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Does the fault appear on the laptop screen aswell? It appears by your description that the fault is only on the external monitor. If the screen comes on for a moment and then goes blank as described, then this appears to be an invertor fault. It is very common among laptop and tft screens and requires the invertor inside the panel to be replaced / repaired. Simply plug the screen into another computer to confirm.
You need to open it up and inspect the PCB for bad solder connection or over heated components. BenQ made monitors for Dell, so look at some pictures of failed Dell monitors here to get some ideas what could have gone wrong with your monitors, post back what you see so we can guide you further: http://s807.photobucket.com/home/budm/allalbums
OSD Warning Messages
A warning message may appear on the screen indicating
that the monitor is out of sync range. Cannot
Display This Video Mode
This means that the monitor cannot synchronize
with the signal that it is receiving from the computer. Either the signal is
too high or too low for the monitor to use. See Specifications
for the Horizontal and Vertical frequency ranges addressable by this monitor.
Recommended mode is 1024x768 @ 60Hz.
Occasionally, no warning message appears, but the
screen is blank. This could also indicate that the monitor is not synchronizing
with the computer or the monitor is in a power save mode.
dpelrod727, Yes, the "switch-mode-power-supply" is in "partial" or "full" SHUTDOWN mode. Reconnect E172FP to a fully booted KNOWN good PC with the win-desktop as the displayed screen. Check with flashlight to see if your LCD panel is both BLACK and BLANK, or just BLACK by holding a bright flashlight 1" from screen at different angles even though the screen appears to be blank. If very faint image of desktop is seen then your SMPS is still half alive. Here are your options in either case. 1. Trade in for new. 2. Try Dell for a cash+old swapout for a Refurbed unit. 3. Check out www.ccl-la.com/badcaps, www.badcaps.net, www.lcdparts.net, and YOUTUBE long video clips dealing with LCD monitor disassembly and LCD repair. could be helpful in making decision on what to do. I'm 12fixlouie If this was helpful rate on fixya.
Ive seen this on other monitors. Look for a 1 and 2. Some monitors do NOT auto detect a signal, and this one might not. Look for a way to set the monitor from Digital input to VGA input. Try that and see.
Make sure you set up your laptop to display to a second screen. Depending on your Operating system, go to your display properties and go to the settings tab. Then click on the second monitor and enable it.
This looks like a problem with the video card or the power supply to the monitor. Try connecting a different monitor and if you still face the same problem then probably you may need to have a look at your video card or its connection in motherboard