Bad inverter or CCFL

Posted on 2008-11-15
Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Hello Experts,

I have an Acer Travelmate 8100 Series laptop which is a little over 2 years old and until recently it's given me little problems but as the title suggests about a month ago my LCD screen started to flicker and after a few seconds of doing that it will go black and the only way to get the screen back up again is to use the Fn+F6 keys to turn the LCD backlight off and then back on again but this only works for a few seconds and then the problem returns.

If I take a flashlight and shine it on the screen I can see the screen faintly and if I route the video output to an external monitor everything is fine.

Here is some additional information which may be helpful in narrowing down the problem.

AC or DC power, both produce the same results.

Tilting the screen does not haven any effect (either good or bad)

I have checked and reseated all the connections that I could find that go to the screen just to make sure it was not a bad connection and that did not fix the problem.

If I adjust the brightness level on the screen so that it's at it's lowest setting I am able to view the screen for a longer period of time (approx 10 mins) but it's constantly flickering like a strobe light the entire time, and eventually the screen will go black. If I set the brightness level to the highest setting the flicker goes away entirely but the screen only stays on for approx 2-3 seconds then goes black again. Setting the brightness in the middle range yields expected results (flicker is still there but not as bad, but screen only stays on for approx 3-5 mins)

From what I can tell the color and tenting on the screen is fine. (ie. orange looks orange, red looks red, white looks white, etc ...)

Finally, I just wanted to say I do not have access to any multimeters or test lamps or things of that sort  so I am hoping the description alone is enough to narrow down the problem so that I don't waste money on parts that I do not need and I thank you for your time and replies in advance.

Question by:ezpete
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    The inverter is most likely the problem as it would be either on or off. The symptoms for a CCFL failure would be a dimming over time and even tinting of a reddish nature.

    Author Comment

    that is what I thought as well but what I don't understand is why does adjusting the brightness levels have to do with the inverter. I mean it's as you stated it's either on or it's off there is no in between so again my question is why does lowering the brightness level keep the screen on longer (albeit flickering beyond belief) and turning the brightness all the way up cause the screen to immediately go black.

    Also why does turning the backlight off/on bring the screen back on again, does it act like a reset for the inverter or something.

    Also, besides the inverter, CCFL'S, cables,  what else might cause this behavior ?

    LVL 32

    Accepted Solution

    The inverter is the power source for the CCFL and its also the dimmer switch so to speak when you control the brightness. Depending on where the inverter is weakening, the amount of power at full brightness is going to heat up the inverter components that much faster. That  heat is what probably causes the inverter to give out.
    Less power(dimmer) doesn't create the heat as quickly.

    Author Closing Comment

    Sounds logical to me I will grab an inverter off of ebay and hope for the best. Thx for the replies sparkmaker

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