DIY: LCD Backlight

Written by shoaib khan
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DIY: LCD Backlight
Replace your laptop's backlight lamp using standard tools. (Aaron Graubart/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A laptop's LCD panel uses a CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) backlight to display images onscreen. The backlight is a long, thin lamp mounted to a side of the screen and is powered by an inverter board, a small component attached to the base of the panel. In a laptop, the video card generates images and sends signals to the screen, which is then lit up by the backlight lamp. Over time, due to wear and tear, the backlight may become weak or damaged, resulting in various display problems including dimness and excessive flickering. Replacing the backlight is a cheaper alternative to installing a new screen and may be done with basic tools.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Product documentation
  • Ruler
  • Knife
  • Replacement backlight
  • Soldering iron

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  1. 1

    Power down the computer and remove its battery pack and AC power cord. Remove several small rubber tabs from the screen bezel---the plastic frame bordering the panel---to reveal the screws underneath. Pry the tabs loose with a box-cutter or a similar sharp tool. Once the tabs are off, undo all of the screws.

  2. 2

    Separate the bezel from its attachment to the laptop's back shell. Insert a ruler between the bezel and the screen and slowly tilt the ruler toward you to loosen the bezel. Use our fingers to detach the frame from all sides, manoeuvring to separate it completely. Pull the bezel away, to expose the LCD panel enclosed in a metal bracket.

  3. 3

    Release the LCD panel from the bracket used to hold the screen to the laptop's lid. Locate and undo screws from both sides of the screen to loosen it from the laptop. Once the screws are off, gently swing the screen forward and lay it down on the keyboard so that you can see the back of the screen. Place a soft cloth on the keyboard before resting the panel.

  4. 4

    Unplug the cable connecting the inverter board to the backlight in the LCD panel. The inverter board is affixed to the base of the screen and may be detached by undoing a single screw. Leave the inverter in place and gently remove the cable connecting it to the backlight, by pulling the plastic end of the cable away from the inverter.

  5. 5

    Disconnect the video cable. Identify a flat cable resembling a ribbon, taped to the back of the screen and detach it. You may have to undo sticky tape in order to unplug the cable. Carefully pull at the plastic head of the cable to release it from its connector on the back of the panel.

  6. 6

    Pick up the panel from the keyboard and rest it vertically against a support. Locate the housing for the backlight lamp mounted to a side of the panel. Refer to your product documentation for any model-specific instructions on detaching the backlight housing. In most laptops, you will have to undo small clips to release the housing.

  7. 7

    Uninstall the malfunctioning backlight. Remove the lamp by sliding or picking out and remove rubber caps from either end to access cable connections. With the caps off, disconnect cables from both ends of the lamp. The cables are soldered and you may have to chip away the solder using a knife. Once disconnected, the lamp is completely uninstalled and you can replace it with a new one.

  8. 8

    Install a replacement backlight lamp. Hold the lamp close to the cables and solder connections to either end. Once the cables are firmly connected, replace the rubber caps and insert the lamp back into the housing. Mount the housing to the screen and reassemble the laptop by reconnecting the cables that you had unplugged and installed in the screen.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to product documentation to understand your product's architecture.

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