I’m using just the backlight assembly. Mine is an LED backlight out of a 15" dell. You definitely want an LED backlight!
The LED version uses a bunch of LEDs in series to illuminate the panel along one edge. There are also some Fresnel lenses and other diffusing materials between the backlight and the LCD (you’ll want to keep all that) but they are attached to the backlight so it’s pretty easy.
From there I had to reverse engineer the pins on the backlight. At this point you’re just dealing with LEDs though so it’s fairly straightforward to find the ground and power pins. I believe there was a single ground and 3-4 power pins that each supplied a bank of LEDs. Once I found the power pins I soldered all the positive pins together and gradually started ramping up the voltage until I got some output from the LEDs. If memory serves me correctly I’m driving them at 22V. I use one of these to up the voltage from 5V to 22V http://www.ebay.com/itm/XL6009-DC-DC-Adjustable-Step-up-boost-Power-Converter-Module-/181430931733?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a3e205115
Anyways this probably sounds more difficult than it is. Once you have a panel in your hands and have it separated from the LCD this all makes more sense.
From there I used an arduino with the code above and a transistor to pulse the panel (PWM) for dimming. Previously I had used EL and I never really liked it. EL is hard to dim correctly and I wanted something that could be easily controlled by my PC. Actually I can power the entire panel off of a USB port
I’m currently in the process of adding this to my shutter controller. My panel is now mounted in my dome and the arduino that opens/closes the shutter will also control the lightbox.
Hope that helps,