Screen doesn’t work after dropping laptop

by on January 30, 2009

Q: I dropped my IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad T42. It fell from my bed onto the floor (about 3 feet). The computer was on, but hibernating. When I first woke the computer from hibernation, everything seemed normal. Then, my screen went blank. I’ve had mixed results since then. Sometimes, I can enter my login password before my screen goes black. Other times, it doesn’t quite get that far. Recently, I got some error beeps — one long plus two short. The hard drive is not making any strange noises. I upgraded my RAM months before I dropped my laptop. Otherwise, the laptop is using all original parts. Can you help, or is my laptop dead?

A: According to your owner’s manual, the beeps suggest a problem with your laptop’s RAM, monitor-related parts, and/or motherboard (including graphics chip).

Try replacing your laptop’s current RAM with the laptop’s original RAM. Consult the 1050 DIMM and 1070 DIMM sections of your owner’s manual for more information.

If the built-in monitor itself were broken, you would probably get a blank screen 100% of the time. Although your screen seems undamaged, there is cable inside your laptop which connects the screen other parts of your laptop. This cable might have been knocked loose on impact with your floor. Read about How to access a laptop’s internal video cable or consult your owner’s manual to get a general idea of how to access the video cable and related components inside your laptop. If you feel that this is too complex for you, I recommend that you hire a computer hardware professional in your area to help you.

Sadly, the only way to replace a broken graphics chip and/or motherboard in most laptops is to replace the motherboard itself. The procedure for motherboard replacement is complex, and should only be attempted by a computer hardware professional.

Tip: Websites such as eBay and Amazon are often excellent sources of replacement computer parts. Of course, read listings carefully before bidding/buying.

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