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A2116 / 2019 / 3.6 GHz quad-core i3, 3.0 GHz 6-core i5, or 3.2 GHz 6-core i7 processor. Released March 19, 2019.

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Screen randomly goes black

One day, out of the blue, during a zoom call, my computer screen went black. I knew power didn't go out because my keyboard backlight was still on, and that was receiving power from the USB. I touched the spacebar after about 20 seconds and the screen came back to life, though I had to reconnect my zoom conversation. But then after about a minute, the screen went black again.

I tried restarting the machine, but even after a restart, the screen will go black after anywhere from ten seconds to a minute. Not sure what the problem is. I restarted in safe mode and went through some startup items getting rid of them, and that seemed to fix it for a day, but then it went back to blacking out, and it even blacks out in safe mode. Any ideas?

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1 Answer

If you get a black screen under Safe Mode that aims us to the display backlight logic or the display it’s self.

Was the system opened up at some point?

Using a flashlight in a dim room place it on the screen at an angle (a poor man’s backlight) see if you can see the faint image of your desktop. If you do that focuses us to the backlight logic within the main logic board and the connection to the display.

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7 Comments:

So a quick update: I installed anti-virus software and the problem seems to be gone... for now. I was concerned per your comment that it could be a hardware issue. The system was opened up once: I changed the storage disc because this computer came with an HD that was very slow, I upgraded it to an SSD, but that was years ago.

When I do get a black screen, I can wake the computer up and see the screen as normal with a touch of the spacebar. But when the problem happens, it may go black again after a minute. Would that still be a logic board issue?

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@nicholasromanin - Without testing as I described above there is no way to isolate the issue as being Eire a display or logic board issue.

I’m not sure how an antivirus app would have changed things here. Because it prevented your system going into sleep mode?

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Dan,

I tested it, and when the screen goes black, a flashlight does not reveal a faint desktop. My current thought is that the computer is overheating and entering a sleep mode. When I turn it back on with a spacebar, its as if it had been sleeping and I am at my Lock Screen, so I know that more is happening than just the screen going dark. The unit feels quite warm, and if I let it cool for a bit, the problem goes away. I am not sure how to resolve this though; perhaps a fan has failed, or there is dust accumulation somewhere? I am not sure yet.

Thank you for your comments, they are helpful, any further advice would be greatly appreciated.

Nicholas

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@nicholasromanin - OK, that might be a good clue! I think you need to run the onboard diagnostics to see if any errors pop. If not the we need to monitor the systems thermals using a good monitoring app like TG Pro see if the thermals are running high. Post a snapshot of the main window making sure you get all of the sensors as the list is long!

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Dan, I followed your advice, and there was no indication of any sort of error in the diagnostic test. I followed up by purchasing TG Pro, and just now I saw the temp spike on the Power Supply Secondary Heatsink. It would fluctuate massively, sometimes going down to the base level of 35 C, sometimes shooting up past 110 C. I manually raised the RPM of the fan, and that prevented a shutdown. I also had the activity monitor active while I had the TG Pro on. The power supply was shooting up in temp while using Zoom, which showed a consistent Energy Impact in the 40's. After I shut zoom down, the power supply temp went down.

Not sure if I should re-install zoom or what, but it is consistent with the past; I've seen the over heating happen almost exclusively while using zoom. The trouble is that I've used zoom on this computer for years, not sure why it is a problem now. Maybe it is a problem with the updated version of zoom.

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