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Hi-Voltage P Supplies

Hi-Voltage P Supplies

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Published by Drift Gee

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Published by: Drift Gee on Feb 11, 2012
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lthough switching power supplies provide the conventional dc voltage levels needed for PC and peripheral operation, they are not well suited for high-voltage applications. To power specialized devices, such as CRTs and LCD backlights, the ordinary power supply is supple-mented by high-voltage supply circuits, which can turn relatively low voltages into high volt-ages that range anywhere from several hundred volts to tens of thousands of volts, dependingon the particular need. This chapter illustrates the operation and troubleshooting approachestwo important high-voltage circuits: the backlight supply and the CRT flyback supply.
Backlight Power Supplies
Today’s notebook and sub-notebook LCDs are almost always based on a transmissivelight design; the light that you see from the display is generated entirely from behind the
Backlight Power Supplies
Inverter principlesTroubleshooting backlight supplies
CRTFlyback Supplies
Troubleshooting flyback supplies
Further Study
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)
 EL (ElectroLumi-nescent)
 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.
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.
LCD panelBacklightinvertercircuitDisplayenclosure
Locating the LCD backlight inverter.
Symptom 37-1. The backlight appears to be inoperative
The LCD mightseem washed out or invisible in low light. Remember that virtually all notebook and sub-notebook computers are designed to shut down the backlight after some period of inactiv-ity, regardless of whether the system is being powered by battery or line voltage.Backlights, such as CCFTs and EL panels, do not last forever, so disabling the backlightnot only saves power during battery operation, but saves the backlight itself. If the back-light cuts out suddenly, it might simply have timed out. Try pressing a key or moving themouse to restore backlight power. You can usually select the backlight timeout period through the system setup software.Disassemble the display portion of your display to expose the inverter board (typicallylocated behind or next to the LCD). Apply power to the system, then use your multimeter to measure the inverter’s dc input voltage. The input voltage usually runs anywhere from6 to 32 Vdc, depending on your particular system and backlight type. In any case, youwould expect to measure a strong, steady dc voltage. If input voltage is low or absent, theconnection to the system motherboard might be faulty. Next, use your multimeter to measure the inverter’s ac output voltage. Fluorescent tubesand electroluminescent panels typically require 200 to 600 Vac for starting and running il-lumination. Warning: the insulation of ordinary test leads might break down while mea-suring voltages higher than 600 V. If you will be measuring voltages over 500 or 600 V, be sure to use better-insulated test probes. If output voltage is low or absent, the inverter circuit is probably defective. You could simply replace the inverter circuit outright or at-tempt to troubleshoot the inverter to the component level. If output voltage measures anacceptable level, your inverter board is probably working correctly—the trouble might ex-ist in the light source itself. For example, a CCFT might have failed or an EL panel might be damaged. Try replacing the suspect light source.If you elect to troubleshoot the inverter board itself, you can see from Fig. 37-2 that lit-tle can fail. Remove all power from the computer and check the oscillator transistors. A
Low-voltagedc frompowersupplyL1R1R2ChoppingcircuitQ1Q2C1T1C2High-voltageac output voltageto backlightassemblyStep-uptransformer
A basic backlight inverter circuit.

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