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Author Topic: Has anyone replaced the CCFL in a Cintiq 21UX?  (Read 1657 times)
ThrowingChicken
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« on: September 19, 2016, 02:16:30 AM »

I recently picked up a used 21UX in gorgeous condition, but the screen is quite dim.  My calibrator reads it at around 40 cd/m2, I'd prefer something like 100-120 cd/m2, and when it was new it was capable of producing 200 cd/m2, so it has dropped in brightness quite a ways (though I can manage 40 cd/m2 in a dark room).  I'm thinking about cracking her open to see if I can replace the CCFL tubes and I am wondering if this is anymore difficult of a task with any other monitor.  I hear there are 6 tubes instead of just one; is there anything else I should know about?  Any guides for this by chance?  I haven't found anything. 

Thanks!
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Pesho
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2016, 08:16:37 AM »

Congratulations on the nice find  Wink Difficulty of replacement varies with the screen's construction, and since very few people have 21UX-es or even opened them, you'll have to see for yourself to find out. Please document the whole process with pics! It will not only help other people, but make putting it back together easier. I've only disassmbled a 12WX, and that's not too different from most tabletPC's, except that the LCD and digitizer both connect to an extra board instead of being separate.

Large panels are often easier to disassemble compared to laptop screens as their backlights are thicker and less fragile. The screen should be held together with tape and a metal bracket that unclips. The CCFL's are most often arranged as an array at the back. Main difficulties you're likely to run into are not being able to find the right-size bulbs and having to solder some together in order to construct a new backlight array.

See http://www.lcdparts.net/howto/troubleshooting/LCDTVCCFL.aspx

Tip about Cintiqs in general - get a screen protector for it. They have this slightly rough surface finish to them that's meant to feel like paper - it scratches up after a few years of heavy use. That coating can be peeled off, but it requires a fair amount of elbow-grease.



« Last Edit: September 19, 2016, 08:18:35 AM by Pesho » Logged
sinusoid
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2016, 03:49:50 PM »

Hey,

This should be doable. ccfls are usually contained within detachable strips on both sides of the screen.

Did you perform such maintenance/modifications before? A bit of experience is handy. If you haven't, run through a few disassembly/service tutorials for ccfl screens on YT, maybe get a used/dead one to carve it up. Watch out for the mercury in those tubes.

People even modded old ccfl screens to use led backlight with great results, this one's my fav:
http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=91687

Are you willing to open it up and post some pics?
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ThrowingChicken
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 05:33:25 PM »

I was working on a DIY Cintiq a few years ago and had to replace the CCFL on the LP150E05-A2K1 LCD with one with a longer cable, so that is my only experience.  In that build I ordered a pre-wired CCFL, but if the rumor that the Cintiq 21UX has 6 tubes in it is true, it probably won't be very cost effective to order 6 pre-wired tubes so I'll probably grab a set of tubes off of AliExpress and wire them myself.  Unfortunately my DIY Cintiq build kind of stalled and I never picked it back up, which is what led me to picking up the 21UX off of CraigsList. 

If I do end up cracking open the 21UX I will be sure to document everything.  The dim screen after a few years seems to be the chief complaint about the unit, so I'm sure whatever information I uncover will be useful to some.  I'm surprised no one has posted about it before as it's often considered the best Cintiq and with the closest new model going for $1800 you'd think someone would have tried their hand at it. 

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ThrowingChicken
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 12:55:45 AM »

You know what, no time like the present, right?

I took the back off the housing first, you're met with the metal bracket on the back.


The combo cable is really just a fancy DVI/USB/Power cable that breaks down to your standard DVI on the inside.  You have to unplug a few cables and remove some tape before you can take the metal bracket completely off.


Full shot of the controller boards.


There are a series of black screws along the outer edge, removing them and some tape will free the LCD + Digitizer from the front of the plastic housing.  


LCD and Digitizer removed.


To remove the LCD from the Digitizer, you first have to unhook the LCD ribbon cable from the controller board, just flip the brown tabs up then pull the ribbon cable out.  


There is a series of tiny silver screws along the outer edge that hold the LCD's plastic frame to the Digitizer.  Remove those, then just use your finger nail to lift these tiny taps over these rivets and the whole thing will come away from the Digitizer.  


We've got 3 layers of diffusion film.


And then what looks like is 12mm clear acrylic.  The CCFL tubes are at the top and bottom of the screen.  The screen is upside down in this photo, so the edge along the top has the metal from the bracket bent over the CCFL housing, so you have to lift the acrylic and CCFL out from the bottom first.  


The CCFL housing.  I only took out the bottom one to have a look at.  Three tubes in each housing, as rumored.  






Measured the inside width of the housing just in case I decided to replace them with LEDs, I know how much room I have.  


Depth of the housing.


Diameter of the housing.  Not sure how accurate this is as the tube looks like it might be inside of a plastic sleeve, but I figured this was a good starting point.  


So somehow I forgot to take a measurement of the length of the tube before I put it back together, but I think I can get a pretty good estimate by measuring the rear the of panel without having to take the whole thing apart again.  Reassembly was a breeze, and getting back into it should be pretty simple since I know what to expect.  Time to look around for some tubes, or research LED options.

Full sized images here - http://imgur.com/a/HZufx
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 01:08:03 AM by ThrowingChicken » Logged
Pesho
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« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2016, 11:27:53 AM »

Excellent stuff, thanks for the pictures! The CCFL's look like they could just pop out and you can plug new ones on there. Is that the inverter board on the left in pic2 and 3? For an LED conversion you may be able to just replace that board with a LED driver and route some stips to where the CCFL's go. Looks like there's plenty of room for it.
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ThrowingChicken
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« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2016, 04:09:01 PM »

Yeah the Emax board is the inverted board.  It has 3 plugs at the top and bottom for the lamp cables to go into.


I went ahead and ordered some CCFL tubes, 435mm in length.  I'm going to try the replacement tubes first for two reasons; 1).  The Cintiq was already made to work perfectly with CCFL tubes, why risk causing jitter, however unlikely, by introducing a new type of technology, and 2).  I could get a set of ten CCFL tubes for $15 shipped. 

When they get here I'll probably re-document the tear down and repair and make a new, proper thread for it.  I'll try to note all the screws and plugs as well, though it's fairly straight forward.  Replacing the rear-facing camera on my iPhone was probably a more difficult task. 
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Ertew
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 10:29:50 PM »

Very nice photos. Thanks for sharing.

You can disconnect CCFL driver from main board and turn on Cintiq, this test cannot destroy anything.
But Cintiq may never turn on without CCFL driver. That's because in many cases the driver return OK/FAULT signal to main board (sometimes OK/warming-up signal too) and board will turn off itself after few seconds without good signal. Same as turn-off when no signal presents.

Beware, never turn on driver without full set of CCFLs connected to driver! In some rare cases, this may destroy driver. In my case (17' monitor with 4x CCFL) everything working, but I can hear transformer noise while it was perfectly silent before playing.
Please get any driver designed for single CCFL and separately test each lamp before turning on whole unit.
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ThrowingChicken
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2016, 04:20:49 PM »

Quick update:  After a month of waiting, the CCFL tubes finally came in.  I tore down the Cintiq down to the bulbs, yanked out the old ones and soldered in the replacements.  Had a few issues getting it back together, but now she is and she's about 5x brighter than she was before the replacement.  I can hit around 180-190cd/m2, a little shy of what the factory specs say, but a far cry from the 40cd/m2 I was getting before.  I have the whole thing on video so I'll edit that together and get it posted when I have a chance. 

The hardest part about the whole thing?  Keeping the dust off the screen while you're trying to put it back together. 
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Pesho
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 12:52:43 AM »

Nice! I'm glad to hear you got it revived and running. Dust can be really annoying, i heard that running some hot water in the bathroom to create steam helps keep dust particles out of the air. High moisture is probably not good for the electronics though...
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Aerendraca
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2016, 02:17:46 PM »

Wow, nice job.

As for the dust, I certainly haven't found a good way around this yet, once it's in between those layers or behind the glass it's pretty much sticking around.

By the way I'm extremely jealous of your 21UX!


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dpaint
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2017, 01:29:06 PM »

Thanks for the pics, did you get the results on video?
Also can you tell us is that a 1st or 2nd gen 21UX.
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ThrowingChicken
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 07:21:50 PM »

I have it all on video, I just need to get it uploaded.  It is a first Gen, but I'd imagine they would be fairly similar. 
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dpaint
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2017, 02:05:30 PM »

Thanks man, I just picked up a 2nd Gen yesterday, no issues with the backlight, brightness is very good, I don't know if they used the same CCFLS as your 1st gen, I assume they kept the same brand in both models and have the same housing/diffuser.

I assume you red the a LED replacement strip mod posted a while back:
http://forum.bongofish.co.uk/index.php?topic=2529.0



Is it difficult to remove the back cover & did the inner housing cause any grief? I'd probably only need to remove the back plastics in future for a clean & hoover to prevent dust buildup.
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ThrowingChicken
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2017, 05:27:53 PM »

I just used replacement CCFL, I figured why change up what was already working, rather than risk creating jitter or something like that. 

If I recall correctly, the only real nerve-racking part is when the LCD is completely removed.  I know those ribbons along the edge are delicate, and knowing makes me super nervous.  Unless you have cause to go messing around, like a dim screen, I'd leave it alone. 
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