How to replace backlight lamp (CCFL)

posted in: Screen | 274

In this guide I will disassemble a laptop LCD screen in order to remove and replace the backlight lamp (CCFL).
Replacing the backlight lamp is not an easy task even for experienced technicians. If you do something wrong you will permanently damage the LCD screen and have to buy a new one. Proceed on your own risk and do not blame me. :)

Some recommendations before you start:
1. Work in a clean room. You don’t want dust and lint inside your LCD screen.
2. Make notes, so you know how to assemble your screen back.
3. Take pictures.
4. Before you remove something, take a closer look at the part and memorize how it is assembled.
5. When you are assembling the screen, remove dust and lint with compressed air. Do not use cloth.

The backlight lamp (CCFL) is located inside the LCD screen, so we are going to take it apart. In this article I’m not going to explain how to remove LCD from a laptop, it’s been covered before.

LCD screen with bad backlight lamp

Remove sticky tape and foil from the back of the screen and glue it somewhere so you can reuse it later, when you assemble the screen.

Remove tape

Removing tape from the backlight cables.

Release backlight lamp cables

On my screen the green circuit board was glued to the plastic frame with a double sided tape. Carefully unglue the circuit board. Be very careful, do not flex or bend the circuit board.

LCD circuit board

The circuit board has been unglued.

Remove circuit board

Place the LCD screen on the side and start removing the metal frame witch secures the LCD to the plastic frame. There will be many latches on all sides of the frame, you can unlock them with a small screwdriver.

Open latches

Continue separating the metal frame from the plastic base.

Separate LCD frame

On the following picture you can see that frame, LCD with the circuit board and screen base have been separated. Be careful, do not touch internal components with your fingers. Handle all internal components by the sides.

Remove LCD

Place the metal frame and LCD with the circuit board aside. You’ll need them only when you assemble everything back together.


There will be a few transparent layers inside. Carefully remove them from the screen base. Do not separate the layers, just put them aside together.

Transparent layers inside screen

Keep everything organized, so you have no trouble assembling the screen.

Set aside

Start removing the metal cover from the backlight lamp (CCFL).

Remove backlight cover

The backlight cover has been removed.

Backlight lamp cover

The backlight lamp (CCFL) cables are routed through small plastic hooks.

Backlight lamp cables

Unroute the backlight lamp cables.

Release backlight cables

Now probably the hardest part in this disassembly process – removing the backlight lamp and reflector. The backlight lamp is secured inside the reflector so you have to remove both and then separate them.
Before you remove the backlight lamp and reflector take a closer look how it’s assembled and mounted to the screen base. Fitting the backlight and reflector back in place could be a very challenging task.

Remove backlight lamp reflector

The reflector is glued to the screen base with a double sided tape.

Backlight reflector

After the reflector has been unattached from the screen base, you can start removing the backlight lamp. As you see on the picture, I marked the left side of the reflector with a red dot so I know where the red cable goes when I assemble everything back together.

Remove backlight lamp

The backlight lamp (CCFL) has been removed from the reflector.

Backlight CCFL lamp

In order to access the backlight lamp leads you’ll have to remove the rubber caps from both side of the lamp. I’m not sure if you can touch the backlight lamp with your fingers, so I would use rubber gloves.

Remove cover

Cabled on both sides of the backlight lamp are soldered to the backlight leads. In order to access the leads you’ll have to remove the black insulator on both side of the lamp.
Unsolder both cables from the old backlight lamp and solder them to a new one.

Cable soldered to backlight lamp

You can test the new backlight lamp (CCFL) before you install it back into the screen. Connect the backlight lamp into the inverter board and turn on the laptop. The backlight lamp should light up.
From my experience, on some laptops the backlight lamp will not light up until the video cable is connected to the LCD screen. In this case you’ll have to assemble the LCD screen and then test it.

Test backlight lamp

274 Responses

  1. I have a Macbook and formerly I wouldhave to play with the F1 and F2 buttons to get the screen light to come on. It came to a point where it did not work at all, but I could still see the dimly lit screen. I took it to a Apple Store and was told it was either the cable or motherboard. They checked the cable, and said it was fine, and wanted several hundred dollars to send out. I said no, and within a week the computer worked fine again for about 3 months. Just this week, again the problem resumed and now my child indicated she cannot even get it to show the dim screen. In the past, it seemed the tilting of the screen angle regulated whether the screen was lit up or not. If pushed to far back, it would turn off, and sometimes if the lid was shut, it would also turn off. Please explain re the tilt situation (seems a cable issue), and why now the board won’t light up (don’t have it presently – believe she said not even dim webpage showing) Thank you – high school student – really needs it urgently! Husband is computer wiz but does not know macs to fix.

  2. prasanna

    very very clear and excelent tutorial..
    thank u very much friend…

  3. Marvin,

    isit easy to find a replacement for ccfl is there a standard type of ccfl for laptop, in terms of voltages or sizes

    I could be wrong, but I think the most important is the CCFL lamp size.
    As a test lamp I use a 15″CCFL lamp I pulled from a cracked screen.
    With this lamp I’ve been testing all kinds of laptops with 13″ to 17″ screens. The test lamp worked fine with all those laptops.
    Just contact a seller when you are ready to buy and ask this question.

  4. isit easy to find a replacement for ccfl is there a standard type of ccfl for laptop, in terms of voltages or sizes

  5. Excellent tutorial, thx soo much…

  6. Kennethsf

    For the people with a screen that now fades from one side to the other:

    Inside the LCD assembly there is a very transparent plastic sheet that is thicker in one side than the other, the thicker side must go next to the lamp, that way it reflects and distributes the light from the lamp evenly across te back of the LCD panel: Make sure you put it back in the correct position (thicker side facing the lamp).


  7. Dale,

    If you checked all connections, I guess it’s not connection related problem.
    Unfortunately, it’s likely you damaged the LCD screen while replacing the backlight bulb.
    I think you’ll have to replace the screen. You can find a new one for about $80.

  8. I have a Dell 1505 and just changed the bulb. It is a difficult repair, but your video and instruction came in very handy. NOW It lights up but the screen isn’t working properly. It sort of looks like an illuminated picture frame, but you can’t see any icons, etc.. and when you move the mouse, you just see lines across the screen. Any advise? Was working fine until bulb went pink. I’m pretty sure that everything is back together correctly. I have removed, rechecked and reinstalled three times now. Still, I have the same problem. Your help is greatly appreciated!

  9. Thanks, Now I have an idea how to replace it.

  10. I did this on an ibm x60. (SAMSUNG LTN121XJ-L03) Luckly I already had the backlight CCFL from a smashed x40 lcd (also a 12.1″ samsung but a different model) Everything went well, The lcd came out nicer then some used lcds I have seen. Thanks for the tutorial it really helped me figure out how the screen came apart with out damaging anything.

Leave a Reply