Question about IBM ThinkPad 380ED

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IBM ThinkPad 380Z LCD Inverter

I own a IBM ThinkPad 380Z, The 13" One, and got a brand new LCD Cable for it and the screen comes on and then turns black but can still see the picture if I look closely. It some times comes on and stays on for 2min and then turns black and have to look close to see the picture. I'm guessing its the LCD Inverter.

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  • Patrick Bridge
    Patrick Bridge Jul 10, 2008

    I hear a sound where the inverter is and I guess that is a error sound letting know that the inverter is bad. I seen them on ebay and there cheap $4.00

  • Patrick Bridge
    Patrick Bridge Jul 25, 2008

    I have a IBM ThinkPad 380Z and Windows doesn't detect its CD-ROM Drive. It reads when I first turn it on and allows me to install a Windows like 98 or XP but after Windows is installed the CD-ROM Icon is not under my computer.

    Right now I just have Windows 95 on it and tryed all 3 Windows, 95,98, XP. and I ran add new hardware and didn't detect it. But the CD Drive does work and installs the Windows I want.

  • Patrick Bridge
    Patrick Bridge Jul 25, 2008

    I too own a ThinkPad i1200 12" that I am fixing. needs a Left Hing cover, Hard Drive Cover and Battery. I have a Hard Drive for it, 10GB, but something is wrong with it. Something was droped on it and now makes a loud sound and screech noise. I took the silver metal top off too see what is damaged and nothing looks broke. I tested with my USB hard Drive hookup and the arm flikers back and forth like it can't go over the disk. i don't want to trash it due to it maybe fixed. Other than that the ThinkPad 380Z's CD-ROM Works but not when a Windows Operating system is on it. I could put in any install CD and it will install but after its done and Windows is on it, No CD-ROM Icon.

  • Patrick Bridge
    Patrick Bridge Jul 25, 2008

    The ThinkPad i Series were built by Acer in Taiwan and that why they are diffrent from the T,R and X Series. Its the only ThinkPad that I had to buy a Hard Drive adapter for the pins to plug into.

    I can't find the Battery Model number but the Laptop is a IBM ThinkPad i1200 Type 1161 - 11U



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Glad to see you found your cable. The inverter would be my best guess, then possibly the back light, but more than likely the inverter.

Posted on Jul 09, 2008

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  • Ryan Rogers
    Ryan Rogers Jul 25, 2008

    I just had an I-Series that had the same issue. Every other time I would start it the drive wasn't there, and when it was, now and then I had to open and close the drive a couple of times or slap it shut to get it to read. I replaced the drive and had no further problems. Before you go and replace the drive, try a bios flash. The board may just be glitching after you load the system.

  • Ryan Rogers
    Ryan Rogers Jul 25, 2008

    The I-Series are real pieces of work. I got a lot of 8 at an auction, and I could only get 2 to work right. On damn near every one the built in wireless didn't or stopped working, and the optical drives had issues. A bios flash or driver reinstall helped the drive on a few. Try these on yours. Also, I've got a few of these for part machines, but there are a couple of different types, send me a pic of the hinge and hard drive covers and the battery model and I'll see if I've got them. As far as the hard drive, I'm going to say it's junk, I've tried to swap out parts in a few, but never had any success. Email me the covers and battery model at

  • Ryan Rogers
    Ryan Rogers Jul 25, 2008

    I didn't know that about the I-Series, it explains alot. Looking around here at the shop, I don't seem to have what you need, but I'll look around at home tonight. I've got boxes of parts machines in the garage. Let you know tomorrow.

  • Ryan Rogers
    Ryan Rogers Jul 29, 2008

    Getting back with you. The only I-series parts I have left are for what appears to be a 1400, a more squared off version that doesn't have the same hinges and the hard drive is internal. AS far as batteries, I have three for the T20 series. Again, I'm sorry I couldn't help you out. Maybe one of these days?



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I have an ibm t43 and the top of the screen is glitching to where it has white lines on it. How do i fix it?

Problem may be;

1) Video Cable:

A) May have a loose connection on the motherboard side, or back of LCD screen side.

B) May be damaged.

2) Display Assembly:

Specifically the screen Inverter, or LCD screen.

An LCD screen does not produce light.

It needs an additional light source.
A Backlight is the additional light source.

A Backlight (Present technology) can be a CCFL, (Or dual CCFL's), or a series of LED lights.

The IBM T43 series of Notebook PC's uses a single CCFL.

Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp.
Similar to Fluorescent lighting used in homes, and businesses, but on a MUCH smaller scale.

(Average size of bulb is;
1) Width: 2mm. {Slightly more than 1/16th of an Inch }
2) Length: A little shorter than the LCD screen is in height.

Basic example, )

The screen Inverter converts power from the laptop for the LCD screen, and Backlight.

90 PERCENT OF THE TIME the fault is the screen Inverter.

Primer over.

Example of Inverter,

The thin plastic 'frame' in front of your LCD screen, is the LCD Bezel.

(Goes by several names, depends on manufacturer.
Display Bezel, Display Panel Bezel, LCD Bezel, LCD Front Bezel, etc.)

Behind it, and located at the bottom of the LCD screen, is the Inverter.

IBM ThinkPad T43 series of Notebook PC > Service Manual (Free),

Go down to the line that begins with ThinkPad T20. (T20 in blue)
Scroll across, click on - T43

[ This is a PDF file. The computer you are using now has Adobe Reader on it, which uses PDF files.

After you click on the file name { T43 } it may take up to 30 seconds, before the first page comes up ]

A) ALL power removed. Remove the AC adapter (Charger) and Battery.

B) It would be BEST, if you would wear an ESD wrist strap. Have it's alligator clip connected to a good ground source.
(Electro Static Discharge)

Average price of an ESD wrist strap is $3 to $6.
One example,

C) Use a multi-compartment container for the various screws you will remove.
Label each compartment for the area the screw/s come out of.

SOME screws look VERY similar to other screws. Do NOT mix them up.

1) Check the connection of the Video Cable TO the motherboard, and TO the back of the LCD screen.

The connection MAY look to be plugged in tightly, but in reality it is not.
Physically make sure the cable is plugged in tightly.
(Especially at back of LCD screen )

You have to remove the Display Assembly from the laptop, in order to properly access the video cable connection, at the back of the LCD screen,

PDF file page number, and service manual actual page number, Do Not match. When I refer to a page, the reference will be to the PDF file page number.

Go to Page 121 in the Service Manual, for units that have a 14.1 Inch LCD screen.
Page 126 for 15 Inch.

Motherboard Connection:
Laptop open, looking at the LCD screen; The cables on the Left are Video. The cables on the right are for the Wireless Antenna.

LCD screen connection:
Disassembly of LCD Assembly starts on Page 154.
Page 167 shows the video cable, and connection.
LCD flat panel cable = FPC. Also known as Video Cable.

On Page 121 you will see a component removal list, listed in order of removal.
You can click on an underlined subject, to go directly to the chapter that deals with it

To remove the LCD Assembly, (Display Assembly), you have to
remove the Keyboard, then Keyboard Bezel. (Palm Rest)

Once the Keyboard Bezel is removed you have direct access to the motherboard connection side, of the LCD cable. (Video Cable, or for IBM - FPC)

Check the connection. Tight or loose, you still have to check the connection at the back of the LCD screen. (LCD Panel)

1a) Check for damage to the LCD cable.
If there is obvious damage to the outside sheath of the cable, there may be damage to the tiny wires inside the cable.

Even if there isn't obvious signs of damage, the tiny wires inside may be stretched/broken.

Use a multimeter set to Ohms, and check the continuity of the wires, inside the LCD cable.
{ An economical, yet good enough for this test multimeter, can be purchased for as little as $8 to $12. Available in a multitude of stores. An auto parts store is but one example. Analog or digital is fine }

2) LCD cable checks out it's on to the screen Inverter.
Make sure this small circuit board isn't damaged. (Pulled wire/s)

To test a screen Inverter requires a sensitive multimeter. Read fairly expensive,

Something the average consumer does not have.
For this reason, the ease of accessing it to replace, and the usual low cost, (Compare to an LCD screen), the unit is usually just replaced.

Parts changing I know, but you have to use what is available to you.

Or see what a computer repair shop will charge to test the unit.

An LCD screen, and a screen Inverter are a MATCHED unit!
When replacing make SURE you get the right part ]

3) Screen Inverter checks out it's a bad LCD screen.

NO, your graphics chipset is FINE.

For additional questions, or clarifications, please post in a Comment.


Apr 27, 2012 | IBM ThinkPad T43 Notebook

1 Answer

Laptop ibm t60 screen white, but works fine with external lcd screen connected by VGA cable


Check your laptop's LCD connections. One of the below items may need replacement or you may need to just reinsert them, might be loose.

- LCD cable
- LCD inverter
- LCD itself

NOTE: Most often, the LCD inverter is the culprit.

Hope this helps.

Jun 25, 2011 | IBM 92P6569 DVD/CD-RW for ThinkPad R50,...

1 Answer

My IBM Thinkpad screen has gone dark but I can still see a bit. Is there a key to brighten the screen?

Try attaching an external monitor to the laptop & see if you could get any display on it. If this is successful, then you might have either a faulty LCD cable or screen inverter board.
The LCD cable transfers data signal from the motherboard & video card to the LCD screen. It also supplies high voltage DC power to the screen inverter board. The screen inverter board works as a power supply for the backlight lamp mounted inside the LCD screen. It converts low voltage DC power to high voltage AC power needed for the backlight lamp

Aug 29, 2010 | IBM ThinkPad T23 2647 Notebook

1 Answer

Laptop to TV Hook Up

Reduce the video resolution on your "input".

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2 Answers

IBM ThinkPad 380Z AV Hook up To Tv

From what I have been reading, the video card in the computer itself MUST support TV out. You can't just use a TV like a computer won't work. Check the ads on eBay for those adapter cables and they will say: Check to make sure your video card supports TV out. Go back to eBay and search in the same general area for a computer video to TV adapter or converter box. DO NOT get it confused with the converter box for HDTV. They are about $25-$35 and you will still need the cable adapter you already have, plus another set of just the AV cables. Good luck. Please rate this if it was helpful.

Sep 26, 2008 | IBM ThinkPad 380ED

1 Answer



It's seems your Thinkpad need a new inverter, due to a backlight inverter burnt out. Get a new one or repaired it. Good lucks!

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IBM ThinkPad 380Z

Any time Patrick. Need anything else just holler.

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1 Answer

IBM, lenovo ThinkPad 380Z

There are a ton of these machines out there. If you can't find just the ribbon Ebay, try a whole machine not working.I recently picked one up off Ebay for $28 with shipping just for parts. You can also try a local shop that sales or services used machines. If you can't locate one, you can give me a call, I believe that I have a few at my shop and we'll see if we can get you one. My shop number is 417-626-7727, I'm open tues - sat 10:00am till 6:00pm. I may need you to send the old one, if you have it, in order to make sure we get the right one.

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