Do you have the clock plugged in via the adapter or are you using battery power only? If you are using battery power only, the backlight will only come on momentarily when the backlight button is pushed. If you are using the adapter the backlight should be on all the time. It is possible that the adapter cord is not in all the way, and when you pick it up there is a loose connection with the adapter. Make sure you have the adapter plugged in nice and snug on the display. Let us know if you continue to have the problem.