Apple 20-inch Cinema Display Repair

I’m a die-hard Apple fan, but I must say I’ve had a run of bad Apple luck in the past month. My Mac Pro’s ATI X1900 XT video card began to fail due to overheating. (The Apple Store at least took 1/2 off the price of a replacement – out of warranty.) My MacBook Pro is occasionally reporting -128 deg. C from the GPU heatsink (hmmmm…) and my iPhone had a little ear-speaker glitch. Oh yes – and my 4 year old 20-inch Apple Cinema Display just died.

My G5 used to sport dual 20-inch ACDs. When I replaced them with a 30-inch ACD, I took one in to the office and began using it as my primary work display. A nice improvement over my Dell 19-inch CRT. Well, the other day, upon arrival at my office, I was greeted with a dim upper-half of the display along with a blinking power LED (short-short-long), indicating a bad backlight inverter board. Bum luck.

A bit of Googling showed me that I could grab a replacement board for $125 and fix the issue with a little rolling up of the sleeves. This is what I did and, indeed, I’m now back in business. I thought I’d share the photo gallery documenting the swap-out. If you find yourself in the same boat, I hope these photos help.

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9 Responses to Apple 20-inch Cinema Display Repair

  1. Armand CernA says:

    Not related to this post but I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your site and vintage computers. Awesome work!

  2. Robert B says:

    Same thing happened to me but on a 17-inch model. Where did you get the replacement inverter board?

  3. blakespot says:

    This is the inverter board I used in this repair:

    $129 USD presently. It is possible that I could have simply replaced the two capacitors that, on closer inspection, appear to be leaking (see the little black dots on them?) to get the unit working again. That may have been all that was needed, FYI.

    (Note that different models / sizes require different spec inverter boards.)

  4. Warren Kopp says:

    I’m trying to repair a similar monitor, but your pics aren’t working:

    Not Found

    The requested URL /view/computers/misc/acd_20_repair/ was not found on this server.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

    is there some way you could repost or email them to me?


  5. blakespot says:

    Photo links fixed.

  6. John says:

    I was wondering if you could help me. I have a 22″ Apple Cinema Display, the older ones, looks like the same one you repaired. My screen is not as bright as I think it should be, and it takes a minute to become bright, since it is slightly dark when it is activated. Anyhow, not sure if you could direct me or give me some info, maybe I need to replace the bulbs and the Inverter? Any info would be appreciated.

  7. Paul says:

    Thanks for the pictures – I just updated the board for my
    Cinema A1038 Monitor and I’m back in business again!!!


  8. Mike says:

    Hi. Thank you for this information! You just saved me $$$’s And with your excellent photo series of the process, it made the whole job quick and easy.



  9. Jay Reese says:

    Thanks so much for the comments. I borrowed my friends Cinema Display to troubleshoot my PC, and it failed while I was using it. My shorted power strip smoked 3 computers before I figured out the problem. I’m just trying to come up with a fair number to compensate my good buddy. (of course, he said not to worry about it).

    Much obliged,
    Jay Reese

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