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Screen 'not connected'? Where's the PVA...

Posted 01-26-2011 at 09:34 PM by William (Dthdealer)

My screen on my Thinkpad 600 recently died and I believe its backlight has finally given way. While troubleshooting the problem I discovered some very interesting things about my Thinkpad.

It all started with the Thinkpad 600 hardware maintenance manual which I found on the web after a brief google. It contained key combinations that allowed me to access advanced information in the 'Simple' BIOS.

It turns out my Thinkpad is a very modular system, with all modules called 'FRUs'. The laptop works to the best of its ability with its available FRUs, such as the speakers, keyboard, battery, screen, harddrive etc. It seems my screen is 'missing', for as far as the BIOS is concerned it is not connected. I believe the backlight is dead, and without the monitor fails to do anything ( not even change the pixel colours ).

Disassembaly, inspection and re-assembly did not fix my problem. The ribbons and wires for the screen were all in position and not damaged, so now face having track down a working screen to install. The TFT is a sealed unit for a good reason - a broken backlight contains mercury amongst other nasty chemicals.

Now I'm stuck with connecting it to an external monitor running at a non-native resolution ( The monitor is 1280*1024 however the Thinkpad can only handle 1024x768 max ).

Not all is bad. I discovered a very remarkable feature of my Thinkpad's supposed 'Simple' BIOS. I'm quite sure a few of you will drewl after reading the next paragraph.

An in-built hex editor that writes and reads directly to the CMOS chip.

Now I just have to resist the desire to fiddle with random values
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