Problem can be the problems with the graphics chipset, (Mounting issues due to overheating), video cable, screen Inverter, or LCD screen itself.http://www.ebay.com/itm/Acer-Aspire-5241-5516-5517-5541-5541G-486736-001-Series-LCD-screen-Inverter-/261077449831?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cc96dbc67
Not advertising for the above website, nor seller. The above is used for reference, to show what the screen Inverter looks like
It's about 4 inches Long, (101.6mm), and 3/8ths of an Inch Wide.
(.375 inches, or approximately 9.52mm)
An LCD screen cannot produce light by itself,http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/NA_Optical/Systems/BehindTheScenes/Optics101/
Click on - No Thanks, and the monitor icon.
(You may wish to turn your sound down first)
A Backlight is used to provide the light.
A Backlight can be a CCFL, or a series of LED's.
(Light Emitting Diode)
Looking at the LCD screens offered for the Acer Aspire 5517 series of Notebook PC's, there are two backlight types offered.
CCFL and LED.
(Aspire 5517 just designates a model series. The actual model number follows it. 5997, 5571, and 5535, are just some of the examples of a model number. It's on the bottom of the laptop)
A CCFL is a Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp.
Similar to Fluorescent lighting used in homes, and businesses, but on a MUCH smaller scale.
Average thickness is 2mm. That is a little larger than 1/16th of an Inch. About this thick -> aa
Average length is almost as long, as the LCD screen is in height.
A screen Inverter is used to convert the power from the laptop, for the LCD screen, and Backlight.
90 PERCENT OF THE TIME the fault is a bad screen Inverter.
HOWEVER, when LED backlighting first came out, they were using a screen Inverter. Technology changed, and a screen Inverter is no longer used for a backlight using LED's.
Fun stuff, huh? It really isn't an issue. If your laptop is using LED's for a Backlight, it will be proudly stated on the laptop. Usually on a sticker to the right, or left of the Touchpad.
Now we get technical;
A) Laptop OFF, monitor OFF, attach a VGA monitor to the VGA connector on the laptop. Right rear side, blue in color.
General example of a VGA Cable, and VGA connector,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VGA_connector
You can use a CRT type of VGA monitor, (Looks like a small TV), or a flat LCD screen monitor if it has a VGA cable.
B) Turn the monitor on. If a CRT type allow it to warm up a few minutes.
Turn the laptop on.
By factory default, the display should show on the external VGA monitor.
There are at least 3 display options;
1) Internal monitor of laptop ONLY
2) Internal monitor of laptop AND external VGA monitor
3) External VGA monitor ONLY.
Hold the Fn key down, (Bottom of Keyboard, second key from left), and at the same time tap once on the F5 key.
(The F5 key is the Display Toggle-Over key)
Still no? Hold the Fn key down again, and tap once more on the F5 key.
Still no display? You have a graphics chipset problem. More on this at the end of the solution.
Display on external VGA monitor? You have a problem with the Video Cable, screen Inverter, or LCD screen.
C) Video Cable: (For Acer it is LCD Cable. I will still refer to it as the video cable)
The video cable attaches to the motherboard under the Switch Cover.
(Switch Cover is the plastic strip under the LCD screen, and above the Keyboard.
LED indicator lights, and Power On switch are covered by it)
The video cable then goes under the left Hinge, and up into the LCD Module. (Acer name for Display Assembly)
From there it connects to the back of the LCD screen.
(Acer = LCD Panel)
Due to normal repeated opening, and closing of the laptop, the video cable may become pinched, and pulled on.
This can create a loose connection at the motherboard side, or LCD screen side.
IF the laptop uses a screen Inverter, the video cable also connects to it. Can be pulled loose from the screen Inverter too.
Here is an example of a video cable for an Acer Aspire 5517,http://www.batterystyle.com/acer-aspire-5517-cable-p-514000.html
Click on the photo view to enlarge.
The bottom side is the side that connects to the motherboard. The connector is hidden from view by the rectangular plastic strip.
This strip is used to gently pull on, and disconnect the motherboard side of the video cable, from the motherboard.
The top side connects to the back of the LCD screen.
Where the top part of the cable meets the wider lower part, you can see a small looped cable. This cable plugs into the screen Inverter.
(Either this video cable can be used for a laptop with CCFL backlighting, or it may be that the screen Inverter part of the cable is not used, if the laptop has LED backlighting. This is why the model number is always used to get the correct part, not just the model series number.
LED backlighting is relatively new, and I haven't had a laptop come to my shop that needs repair for this. I also am not going to take my new Acer Aspire 5552-3691 apart to see, lol! If it ain't broke leave it alone)
The laptop needs to be partially disassembled, in order to access the motherboard side of the video cable. Battery, and Switch Cover.
The LCD Module needs to be removed, and split open to access the LCD Panel side of the video cable.
Visual summation will NOT do. You need to physically try to plug the cable in tighter. All it takes is the space of this -> a, for there to be a loose connection.
You can leave the LCD module laying down on the table, with the video cable attached, to see if that was the problem before reassembling.
IF you see any apparent damage to the sheath of the video cable, also suspect damage to the tiny wires inside. (Stretched/Broken)
Suggest take it to the nearest 'Mom and Pop' computer store, and ask them to perform a continuity check on the cable.
(Multimeter set to OHM, 1K, and check all wires)
Damaged = Replace.
D) Screen Inverter:
To test a screen Inverter you need a sensitive multimeter. Read fairly expensive,http://www.fonerbooks.com/test.htm
If no sensitive multimeter is available usual course is to simply replace it, due to the low cost, and ease of access to replace.
Parts changing I know, but sometimes it's the only feasible alternative.
Replacing does not repair the problem, or the laptop does not use a screen Inverter? Then the next step is to replace the LCD screen.
Here is a link to a free Service Manual,http://www.tim.id.au/blog/tims-laptop-service-manuals/#toc-acer
Go to the subheading that begins with Aspire 1200. (1200 in blue)
Drop down to the subheading on the left in blue - 5330, and scroll across to 5517. Left-click on 5517.
This is a PDF file. The computer you are using now has Adobe Reader on it, which uses PDF files.
After you click on the file name (5517) it may take up to 30 seconds, before the first page comes up.
More to follow in an added Comment.