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T61 internal monitor blank, external monitor OK

T60/T61 series specific matters only
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T61 internal monitor blank, external monitor OK

#1 Post by excelsior » Thu May 17, 2018 9:36 am

I have a great T61 (8892-02U) with upgraded T9300 and 4GB RAM that I bought from RealBlackStuff two years ago. I love this machine and don't want to retire it. Please help me solve this problem:

The internal monitor is blank (but backlight is ON) throughout the Windows 7 boot up process - nothing displays on the screen. (no colors, no text, no cursor)
The external monitor on the VGA port works normally. I'm typing this post on an external monitor.

This T61 has the NVidia NVS140M, however, it does not show any symptoms of a graphics chip failure reported by others (beep, colors on screen, BSOD, etc.)
The problem first happened as an intermittent blank screen for about 5-10 seconds while in the middle of normal use. Then a week later when booting the screen was blank. Opening and closing the laptop lid/screen caused a flicker of the windows login screen, and then it immediately went blank again. As of today, however, opening and closing the lid does not cause the flash of the windows login screen anymore. It is completely blank.

I have tried the following things, without success:
1. Booting to safe mode.
2. Reinstalling the latest NVidia drivers from the NVidia website.
3. Reseating the ribbon cable, both on the motherboard side, and on the back of the LCD panel.
4. Allowing the computer to get up to normal operating temperature, then restarting.
5. The ribbon cable does not seem to have any visible damage.

-Has anyone with the discrete graphics chip NVS140M on the T61 seen this issue and confirmed it is the chip?
-If the ribbon cable was bad, would the symptoms above match?
-What else can I try?

Thank you.

P.S. By the way, I highly recommend RealBlackStuff you won't be disappointed.
IBM T61 (8892-02U): T9300 2.50 GHz, Windows 7 pro 32-bit, NVS 140M, 4 GB RAM, 120gb Intel SSD, 1TB WD HDD in Ultrabay

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Re: T61 internal monitor blank, external monitor OK

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu May 17, 2018 10:31 am

Hi Mike,
if I remember correctly, that was an 08/04 (2008/April) laptop.
This means it still has the old version nVidia chip.
Most likely it is finally giving up the ghost after 10 years of faithful duty.
The external monitor might still work for a while longer, the internal one I'm afraid is a 'goner'.
That's not a cable problem.

You can read all about it here: https://www.theboardroom.info/t61motherboard.html
On the first picture there you will see 1021A under nvidia on the GPU.
That's the YY/WW = Year/Week = 2010/week 21 production date of the GPU.
Yours is probably something like 0810A
Our Forum member TuuS still has some NOS T61 nVidia motherboards.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly! :mrgreen:
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

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Re: T61 internal monitor blank, external monitor OK

#3 Post by Morrick » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:48 pm

Hello everyone. It's my first post, so I hope I'm doing everything right.

I've been recently given a T61. It's a Type 7665-12U and the label on the bottom reports a 07/09 date code. It too has an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M GPU. After barely a week of ownership, it started displaying (no pun intended) a very similar behaviour as the one described by the original poster. Like excelsior's T61, mine doesn't show any symptoms of graphic chip failure, nor warning signs that the GPU was going bad.

I was given the computer with Windows 7 preinstalled. The previous owner warned me that the machine tended to overheat, so after turning it on the first time to check that everything was all right, I turned it off after a short while and proceeded to clean the fan and exhaust vents. There was indeed dust, and after this cursory cleaning I noticed that the fan was much less noisy. A couple of days later I installed Windows 10 and again, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The day after, I was at the library and, since I couldn't plug the T61 anywhere, I decided to test how long the battery would last on a full charge. The idea was to use it normally until it would hibernate. Indeed, after 40 minutes it did shut off on its own. When I got home a few hours later, I connected it to the AC adapter, switched it on... and got the blank internal monitor issue.

The T61 works fine when connected to an external display via VGA. Windows 10's Device Manager keeps giving me an Error Code 43 when I select the GPU driver. One interesting detail is that when I did a complete reinstall of Windows 10, there was a moment when the driver worked normally, then Windows 10 nagged me about completing the installation by restarting the machine, and when I restarted it was back to Code 43. I tried any advice and 'solution' I could find on the Web, to no avail. At this point of extreme frustration, what I'd really want to know with certainty is this — Is the GPU gone for good? It seems so strange that the machine worked just fine, shut off, then this issue appeared when I turned it on. I'm rather bummed — ThinkPads are the only non-Mac notebooks I've always liked, and I wanted to try one out. Though my T61 came for free, I actually paid a good sum for international shipping costs, plus some extra money to put more RAM in it... Sigh.

Thanks in advance for reading and for any input you may give me.


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