Laptop Screen Repair
An older type laptop display panel
with inverter attached below
Laptop Screen Technology
The vast majority of laptop screens use TFT (thin film transistor) LCD panels, the same display technology as is found in flat screen computer monitors, flat screen TVs and mobile phones. They equip portable devices with full colour high resolution displays with good contrast in a thin and lightweight form factor. However, they can be fragile unless treated with care.
LCDs do not produce light themselves, and so LCD panels require a backlight to illuminate the display from behind. The vast majority of recent laptops and netbooks use screens with LED backlighting where the backlight is effectively integrated into the LCD screen panel. However, some older laptops and netbooks use screens which require an external backlight, which is typically a very thin Cold Cathode Flourescent Lamp (CCFL), powered by an inverter which converts the DC voltage from the laptop battery into the AC voltage required by the CCFL.
LED screens typically have a single connector at the bottom-left side of the screen when viewing the screen from the back. LCD screens with a CCFL backlight typically have a larger connector at the top-right of the screen (again, viewing the screen from the back), and a two-pin plug at the end of a short lead at the bottom edge of the screen panel which plugs into the inverter. Due to economies of scale, replacement screens with LED backlighting typically cost less than screens with CCFL backlighting.
Symptoms Of A Faulty Laptop Screen
Cracked laptop screen showing the ‘leaking ink’ effect
Symptoms of a faulty laptop screen can include:
- Visible cracks on the screen (sometimes looks like ink leaking over the screen)
- A dark or dim screen or red-looking screen, which can indicate that the backlight or more usually the inverter is failing
- A flickering screen
- Liquid inside panel, often caused by drinks being spilled on the screen
- Only part of the screen is visible, some part of the display is dark or corrupted
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Diagnosing And Repairing a Laptop Screen
If you suspect that your laptop screen is faulty, you can connect your laptop to an external monitor or TV. If the display appears OK on the external monitor, it is very likely that the screen is faulty (as opposed to, say, the video chipset on the mainboard). If that is the case, the good news is that it is possible to repair or replace a non-working laptop screen.
Signal cable connector on the
rear of the laptop screen panel
The basic procedure is as follows:
- Disconnect the power and remove the laptop battery
- Undo the screws around the screen bezel (they are often concealed under rubber pads)
- Prise the bezel away from the back panel
- Identify and remove the screws securing the screen hinges to the lid
- Disconnect the power/signal cable connector(s) from the laptop motherboard (mainboard)
- Unscrew the panel from the hinge assembly
- Remove the faulty screen
Once disassembled, the inverter can be removed from the screen panel and replaced, or if the screen or backlight is faulty or damaged, the whole panel can be replaced. Reverse the steps above to reassemble the laptop. It's a good idea to test the new laptop screen before reattaching the screen bezel.
A Word Of Caution
The instructions above are only a brief outline of a possible repair procedure. If you are in any way unsure, please don't attempt to disassemble or repair your laptop yourself. We cannot accept any responsibility for damaged caused by attempts to follow these instructions.