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Sounds like you got it right. When the Laptop draws power it will trigger the Surgemaster to turn on the monitor. The only problem you might have, is being you are using a laptop the power supply might not draw enough power to trigger the energy saving features.
These devices work the best when a tower PC is plugged into the Master slot.
one thing you may need is a new AC power cord. It could be the cord itself that is bad. If you can find someone elses to try that may help. The other thing that it could be is the internal recharging circuitry. It is one or the other. First I would try a different power cable. If that doesn't help you will need to get your laptop serviced. If you have a moment to accept and rate this and the original solution appropriately it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Lee
O n most dell laptops right at the base of the screen is a panel that pops off. If so there is a small card about 1-2inches wide ans 3-4 inches long. It is above the keyboard. this is an aux. power board and should have a connection on it to help power the screen. If this model dosent have this poard than the built in screen cooler is bad and you will have to replace the whole screen.
It could be an issue with the power cord, it it could be an issue with the computer accepting the charge. The only way to test is to get another power cord that matches the exact same one you have, or to find a univeral power cord that is compatible and see if it will use the external power this way.