CCFL H3LL           

All LCD Screens older than 2010 had CCFL tubes inside for the backlamps.  Almost  all of them made then are dead now 8 years later. 20,000 hours is the designed life span. (yes SHORT)
Folks with newer PC's or monitors with LED back lamps have no such problems unless Windows settings done wrong , hit the home ICON above.

NOW LEGACY POOR GRADE HARDWARE....H3LL.  See my test list below.

CCFL are now legacy hardware.  : "Cold Cathode Florescent Lamps" CCFL for short !

Monitor or Laptop SCREEN BACK LAMP  failures (CCFL) are #1 failure rate items up to 2010 year when LED came on the market. (most die in  8 hours/day = 6.8 year life)

Symptoms are all classic failure modes now:
CCFL fail in these modes: Dead, Dim, Yellow ting, blinking madly (strobing) or randomly works or not! or fails hot or cold.  If dead the flashlight test is first.
The yellow screen below is obviously bad , this is a very very common failure, the screen works ok but is jaundiced.
Run Windows Notepad (start button type notepad) if that shows yellow for white, the CCFL tubes are TOAST (no good)   .   Right click image 2 to zoom it.
mm lenght * diameter ,  274= 10.8" inches

HP Made many CCLF Laptops, from year 1997 (first LCDs) LCD beat CRT's sales in 2010    Then the LED back lamped LCD screen  was BORN !
The widest screens were upgraded first to LED then the cheaper tiny screens last.
Here is my list of HP devices using these silly tube things.(not  full list)
CRT were introduced by IBM in 1981 (MDA, EGA, VGA , DVI followed, even HDMI now) all this is in the WIKI to read.
Some CCFL tubes are impossible to change inside glued LCD panel sandwich. (with out doing huge damage) There are exceptions to this rule. (and takes lots of skill)
Others you damage the LCD or it frame attempting the act, but some are easy to change. (why not look first and find the truth there, glued or not?)
To change them tubes, it  can be easy or near impossible , some are so deep in side that damage happens no matter your skills.  see and easy one first here.
CCFL all fail ; most are now 2019 year.

Fixes are easy to impossible ( some screens are glued together  or have clips that break and nows the LCD panel is useless after any attempted service repairs)
The easy ones are only those that are easy to reach, and them put them back new, and not wreck the LCD panel.
If you go to you will see new LCD panels sold for your PC , for about $50 to $100 .
There  are upgrades  for only a few very popular PCs and monitors. (not the 10,000 models made since 1995)
Only googling finds kits sold today and many are now gone and not sold now, after 11 years later (2021)

Here is fix,  if you like to upgrade CCFL to LED, . (easy or hard or impossible are all possible here)

The plot can thicken easy, too easy if you have U tubes inside, good luck finding the correct size. ( 3 U-tubes might  become 6 long straight tubes if you try.)
If it has U Tubes, shaped,  we can  (glue in  2 straight tubes wired in series can work, nothing to lose trying but cash)  Finding those is near impossible. (YMMV)
No two monitors or Laptops are the same, each is custom design and complex disassembly.
Here is the repair flow logic, that can work for you:  (given the flash light test proves the CCFL are no good.
  • First remove the screen for the laptop or monitor.
  • Attempt to dismantle it totally next, find hidden screws ? No two screens with 100 makers and 1000s of models are the same!  Each is different.
  • With the whole screen out like below Dell with CCFL, we used CCFL tester first, to see if  they are dead, 1 or more tubes there up to 10 there.
  • The inverter can be bad, and they sell universal inverters and testers on ebay, but is rare with 1% failure rates on inverters.
  • The trick is to gain access to those pesky tubes, with not wreck the LCD or its framing, the LCD is a huge sandwitch,  of CCLF + Defusers layers, and then LCD array.
  • Some are 100% glued and not servicable at all, others have clips that break, others have tiny screws or have magic platsic latches that can be tripped, but how? only guessing works or finding youtube example.
  • The OEM tells you this is not seviceable panel at all, it is to be replaced as a whole ,so that means the sevice manual does not cover this act. (Dell and HP have the best manuals, others have NOTHING)

The inverter is a high voltage DC to DC inverter,  it is 12vdc input  and 600 to  1000vdc out. So don't get shocked playing with it. This HV allows the CCFL to do instant  start up's. (there are no heaters in the tubes, thus the word COLD)
The inverter is really a AC chopper. DC in is turned to AC then goes through a transformer, and is rectified (diodes ) High voltage for the silly HV tubes to work.
This  chopper may have  dimmer control  (PWM methods), below is a universal inverter on the left and the  CCLF tester on the right. (here)
Photo #1 generic,   and photo #2 , my hot wired inverter tester in blue.

If you switch to a universal inverter the screen will  be full brightness all the time with 12vdc on the input all the time.

This is how this CCLF technolgy works, and why it fails: (do not read this it  makes your head heart)

The CCFL the cold cathode Florescent lamp tube.  ( these can go dim in 2 years of continuous usage (no sleep/hibernate modes used) 20,000 hours is the typical life span  (yes ,short)
Lamp life is defined as the brightness decreased to 50% of the original.
 LED's can go for 20 + years full tilt.  Most CCFL lamps seem here, ended in the year 2010. (this is all legacy junk now, best is to upgrade the PC or Monitor and retire this old junk, IMO)
Some tubes need 500v to 1000volts and 40kHz chopper square wave driver, and by level of dimmer setting.
The Phosphors inside age and go dim fast from these aging effects stated  below:  As they age and dim they love to turn YELLOW.
CCFL contains mercury gas, it is dangerous to inhale it. when the CCFL is broken! (the gas can be a mix of Ne-Ar , neon argon)

THIS IS THE REASON WHY THEY ALL FAIL: (science and engineering reasons and pure  physics)

Due to degradation of phosphor from Hg consumption . (Hg = atomic symbol for  Mercury gas, very TOXIC too, do not break them and sniff them, okay?)

Ion UV bombardment from the discharge column may be the attributing actor in depreciation of the Phosphor (age effects many)

Ion bombardment of the phosphor over a period of time can cause the inner layer surface of a phosphor coating to become non-luminescent (more aging effects)

Ion bombardment over time can cause some phosphors to have a greater tendency to absorb mercury. (CCFL  tubes stink, really..)

99% of CCFL failures at about 5 years old is common, but we see  1%  failures on inverters below. (top seller of CCFL states 95% tubes bad, 5% inverter)
20k hours  is the life span, 10hr/ day , 2000 day life span, divided by 365 is 5.4 years. (the math is easy) Less if run every day at 100% brightness.

See rare inverter fails next.

HP PC's not to own, history and list of most CCFL models by one maker. 2010 and older.

PROOF and tests of bad CCFL:
  1. Fails in BIOS secreens too? even no HDD present BIOS runs OK ,bright. (under AC or DC power)
  2. Fails my flashlight test. (see data on black screens)
  3. The  RTC coin cell battery is dead, makes vast models of PC go dead.
  4. Laptop VGA port eabled and connected to real VGA manitor shows PC is ok but LCD CCFL in Laptop is not.
  5. The monitor fails on any PC desktop is a bad monitor, why is moot here 2 decade old CCFL monitors need to be in the trash.
  6. I boot the PC into Linux Ubuntu boot media (CD or USB thumb drive) and the PC runs perfectly , so blame XP booted from HDD , is corrupted or is setup wrong.
  7. Windows control panel set up wrong in power settings, to wit. Display turns off = Never, and  DIM Laptop screen set ,  = 100% for AC power and DC POWER LOST.  See photos below...
  8. Some main batteries have a cell fault inside the huge battery and this causes charger overload and fools the PC to thinking that AC power is weak. (or other bad effects)  batteries bad top all other failures, top of list)
  9. Using the wrong wattage (TOO LOW) POWER PACK ON THE LAPTOP. (as in wrong power pack used) (laptops) Many top Laptops have 4 power packs offered, to cover all 4 GPU and CPU speed options choices..
  10. Some modern PCs very new, and LED backlamped LED  Monitors , the PC can in fact DIM said  monitor remotely even on older DVI LED. (off topic see note#1)
  11. I hot wire the CCFL tubes with my inverter tester and they fail. bad CCFL. Seen ABOVE photo #2
  12. Some Laptops have a room or outdoor , photo ambient sensor  that can dim the screen in a dark room, (turn it off if you do not like this, seen in you PCs manual)

W10 NEW:



Note:1: Remote brightness on new Desktops. (that act just like laptops did for ages, even on my DVI monitor )
In the control panel see brightness ?
In Nvidia control panel see same, but only if the GPU driver and monitor support this new feature (post 2016 ) see this great free called "clickmonitorDDC" APP.,  downloaded here.


version 1.  12-9-2017 (updated 4-1-2021)