How to replace backlight lamp (CCFL)

posted in: Screen | 272

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.

LCD

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


272 Responses

  1. Jim,

    That heat shrink tubing did the trick! Thanks so much for your tip. It enabled me to repair my LCD screen with a new $8.00 back light bulb instead of hundreds of dollars for a new LCD screen.

  2. If you are talking about the black rubber booties, that is simply heat shrink tubing which you can buy at an electronics store, or a home improvent store.

  3. I have a Toshiba 5205-S503 with a LCD backlight bulb that out. I attempted to replace the BLB but I basically destroyed those little rubber connectors that cover the solder connections. I attempted to cover the solder connections with one wrap of black electrical tape and reinstalled. The monitor worked beautifullly for about 20 seconds, then there was a high pitched sound and the monitor went out again. I figure maybe it the connecting wires got shorted. I have an extra back light bulb. Any suggestions for how to reinstall without those tiny little rubber booties? Thanks!

  4. $p!k¥

    hi, i dropped my asus f3sc and it broke at the hinge. i was too stubborn and continued to use it till one day, the grease dried up cos it had been exposed to the open air for far too long, then when i was opening my notebook, a couple of the wires connecting the LCD to the base came out and i lost my screen… just the backlight because the webcam still works. i can still see images when i turn it on but i have to tilt it towards light… cant do any bios operations anymore, etc. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP ME>>> I NEED HEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLPPPPPPP. how do i fix it???????

  5. sharky

    I have replaced both an inverter and the screen with a working backlight, still see a dim screen. Spent hours stripping the laptop and checking for any lose cables to no avail. Anyone any ideas?
    PACKARD BELL E6310? My only guess could be the inverter which i bought of ebay is faulty or the videocable is faulty or even the motherboard….please help anyone

  6. Jason

    Hi, I just got a free laptop that isn;t working, it boots and runs fine with external monitor, but the laptop monitor remains dark and there is a LOT of heat where the LCD cable plugs into the motherboard. The screen flickers once when initially powered on and thats it. Bought a new LCD cable, and it does the same thing. Does this sound like a backlight, LCD inverter, or a motherboard problem?

    Thanks for your help and the great article!

  7. I am interested in replacing my 15.4″ WXGA with any of the following: WSXGA, WXGA+ or WUXGA

    my question is, are lcd connections to the inverter and the motherboard standardized? are the lcd panels themselves standardized as well, i.e. are all 15.4″ laptop panels created with equal dimensions?

  8. cj2600

    M Neher,
    No, this is not a driver related problem. This problem could be related to the backlight lamp, video cable or motherboard.
    Check out this post: Troubleshooting laptop with backlight failure
    You may find some useful information in there.

    By the way, you can find a new backlight on ebay for around $15. You can find one with wires already attached to it, so you can plug it into the inverter and test before you open up the LCD screen.

  9. M Neher

    I just replaced the inverter and still have the dark screen, very faint image. Before I tackle the backlight replacement I have a quick question, I bought the laptop as a gift and immediately had to wipe Vista and installed Windows XP, could I be having a driver related problem? The screen went dark just a couple of months after I changed the OS.

  10. I have replaced the inverter with its own cables not the video cable. I meant the inverter board and the cables that go into the inverter.

    When I replaced the LCD, unfortunately I purchased the wrong model but it did still work. the cables weren’t the same as in the new lcd but the screen did show that black screen again.

    I haven’t tried to change the video cable itself. Now it is the turn to replace the CCFL tube but it looks complicated. And after you said it may be the motherboard, I even thought that it is not worth the time I put into repairing it. I should have just sold the damn thing and got a new cheap laptop. well, well…we’ll see if I can do this tube replacement..

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