Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy By A Factor Of Ten

Well I managed to fix my laptop over the weekend. What happened was this. I was surfing along last week minding my own business when all of a sudden I found myself staring at a black screen. I did the old reboot and several other standard things that one tries when their computer isn't doing what it's supposed to (including cursing) but all I got for my troubles was the brief flash of the Dell logo at start-up then an instant inky darkness that felt as if it was closing around me. A cold black endless void that drew from me the very essence of my soul and left me adrift and alone. Well, maybe that's exagerating a bit but the screen WAS still black.

I love the internet. I also hate it and I'll get into the reasons why another time but in this particular instance I love it. I researched my problem (with the laptop) on our old slow office desktop and discovered that what was happening was a fairly common occurance, especially in laptops, especially in the particular Dell model that I had. Who here knew that the LCD screen in your monitor had a light bulb behind it? Go on. Raise your hands. I confess that I did not. I do now however. It's actually a very thin flourescent tube that when lit provides a backlight which shines through and provides illumination for the screen so that you can see it. When it's not lit, you have a black screen. One of the ways to diagnose it is to shine a flashlight on the screen while the computer is on. If you see the image of your normal desktop well then, you know it's a problem with your backlight. Only it's a little more complicated than that. In addition to the bulb there's also this thing called an inverter. In a laptop it's a little narrow circuit board somewhere in the lid near the screen and it shoots a pretty sizable voltage up to the bulb to power it. So the problem could be either/or or even both.

Following Dell's assembly/disassembly instructions for my model I commenced surgery. The inverter is the easier part to get to and replace and all the advice I read said to try that first. Once I had extracted said inverter I headed to the one place where (almost) anything in the world can be bought. EBAY! I said I love the internet. I also love Ebay. After spending some time trying to match part numbers and pictures I purchased what appeared to be the correct part. I had it in my hands in about three days for a total cost of right around $30. I repeated the surgical procedure in reverse and before completely closing the patient, uttered a prayer to the Goddess, God and the Universe, then pressed the power button. Houston We Have Liftoff! Happy dance and an utterance to aforementioned Goddess, God, and Universe.

If that had not solved the problem, the next step would've been to track down a replacement bulb (hello Ebay!) and install it. That procedure would not have been as straight forward and would've involved soldering and a few other things that I was happy to not have to perform.

The whole process, once researched, was actually very easy. Once I knew what I had to do, it honestly took me longer to track down the correct part on Ebay than it did to remove the old one and replace it with the new one. If I would've sent it in somplace for repair it would've cost close to $300 and I would've seriously had to consider whether it would've been smarter to put that money towards a new one. Instead I paid $30 and invested a little bit of my time. I like to try to fix or build things myself if I can. I'm not the type who can't admit that I'm in over my head but on those occasions when I can truly do-it-myself, it's very gratifying when it actually works out.

Long story short. I'm back on line at home. Of course that doesn't solve the problem of what to blog about.


Kitty said...

You could always blog about your laptop breaking down? ;-)

Seriously, you are a clever thing. The most technical I've ever got is intalling a new PCI network card - and I felt proud of myself for that!

I had bloggers block today too - hence the Guinness post. Let's hope we're a bit more inspired later this week, eh? :-) x

Pope Benedict XVI said...

Ha-Satan invested you evil laptop from all the porn you look at, yes, yes.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Hey Kitty. I'm not that clever, I've just gotten over my fear of breaking it or making it worse. I've had bloggers block for a couple of weeks now. Not blocked as much as not motivated to do it (blog)lately.

Hi there Popey. Porn I look at?! This from a guy that's a platinum member at, sheesh.

Malicious Intent said...

Dude, who is this Pope bitch posting comments?? (He posted on my blog too.) Evil little cuss. We need to add him to the hit list on our world domination strategic plan. Or are you friends with this deviant? If so, put him in charge of the south pole. We already have giant evil elf named Santa rocking things up north.

Glad you are back. :)
Now get over to my blog and worship me!

Bruce, a work in progress said...

MI, the Popey's been around for a while but he's a first timer here. Go easy on the old guy. He may be useful to us. He can open up the Vatican library and provide us with a wealth of information. Like torturing undesirables and over-running and eliminating indigineous populations.
Must go now. I have some worshipin' to do.

Mike said...

See I would have just taken that as a sign from the Gods to go buy a new laptop. I mean I love my old one, but those new ones look so super cool.

Congrats on fixing your old one though.

Malach the Merciless said...

I am buying the board game Tannenhauser from Ebay at this moment.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Mike the thought did cross my mind. Especially since the first thing out of my wife, the writer's mouth was "I do need a deduction for this year".
I'm not a Mac user but I have to admit those new one's that fit in a holy Joe on the commercial are pretty cool.

Mal, I do love my Ebay.

Anonymous said...

Woohoo! You are back!

Maybe I should break something on my computer so you can come over and work on it. ;o)