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R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

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nfraser01
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R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#1 Post by nfraser01 » Mon Aug 22, 2022 12:19 pm

Hi All

I've got an R51 that is busted - looks like it was dropped at some point. There are several things I can live with for the moment - for example one display clasp is missing/broken off and the screen hinge on the left hand side is loose due to a cracked lower case. However the biggest issue is the backlight which comes on for a few seconds at boot and then goes off. The laptop still works and shows a boot screen if I attach an external monitor. There's no hard drive, so I don't know if there are any motherboard issues as well at this point, but it looks OK.

I'd like to get it working as best it is able (i.e avoid going top landfill). Is it likely to be a backlight inverter issue? Or the backlight itself? The screen doesn't flicker when moving the screen so I don't think it's a cable/connector issue.

I potentially have access to a spare/broken R51e - can I use that model's inverter or backlight and swap them over?

A further complication is that niether the R51 or the R51e's 7 digit model numbers are in the ThinkPad Withrawal Book so it's hard to sure exactly what spec they are (which would presumably help)

My preferred option at this time would be to take the whole screen assembly from the R51e and put it on the R51, changing the front bezel so it still reads R51. Is that possible? The status lights might be different though?

Thoughts?

Neil

nfraser01
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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#2 Post by nfraser01 » Mon Sep 12, 2022 7:20 am

Updates: The R51e was no longer available. I ordered a new inverter board which arrived today, but after replacing it the probelms persists - the back lighht comes on for a few seconds and then turns off again. Screen otherwise working as expected (I can just see a feint IBM logo etc).

I'm going to try and source a backlight, but any opther suggestions before I spend money going down the wrong route?

TIA

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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#3 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Sep 12, 2022 9:18 am

There should be a fuse on the inverter, check if that is blown (also on your old inverter).
If both are now blown, you have a short somewhere.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (The Real Black Stuff)
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nfraser01
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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#4 Post by nfraser01 » Mon Sep 12, 2022 2:32 pm

Good suggestion, but couldn't see anything I recognise as a fuse.

I'm assuming it's not that as the backlight comes on each time I power cycle (for a few seconds)

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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#5 Post by kfzhu1229 » Mon Sep 12, 2022 10:22 pm

nfraser01 wrote:
Mon Sep 12, 2022 7:20 am
Updates: The R51e was no longer available. I ordered a new inverter board which arrived today, but after replacing it the probelms persists - the back lighht comes on for a few seconds and then turns off again. Screen otherwise working as expected (I can just see a feint IBM logo etc).

I'm going to try and source a backlight, but any opther suggestions before I spend money going down the wrong route?
Usually in my experience if the backlight comes on and then off, then the fuse should actually be good. If it's blown you just get a totally dark image.
But try experimenting around with it. Like for the short time it turns on, does the white ThinkPad font on the logo look pinkish to you? If so that's 100% a dead backlight.
Additionally, even when the backlight shut off, try F1 to enter BIOS setup, increasing and decreasing brightness via the Fn + Up and down keys, then press the power button for one second to shut it down, then turn it back on. Does the duration of when the backlight stays on change?
Before you go replace the backlight, you should know that replacing the backlight of an LCD is not a simple in and out job. It takes skills and precision to complete the swap, and do expect some minor defects like dust inside the LCD and/or slight backlight unevenness after the backlight change. And if you screw up, cracking the LCD would be the least of your concerns, as cracking the CCFL tube means you have the quite the hazardous waste to clean up, as the cracked glass shards are tiny and contains mercury.
If you have a 15" XGA screen instead of the more rare higher resolution ones, you should probably not bother with a backlight swap and just swap the screen entirely. If yours have an ATI graphics chip, you can also swap it with a higher resolution panel (SXGA+, UXGA, or if you can find, QXGA) and look at my cable mod instructions on how to make the laptop think it has a higher resolution screen without replacing the LCD cable.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#6 Post by axur-delmeria » Mon Sep 12, 2022 11:15 pm

From experience with an X61, when the CCFL backlight turns on for a second or two, then shuts down, it's the lamp itself that's going bad. I ended up swapping the CCFL tube (not an easy task) from another LCD of the same size.
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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#7 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Sep 13, 2022 12:08 am

How to replace a CCFL: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=88991
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nfraser01
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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#8 Post by nfraser01 » Wed Sep 14, 2022 3:05 pm

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Mon Sep 12, 2022 10:22 pm
Usually in my experience if the backlight comes on and then off, then the fuse should actually be good. If it's blown you just get a totally dark image.
But try experimenting around with it. Like for the short time it turns on, does the white ThinkPad font on the logo look pinkish to you? If so that's 100% a dead backlight.
Additionally, even when the backlight shut off, try F1 to enter BIOS setup, increasing and decreasing brightness via the Fn + Up and down keys, then press the power button for one second to shut it down, then turn it back on. Does the duration of when the backlight stays on change?
Adjusting the brightness does work while the screen is lit (perhaps 2 seconds or so). Reducing brightness does not make a noticeable difference to the length the backlight stays on for follwing a power cycle.
kfzhu1229 wrote:
Mon Sep 12, 2022 10:22 pm
Before you go replace the backlight, you should know that replacing the backlight of an LCD is not a simple in and out job. It takes skills and precision to complete the swap, and do expect some minor defects like dust inside the LCD and/or slight backlight unevenness after the backlight change. And if you screw up, cracking the LCD would be the least of your concerns, as cracking the CCFL tube means you have the quite the hazardous waste to clean up, as the cracked glass shards are tiny and contains mercury.
If you have a 15" XGA screen instead of the more rare higher resolution ones, you should probably not bother with a backlight swap and just swap the screen entirely. If yours have an ATI graphics chip, you can also swap it with a higher resolution panel (SXGA+, UXGA, or if you can find, QXGA) and look at my cable mod instructions on how to make the laptop think it has a higher resolution screen without replacing the LCD cable.
OK - so it's a screen (±lid) or nothing switch then. Looking for parts on eBay shows the screens to be expensive, so it's not economical to replace with a known good part.

Best option seems to be to wait for another cheap R51 to come up with an intact screen..

Thanks for your help.

nfraser01
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Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2022 5:01 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#9 Post by nfraser01 » Wed Sep 14, 2022 3:10 pm

axur-delmeria wrote:
Mon Sep 12, 2022 11:15 pm
From experience with an X61, when the CCFL backlight turns on for a second or two, then shuts down, it's the lamp itself that's going bad. I ended up swapping the CCFL tube (not an easy task) from another LCD of the same size.
Looks like I'm searching for a whole new screen/lid now...

kfzhu1229
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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#10 Post by kfzhu1229 » Wed Sep 14, 2022 6:06 pm

nfraser01 wrote:
Wed Sep 14, 2022 3:05 pm
OK - so it's a screen (±lid) or nothing switch then. Looking for parts on eBay shows the screens to be expensive, so it's not economical to replace with a known good part.

Best option seems to be to wait for another cheap R51 to come up with an intact screen..

Thanks for your help.
To broaden your search, it doesn't have to be from a ThinkPad. You can perfectly get by with any 15" inch XGA screen, even the ones from Dell, so long as it has a standard 30pin LVDS connection and has the small CCFL backlight connector. I in fact fitted a 15" Super XGA+ screen from a broken ECS Green laptop onto a ThinkPad T43 and then modded the LCD cable. That one unfortunately has different screw locations on the sides but I just end up taping the screen to the hinges on each side and it works just fine.
I do have a number of ThinkPad T42/T43 15" XGA screens lying around as a result of me upgrading the LCD panels (and I have no use for them as Dell for example needs EDID for those screens while T4x screens don't have EDID), but shipping them to you might be a difficult task.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

nfraser01
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Location: Bristol, UK

Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#11 Post by nfraser01 » Thu Sep 15, 2022 5:43 am

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Wed Sep 14, 2022 6:06 pm
To broaden your search, it doesn't have to be from a ThinkPad. You can perfectly get by with any 15" inch XGA screen, even the ones from Dell, so long as it has a standard 30pin LVDS connection and has the small CCFL backlight connector. I in fact fitted a 15" Super XGA+ screen from a broken ECS Green laptop onto a ThinkPad T43 and then modded the LCD cable. That one unfortunately has different screw locations on the sides but I just end up taping the screen to the hinges on each side and it works just fine.
I do have a number of ThinkPad T42/T43 15" XGA screens lying around as a result of me upgrading the LCD panels (and I have no use for them as Dell for example needs EDID for those screens while T4x screens don't have EDID), but shipping them to you might be a difficult task.
OK good to know. I hadn't realised that screens had standardised on display cables/connectors. I assumed that in the search for ever thinner designs that each manufacturer would make their own design...

Shipping from Canada to UK does seem overkill :-)

I'll broaden my search.

Thanks

nfraser01
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Location: Bristol, UK

Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#12 Post by nfraser01 » Thu Sep 15, 2022 6:11 am

kfzhu1229 wrote:
Wed Sep 14, 2022 6:06 pm
To broaden your search, it doesn't have to be from a ThinkPad. You can perfectly get by with any 15" inch XGA screen, even the ones from Dell, so long as it has a standard 30pin LVDS connection and has the small CCFL backlight connector.
You may not know the answer to this, but wiould a Dell Inspiron 1100 15" XGA be a suitable donor? (size+resolution OK, don't know about connectors)

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Re: R51 repairs (using R51e spares?)

#13 Post by kfzhu1229 » Thu Sep 15, 2022 10:08 am

nfraser01 wrote:
Thu Sep 15, 2022 6:11 am
You may not know the answer to this, but wiould a Dell Inspiron 1100 15" XGA be a suitable donor? (size+resolution OK, don't know about connectors)
I have an Inspiron 1100 so I think I know the answer is a yes - as long as you have the 15" XGA version, and NOT my 14.1" XGA version.
You might have to cut off some holders for inverter and such but overall it should work no problem.
Dell Lat CP MMX-233 64mb 40gb W2k
600 PII-266 416mb 40gb WXP
T23 PIII 1.13ghz 1gb W7
Precision M4300 X9000 8gb 160gb WUXGA Ultrasharp fp W10
T530i 15.6" i7 16gb fp W10
UXGA:
A30p PIII 1.2 1gb W7 (IDTech)
T43p 2.26 2gb fp W10 (Sharp)
Lat C840 P4-2.5 2gb 60gb W7 (Ultrasharp)

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