Question about IBM ThinkPad T21 Notebook

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IBM Thinkpad T21 LCD problem

Hi, I have an old IBM Thinkpad T21 and think I need new LCD. The light on the computer doesn't come through unless I open and shut cover a few times.

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My T21 screen flickers sometimes. Yesterday I complete disassembled the computer and found that the monitor cable looked fine. What else could be causing the occassional flickering?

Posted on Jul 30, 2008


I had the same problem with my T21. I also had to close and open the lid a few times in the beginning, but after a while even that didn't help anymore.
So, I took the whole thing apart, and what I expected turned out to be right: the ribboncable going to the display was cracked where it leaves the lid and goes into the pc-case.
It is possible to repair it (I know, because I did) but if you're not used to work with a soldering iron (and your eyes are in perfect shape), don't even try. These contacts are so tiny that I had to work through a magnifiying glass all the time.
First, you have to remove the outer shell of the ribboncable. The easiest way to do that is with one of these highspeed rotary tools. (Note that this shell is made of conductive material, watch out with the debris)
When the cover is removed, you can see which traces are broken. Before you can solder the broken ones, you have to remove the varnish from them. That can be done with a sharp knive. Be very careful, because the copper layer underneath is very thin.
In my case, four of these traces at the side of the cable were broken (varying in size between 1/2 and 1.5 millimeter).
I soldered some copper wires over the fractures, and that did the trick.
It works again!
Biggest challenge now is to get it assembled again :-)


Posted on Jun 06, 2008

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I had the exact same problem, and opening and closing the lid helped for the first little bit. The problem degenerated to the point where I was poking the cable leading to the inverter board (the brains of the monitor). The cables are rugged enough to stand some wear and tear, and so the problem may lie within the inverter board for the LCD. A new one can be found on e-bay for less than $15 (shipping included). I know spending money sucks, but the inverter board has been known to be an pain in the neck for a lot of people with ThinkPads. Hope this helps!

Posted on May 27, 2008

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Hello shadl

Am I understanding your correctly? - the monitor of your T21 is working intermittently? Please, let me know if I've misunderstood your description of the problem.
If the issue is w/ the monitor, ....

And the symptoms are intermittent and change w/ opening and closing the cover (monitor) then there's a good possibility the problem isn't w/ the monitor itself rather it's w/ the cables or wiring going from the monitor to the mainboard. If that is the case, whether it is repairable w/o replacing the monitor will depend upon the cables and/or wiring involved.

It would make sense that an issue like that was caused by worn or damaged cables/wiring as those are the parts of the monitor that would've been subject to wear and tear over time.

I recommend you disassemble the monitor from the laptop and carefully inspect all the cables and wiring that run between the monitor and the laptop.
I will see if I can find a service manual online for you that will step you through removing the monitor.

If it does turn out that the problem is w/ the monitor itself or that the monitor's wiring or cables cannot be repaired, you can search the Internet for another Thinkpad T21 that you can salvage parts off of. (eBay would be one good place to look.) You can try finding just the monitor but I think you'll stand a better chance at finding a T21 that is being sold for salvage.

In the interim, you should be able to connect an external monitor and use the computer w/ it for now.

IF you connect an external monitor and the symptoms persist, then the problem isn't w/ your monitor at all. Be sure to post back here and let us know if that is the case, too.

Please, let me know if this response was "Helpful" or a "FixYa" for you or, of course, if you have additional questions, etc on this topic.

If I did not answer your question satisfactorially, plz, b4 assigning a "Thanks for Trying" or lower rating to my "Solution", let me know. I may have misunderstood you or the problem you are experiencing. In any case, I will work w/ you until your problem is resolved or diagnosed. I promise! :)

Thank you

Posted on Apr 05, 2008

  • Anonymous Apr 05, 2008

    IBM THINKPAD T20,T21, T22, T23 Series MAINTENANCE MANUAL can be found HERE.

    (01) In the Bookmarks on the left, click on: THINKPAD T20, T21, T22 AND T23 SERIES
    (02) Then click on: REMOVING AND REPLACING A FRU (field replaceable unit)
    (03) Next, click on: 2040 LCD PANEL
    (04) In the right pane, click on: 2010 LCD ASSEMBLY ON PAGE 119
    (05) Now, in the right pane, scroll down the pages to see the illustrations and instructions for removing the LCD panel.

    There is also a parts list in this manual that includes the LCD panel.


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Hi there,
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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