Any chance that "squeal/buzzing" was coming from the AC brick? Does it get hot?
i did notice the AC brick making a slight 'crackling' sound intermittently, but yes it does get pretty hot. Whether plugged in or not though, the screen remains very dimmed, half-brightness at best. Trying to hunt down a replacement Inverter (at least that's what I'm thinking is failing) but the part seems discontinued
suggestions on an alternative/equivalent inverter board for the 1710 Acer Aspire, if this indeed is the prob?
Try Google Acer Aspire 1710 inverter
If that doesn't find anything I wouldn't be able to locate one either.
You could try and find a Acer Apire 1700/1710 repair and service manual that would list the part numbers and search on that as well.
curious why you asked about the heated AC brick though... do the irregular 'crackling' sounds mean that it could be failing as well? and does a faulty one have anything to do with shortening the life of the inverter or screen? appreciate any feedback
Bricks can do bad. Although it's perfectly normal for them to warm up, even get hot.
They're converting the AC current into DC that the laptop needs.
If you're still hearing the noise you mention running on battery you're ruled out the brick.
Not long ago someone else had a somewhat similar issue and it was his brick which he always used and kept directly behind his laptop.
UPDATE: couldn't find an inverter for the Acer Aspire 1710 anywhere as it's discontinued; what i did find would be international and as high as $165! and it wouldn't even say specifically their part would be 100% compatible but rather leave their descriptions vague; plus some of the websites i found offering the part just seemed sketchy
tried ebay and found one for approx. $53 incl. shipping to the US coming from UK; now since i wasn't completely sure it was the inverter giving me probs with the dimmed screen in the first place, i was pretty wary, but decided to order the part and give it a go anyway
the part arrived today (about a week less than the 2 weeks estimated delivery) and luckily the manual showing how to dissect the Acer 1710 is available online; and while replacing the old inverter with the new one was a bit of a delicate process, it's not rocket science either and was easy enough to do myself with a little patience and careful attention
low and behold i write you from said newly working laptop and the screen is uber bright! actually more so than i remember; i guess the inverter had been burning out gradually and come to think of it, i do remember my screen progressively looking dark or muddy til that one day its brightness dropped extremely and started making that high-pitched squealing. so, ultimately, "yes" it was the inverter that went sour