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 Post subject: ThinkPad R51 screen dead
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:29 pm 
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Location: Amherst, MA
Hi folks,

The screen on my ThinkPad R51 (type: 1836-B9U) died yesterday. I found a lot of the info here and I think I can narrow the problem to either an inverter or CCFL or the video cable, since I can see faint image on the screen and the computer boots otherwise normally (I am currently running it with an external monitor). I am reasonably technically savvy (and know how to solder) and I have a few very specific questions:

1) Is this course of action a good one? Any thoughts are welcome...
-replace inverter (FRU: 91P7336) , see if that solves the problem, and if it doesn't
-replace CCFL, see if that solves the problem, and if it doesn't
-replace MB-to-LCD cable (FRU: 91P6827), see if that solves the problem, and if it doesn't then use R51 as a desktop (or donate parts to folks doing research here) and get a new laptop

2) Replacing inverter: I understand that I should be looking for a new unit. I found one at thinkpad-parts.com here: http://www.thinkpad-parts.com/91P7336-ThinkPad.html and at Zlectronic.com here: http://www.zlectronic.com/product/LCD-I ... 1-R50.html The prices for the inverter are about the same (~$10) but Zlectronic has free shipping (which cuts the cost of it by about 50%). Also, Zlectronic has a valid SSL certificate, while thinkpad-parts.com's expired in July... However, thinkpad-parts.com claims to sell "genuine original" parts, and Zlectronic doesn't make such claim...

So my question is: where would you guys get an inverter? Have you had any luck/horror stories with thinkpad-parts.com or Zlectronic? Any suggestions are welcome.

3) Replacing CCFL: where can one buy the replacement CCFL and how much would one expect to pay? Specific stores and part numbers would be very helpful. There is not FRU number for CCFL and the replacement procedure is not covered in IBM Hardware Maintenance Manual, and I've seen folks on here say that some soldering is required. How hard is the replacement procedure? What level of screen disassembly is needed? Is there any guide online on how to do it? Has anyone on here actually performed it? What should I watch out for if I want to do it myself? As I said, I am not half-bad with a soldering iron, having soldered delicate microchips onto PCBs before.

4) Replacing the video cable: does getting new or used matter as much as with the inverter? I found a new cable on thinkpad-parts.com for $45+shipping here: http://www.thinkpad-parts.com/91P6827-ThinkPad.html On eBay there is also a used one for $9.00 and free shipping here: http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-ThinkPad-R51-15 ... 0419893689 The eBay seller gives a 30-day warranty and claims to have tested it. What would you guys do: get it new or used?

Thank you very much for any help!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:25 pm 
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Looks like the hardware enthusiasts on this board are either sleeping or stumped by my queries.... :)

Anyway, I did a bit more research and found a couple of places that sell the CCFLs. However, ones for 15" SXGA 1400x1050 screen that is on my laptop weren't listed. I emailed them both.

Here are the places:

http://www.lcdparts.net/agnCCFLlamp.asp ... 5QodMVqzZA

http://www.laptopz.com/

Anyone ever order from either of them?

Laptopz has a guide to replacing CCFLs. LCDparts sells a helpful kit for $7.50...

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:41 pm 
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Senior ThinkPadder
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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:28 am
Posts: 12307
Location: Albrightsville, Pennsylvania
Welcome to the forum!

Screen resolution makes no difference when swapping CCFLs, only the screen size.

That being said, the swap itself is a PITA procedure and chances of the screen being damaged/destroyed are quite high.

Personally, I'd advise you to get an entire screen (or a complete LCD assembly) but it's your ThinkPad to play with...

Good luck.

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Collecting SSDI: A31p, T42p

Abused daily: T43pSF, T60, T61, R60F, R500F

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:41 pm 
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I've replaced the CCFL in that machine/LCD. You might want to take a look at this thread. It's a nasty job and dirt is the enemy in that world.

viewtopic.php?p=447520#p447520


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:07 pm 
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Location: Amherst, MA
Thanks guys!

Wow, that does look like a extremely challenging repair. If I screw it up, will it destroy just the screen or is there a chance to damage the rest of the machine as well?

I did look into replacement screens (FRU: 92P6680) per your suggestion. There is a pretty large price discrepancy, from $130 to about $400.... thinkpad-parts has them for $150 here http://www.thinkpad-parts.com/92P6680-ThinkPad.html, and the cheapest I found is screenaid.com for $130 http://www.screenaid.com/ibm-lenovo-92p ... 29394.html

Any good reason for go for an expensive screen over the cheaper one?

Basically I would like to squeeze two more years out of this machine (that's how long I think it'll take me to finish grad school)...

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:16 pm 
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http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-R51-SXGA-Comple ... ltDomain_0


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:38 pm 
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Screenaid will NOT sell you a genuine IPS LCD. The word "compatible" is to be feared from when buying a screen...if you're interested in a good, original IPS LCD for your machine, PM me.

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Cheers,

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Collecting SSDI: A31p, T42p

Abused daily: T43pSF, T60, T61, R60F, R500F

For sale: various FrankenPads


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:10 pm 
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Junior Member
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Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:51 pm
Posts: 265
Location: Toronto, Canada
I have a question about a R51 screen. Should I start a new thread, though?

I bought a cheap R51 for $50 and was hoping it can be salvageable. The R51 screen has a white jagged streak across the screen near the bottom. It looks 'whiter' than the rest of the screen. What would make that? I got a story from the seller that I doubt is the actual one. Maybe something was dropped on the top of the lid???? Also, if I look at the screen from up top (for e.g., I'm standing up directly behind it and look down at the screen), I can see streaks all the way across the LCD screen going up and down.

I am not sure about the battery life... probably could have checked but the laptop boots up fine. It's a bit slow because there's only 512MB of RAM. I have RAM I can put in it, though.

The main concern is about the screen. I thought I could replace the entire lid like the ebay link provided. Is that an option?

The rest of the laptop currently is 1024 x 768. Do I have to buy a lid/lcd assembly with that res?

Is this a good project or did I waste some money?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:42 pm 
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ThinkPadder
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Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:20 pm
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Location: Snellville, GA
thinkpad1 wrote:
The rest of the laptop currently is 1024 x 768. Do I have to buy a lid/lcd assembly with that res?


If your R51 is a 15" model, the LCD assembly that Harryc linked to will work fine.

Edit: too late. :)


Last edited by goofyGAguy on Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:45 pm 
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Location: Amherst, MA
Harryc wrote:
http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-R51-SXGA-Complete-15-LCD-Screen-N150P3-L01-Tested-/280550676709?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0


Awesome -- I just bought this, as it is exactly what I need. Thank you for your help! Hopefully it'll last me for a while...

Edit: sorry, thinkpad1...

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:03 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Canada
That's okay. At least, you have the same assembly so it should be an easier swap.

I think I need parts that go with the SXGA+ resolution so preferably, the cable and in particular, the inverter? I think the inverter has to be specific to the machine? I think T43 and R51 cables are only slightly different in length but I need the R51 SXGA+ inverter?

Inverters are $10 Cdn. and if I am inclined to get the right sized cable, it's about $9.

Lcd panels on ebay are about $90 for the IPS models w/ N150P3-L01 (N150P3) code that I'm going by.

I'm waiting to see about ajkula66's panels, though. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:33 pm
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Location: Amherst, MA
Well, the seller of the screen assembly that Harryc found noticed that the screen has hairline cracks before shipping and issued me a refund. So now I am looking for a new screen and am wondering what do I have to know about getting a used screen from eBay?

Particular brands I need to stay away from? I am looking at this: http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-ThinkPad-R51-Ma ... ltDomain_0 (a Chi Mei screen) and http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-ThinkPad-R51-Ma ... ltDomain_0 (brand unknown)...

I'll try swapping the inverter before buying a new screen and see whether that solves the problem though...

Edit: ajkula66 sold his screen, so updated post.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:21 pm 
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RBS10000
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Location: Mt. Cobb, PA USA
The Laptopaid LCD is definitely an IBM item.
Let your budget speak...

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:33 pm
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Location: Amherst, MA
Hi folks,

Just wanted to update this thread for the record.

I ordered the screen from laptopaid and received it two days later. I highly recommend those guys -- their packing job was incredible and shipping much quicker than I anticipated. Since the inverter hasn't arrived by then (even though I ordered it a couple of days before the scree) and since it's more probable that the CCFL in the screen died, I decided to replace the screen.

Disassembling the laptop took a couple of hours. The only trouble was getting the LCD out of its assembly. Once I figured out that it is glued on with some kind of double-sided tape, it was easy to get out.

Once replaced, the new screen worked, and the computer became usable again! :banana: I received the inverter a few days later and sent it back (losing shipping and $1 in restocking fee) -- basically, since it wasn't needed, I figured that rather than having it lie around, I'd get a couple of bucks back for it...

So, I've been using the new screen for about a month now.... Hopefully it lasts until the end of grad school....

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:30 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Eddington, Maine
I know this thread is aging. However, the information came up in my google search and was partially helpful so I wanted to add my experience.

I have a number of R51's and at least one T43. When the screen went dark on one of the 51's, I swapped the inverter board and when that did not help, swapped the screen. When that still did'nt help, I swapped the cable. Still no luck. That is when I googled and found this thread. The link from the fella with the fuses on the Motherboard led me to wonder if the board was to blame. A quick swap and viola! Given that it is all back together and the user is happy, I will not worry about the board until I need one.

Cheers!


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