Bravo, I think this is the best stated question I have seen on FixYa in the four years I have been here.
My opinion would be that you are having a power supply issue, without testing the voltage to the backlight I would guess you have a failing capacitor on the PS board.
A good place to start is:
When the picture is blacked out
Shine a bright light(flashlight) on the screen
Look very close for an image
If you can see the picture your backlight is not functioning.
Get back with me and will will get this fixed for cheap
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