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T30 Backlight

T20-T23 Series and T30 specific matters only. NOT for T25-Retro.
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T30 Backlight

#1 Post by MaxAwesomenessGB » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:33 pm

[*]My father didn't go to college until 2002 when he was 36. His campus gave each student a (at the time) $2150 laptop included with tuition, the IBM Thinkpad T30. Now, 15 years later, I am 17 and will soon be going to college. I think I am going to bring his laptop to collage with me because it is Sentimental and I just need a laptop that can run Word.

Anyways, so here is my problem. My IBM Thinkpad T30 backlight is all wonkey. The backlight would just turn off randomly, and later snap back on. At first, I thought it was that little button they use instead of a magnet to detect if the lid was shut. I was so annoyed I went as far as to remove it figuring it was busted, but it continues to have the problem. Is it the inverter, the motherboard, or the screen?

Any help is appreciated

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Re: T30 Backlight

#2 Post by rkawakami » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:18 pm

Welcome to thinkpads.com!

Intermittent/flickering backlight, aka CCFL, on a system as old as a T30, most likely is due to a bad bulb. If the wonky lighting is also accompanied by a pink/reddish tint, then definitely that's the answer. Although it is possible to swap out the backlight, I'd recommend getting a replacement screen (or complete lid assembly) given that you have some guarantee that the 'new' screen is functioning correctly.

You can use the instructions from the T30 Hardware Maintenance Manual (HMM) found here:


(An index to most of the Thinkpad systems can be found at the top of each one of these fourm's page named "HMM".) A lesser chance is that you have a marginal inverter but based on past experience, the inverter will either work 100% or not at all.

Given all this, I also would not recommend relying upon a 15 year old laptop that can barely run Windows XP today (with all of the latest patches), never mind an OS that is still being supported by MSFT. For a college student that needs a laptop they can easily carry around (not the 6 pounds of a T30) and that has several hours (~5) worth of runtime, I'd suggest a good used X300 or X301 with a 6-cell battery running Windows 7.
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Re: T30 Backlight

#3 Post by kfzhu1229 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:21 pm

If you want to restore that T30, I also have two XGA panels that are exactly identical to the part number of your current XGA panel both with 100% working backlight and semi-working overall.
1: from a ThinkPad T22, with a terribly yellowed display and a lot of dead pixels but otherwise working $5 + shipping
2: from a ThinkPad A30, with a bit yellowed display, minimal dead pixels, but is dying with more and more horizontal lines forming (I am pretty sure the number of horizontal lines is now enough for it to be useless unless you pry it to an angle). At the cost of shipping
Both options are great if you want a working CCFL bulb out of it.
PM if interested.
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
2xT43 14.1" 2.26 SXGA+ 2gb 1*fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
Flexview UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10

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