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Fixing a Dell 6400 with Bad Video Display (In Port Moody)

Updated on August 3, 2013
Double video image on the screen
Double video image on the screen
Motherboard with standalone graphic card.
Motherboard with standalone graphic card.
GPU not attempted and not surrended by epoxy.
GPU not attempted and not surrended by epoxy.
Before cleaning, there was dust on the fan and the vent.
Before cleaning, there was dust on the fan and the vent.
After cleaning.
After cleaning.
Thermal compound before removal
Thermal compound before removal
New thermal compound.
New thermal compound.
Video is back to normal
Video is back to normal
System specification
System specification
Default resolution
Default resolution
Installing Windows Vista ATI Video driver to Windows 7
Installing Windows Vista ATI Video driver to Windows 7
Higher resolution
Higher resolution
Screen is back to normal.
Screen is back to normal.

I traded in this Dell 6400 on 15Jun2013. The owner told me that he had taken the laptop to computer shop for repair. The shop told him that it had motherboard problem. It was expensive to fix and suggested him to buy a new one. So, he traded this laptop with my IBM T42.

We met in a restaurant and exchanged the laptops. On the Sunday, I tested this Dell 6400 laptop. When it was powered on, the screen had double images. When it went to Windows desktop, the double images had dotted lines. When it was connected to external monitor, it showed single image but there were still dotted lines. I could not conclude that it was graphic card problem or LCD screen problem.

I had a Dell 1525 screen but it does not fit the connection to Dell 6400.The only chance I had was to reflow the GPU. I disassembled the laptop to get the motherboard out. On the motherboard, it has a detachable graphic card. The GPU on the card had not been attempted. I ran a reflow process on the GPU on 18Jun2013. When I connected the screen and powered on the laptop, the video is back to normal.

While assembling the laptop, I vacummed out the dust which clogged the vent and used alcohol to clean up each laptop fan. I also removed the hardened thermal compound on the GPU and re-applied new one.

I powered on the laptop again and ran a thorough testing. It has a Windows 7 Ultimate installed. The resolution was low from default monitor. I downloaded the ATI video driver from Dell's website. Installation was unsuccesfull. The driver was for Windows XP. There was no driver for Windows 7, I tried Windows Vista. This time, the installation completed and asked for reboot. After rebooting, the resolution is back to normal.

I checked the sound, WiFi and USB connection. All are working. It is ready to serve. Since the owner told me to contact him when the laptop is working. I contacted the owner on 18Jun2013. He did not want to have another laptop.

It was picked up by a couple on 27July2013 who drove from Port Moody to QE park where we met in a close by library which has Wifi. He checked the laptop and was happy to take it home.

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