The "2nd" key and then down arrow will lighten it up. You have to press 2nd and then the down arrow for EACH adjustment, in other words, you cannot just hold the keys down. Keep pressing 2nd and then down over repeatedly.
The bad news is that with brand-new batteries that are really charged up good, the display should be readable but will will be dark. I am using new Lithium Ion Energizers, and the display will not turn down. I also tried using NiMH rechargeables with no luck, so your best bet on batteries is probably just plain old AAA alkalines.
I'm so glad someone asked this question before me. I have my wife's to help me with some economics problems, but I'm having trouble contacting her (I'm in Kuwait, while she's in the US) Thanks for the 2nd key arrow thing.
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Turn the calculator on. Press and release the 2nd key. Press and hold the down-arrow key for a few seconds to lighten the screen. Obviously, if you go too far, press and release the 2nd key and then press and hold the up-arrow key.
Turn the calculator on. Press and release the 2ND key. Press and hold the down-arrow key until the screen is to your liking. Obviously, if you go too far, you can press and release the 2ND key and then press and hold the up-arrow key to go the other way.