Picture of A (very) Simple LCD Backlight Fix
Fix any broken LCD backlight with an ordinary light bulb and a dead CRT monitor.

Broken LCD monitors basically come in three categories:
1) Cracked LCD panel, rendering the unit completely worthless
2) Backlight problem
3) Power supply problem

If it's a backlight or power supply problem, it can be fixed.
Usually, the problem stems from the high voltage inverter circuitry, either bad power transistors, capacitors, or thermal stress on the circuit board leading to broken solder joints.
But fixing these problems can often be a short term solution. The bulbs themselves have a limited lifespan, and the high voltage power supplies are prone to failure.
The panels themselves almost always outlive the backlights and high voltage power supplies.
The 17" Dell LCD monitor I found was no exception. When I first plugged it in, it would cycle power on and off continuously, with a notable burning smell. Further inspection revealed a fried power transistor. When i replaced it, the monitor stayed on, but the backlight would flicker on and off, then finally shut off after a few seconds..
The panel was good, but trying to fix the backlight with the proper parts wasn't really worth it.

But maybe I could still save it, or even make it better. After all, it's just a light. Lights should be user-replaceable things anyway.
I mean, a Lite-Brite was the cheapest toy, yet you could at least change the bulb.
So here's the result of my experiment, with help from an old CRT monitor:

Step 1: Go to trash, locate a CRT monitor

Picture of Go to trash, locate a CRT monitor
Take a CRT monitor, remove the guts and dispose, keeping just the shell and monitor stand.

Install a light bulb socket about 1/2 way back. I used switching socket from an old lamp.
(for the bulb, I used a 60w-equivalent "daylight"/6500k CFL bulb. It has a blueish glow to it. )
1-40 of 64Next »
TimS41 year ago

and this shows just how TERRIBLE CFL bulbs are - way **WAY** too much green.

Incandescent is the best.

daved8 TimS46 months ago

you can buy "warm" cfl bulbs

RedIrishman6 months ago

This is so ghetto. lol No offense. Great idea! I guess you could use any box with heat ventilation to keep the bulb cool and not light up the whole room.

tagh8 months ago

Cool fix. Now to find a widescreen CRT...

Shomen1 year ago
74LS3742 years ago
I likes this idea... simple and cheap...
RetroPlayer4 years ago
I don't mean to be a spolisport, but... why? The whole point of an LCD monitor is that it is thin and saves on desk space. You just made it as big as a CRT monitor, out of a CRT monitor. Why not just use the CRT monitor instead?

::Blank Stare::
One functioning screen is better than two dead ones. CCFL bulbs bought from a reputable place can cost upwards of $70. I'm going to try to wire an LED array to get a screen of mine working. If that doesn't work, I may do this. SO MUCH potential in a dead screen.
The new bulb will cost about $10, $70 was the LED substitute for the cold florescent, but I still wouldn't install one. I don't even like taking them out. I ended up buying a foot of white LEDs from a novelty lighting site for about $8 and it works great. Right now I'm powering the back-light separately with an un-used plug from my computer's power unit.
outbackshaq4 years ago
I wonder what would happen if you had a plexiglass panel and drilled holes on the edges. then in those holes you place superbright white leds, then on one side of the panel you put a tinfoil sheet. would that make an even light? because the leds arnt facing the screen. you could also sand down the frotn of the panel to make it less clear
gana_anaq24 years ago
Great idea ! For a better illumination try to use fluorescent bulbs ( the old ones like tubes) and in front of them put a laminating foil unheated. This is a mate surface and it will make the light to distribute uniformly. The led solution is not good because the led is omnidirectional, and you will see the spot where the led is.
For an estetic look try try to put 12mm fluorescent bulbs ( like in emergency light {EXIT} ) inside the original case, and the inverter for that lamps put it with wire in a separatly box :)
put a mirror inside the crt-case ;) oh...and use an AC variator for the bulb ;) if you wanna change the luminosity ;)
cyberraxx5 years ago
Nice one. I May be able to get hold of an LCD with dead back light. I wasn't too sure about how to go about reviving it. May try using supa-bright LEDS for back light and some sort of diffuser.
nessimmax5 years ago
very nice : )
motogen5 years ago
i only have the sme thing as same as the finish one aove,but when i turned on the power seems like nothings happened,i know there somethin i didnt door something wrong i did please advice thanks
motogen5 years ago
please tell me what to do im really having a hard time working on this and i  still cant get it right,ive been doin this for 3 dys now and still im ariving at the same situation
motogen5 years ago
im doing the sme project as you did right now,i have 3 thin paper like  pastics 2 are identical and one with a border,should i leave them and taking out only the fiter like  glass and a white one?when im done working on it i have no display,the power is  on and it has a indicator telling the monitor i turned on,is there anything you cn advise thanks
motogen5 years ago
i do the same thing as you did,i have a power my  screen goes white as same as the photos  on yours but i still dont have a display,everytime i turn it on,all i have is a white glowing screen,i havent connected the cpu yet,any second opinion if  there's something wrong on what i did,i have no display please reply thanks
animal03075 years ago
Use an LED light bulb. With cut down on the heat some, be more efficient and brighter.
hjartland5 years ago

Announcing the lightest CRT ( ish ) monitor ever! :P

Have you thought of a strobe? ( NOT for epileptics )
Doddity5 years ago
that looks brilliant. not only does it fix a monitor it gives it a retro-type look and a cool lighting effect. Would it be possible to put coloured perspex over the side vents to make it blue or something?
nice instructable. but would it be easier to put an led array behind the screen so it would be thinner?
 Very Nice.

enderak5 years ago
new lcd screen is lightning spread :) use silicone  or same 
Arbitror5 years ago
Wow! Not only does it function fully, it looks cool too!
PKM7 years ago
Genius! I can't believe I never thought of that, the number of dead LCDs I've dealt with. It looks pretty cool as well... you're right, all monitors should glow out of the vents. Just one comment- the diffusers on LCD screens tend to be more diffusing in the middle and less diffusing at the edges right next to the backlights to even out the illumination. This will possibly exacerbate the hotspotting, so you could investigate using two bulbs at the back corners of the CRT housing rather than one... (ponders doing this with backlightless laptop and broken monitor to make clamshell emac-style all-in-one computer)
bchafy (author)  PKM7 years ago
Thanks for the tip. I was also thinking that It may be possible to somehow channel natural sunlight through the LCD via some kind of duct, like a home tubular skylight duct. It may look strange, but a "solar" LCD backlight would probably work without much problem.
How about using fiber optics to pipe the sunlight to LCD, or use other lighting source, just a thought.
munchman PKM6 years ago
You know, I have a backlightless laptop and was just thinking that. Also, to bchafy, great instructable!
whatsisface PKM7 years ago
I already had dibs on that idea. Feel free to steal it. Just make sure it's called the iWin.
PKM whatsisface7 years ago
You have yourself a deal. My broken laptop is 250 miles away and I'm probably not going that way until Christmas, though. Well, it'll make a nice winter project.
bill20095 years ago
that's great - thanks for the idea and how-to.
ac1D5 years ago
may I ask you what game is it?
cornboy3 ac1D5 years ago
Lego Indiana Jones it looks like
ppatches245 years ago
dude so smart i live near a collage and there is a dump area for old computer stuff and there were two really good monitors but the back lights were broken and i do not want to pay for them i am doing this :))))

I am so happy i can use them now

Sweet job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aloys5 years ago
Am I the only one who sees the steampunk potential here? A nice brass frame and a few candles or an oil lamp...   Wouldn't be very practical of course, but it would look amazing.
Skor4595 years ago
 That is so ghetto.
The ambient lighting in the last picture is pretty cool though, something people would probably pay extra for on a store-bought monitor.
Voodoo66666 years ago
cool Instructable! recycling... On the last picture ,is this a Dell d400 ? Sorry for my bad English I'm from Germany
What bad english? ;D
I agree, compared to all of the "text talk" and slang people use today you seem to have a solid grasp of the language.
1-40 of 64Next »