LCD by a backlight assembly. Whatever light emanates from the display is interpreted as being transparent (or colored). Light that is absorbed by energized liquid crystal materialappears opaque. To run a
CCFT (Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Tube)
backlight, a source of several hundred volts is needed (often 200 V or more). Be-cause the battery pack in a mobile computer is certainly not capable of sourcing that muchvoltage, it must be created on the fly. If you remove the front housing from an LCD panel,you can locate the backlight supply right next to the LCD (Fig. 37-1).
The key to a backlight power supply is the principle of
—converting (“chopping”)dc into an ac signal. A simple inverter circuit is shown in the illustration of Fig. 37-2.Dcfrom the battery pack is fed to an oscillator. The oscillator chops the dc into low-voltage pulsating dc. In turn, the pulsating dc is applied across a small, high-ratio step-up trans-former, which multiplies the pulsating dc into a rough ac signal. This high-voltage ac sig-nal can then be used to run a CCFT or EL backlight. As you might notice, the conversionof dc into ac is virtually opposite of the process used in linear or switching power supplies(thus, the term
), where a relatively high ac voltage is transformed into a low dcvoltage(s). If dc is required from the inverter, rather than ac, a rectifier and filter will fol-low the transformer output.
TROUBLESHOOTING BACKLIGHT SUPPLIES
Backlight problems usually manifest themselves in the LCD itself. Without proper back-lighting, the contrast and brightness of a display will be extremely poor. The displaymight appear clearly in strong daylight, but might disappear in low light or darkness.When backlight problems occur, investigate the inverter supply, as well as the particular mechanism (e.g., CCFT or EL panel) producing the light.
S Y S T E M DAT AANDT R O UBL E S H O OT I N G
Locating the LCD backlight inverter.