A broken backlight is a common ailment of aging laptops. Sometimes they burn out, sometimes they break, but the itsy bitsy tube that gives life and light to every LCD panel out there is not going to last forever. You will know your backlight is not working if your computer does everything it normally does, but you can barely see an image on the screen. It’s as if the screen is off, but you can see your desktop and mouse if you squint your eyes. If your backlight breaks early, here are the options we recommend:
1. Fix it! When the backlight doesn’t work, it’s either one of two things… the light itself or the inverter. The light itself can be replaced for a matter of a few dollars in parts, and a little skill and patience with a soldiering iron. If you’re not so lucky, the inverter has gone bad, which is a little more costly to replace, and again usually requires soldiering to a new light tube. (If the inverter is gone, it’s a good idea to replace both while you have your laptop taken apart. Of course, we can do all of these repairs for you at our shop).
2. If the laptop is past its prime, but still usable, I always recommend that people convert them into “pseudo-desktops” and set them up as a “terminal” in the kitchen or living room. To do this, you need to trick yourself into thinking that your laptop is not a laptop anymore, and plug a mouse, keyboard, and monitor into it, and leave it in one place. I have a retired laptop serving terminal duty in my kitchen, which is great for entertaining while cooking, looking up recipes, youtubing, googling, and wiki-ing.
The screen may be dead, but there may be plenty of life left in that laptop!