For no apparent reason, my screen goes black. The computer is still operating and, believe it or not, if I use a flashlight I can light the screen enough to see what's happening on the screen. Any idea what's causing this problem & how/if I can fix it?
There is a common problem with this machine; the mother board flexes and the processor mount partly separates from the motherboad. You tube posts a couple of solutions but they involves taking the laptop apart and applying heat from a heat gun to resolder the mount; it is not a solution for the faint hearted. Thinkpad/Lenovo might consider reparing the unit as it is basically a desgn/production defect but don't hold your breath.
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Re: IBM ThinkPad T42 notebook
Does it happen at a consistant time? Then check the power settings for the computer (screen saver and time to blank the screen.
Also, usually have a little latch of some kind that operate a tiny switch that turns off the backlight when you close the cover. Perhaps this switch is stuck on yours and the laptop may think you have close it. To find it, you must look for either a little spring loaded plunger on the keyboard side, or an opening on the keyboard side that something on the cover inserts into. All laptops have it, but they are all different. When you find it, push on it to verify it works.
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Operate your unit from battery, then use the unit with the charger plugged into AC. Try to recreate the failure with each power source.
If it fails on battery only, you may have either an intermittent battery pack or poor contact in the battery bay.
You can test the computer this way. Connect the video output at the back of the laptop's base to a known working monitor. If the problem disappears completely then you know it is a screen problem, mostly likely. But if the same thing happens with the known working monitor connected to the Thinkpad, then you very likely have the BGA problem, a part that was soldered less than well (due to the restriction of lead not being allowed in the solder due to government regulations). And it may also be caused by flexing the base due to moving the laptop with poor support for its weight and resulting motherboard flex on rather delicate microsoldering. There are several services that "reball" the Ball Grid Assembly, and there are motherboards available as well that can replace the non-working ones. This is not a cheap fix to undertake but it can be done.
there three issues with think pads that are common for this issue
1 bad inverter board 2 bad ccfl lamp in the lcd screen 3 bad video chip or other issue on the mother board
Inverters are not hard to replace and can be done by most people with patience and soft touch ccfl bulbs require service techs with specialized skills to replace them, the lcd has to e taken apart or completely replaced motherboards or video cards are much more complex issues and need service centers or techs with the requisite skills
Try using a flashlight at different angles and let me know if you can see a faint image of the desktop If so It is your inverter board that needs replaced. http://www.google.com/products?q=IBM+ThinkPad+R52+inverter&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=X&oi=product_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title
How far does it get on the boot process? Does it open the operating system completely before shutting down? Do you get any error messages, and does it go to a black screen stating Windos wasn't shut down properly? Answer these and I'll have a better idea of what's going on.