Oldereyes and the Dark Screen

tab aI was slow to join the ranks of people using tablets like the ubiquitous iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.   I have a laptop, I said.   I have a Kindle.  I can do everything else on my phone.  Why would I need a tablet?   But as I became more connected to digital media like Facebook and online news, via my phone, I got the answer.  Size does matter.  I bought a 7 inch Nexus tablet and it became a constant companion.  When I bought a bluetooth keyboard it even replaced my laptop for many tasks.   When my Nexus died (the early models had quality problems) I bought a Samsung 7 inch tablet which has been a reliable friend.   Unfortunately, with age comes weakening vision … reading the news on the seven inch tablet became too much effort.   Last July I moved up to a Galaxy Tab A 10.1 inch which  I use for reading the morning news.

Saturday, I forgot to plug in the larger tablet into the charger.  I’ve done this many times with the 7 inch tablet.  If the battery wears down to the point that the tablet shuts down, I just plug it in for a few minutes and it starts right up.   Sunday, when I tried that with my Tab A … nada.   No charging screen when I plugged it in, not a sound … or a glimmer of light from the screen … when I tried to power it up.  Welcome to the Samsung Tablet Dark Screen Problem, a little flaw in many Samsung tablets that I discovered when I searched the internet with the query Galaxy Tablet won’t charge or start up.  Apparently, when the battery runs down completely, the motherboard (the main computer of the tablet) retains a slight charge that causes the problem.  Of course, Samsung is silent on the issue so we really don’t know.  But there was no shortage of possible solutions, some on tech websites and others scattered on various online forums.  These solutions ranged from the simple (charge it over night then hold the power button for one minute) to the complex (Remove the back !!!  Disconnect the battery.  Disconnect the ribbon cables to the screen and motherboard.  Wait ten minutes.  Put it back together, carefully).

Honest, I tried all the simple solutions before I took the big step of driving to our local electronics emporium to buy a tool to remove the back, a task that took about fifteen minutes and sounded as if I might be breaking something inside.   Inside, the tablet looked like this:

tab a inside

The ribbon cables looked fragile and were plugged into tiny little sockets, held in place with tape.   I removed each of them, wondering I’d ever be able to plug them in again.  Ten minutes later, I carefully reconnected the screen and motherboard cables and placed new tape to hold them.  I connected the battery cable, replaced the back and pressed the power button.   Nada again.  Shit.  At this point I told my wife, Muri, that I thought the tablet was dead.   You haven’t had it very long, she said.  It must be under warranty.  What I said was, I don’t think it’s still under warranty … I’ve had it quite a while.  But what I thought was, Oh, shit.  Opening the back voids the warranty.  I wonder how long I’ve had it?  I wonder how long the warranty is?  Answers:  Eight months.  One year.  Shit.  But with the warranty voided, I had nothing to lose.   I opened the tablet up again and repeated the procedure, being extra careful to seat the cables in their sockets.  When I plugged in the battery cable, the Galaxy Tab startup jingle sounded and when I turned it over, the screen was no longer dark.  All’s well, right?

When I told my wife Muri I’d fixed it, she said, You’re a genius.  It it a nice thought … and I can fix many things most people wouldn’t even try to repair … but I didn’t tell her about voiding the still valid warranty.   Until now.   Well, I’m a genius in some ways, right, My Love?  Right?


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2 Comments on “Oldereyes and the Dark Screen”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    You’re a better man than I. For sure, my first move would have been to get it fixed under warranty. Well done!

    • oldereyes Says:

      I’ve always found that fixing things is mostly a matter of being willing to say, “If that dufus in the YouTube video can do it, I can.” Most of the time, it’s true. But I should have considered the warranty.

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