Dell Laptop CCFL

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I'm considering an attempt to fix a failing backlight for an old Dell Laptop.  Symptom is that the backlight doesn't stay on.  It will turn on momentarily, ranging from a fraction of a second to several seconds, when the lid switch is pressed and released.  I don't think the switch is at fault.  Same results when using software to turn off/on the backlight.

 

The backlight is CCFL.  The display itself is Dell part number Y0316, a "LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY, Wide Extended Graphics Array, NO-SPWG, 15.4, SAMSUNG".  Here's a link to what may or may not be the original manufacturer part:

http://www.parts-people.com/index.php?action=item&id=3383

 

Any advice before I dive in?  My suspicion of course is that the inverter has had it.  Another possibility is that the CCFL tube(s) has had the biscuit.  If it's the inverter, is there a possibility of repairing it instead of replacing it?  If so, what should I look for?  A cranky cap somewhere?

 

I had originally considered using this busted backlight as motivation to replace the CCFL with LEDs, and I may yet do that.  However I'd like to at least give a simpler repair a chance before a complete refit.

 

No, the machine it's in is not worth the effort.  This is more of a "I wonder if I can" project.

 

Thanks for any feedback.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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I had a failing inverter where the HV transformer managed to pull one of its legs out of the solder. Hard to find, easy to fix.

 

Most of the time, the CCFLs wear out and need replacement. The good news is that your laptop is a Dell. Search aliexpress.com for a replacement. I found the transformers for a Philips LCD TV there ..... and it still works. For 25% of the local price.

 

Making it run with Led must be fun. But it will take a lot of time. Most of which is mechanically.

 

Enjoy !

 

Nard

A GIF is worth a thousend words   She is called Sylvia (2018), lives at Mint18.3 https://www.linuxmint.com/

Dragon broken ? http://aplomb.nl/TechStuff/Dragon/Dragon.html for how-to-fix tips

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Plons wrote:

I had a failing inverter where the HV transformer managed to pull one of its legs out of the solder. Hard to find, easy to fix.

 

Most of the time, the CCFLs wear out and need replacement. The good news is that your laptop is a Dell. Search aliexpress.com for a replacement. I found the transformers for a Philips LCD TV there ..... and it still works. For 25% of the local price.

 

Making it run with Led must be fun. But it will take a lot of time. Most of which is on the mechanics.

 

Enjoy !

 

Nard

A GIF is worth a thousend words   She is called Sylvia (2018), lives at Mint18.3 https://www.linuxmint.com/

Dragon broken ? http://aplomb.nl/TechStuff/Dragon/Dragon.html for how-to-fix tips

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I was given an old Dell laptop because it didn't work.  Just by looking at the power/sleep and hard drive lights, I could tell it was running fine.

 

I took the screen apart and found the wire attached to the right end of the CCFL was broken.  Fixing that was easy.  The hard part was taking it apart and putting it back together.  After accomplishing that, I think doing open heart surgery would be a walk in the park.

 

I found the cause too.  There are six small screws holding the bezel to the lid.  They are covered up with rubber plugs.  The 4 across the top aren't a problem.  It was the one at the lower right that worked its way loose.  I suppose the one on the lower left could do this too.  The hinge is stiff on purpose.  Opening and closing the lid causes a high stress at the lower right and left of the bezel.  Removing the rubber plug showed the screw had fallen out completely but was unseen behind the plug.  When raising and lowering the lid, a crack would open up between the bezel and lid near the bottom.  I'm thinking that motion caused the solid wire to break where it was soldered to the CCFL.  Tightening all the screws fixed that problem.

 

This came with XP installed and had a small inefficient hard drive.  I put a bigger and more efficient hard drive in it.  I used a WD 500GB laptop (2.5 inch) drive, or maybe it was 750GB.

 

I installed Win7 on it.  It installed easily and everything worked.  The only things that didn't work were a couple of slots along the left edge for plugging in various flash memory cards.

Last Edited: Mon. Feb 1, 2016 - 11:42 PM
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Funny you should mention stiff hinges.  I recently redeployed this laptop after a long period of non-use.  I found that the hinges were so stiff, that I feared for their eventual destruction.  I removed the display, removed the bezel, and finally the hinges.  A little bit of lubricant and some elbow grease, and they were behaving with a more appropriate (i.e. less) stiffness.  I popped everything back together, installed Ubuntu 10.04LTS (That's the latest which works on this poor wee 1.4 GHz Pentium M, lacking PAE.  Will likely install straight Debian in the future).  It's just a spare machine I keep kicking around.  Mostly unused, I keep it on, sitting on the shelf, running BOINC.

 

Anyway, that was about two months ago.  I never noticed a problem with the screen.  About a month later I picked it up one day and found that the screen was cranky as described, but not quite so bad i.e. would stay on for minutes or hours.  Now it is seconds or less.  I wonder if, when I refurbished the hinges, I messed something up while reassembling...

 

Most of the time, the CCFLs wear out and need replacement.

Yeah, that's what I'm expecting, too.  Would be nice if it's just a broken wire or bad cap.

 

Anyway, I'll have a look at it in the coming days/weeks and let you know.  If there are any other ideas, I'm all ears.

 

Thanks!

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 2, 2016 - 12:16 AM
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I also tried to remove some of the stiffness of the hinges.  As I recall, there was something that rubbed on the hinge pin so the lid would stay in position.  I guess I cleaned it and put a small amount of grease or oil on it.

 

I didn't redeploy anything.  The laptop sits on a shelf, collecting dust.

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I have a 2005 Acer Travelmate4000 running Puppy Linux Tahr, non PAE, Centrino 1.5GHz.

Fast, neat, sweet, .... I am fond of Puppy('s)

 

Recently we discussed Synergy in the OffTopic. I got me a licence and run that old laptop next to the dual screen working horse.

I use Pup mostly as terminal or PDF viewer, using mouse and keyboard of the work horse to control it.

Three screens is great. Four is better devil

 

Nard

A GIF is worth a thousend words   She is called Sylvia (2018), lives at Mint18.3 https://www.linuxmint.com/

Dragon broken ? http://aplomb.nl/TechStuff/Dragon/Dragon.html for how-to-fix tips