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Fixing a Sony Viao VGN-SZ650N with No Video (In Colorado)

Updated on April 18, 2013
Taking the laptop apart.
Taking the laptop apart.
Vent clogged with dust.
Vent clogged with dust.
Fan after clean-up but having noise at turning.
Fan after clean-up but having noise at turning.
Making a decorative hing cover from a screw.
Making a decorative hing cover from a screw.
Information from BIOS
Information from BIOS
Battery is good.
Battery is good.
System property and hardware monitoring display.
System property and hardware monitoring display.
A new laptop fan (right) replacing the one with noise (left).
A new laptop fan (right) replacing the one with noise (left).
Video temperature is normal.
Video temperature is normal.
Top cover
Top cover
Full view
Full view
Keyboard
Keyboard
Video problem after shipment
Video problem after shipment
Owner confirmed no problem on external monitor
Owner confirmed no problem on external monitor

I traded in this Sony Viao laptop on 14Sep2012 which was described as "a Sony VAIO laptop which had 4 gb ram hybrid harddrive 13.3 " thin. Battery is pretty good as well...It was $2500 laptop ...not sure what happened. ..it stopped working...".

At home, I inspected the laptop. The right hing cover was missing. The left side panel detached a bit. It looked like that the laptop had been attempted for fixing but did not go too far.

Taking the laptop apart, I found that it has more screws and parts than the other laptops. I inspected the fan which was clogged with dust and not turning. The video problem should be due to the GPU overheating. I did the reflow on 15Sep2012. After cleaning up the fan, the fan turned but had noise. I re-installed the laptop with Windows Vista Business and ordered a new fan which arrived on 27Nov2012. The fan has a larger blades. I took the laptop apart again to replace the fan. With the new fan, the noise is gone. For the missing hinge cover, I made one out of a screw head. I tested it on 17Jan2013, the video distorted at start up. When I tested it an hour later, the screen size reduced to half of the screen size. Video driver was gone and could not be installed. The reflow failed should be due to the poor old fan causing the video chip got overheated before the replacement.

I did the reflow on 19Jan2013. The video is back. I installed hardware monitor to check the temperature. It was 61 °C after running several rounds of the Windows Updates to the latest. I did more testing the other days. First on the headphone plug. It did not work. When I went to Control Panel > Sound, I found both speakers and headphones. I changed the default to headphones. The headphone plug works again. When I unplugged the headphone, it changed back to speaker. When I plug in the headphone, it switches automatically. I tested the switch for STAMINA and SPEED. At STAMINA, it is using the graphic from Intel chip. At SPEED, Nvidia chip is being used. I checked the Nvidia temperature at the end of testing. It was 60 °C.

The laptop has been stable for two and a half months. On 4 April 2013, it went to Colorado to serve again. Before going, I tested it for two more nights before packaging.

Unfortunately, the laptop had video problem after shipment. I suggested the new owner to run a test on external monitor to identify the broken part. It was the screen and we settled by a 25% refund. Below were provided by the new owner:

I just received the laptop and haven't run a full diagnostic, but right out of the box, the screen is badly damaged. There are thick vertical lines on the right hand side.
I will continue to investigate if there are any other issues, and get back to you regarding compensation.

---

I had the chance to go over everything. The only other issue was the touchpad, which made the mouse pointer jump all over the screen. I took off and disconnected/reconnected the ribbon cables, and it works great now.
On bootup the screen illuminates very brightly (near white out) in a cylindrical shape in the center of the screen. Once the OS has loaded, and it's at the login screen, the far right 1/8 of the screen is streaked vertical lines. The rest of the screen appears to be fine.
If you have any suggestions, I'd love to give it a shot. Otherwise, I think we should discuss a partial refund, as I'll have to replace the screen.

---

There was no damage to the box, and the contents were all very well packed. I'd like to keep the laptop. There is no issue connecting the laptop to an external monitor.

There is an auction on eBay right now for a screen at $110 USD:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/SONY-VAIO-VGN-SZ450N-LED-13-3-SCREEN-FITS-SZ650N-SZ750N-TOSHIBA-LTD133EXBY-/230923715791?pt=US_Laptop_Screens_LCD_Panels&hash=item35c42044cf
First I'll try to take the screen from the bezel, and check the cabling. I'll let you know.

----

It took it apart, and unplugged and re-plugged the cable, but that didn't make a difference. Unfortunately, it seems without any doubt the screen has is broken.


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