Worthwhile upgrade for T4200 series LCD screen

Discussion in 'Fujitsu' started by greggerca, Dec 13, 2010.

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  1. greggerca

    greggerca Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi there,
    I just wanted to report on a worthwhile upgrade that a friend and I performed on our twin T4220 Lifebook's this weekend. This should work on all 12.1" Lifebook's.

    I converted my LCD panel from a CCFL backlight to an LED backlight! Why?

    My LCD's backlight / CCFL / power inverter was starting to make a hissing noise at varying brightness levels and at some screen positions. So I started researching how to replace the CCFL backlight tube.

    My friend's was fine, but since we're trying to keep these running as long as we can, we try to keep them in parity in terms of upgrades.

    Instead of changing out the inverter and CCFL, I worked with a nice person named Benson Hue at LCDParts.net on installing their Universal LED conversion kit for my SXGA+ LCD screen. His dedication at answering my questions and support really made me confident in the process.

    I did all the research and Benson verified all the pinout information. Our inverter part number is:
    Tamura HBL 0345

    And, it is pin-compatible with LCDParts' Universal LED replacement inverter. You just plug and play. The brightness control, dimming, and everything all work (though dimming behaves differently / nonlinearly with LED lighting). No soldering required. The installation is involved, but if you're careful, should not present any surprises.

    For reference, the pinout for the Inverter is as follows:

    P3 should be enable (turn on and off)
    P4 should be ADJ (this is brightness control)
    these are low voltage between 0v-3.5v DC

    (those are for reference, the new inverter just works)

    Let me state a few things about this setup vs. the existing setup:
    We should all know by now that LED's and CFL / CCFL lamps operate very differently. As such, you must never try to hook one to the other during the installation process. The CCFL requires a very high current and voltage and "inversion" to a high frequency oscillating voltage in order to function.

    The LED system requires less power. It has an "inverter" part, but I'm not sure it is actually performing the same function. It is estimated that we might improve our battery life measurably with this modification.

    Also, CCFL's dim over time. My color temperature was drifting toward the yellow spectrum. This is important for photography. The new LED system is much "cooler" (probably closer to 5500K like sunlight). So re-calibration and re-color correction will certainly be necessary). I did it and the colors look great.

    So, on with the show...
    Here's the description:
    LED Backlight Strip|LCDPARTS.net

    The one we buy is the top link on the bottom of the page.

    (New LED backlight Kit for 12.1 inch XGA and SXGA LCD Screen):

    Installation instructions essentially follow the CCFL instructions up to the soldering step. This is just a replacement harness, so you plug in the LED strip.
    CCFL Backlight Installation|LCDPARTS.net

    This is particular to the LED kit:
    LED Backlight

    Our screens are different, of course. Very different. We have tablet componentry on the back of the screen. We have to be much more careful with the extra wires and circuitry. However, the actual CCFL removal and LED holder reinstallation is still the biggest part of the task.

    We basically did the following in excruciating detail:

    1. Remove power supply and batteries
    2. Let your Tablet PC sit a while and gather your tools etc.
    3. Remove the bezel (follow some of the "screen creak" disassembly instructions, but you don't need to touch the hinge - just the front 6 screws)
    4. The "inverter" is on the right side
    5. On LCD side of the inverter's the plastic housing, you'll see the black wire that goes to the top of the inverter is taped to the housing
    6. Carefully un-tape that black wire so that it's free of the housing - you'll need the slack.
    7. It has 6 wires on the top and 2 on the bottom of it​
    8. It is nearly impossible to remove the bottom 2 wire connector safely from the inverter while it is in place​
    9. The plastic housing has 2 layers on the right side. Use an Exacto knife and you can poke it in between the top or bottom of the right side of this housing to see separation of the two layers.​
    10. Make a slit through the first layer of the right side - I chose to run the Exacto knife along the edge of the bezel as a guide - this ensures you don't cut through the second layer of the plastic and harm any of the old inverter components​
    11. Note - you're going to toss this inverter anyway, but in case you need it, better safe than sorry!​
    12. Now, remove the inverter from the housing​
    13. Disconnect the 6 wire connector and the 2 wire connector from the inverter. Set the inverter aside. You should not need it again.
    14. You do NOT need to do this next part:​
      At this point, if you are the curious type, you can hook up the new inverter carefully and the new LED strip.​
      Once it's connected, you will need to boot into Windows in order to verify its functionality (fn-F6 / F7)​
      Note - Don't look directly at the LEDs. And, you will NOT be able to see the screen (you can shine a bright flashlight at it and see what's going on though)​
      And DO NOT connect the other CCFL wire to the new inverter. And DO NOT reconnect the old inverter - it runs 1.75 AMPS at 32V through it. Don't eff with that.​
      Shut down windows (or hit the Power button to hibernate, or whatever) and remove the batteries again)​
    15. Remove the fingerprint sensor (2 screws)
    16. Remove the LCD assembly screws (4 screws)
    17. Tip the LCD assembly GENTLY onto some padding you place on the keyboard.
    18. Gently peel up the protective tape on the wiring harnesses behind the screen.
    19. Gently disconnect the two connectors for the Wacom sensors - a small jewelers screwdriver on the side of the connector can help, but don't gouge anything!
    20. Peel up the two pieces of tape that hold the flat wiring bundles near the hinge
    21. Put the LCD assembly on a flat surface away from the laptop.
    22. Remove the 6 screws that hold the copper Wacom sensing panel on the back of the LCD (6 screws)
    23. Peel / Remove the tape that holds the bottom (the side with the CCFL wires, not the side with the Wacom components) of the copper Wacom panel
    24. Tip that backward so the white back of the LCD panel is exposed (this will look like the CCFL part of the tutorial now on LCDParts.net
    25. Carefully peel off the black tape at the bottom of the LCD panel where the 2 wire connector to the CCFL bulb is (the one that went to the old inverter)
    26. This is the thing we're going to remove and replace​
    27. The tape is likely dead. You won't be able to reuse it.​
    28. There is a second layer of tape there in the middle. You need to remove / unpeel part or all of that as well.​
    29. The BLACK wire of the CCFL runs along the bottom of the LCD panel. Peel that away from there.
    30. You will now see an aluminum channel with 2 "ears" on it along the bottom of the LCD panel. We are going to remove that ENTIRE assembly carefully, without bending it.
    31. This is where the CCFL lives. It is a very shiny, polished reflector housing that shines the light up into the LCD​
    32. The housing is fragile.​
    33. The housing is GLUED along the bottom edge of the white LCD frame. This is the HARDEST part of the removal and subsequent reinstallation.​
    34. Carefully... and I mean it... run the Exacto knife (maybe use the back, dull side, between the aluminum and the white LCD frame. Take your time. You may need to do this a couple times to work the adhesive loose enough to pull the aluminum housing out.
    35. Try not to damage the "ears" on the housing. They bend, but aren't good for pulling.
    36. Remove the CCFL from the channel very very carefully so it doesn't break.
    37. Now, the new LED light strip has adhesive on the bottom. You will notice that the channel is not square, but the top bends up to ensure the CCFL doesn't come out the top of the channel. We need to widen it.
    38. Using a blunt instrument, run along the length of the channel, widening the channel so that the LED strip will drop into place.
    39. You get 1 chance to lower the LED strip into place because of the adhesive. The channel / holder can be square. The LED strip is fragile and will not tolerate being removed or bent.​
    40. Test fit the LED strip a few times to practice its fit and how it drops in place.
    42. Sorry... that's just really important.​
    43. The inverter is on the right side of the LCD when it's in place. So, if you tipped the Wacom circuitry back to your left, the wires point toward you. If you tipped the Wacom circuitry backward away from you, the wires point to your left.​
    44. Use the old CCFL as a guide as to where the first and last LED of the new strip should line up with the channel and mark that.
    45. Carefully remove the 3 pieces of adhesive backing from the LED strip using your Exacto knife
    46. Place the LED strip into the channel / holder and then press it into place carefully and gently with that blunt instrument you used to widen the opening of the holder! Carefully!
    47. Let the adhesive sit for a few minutes while you prepare for the next part.​
    48. Putting the channel back in is THE most difficult part. But after doing 2 of these, here is how to do it:
    49. Place the holder back into position at the bottom of the LCD panel​
    50. Working slowly from one side to another (maybe back and forth), you are going to take a very thin screwdriver and twist / separate the white LCD frame from the bottom of the LED holder and work your way along the adhesive​
    51. The holder will begin to drop into place in some areas, and not in others. So go back and work the screwdriver carefully where the LED holder is sticking up or is slightly twisted out away from the bottom of the LCD holder while apply gentle pressure to the LED holder​
    52. Eventually it will drop into place. However, you might see that it is off-center (the ears of the holder do not line up with the screw holes). That's OK... apply pressure to one side of the LED holder, and work the screwdriver along the bottom of the LED holder again and it will slide gradually into place.​
    53. You are done with the replacement.
    54. Reapply the black tape if you can to the bottom of the LED panel. It isn't really electrical tape, so I can't recommend using that as a replacement.
    55. Flop the Wacom panel back on top of the LCD housing.
    56. Put the 6 screws back in place.
    57. Carefully place the LCD assembly back onto your keyboard and re-connect the Wacom cables and re-affix the tape over the cables.
    58. Note that you should get the LCD assembly as close to the hinge as you can for the bottom Wacom cable tape near the hinge so that there isn't any cable bunching / stress when you reassemble the LCD​
    59. Carefully tip the LCD housing back into the screen frame and put the 4 screws back in place
    60. Note the 3 grounding points at the top that come in contact with the LCD housing. They look like battery / tension connectors. Make sure those contacts are made to the LCD frame and not crushed under the frame.​
    61. Replace your fingerprint sensor's 2 screws.
    62. Put your NEW inverter in place
    63. Connect the 2 wires from the new LED strip into the new inverter​
    64. Connect the 6 wire harness to the top of the new inverter​
    65. Slip the new inverter into the old inverter's plastic housing - it's not a great fit, but works just fine. Tape it shut if you like.​
    66. Turn on your computer and verify everything works.
    67. You should see our POST screen about 2-3 seconds after the initial power up - it's NOT immediate - so don't panic​
    68. Boot into Windows, log in, and verify the fn-F6 brightness etc.​
    69. Take your stylus and run it around the screen. While Windows is booting, remember that it will be jerky and will freeze. Also, near the edge of the screen, tip the pen so that the stylus can be sensed properly. For right-handers, tip it to the left when you're at the right side of the screen, and vice-versa.​
    70. Marvel at the brightness.
    71. Shutdown
    72. Now figure out how to put the bezel back on without having an insane amount of dust and lint between the LCD and your glass!

    There you go.
  2. Maxxender

    Maxxender Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I performed this upgrade on my T4220 XGA when the CCFL started going bad. I'll just say it was a process. So much bending and taping! The result was well see for yourself.


    As you can see not bad!

    Only problem is I have a problem changing the brightness, anything but full brightness causes screen flickering.

    Word of advice; you cannot use the aluminum tape that comes with the LED kit, the digitizer can not work with extra metal ANYWHERE.

    Also make sure you use double sided tape to tape down the digitizer. Otherwise you'll get random cursor shaking when using the pen.
  3. greggerca

    greggerca Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Very cool!
    I'll verify the same items... extra metal is bad and can cause stylus tip shaking.
    Also not shielding the LED inverter will cause interference near the right side of the screen.
    But it worked pretty dang well.

    Making sure you line up the backlight "distribution panel" (the white thing that diffuses the light over the LCD) is very important.

    The kit has gotten better since I put it in. Some of my LEDs are starting to go bad (they flicker - probably a weak connection on the strip that I may have crinkled on installation). They have a new "Extra Bright" kit now.
    So I may decide to re-do this someday.

    My main machine is a Lenovo x200t right now, but I still use the T4220 daily as well.
  4. Maxxender

    Maxxender Pen Pal - Newbie

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    This is what I got: XB LED Kit|LCDPARTS.net
    Is that the new kit you were talking about?

    Also what could I use to shield the Inverter?

    I believe my kit went bad or was bad because in addition to the flickering it started over powering the LEDs making my screen half way too bright enough to make the screen temporarily bleed!
    Contacted them and sending it back tomorrow to get a new one.

    Luckily I had a spare panel laying around from an abandoned customers t4020d. Digitizer wasn't compatible but just took it off and taped on the original for now. :p
  5. Maxxender

    Maxxender Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Since my last comment the LED backlight has since broke itself, the inverter was over powering the LEDs and the flickering had worsened.

    I contacted lcdparts.net and am sending mine in for a replacement. For the time being I'm using the panel from a T4020D that a customer
    abandoned. Same exact screen but in a matte finish instead of glossy.

    The parts I got were XB80250LED4220+MS202CN is this the newer "brighter" kit you were referring too?

    What do you like about the Lenovo x200t over the Fujitsu? :confused:
  6. greggerca

    greggerca Pen Pal - Newbie

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    (I posted this accidentally in the wrong chain here)
    That looks like the kit that was recommended to me to replace my standard LED kit.

    My LED strip is having "outages" in one or two areas. But overall it just isn't powerful enough for the screen.
    I think the XB kit (as long as it doesn't die!) would be a better option.

    I didn't figure out a shielding solution for the inverter, but I think if there was a safe way of lining the inverter with an extra layer of metalized cardboard (you can find that in microwaveable dinners sometimes), or foil tape (as long as it doesn't short anything out) then I think it would help stop the pointer issues.

    I believe it's mostly the "noise" produced by the inverter from converting the input voltage to whatever the dimmer signal is telling the inverter to output to the LED strip interfering with the Wacom's pen tip detection / reception.
    Shielding it more might be good for your wireless antennae too(?). I'm not wise in the ways of signal processing.

    About the X220t:
    I chose to upgrade to an X220t because of the IPS display panel and the multi-touch input which is good for Windows 8 as well.
    I also needed the faster processor for my photo work.
    The HD 3000 Graphics chipset is way faster, especially with the 6Gb/s SATA + SSD I have in it now.
    The keyboard is, of course, great. They have started to change the keyboards now, so I don't know if they're as good anymore.

    Where Lenovo screwed up is that they did not dedicate RAM to the HD 3000 graphics GPU (like Apple does), so many applications won't activate the Open CL acceleration support.

    What I really dislike about the machine is the screen resolution.
    The IPS panel itself is great. The pen / touch is just fine. But going from 1400x1050 to 1280x733 is remarkably troublesome.

    The trackpad / clickpad isn't great, but that's mostly Lenovo's implementation of Synaptics drivers. Using the real Synaptics drivers give you back most of what you want.

    However, for all the screen problems though, I can do the actual processing of photos on the road at least 5x faster...

    If I could Frankenstein both together, I would!

    I may decide to get a Microsoft Surface Pro (the one that runs Windows 8) because it does pen input, touch input, and is a 1080p screen.
    It could do travel better than the X220t and with a Core i5, maybe it's better suited to my uses...

    Good luck with the XB kit. I am going to do that soon I think, but I've been repairing other stuff right now that's higher on the list!
  7. Maxxender

    Maxxender Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I thought of a way to shield the inverter, as long as it's still in the plastic that it came in just wrap it in the aluminum tape that comes with the kit that you can't use on the screen.

    Not shielding it could have been the reason why mine was flickering? Idk I'll find out when I get it back from the RMA.

    The T4220 has a screen that uses a technology similar to IPS, and looking at a 24" P-IPS screen right now they share a lot of the same qualities in color and viewing angles.

    If you are ever interested in selling your x220t let me know!
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