How-To: Repair A Laptop LCD Monitor
[PREMIUM]- So you’ve got a laptop, really love it and don’t want to let it go. It’s still fairly new but just out of warranty and the LCD monitor on the monitor is busted. You’ve either got a flickering screen, solid-colored horizontal or vertical lines or “blocks” of colors, however when you output the laptop to a regular monitor you know the computer is still working.
Can you fix this yourself?
You can order a replacement monitor and do the work yourself by ordering just the screen (and not the bezel), however this is a very tricky job. This tutorial will instruct you how to replace one of these screens properly. We’ve even got pictures to help you see what we’re doing.
Above is the toolset you need. It is made by Craftsman and available at Sears. You do not have to buy the whole set, but is recommended you do. The colored tips do turn freely so you can use only your fingers to twist screws loose while the palm rests on the colored end. More information on this set here. This set also includes the tiny-tiny sizes so you do not strip any screws.
The two colors you will need the most are blue (cross-thread) and green (torx).
How it’s all put together, and how to take it apart
In order to replace the LCD screen you must literally take apart most or all of the entire laptop in most instances.
To note: Your replacement screen should come provided with complete instructions on what to remove to replace the screen properly.
In order to replace the screen, the monitor must be completely disconnected from the chassis.
Here’s how everything connects together:
The screen is physically held in place by supporting screws under rubber feet on the front-side where the screen is.
The screen is also physically held in place by tiny screws underneath the monitor bezel.
The monitor bezel is held by supporting screws on vertical side of the backplane (the “back” of the laptop) and two hinges. This vertical side is held by supporting screws on the bottom of the backplane.
The ribbon connector (your replacement screen will come with a new one of these as well) is normally located under the left side hinge.
This same ribbon connector is usually connected under a bezel on the “top” of the laptop (keyboard side) relatively close to the power button.
To take everything apart:
The rubber feet must be removed by hand to expose the supporting screws. You can use a small slotted screwdriver to assist in removing them. They are only held in place by adhesive. You remove these first just to get them out of the way.
Depending on what your replacement instructions state, at this point you may have to take apart the backplane, remove a top bezel, keyboard and palm rest to expose the ribbon connector cable. This is held in by supporting screws. You disconnect that cable and leave it dangling for the time being.
When the backplane is taken apart you can remove the vertical cover (the “back” of the laptop) which will expose the supporting screws for the hinges.
Here are some example images of what this looks like:
The first hardest/scariest part
You must physically “crack off” the hinge covers. THIS IS VERY SCARY to anyone who hasn’t done this before and yes, it’s very easy to break the plastic. The easiest way to go about it is to use a slotted screwdriver and “work” the hinge off. REMEMBER: Hinge covers are specific to their sides.
Once the hinges are cracked off you should be able to loosen/remove the vertical backplane supporting screws, any screws top-side (if they exist) holding the hinges down and LIFT the monitor UP and out. It does not go BACK. There are posts present that are used as levers that allow the screen to open/shut. Being that you’ve already disconnected the ribbon cable it shouldn’t be “tied” to anything at this point.
Here’s an image of what this looks like:
The second hardest/scariest part
This part what separates the men from the boys, so to speak.
You must crack off the monitor bezel to get to the screen. By hand. There’s no other way to do it.
Loosen the screws holding the bezel together, use a small slotted screwdriver and very carefully “work it apart”. Your teeth will grit together as you hear a CRACK CRACK CRACK each time you “break” a part of the bezel loose.
The third hardest/scariest part
This is the last scary part. Promise
So now you’ve got your old screen and new screen. The old screen is most likely held in by itty bitty cross-head screws that must be removed. Note: These are VERY EASY to lose. Mind them closely.
After this, the ribbon connector cable may also be held in by 1 or 2 itty bitty cross-head screws.
When these screws are loosened and removed, the screen should come right out.
The hard/scary part is installing the new ribbon connector cable. It’s extremely thin and usually extremely hard to position correctly. Don’t get frustrated. Take your time, do it slowly and it will mate up proper.
Here’s some images of what this looks like:
Test before you put it back together
When you have your new ribbon cable connector connected, temporarily connect it to the board of the laptop and power the unit. If you see a picture and it looks good, immediately turn it off and unplug it.
Obviously DO NOT touch the board while the unit is powered to avoid electrical shock.
Putting it back together
Putting the unit back together is a lot easier than it was taking it apart. You’ll find the monitor bezel will crack-crack-crack on easily. All the screws will go into their proper place.
The most difficult part when putting the unit back together will be the hinge covers. It may take a few tries before they SNAP back down where they were.
For every laptop manufactured there ARE INSTRUCTIONS ONLINE on how to replace the monitor IF it the replacement screen does not come provided with them.
If you are unsure whether you can acquire directions or not, DO NOT ATTEMPT WITHOUT DIRECTIONS. This is a VERY advanced computer repair job. All laptops are proprietary and proper directions are a must-have.