverse order.

At this point, the screen is working almost like new (some slightly darker shading in the lower corners exists) and I can actually use it without an external monitor.

Total cost?
One inverter (not actually needed - but now I have a spare) $59.00
One 2mmx300mm CCFL $9.99
Surviving the anxiety of doing it myself - priceless :-)

-Tim Niiler
VectorLinux 4.3
Kernel 2.6.7scsi
nvidia proprietary driver on XFree86-4.3

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Matthew Hanna Dec 23, 2004, 03:07pm EST Report Abuse
>> Another Toshiba Problem
Hey guys,

I have a Toshiba Satellite a75, which I just recently bought. My problem is a bit different than all of yours but I am not sure if its somehow related.

I had two instances.

A week ago:
Once when I was away for an hour, my computer automatically went into standby mode as it is supposed to. When I returned, my monitor would not turn on. Completly black. I rebooted on AC power and my monitor still did not turn on. Then I rebooted under Battery power and all of a sudden my monitor began working properly.

I was on my laptop, just doing some work and all of a sudden my touchpad stopped working. I was using a mouse also so it did not slow me down too much but I was very worried about this. I tried rebooting under AC power and tried messing with the settings, nothing worked. I called Toshiba, and we went through the drill, and nothing they said or suggested worked. Although one thing to note, they had me go into devide managers and look at the "Mice section" and I only had one item listed. This morning I was about go bring it in to get serviced when I decided to reboot on Battery power. And wham, the thing began to work again. I decided to look at device managers and all of a sudden the two items that were supposed to be listed in that section were there.

What is going on with my new laptop? Thanks guys.

Robert Oxlade Dec 24, 2004, 06:52pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
Hi, I posted a successful repair back in April. For just shy of four months, and lots of work later, the flicker/dim problem stayed away. Then it started again, only this time I was armed with 96% Alcohol, contact cleaner and a fibre brush! All contacts were cleaned with the brush, dipped in the Alcohol, dried overnight, then contact cleaner was applied and contacts plugged & un-plugged a few times. This has kept it good since, but now the battery has died, oh well!

Bob Pfeiffer Dec 25, 2004, 06:20pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
Try the net, I had to buy a new battery and bought it for %50 less than toshiba

Birmacher Dec 26, 2004, 03:18pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600

My display goes blank every time when i connect it with the adaptor(i dont know how to say it in english, when it runs without battery, and it charges up, but its on). I uses win xp home. What have i download, or what have I do??
Please help me, I go mad...

Birmacher Dec 26, 2004, 03:32pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
i have the same problem as Matthew Hanna, and i have new batteries, so i think there are something else

Matthew Hanna Dec 26, 2004, 03:38pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
Yeah, my batteries are new. I just bought the laptop, and I have barely used the batteries. A few times tops. Plus the problem is when its AC power, and fixes itself when its run on battery power.

Birmacher Dec 26, 2004, 03:47pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
i relized that, when the battery is full and i runs with ac power, it goes blank, but when the battery is on half power, and after that use the ac power, it wont go blank... why is it, men???

Robert Mikulak Dec 26, 2004, 08:42pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
I had a similar problem with my Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600. Toshiba has finally recognized that its laptops have a general problem with the inverter. On my laptop the screen would be fine on battery power, but not when using the AC adapter. Also fine when using an external monitor.

See JN's post from Nov 13, 2004 for a link to the Toshiba site that spells out how to get it fixed for free.

Bob Pfeiffer Dec 26, 2004, 11:24pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
Just a thought,
go to control panel, power options and see how you are set up. There are settings for display, hibernate, etc for both battery and ac power. Make sure they make sense, a 1 minute hibernate could cause many of the above problems, also download ad aware se, AD AWARE NOT ANY ADWARE PROGRAMS, update it and run it in SAFE MODE, in regular bootups it will not find all problems, it will not find all, there are free downloads of spybot and hijackthis, highjack this is for more advanced users, you can do real damage to your registry with it if you delete something you should not have and make sure you run updates to all anti spyware, virus or other pest programs in regular mode, then boot up in safe mode and run the programs. Most computers boot into safe mode by hitting f8 ( key on top of keyboard) as soon as the os offers you the option to do a f2 for bios options, I just start hitting the f8 when bootup starts. Take the Safe mode option, not the dos prompt or networking.

Nicolas Soro Dec 28, 2004, 08:23am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
I own a Satellite 5205-S705 and I seem to have the same problem as Teddy J. The screen never flickered or showed any sign of trouble until one morning I woke up and my screen was pretty much black. I tried updating the video card drivers and updating the bios but it was to no avail. I have yet to replace the inverter, but I took the bezel off to see if any cables had come loose, but everything was firmly in place. Has anyone with a 5205 model tried replacing the inverter to fix this problem?


Carl Tongueman Dec 28, 2004, 07:46pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600

Barbara Molloy Dec 28, 2004, 08:39pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
I have a Satellite 1805S254 which I purchased in Nov. 2001 from Circuit City along with a 3 yr service contract ($269.99) which started after the one yr Toshiba warranty expired. My blank screen problems started the month after the Toshiba warranty was up. I called the extemded warranty folks and they set me up for the free repair. Well, my laptop has been back to them EIGHT times for the very same reason and it just died again last night. So far they have replaced the system board twice, the FL inverter board once, the hard drive once, the VDU board twice, the LCD once, and something called rewrite DMI from BIOS. They were supposed to replace the unit if I had the same problem within a 12 month period of time and they coulod not fix it. How they got around that was to tell me it was a different cause each time. It sure confirmed my suspicions after I read this entire thread. I'll never fall for that extended warranty SCAM again.
I also got that Toshiba letter last month and since the FL inverter board was already replace and did not eliminate the blank screen problem. I will try your suggestion and hope that it works. Thanks for the idea.
I'm open to any suggestions ... the repair folks certainly have not helped at all.

Bruno Schoumaker Dec 30, 2004, 02:21pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
Hello - I have (or had I hope...) the same display problem with my Toshiba satellite 3000. It first happened 6 months ago. After two weeks with the problem (getting worse and worse), I contacted Belgium-Netherlands. They kept my laptop for almost ONE month ! (and it worked when I got it back - but it cost me 75 euros). A few days ago, the same problem appeared. I contacted Toshiba Belgium-Netherlands again, but they didn't really seem interested in that sort of problem, and I really don't want to leave them my computer for another month (and pay 75 euros again !!). I searched the web and came across this list yesterday and found it EXTREMELY helpful.

I tested both Bob Pfeiffer's suggestion (DEC 16 2003) and Carl Tongueman's one (DEC 28 2004). Since then my screen has worked fine (hope it will last...) ! I don't know which of Bob or Carl's solution solved my problem since I tried both at the same time, but at least one of them seems to work.... :-).

Thanks to both of you and to all the other people who confirmed Bob's solution worked. !!

Nicolas Soro Dec 30, 2004, 03:09pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
Well I just replaced my fl inverter on my ts 5205-s705 and the screen is still pitch black and I'm out of ideas. I've tried pretty much every suggestion on this board and still nothing.

Sigh, what a piece ofs**t.

Nicolas Soro Dec 30, 2004, 04:20pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
I just read this off the toshiba support bulletins

"If so then something may be blocking the sensor/switch that tells if the laptop display is open or closed. On only a few models the display uses a magnetic sensor. For these make sure there are no magnets or other items that might be causing interference with the sensor."

I wonder if something happened with that little magnet that is keeping my screen from powering up. Anyway I havent given up hope!

Barbara Molloy Dec 30, 2004, 04:32pm EST Report Abuse
>> Thanks Carl
I adjusted the monitor as you suggested and so far so good.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Brent Beach Jan 05, 2005, 08:48pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
Just another one of those annoying ME TOO posts.

My Satellite 1110 has had occasional blackouts over the last few months - scary.

Followed Bob's original steps (after reading every single email in this topic). There were 4 screws, not 2, but otherwise the same. Saw the small white connector and pried it out. Looked at it for a bit - no idea what eactly I am doing. Pushed it back in !!! it went back in farther than it had come out.

So, a loose connector causing months of anxiety. I should have put some tape on to hold it in place - they use masking tape in several places inside there. Will do it if it happens again -- guess I can be sure it will.

Toshiba should do something about this connector. Mind you, I carried this laptop around in my bicycle pack while cycling 7,500 kilometers in 8 countries, so I should not be too surprised that something shook loose.


Marc Comeau Jan 06, 2005, 09:22am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Display problem with Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600
I bought my satellite 1805 off eBay (great deal) and started experiencing screen blackout about 6 months after I bought it. I was contemplating the phrase "buyer beware" and figured I was looking at a $200-300 repair bill. Did a Google 3 days ago and found this form. Like Brent said. Pulled the two plugs out, looked at them for a few seconds and pluged them back in. It's been 3 problem. Can't thank Bob Pfeiffer enough.

Marc Comeau
Halifax NS

Roberto Sbuelz Jan 07, 2005, 09:33am EST Report Abuse
>> Toshiba Satellite S2800-300 black display
I've got a Toshiba Satellite S2800-300. It hasn't been used much, but on a sad day I switched the thing on and it decided to keep it's display pitch black. With an additional monitor plugged in it works. I followed Bob's suggestion, but it didn't work.
Also, since the beginning of its life that piece of junk shuts down when the battery reached 70% of the charge. Toshiba wasn't able to fix it. Bad driver? Bad HW? Who nows...
Any further suggestion? Shall I buy a new inverter? (if I can find it)
Thanks all.

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