Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

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Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby chris1379 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:49 pm

I am new to Mint but not Linux. I recently acquired a Dell Inspiron 6000 with ATI X300 graphics and a 1680 x 1050 display. It was working fine in Windows. I installed Mint 13 Cinnamon in a dual boot configuration. While toying around with sensors and the CPU frequency app, my EDID got corrupted. At first the screen was showing only part of the image and then none. I used several programs in Windows and Linux to determine that the display panel's EDID data was corrupt. My only option now is to buy a new LCD. I didn't have trouble with Mint Mate on several computers. Is it possible that something in lmsensors or the CPU frequency applet did this? If so, I'll go back to Mate when I get a new LCD.

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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby bigj231 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:11 pm

How does one's EDID get corrupted? I though it was hard coded into the display rather than onto a computer. Also, It doesn't make sense that it would be rewritten by any software on your computer.
Judging by how old the pre-AMD ATI cards are, especially the X300, it's completely possible that your screen died of age.
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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby chris1379 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:41 pm

You're right, the EDID is in the display but in the case of a laptop, it's in the LCD panel. It is not hard-coded but is written to an EEPROM and can be re-written with the right hardware. The ATI card is still functioning perfectly and is being used with my TV as I am typing this.
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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby bigj231 on Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:50 pm

I find it unlikely that the hardware to rewrite the chip is present in your laptop. It is possible that the chip did get a voltage spike or something else that corrupted it though. As I stated before, I'd say it was on its way out and something in Linux (not Mint specifically) may have expedited it. I have a newer HP laptop that the screen backlight died within 18 months. It just happens, and there is not much that can be done about it.
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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby dagon on Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:10 pm

It's definitely possible to do some really silly things from a hardware point of view. Precisely how sill I'm not qualified to answer from the OS side but of the story but I know a thing or two about the little black boxes(IC's) that can be.
On the motherboard and peripheral boards are IC's that are connected through various busses. The big ones like CPU and memory we all know about but then you have a whole lot of functions that are managed by smaller circuits and they often use slower one or two line buses (i2c/smbus...). Every cirquit that connects to these buses have their own adress and some data space to write and/or read from, depending on function. The adress is probably specific for manufacturer.
You could definitely stumble upon a bug that could read a single chip on the board the wrong way and render it unresponsive or whatnot.

sensors-detect specifically warns about some tests that aren't concidered safe and then there's always the possibility of a bug.

Some examples:
http://lists.lm-sensors.org/pipermail/lm-sensors/2012-April/035847.html
http://www.lm-sensors.org/ticket/2386
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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby chris1379 on Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:34 am

That sounds like the exact problem I had. So, if I understand correctly, it was the sensors-detect command that may have caused the problem and not just running lm-sensors. The only temps detected right now are the CPU through ACPI and the hard drive through Udisks. I can't remember the exact name of the applet because I'm not on that computer now. Do I even need lm-sensors? I'll try to get on that computer later (connected to the TV) and see what I can find out.
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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby dagon on Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:09 am

chris1379 wrote:So, if I understand correctly, it was the sensors-detect command that may have caused the problem and not just running lm-sensors.

Well, did the problem start after running sensors detect or after a reboot?
Yes. If it's the same problem. sensors-detect goes through several steps and prompts in between actions when it's about to do something that is "less secure". We all eventually press 'y' to all of those questions so you're in good(bad) company here...

The only temps detected right now are the CPU through ACPI and the hard drive through Udisks.

How do you monitor this without the screen?

Do I even need lm-sensors? I'll try to get on that computer later (connected to the TV) and see what I can find out.

It doesn't matter if it has written over a register. If that is the problem you can only fix this by rewriting that register with some good value.
I think the best thing for you would be to go to the source and try and ask at the lm-sensors mailing list.
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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby chris1379 on Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:01 am

I am going to get a replacement screen. My problem could be caused by just reading the EEPROM at boot. It's an older laptop and I really don't know how long it has sat dormant. I just want to be sure I don't ruin another screen. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby dagon on Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:05 pm

To me that sounds like a bigger job than to try and reverse whatever damage that's been done here. I'm not really qualified to guide you further but I think it would be worth it to ask the lm-sensors people about this. I don't think it would be that hard to find someone with the same laptop who could submit the data that you need to make it tick again.

Anyway, good luck! :wink:
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Re: Did Mint kill my laptop screen?

Postby chris1379 on Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:24 am

I just wanted to follow up on this. Dagon, replacing a laptop screen is not that hard if you're handy with small tools. It takes less than an hour on this machine. I am running Hardware Sensors Indicator by Alex Murray with no problems. I can see my CPU and hdd temps and that's enough for me. I still don't know what caused my problem but I would not scan anything with sensors-detect that has a caution message. I see there are hundreds of views on this post so if anyone else wants to add anything, it would be appreciated and might help someone else.
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