Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How to Replace a Broken Laptop LCD Screen

This is a guest article written by Emma Best from laptopical.com, an informative guide to laptop reviews and the latest computer news.

If your laptop's LCD is cracked, the backlight no longer works, or it has developed color problems, the solution is to replace the entire laptop LCD. Replacing a broken laptop screen is not as hard as it seems - in fact, it is something anyone with patience and a manual can do.

Before starting, you'll need some basic tools, as well as a replacement LCD and possibly the manual for your laptop.


You'll need a small screwdriver set, as well as a small knife, such as a pocket knife or razor blade. Also required is the manual for your laptop. If you don't have it, you can locate an online version on the manufacturer's website.

Replacement LCD

The replacement screen can be found from a number of locations. The easiest way is to contact the laptop manufacturer and order a new one; new replacements generally have warranties. The only problem with this is the expense - if your laptop is older, it may not be worth it to use a new screen.

A cheaper option is to search websites like eBay for a non-working version of your laptop with a working LCD. These can generally be purchased for only a few dollars.

Step 1 - Remove the Power Source

Never perform any work on computer hardware with the power source still attached. Unplug the power cord, remove the main and any backup batteries, and then press and hold the power button for 30 seconds to discharge the system of any residual power.

Step 2 - Remove the LCD Frame

For the majority of laptop screens, the front screen frame has small screws covered with rubber. If you are unsure of how your screen frame is attached, look at the disassembly chapter in the computer's manual.

To remove the small rubber covers from the top of the screws, gently pry them off with a razor or knife. Once they are removed, you'll see the type of screwdriver needed. Locate a screwdriver that fits the screw tightly to avoid damage. Remove all the screws and place them into a container to keep them separate.

After the screws are moved, you'll need to take the back plastic frame off the LCD (the part exposed when the lid of the laptop is closed). The majority of frames snap in place. You'll need to insert a small knife or prying tool in the edge and slowly pull it apart. If you're uncertain of how the frame is attached on your laptop, consult the manual.

Step 3 - Expose the LCD

The back of the LCD will have a silver cover taped onto it. Carefully peel the tape away from the silver cover. If the tape can't be peeled off, then very carefully use a knife to cut it free; be sure to examine it thoroughly for any wires that may be under the tape.

A large piece of tape will be covering one corner of the LCD - this is protecting the inverter. You can't use a knife on this piece of tape, and it will be fairly difficult to remove. Just carefully work the tape free one corner at a time until you can lift up completely. Set it aside, as you'll need it later. If you ruin the inverter, you will need to purchase that in addition to the LCD.

Step 4 - Remove the Side Screws

With the tape removed, the LCD can now be slid back out of the front frame slightly. Slide it enough to access the screws along the side of the LCD; these screws hold the LCD inside the small metal frame. Using the appropriate screw driver, remove these screws, careful to avoid stripping them. Place them into their own container and label it appropriately.

Step 5 - Disconnect the Wires

The back and sides of the LCD will have small wires attached via plastic connectors. These can be gently pulled apart. If the connectors have small safety clasps, use a small screwdriver to carefully lift them up and then pull the connectors apart. If you can't remember where each wire is connected, attach a small label to them.

On the back of the LCD, under a piece of silver tape, will be a single wire. Be sure to remove this - it generally is not visible until you remove the silver tape, and possibly even the silver cover over the back of the LCD.

Finally, lift the broken LCD out of the frame and set it aside.

Step 6 - Insert the New LCD

This step is very easy, as you simply follow these directions in reverse. Before screwing the new LCD in, make sure the new LCD is identical to the original, or you will risk damaging (or completely destroying) the new device.

If they do match, then insert the LCD into the metal frame and connect all the wires to the correct ports. Place tape over any connections that were originally covered with tape.

Step 7 - Test the LCD

Once everything is connected, carefully lay the LCD flat and turn the computer on. You will want to test the LCD before fully assembling the unit. If it works properly, remove the power cord and press the power button for 30 seconds to discharge the computer before continuing.

Step 8 - Reassemble the Frame

Insert the side screws and tighten them gently, then place the LCD back into the front frame of the lid. Place the tape onto the new LCD to hold it in place, in the same area the tape was located on the old LCD.

Snap the back of the lid onto the front frame. Insert the last of the screws into the front of the frame and tighten them gently (not too much, or the plastic will crack). Press the rubber covers into the screw holes to cover the screw heads.

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