laptop lcd turns bloody red (part 0)

… then pitch black.

This is part of the laptop backlight repair documentation.

So a few months ago, my 4-year-old Dell laptop screen started getting a red hue when the screen first got turned on. It happens to be the first sign of CCFL failure — failure of the fluorescent backlight that is the light source for the screen. The second symptom soon after was the backlight going off by itself, especially when light level was set high. You can stall this process somewhat by lowering the light level but eventually the backlight will go off so frequently that the only choice is replacement.

Indeed, this was the third thing to fail on this laptop. Unfortunately, unlike the success of repairing hard disk failure and mechanical issues with the CD drive, this issue didn’t get resolved to full satisfaction, but it was amusingly educational nonetheless.

While considering my options, I got this program called “Turn Off LCD”. This is to turn the backlight back on when it goes off, without a reboot. You see, the backlight going off doesn’t mean the screen is off; the computer still thinks the screen is on and the liquid-crystal color filter is in fact still on. The backlight, being a fluorescent light, needs a startup current, so turning off the screen allows the computer to initiate the screen-start sequence again so the backlight can be turned back on.

To get the repair going, there are really 3 options ranked by expense. The whole laptop could be replaced, but that’s exceedingly wasteful. The entire screen portion could be replaced at a cost of about $120+, which is a tough call because, though it presents the easiest installation, one concern is the CCFL that comes with those machine-salvaged replacements tend to be old albeit working, so perhaps not a great choice. Eventually I found a CCFL of the right size on eBay for about $10+ and decided to just replace that. It’ll be like lab work, no big deal, right?

On to Part 1.


  1. November 20th, 2008 | 21:51

    [...] Back to the beginning. November 17th 2008 Posted to Uncategorized [...]

  2. April 29th, 2014 | 8:49

    got same problem, my laptop lcd turns bloody red , try to fin the sollution, thxc

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