taking apart a laptop

where it belongs

For the past year or so my girlfriend’s now ex-laptop has been flickering and changing colours and doing al sorts of mad, crazy stuff that laptops shouldn’t do. It was all lcd / screen related. I was just too busy with college to take it apart and pinpoint the problem, but over the past couple of weeks i’ve *tried* to fix it…

Open sesame

Despite the fact i’ve spent 4 years studying It related subjects at college, i’ve never once opened up a laptop and investigated it’s insides. I’ve never once diagnosed hardware related problems. Can i? Sure. I can google. So i googled this problem until  i became an expert and came up with a shortlist of potential problems.

Laptop Repair

I figured it was the LCD, the inverter or the ribbon cable which connects the LCD to the motherboard.


The symptoms suggested it was the LCD, so i ordered that first. Got it on ebay for about €90. It arrived and i installed it, but the backlight was dead. For the record the backlight was dead on the old lcd screen too. Although it’s difficult to make out anything on an unlit lcd screen, i was able to tell this new LCD fixed the ‘flickering’ problem, so it did need a new LCD and i hadn’t just wasted €90 on something i didn’t need.


Because the inverter supplied the power to the backlights on the LCD, i ordered one of those too. Much cheaper & a fairly common fault… remember i’m a google expert 😉 I got one for about €15. Did that fix the problem? No. At this stage i was scratching my head because i was almost out of ideas. The computer was running grand and could be hooked up to an external monitor, the LCD itself although not bright enough to make out, was displaying stuff as normal… out of desperation i ordered a loom cable which goes from the motherboard to lcd but as i suspected that didn’t help matters either…


Bad part?

I’m now fairly certain i just got a dead inverter and that’s the problem. So i’ve ordered another. I’ll report back if that solves the problem. Although this has so far been an unsuccessful mission, i’ve learned a lot about inverters and LCD backlights. Could i replace another LCD panel or inverter? Absolutely… in minutes. That could potentially save me a fortune in the future. I think it’s that willingness to experiment and learn more which has to be protected or nurtured, so that’s one of the reasons why i’m so keen to get involved in my own start up, where i’ll have no choice but to learn and learn quickly.

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