Wednesday, November 10, 2010

VAIO inverter surgery

My Sony VAIO (VGN-FS710/W) gave up the ghost last month. The screen went dark, and it emitted some screechy noises.  I figured what a hardware service call would likely cost, and I decided I quickly needed a new laptop to support my work at ARRL and other things. So I sprang for a new inexpensive Toshiba (Satellite L6460), which did not cost much more than that hypothetical service call.

Now, after my computing situation has stabilized, I had a chance to open up the VAIO to see what could be done.  There were some helpful disassembly hints on the Internet, and they were essential to avoid breaking things.  The culprit almost leaped out at me.  It's the tiny inverter card (above) that makes high voltage to run the fluorescent LCD back light.  The Internet (again) seems to be saying this is a frequent source of problems.  The HV rectifier was charred and broken, so obviously this was the problem.  It's a $50 part, and I hope replacing it will solve the problem.

I suppose there's a moral here.  I could have saved money, but incurred opportunity cost and risk, if I simply repaired the VAIO.  I'm happy to have a new, more powerful laptop. Still, the VAIO is handy because it has some critical features (like Firewire) that make it very useful for some of my work.

Update (11/12/2010): Thanks to, I have a new inverter, and the VAIO is back in operation!
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