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Thread: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

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    Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Hi, I have Xubuntu 9.04 installed on a very old Gateway 400SD4 (I think that's what it's called), and every time that I turn the laptop on, the screen's brightness flickers from low to high and high to low, and I hear this clicking sound coming from outside the computer. I don't know what the problem is, but it is very annoying. Whenever I look at the battery charge indicator light on the laptop, sometimes it flashes red and sometimes it stays orange or green, but it also disappears sometimes. I think that the flickering and the clicking has to do with my battery rapidly going from charging to discharging and vice versa, but I am not sure. Any thoughts on what could be happening? I'd be very appreciative if I could get the problem fixed.

    God bless,
    Vince Lupe

  2. #2
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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Sounds like a pretty obvious hardware problem. Could be a loose DC jack, failing AC adapter, or some internal power issues. I'll go over them breifly...

    Loose DC Jack. Where the AC adpater plugs into the laptop. Sometimes the connection to the motherboard gets broken or loosened up. It can happen from tripping over the power cord, or just using the laptop so many times that it eventually wears out. This can cause issues like this.

    Failing AC adapter. If your AC adapter is starting to go out you might hear random high pitched noises, squeeks, or humms. The AC adapter may randomly not be able to provide enough power to the laptop which can cause issues like this.

    Internal power issues. If your motherboard is failing you can have random power issues. Generally it doesn't take long for total failure to happen if this is the case.

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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Stang View Post
    Sounds like a pretty obvious hardware problem. Could be a loose DC jack, failing AC adapter, or some internal power issues. I'll go over them breifly...

    Loose DC Jack. Where the AC adpater plugs into the laptop. Sometimes the connection to the motherboard gets broken or loosened up. It can happen from tripping over the power cord, or just using the laptop so many times that it eventually wears out. This can cause issues like this.

    Failing AC adapter. If your AC adapter is starting to go out you might hear random high pitched noises, squeeks, or humms. The AC adapter may randomly not be able to provide enough power to the laptop which can cause issues like this.

    Internal power issues. If your motherboard is failing you can have random power issues. Generally it doesn't take long for total failure to happen if this is the case.
    I'm trying to use my mother's Toshiba AC adapter to charge my computer now, and so far there has been no problems. Are you sure that it's an internal problem or a hardware problem - because I am thinking that it has something to do with gnome-power-manager, but then again, I may be wrong... could that be a possible issue? My computer has been acting this way ever since I tried to use Compiz, Emerald, and Avant Window Navigator, which caused problems - so I had to remove them.

  4. #4
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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    So it's working fine on her AC adpater but not on yours, correct?

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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Stang View Post
    So it's working fine on her AC adpater but not on yours, correct?
    Yeah... itś so confusing and mysterious... I don know whatś going on. The thing is, I think she has the same voltage input and output as my adapter too. I am currently in the process of updating to Karmic Koala, but do you think it´s a Linux OS problem or something?

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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Quote Originally Posted by vince.lupe View Post
    Yeah... itś so confusing and mysterious... I don know whatś going on. The thing is, I think she has the same voltage input and output as my adapter too. I am currently in the process of updating to Karmic Koala, but do you think it´s a Linux OS problem or something?
    Logic would say you have a bad ac adapter.

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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Stang View Post
    Logic would say you have a bad ac adapter.
    Well, maybe so - but, didn't you say that if it is the AC adapter, then I would "hear random high pitched noises, squeeks, or humms?" If it is the case that my AC adapter is bad, then I'm just gonna have to get a new laptop - becuase I am having so much problems with it being compatible with Ubuntu.

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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Quote Originally Posted by vince.lupe View Post
    Well, maybe so - but, didn't you say that if it is the AC adapter, then I would "hear random high pitched noises, squeeks, or humms?" If it is the case that my AC adapter is bad, then I'm just gonna have to get a new laptop - becuase I am having so much problems with it being compatible with Ubuntu.
    I said you MIGHT here those noises. Whether or not you hear them depends on two things. First, if the device is producing them. Second, if you can hear them. Most people over the age of 20 can't hear the noises. I, for some reason, still can at the age of 21. I cringe every time I hear a device making a noise that high pitched.

    If your AC adapter is bad you can just get a new one from the manufacturer. Usually they're sold for less than $70 + shipping from the manufacturer. Or you can get a universal from a store, they are usually more expensive though.

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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Stang View Post
    I said you MIGHT here those noises. Whether or not you hear them depends on two things. First, if the device is producing them. Second, if you can hear them. Most people over the age of 20 can't hear the noises. I, for some reason, still can at the age of 21. I cringe every time I hear a device making a noise that high pitched.

    If your AC adapter is bad you can just get a new one from the manufacturer. Usually they're sold for less than $70 + shipping from the manufacturer. Or you can get a universal from a store, they are usually more expensive though.
    Thank you, Dark. I once thought you were mocking me for stupidity when you made the comment about not being able to hear high pitched noises, but I quickly dismissed that motion. Forgive me. I'll have to either buy a new adapter, or I might just get a new computer. The latter idea would be better because the laptop that I have is so old. I actually am thinking about getting an iTouch with an external wireless keyboard. The apps that I can get will allow me to do university related course-work without having a big, bulky, expensive computer at my side. I wonder if I can set-up a wireless printer to work with it?

  10. #10
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    Re: Gateway 400SD4: Screen Brightness Flickers and Laptop Clicks

    As someone who has ubuntu on a gateway laptop and is dual booting with windows vista, I can truly say without a doubt that these problems are not due to the adapter. I get the flashing between bright and dark (due to it thinking the charger is being unplugged and plugged in). Also the battery will eventually run down to nothing. In windows vista there are no such charging problems. I'd say the charging control in ubuntu is having problems. Of course that doesnt solve any problems. If someone else has a solution i could use it.

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