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My dell inspiron 1520 has dark screen

My dell inspiron 1520 went dark. It is behaving like the backlight burnt out but replacing the light didn't fix it. I can plug in another monitor and it works. The screen flickers on start-up but doesn't light up, I can see the images are there but no light.

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  • asmith516 Mar 04, 2009

    I will try the inverter, thanks

  • Anonymous Apr 17, 2009

    my sell 1520 is alright but when i put the charger in the screen goes so dark you can't see it but it still works the programs that is

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I just "fixed" a 1520 that had a similar problem. The screen would go dark at odd times and would always go dark if the power adapter was UNplugged. After upgrading the bios, chipset and video drivers with no improvement I started fooling with the power settings.I found that setting screen brightness to anything less than 100% when on battery power caused a totally dark screen on battery power. Definitely some kind of bug and running with 100% brightness on battery will reduce battery life but I got it working. I think the bug was apparent after some recent updates. It could be the O/S or drivers. YMMV

Posted on Dec 02, 2009

  • monkfish Clark Oct 14, 2012

    it's bizzare that I found the exact opposite to be the case, 100% on battery power caused the crash and reduced power extended the life, the same model, I wonder if there is any conclusion that can be drawn from this when the problem seems identical and the solution exact opposite

  • monkfish Clark Oct 14, 2012

    did you have any luck extending the screen life whilst on Ac power

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If you replaced the backlight and you still have the same problem then the next step you should take is to replace the inverter.

That should solve your problem, if it doesn't let us know.

Posted on Mar 04, 2009

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This would be a good time to replace your screen. Or spend alot of money having the backlight changed. There is really nothing you can do other than that.

Posted on Mar 04, 2009

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Hi, I have a Dell Inspiron 1520 Windows XP and a black screen issue, but when the AC power adapter is PLUGGED. While running on battery only it stays from 2 to 3 hours, but as soon as I plug it in, it dies out in 5-10 minutes. The above description of the issue is pretty similar (the programs are working, and the blacknes is almost total). Closing the lid and booting it again brings the laptop back to life, but you can't really call it a normal use when you have to stop working in order to feed it.

I downloaded a GeForce driver recommended by Dell, but it didn´t help. I am afraid it is a firmware issue...Or you think I could apply the settings recommended by STURKE?

Posted on Jan 29, 2010

  • monkfish Clark Oct 15, 2012

    your problem is identical to my own, I was wondering whether you'd found any solution to it

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Actually i have the same problem i think its a short from where you connect the lug if you jiggle that the light comes on for some reason so forsure its a short

Posted on Sep 07, 2009

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I've not a solution as such, I just want to detail my backlight issue, initially I was solving it by using the fn & the crt f8 key, pressing twice to return it back to laptop screen, this worked for a while, I've noticed that on flat battery, it seems alot worse, also that on use of the dvd drive that this seems to aggravate it dramatically, the laptop is operating perfectly and with an external monitor has no problems, this also seems to relieve the problem slightly. Logically, I'd suspect that this a power problem, - excessive usage creates the drain on the backlight and subsequent failure. I'm doubtful that changing the screen will have any effect although that of course is the next step as I see it, I think , if possible I'll look into whether a non shiny screen might use less power. also I'm intrigued by the possibility of reflashing the bios and the possibilty of reflashing with another dell bios of a similar screened sized dell model, possibly playing with fire but what the hell, this problem seems widespread, which, with no specific fix highlighted here and so many working on it that maybe more drastic measures may well be the way forward, - I bet it'll work perfectly on windows 95


Posted on Oct 14, 2012

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  • monkfish Clark Oct 14, 2012

    I've noted that, when the brightness is reduced to a minimum, - I also reduced screen pixelation down to 1024x768, that this dramatically improved longevity of laptop screen, in fact its not died yet and its been over 20 minutes, when the blacking out before was almost instantanious, a result,- well of sorts, I've had this success only on battery power, and although for ac ive reset similarily the screen still is not coping for some reason, anyhow Im still quite pleased and will later post how long the screen lasted and whether it actually managed to last until the battery died

  • monkfish Clark Oct 14, 2012

    I'll also test the effectivity of running the dvd and see if this has the same negative effect as before and get back to you

  • monkfish Clark Oct 14, 2012

    it has left me pondering that possibly theres a similar setting that will extend screen life whilst on AC power

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I have found this to be a recurring fault on the motherboard with this fault. I was having the same problem with a customers machine and changed the Inverter, screen cable and screen to no avail.

Posted on Mar 18, 2011

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If you actually have a problem, it might not be the backlight. Always try the inverter. Then if that doesn't work try the backlight.

Posted on Dec 31, 2009

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To determine if you have a LCD screen or video card problem, read this and follow the instructions.

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Connect an external monitor to your laptop and power it up, if you see the normal Windows images then the video card and laptop is OK and the problem is definitely the backlight.

Dim image and/or dark display on the laptop's LCD screen indicates a faulty LCD backlight and it could be the inverter that supplies high voltage to the CCFL lamp or it is the CCLF lamp is nearly burnt out or burnt out, most likely this is the case.
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You could have a defective screen - a defective inverter or a CCFL lamp.
To determine if you have a LCD screen or video card problem, read this and follow the instructions.

Defective CCFL backlight, it may have the following symptom:

  • Screen flashs on red/pink and off.
  • Picture stays on in red and slowly be come normal.
  • Picture flickering with dim display.
  • Picture flickering on and off.
All these symptoms indicate that the LCD backlight lamp (CCFL Lamp) has reached the end of the life and all you need to do is replacing the CCFL lamp

Connect an external monitor to your laptop and power it up, if you see the normal Windows images then the video card and laptop is OK and the problem is definitely the backlight.

Dim image and/or dark display on the laptop's LCD screen indicates a faulty LCD backlight and it could be the inverter that supplies high voltage to the CCFL lamp or it is the CCLF lamp is nearly burnt out or burnt out, most likely this is the case.
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Defective CCFL backlight, it may have the following symptom:


  • Screen flashs on red/pink and off.
  • Picture stays on in red and slowly be come normal.
  • Picture flickering with dim display.
  • Picture flickering on and off.
All these symptoms indicate that the LCD backlight lamp (CCFL Lamp) has reached the end of the life and all you need to do is replacing the CCFL lamp

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Dim image and/or dark display on the laptop's LCD screen indicates a faulty LCD backlight and it could be the inverter that supplies high voltage to the CCFL lamp or it is the CCLF lamp is nearly burnt out or burnt out, most likely this is the case.
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  • Picture flickering with dim display.
  • Picture flickering on and off.
All these symptoms indicate that the LCD backlight lamp (CCFL Lamp) has reached the end of the life and all you need to do is replacing the CCFL lamp

Connect an external monitor to your laptop and power it up, if you see the normal Windows images then the video card and laptop is OK and the problem is definitely the backlight.

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