How to Take Apart a Laptop





Introduction: How to Take Apart a Laptop

About: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.

Here's how I took apart the LCD assembly for my laptop, an HP pavilion zv5000.


As the back light bulb ages, it requires more current to stay on and start. Eventually, this current requirement will exceed the inverter's (a high voltage power supply) capability. This can lead to inverter damage (read: expensive).


For about a month or so, my back light starts off as red on startup and slowly returns to normal (white). This can take as much as 30 seconds to a minute. Much recently, my backlight has been turning off randomly, but the frequency has been slowly increasing. As of yesterday - I noticed a high pitched hum sound just before the light kicked off. My light would come on instantly if I hit the screen position switch. And lastly, if I turned the brightness down, most of the symptoms disappears - except the back light had a red tinge to it.


1. Replace Bulb -- this is a $12 part
If problem persists:
2. Replace inverter -- a $70 part, however the bulb should always be replaced when the inverter is replaced.

Step 1: Cautions


The following procedure will, without a doubt, violate any warranty you have. But who has to know? Take it apart and reassemble properly, and you won't notice :D

High Voltage
Your back light uses high voltage and sensitive electronics. So please, take care as not to damage these rather expensive components. Static build up will damage these components.

LCD's are surprisingly flexible given their material. But, they are fragile and should be treated with great care. Never pull on any cords and always allow the screen to rest on a firm, non abrasive, surface.

Reassembly Warning

Please understand, if you are not comfortable working with these components, do not take them apart. You may risk not being able to reassemble properly resulting in a back light that lights, but does not illuminate the screen, or partially illuminates your screen.

That's All, You Have been Warned

Step 2: Locate Screws

The zv5000's front bezel is held on with 4 screws and 24, count them, 24 snaps - 4 of which are large interlocking snaps.

Start by removing the screw covers located at the top and bottom of the screen. these are stuck on (sticker style) and easily pry up with a jeweler's flat head screw driver. Set these covers aside, and unscrew all four screws using a jeweler's phillip's head. Label and set screws aside.

By the way, you did remember to shut down your computer, unplug it and pull the battery? Right right? It's okay, I can wait.

Step 3: Snaps Aplenty... and the Cursed Glue!

Okay, so I lied... On top of your 24 snaps and 4 screws.... The LCD panel itself is glued to the front bezel. Ouch. Anyway, lets press on.

Open up your screen as far as it will go. I did this step with the laptop sitting in my lap. Look at the screen hinge - the portion that moves. There should be two, 8 centimeter sections on the left and right. Inside those movable section, there are two snaps each. these snaps are located about 2cm from the left and right sides of that movable section.

Now, using a jeweler's flat screwdriver as a pry bar, gently and carefully pry up on the snaps.

Once you've released these four snaps, begin to pull up on the bezel using pressure from your finger. You can also use the screw driver for a little extra leverage. As soon as you can, take a peek inside the screen and look for signs of glue tape. It appears that a metal strip covered in glue attaches the screen and bezel together. So move slowly. It is helpful to use a screwdriver to depress on the metal glue band to keep a concentrated pressure point from forming on the screen.

Work all the way around the screen. When you get to the latch, open the latch and continue prying. Then, remove the bezel completely.

Step 4: Remove LCD Part 1

In order to get to the bulb, we need to remove the LCD and gain access to the side and back panels - unfortunate. For this, I moved to a table and I used some inch thick foam, for support.

Begin with the mounting bracket screws (4). These were chromed in my case.

Next, unscrew the hinge side support/mount (see photos) screws (2). This separates the screen from the rear bezel for the next step.

Now, remove the screws (8 - 4 per side) from the side mounting support bracket (see image). To get your screwdriver in there, press down on the rear bezel until the screw is exposed. This is why we removed the hinge support screws.

After removing all 8 screws, firmly grasp the back light connectors and remove them (1 at a time).

Step 5: Remove LCD Part 2


Do not reach under the LCD. Only Support the LCD by it's mounting bracket or by the metal edge supports.

Remove the LCD. This is done by lifting (straight up) on the top mounting brackets (2). The screen should then be free for removal.

Once you have access to the back of the screen - remove the tape holding down the lower portion of the screen cable. This will give you the freedom to flip the screen upside down to gain access to your back light.

Step 6: Removing the Edging (Partially)

I'm not quite sure what the official name is, so I'm calling it edging. It is the metal band that surrounds the perimeter of the screen.

The back light bulb is located at the bottom of the screen. To remove it, we need to gain access to the bottom portion of the screen - this involves partially removing the edging - removing a supoort bracket and then removing the back light reflector assembly.

First, remove the bottom support bracket. It should be held on with two chrome screws (beware - tiny).

Next remove the support bracket screws (2) - these are chrome. Label and set aside.

Now, remove edging screws (4). These are brass in color. I'm fairly sure you don't need to remove all of them, but you must remove the ones near the bottom portion of the screen.

The edging is held on with snaps around the perimeter and a bit of tape. Remove any tape in the way. You need to carefully insert your screwdriver into these snaps and pry them free. Pry all of the snaps on the bottom and the top two snaps on either side.

Now the edging should pull away from the screen (only slightly). With the edging pulled back, grasp the metal support on the bottom of the screen (this part has holes along the length of it). Rotate it around the screen (to unlock) and then pull away. This exposes the back light reflector.

Step 7: Remove Backlight

The back light is located inside the back light reflector. To remove, first pull the high voltage wire out of its holder.

Now, pull the reflector assembly straight out while lifting the plastic carrier away. Be gentle as the back light is in fact a tiny fluorescent tube - and contains mercury vapor.

The reflector assembly is attached to the transflective glass sheet. So, to remove you need to pull it off of this glass sheet which is what will cause most of the resistance.

Once removed, measure your bulb and order a replacement. Make sure your bulb will fit before ordering. I ordered my bulb from

Step 8: Coming Soon!

Receiving your new bulb - installing and putting everything back together!

This so begs to be case modded :D



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    I have an old HP zd7000 laptop which I am tired of carrying around with me. I want to use it only at home as a "desktop" machine. I'm thinking of removing its monitor permanently. Would that allow me to use the machine itself with just a VGA lcd monitor? Thanks, and awesome Instructable!

    Thanks for your tips. These tips are very helpful to me, because I still clouds on the world of technology.

    Thanks Instructables...

    Great instructions, replaced the backlight and the inverter board for $40 (with $8 in tools) when Best Buy wanted a non refundable deposit of $120 then was estimating a cost of $220 for the repair.....

    Thank you Instructables!!

    if the backlight takes about 40 seconds to turn on full brightness is that bad?

    1 reply

    hat depends on the laptop, you might want to call the manufacturer and ask

    Re:  hp Pavillion zv5000 Laptop backlight replacement Instructable

    A few comments on this subject imply that some soldering may be required when installing the replacement laptop backlight . Is this really necessary, or just a precaution?



    1 reply

     The bulbs do not come with wires attached (they're standard parts used in many different applications) - you'll have to de-solder the wire from the old bulb and solder them to the new bulb.

    Re:  hp Pavillion zv5000 Laptop backlight replacement Instructable
    You had stated that step 8
    was Coming Soon!
    (Receiving your new bulb - installing and putting everything back together! )
    I've replaced the inverter (thanks for the Instructable), but now find that the backlight  needs replacing. I've ordered it, but it would be nice to have the Laptop backlight replacement Instructable handy when the bulb arrives.
    Can you tell me if it will be on the Instructables site soon?



    1 reply

    I have the zv5000 also but I have the problem of the battery not charging, and the power plug needing to be in a specific spot or else it wont even boot.

    2 replies

    You'll want to order another battery, also, I've had the power cord problem with my laptop (a Fujistu Siemens AMILO PRO V3505) and I thinks it's due to the wires inside breaking due to being bent,.


    I have tried a new battery and a new charger... It is definitely the port having a broken connection... I just have to one day go in and re-solder it.

    I used these instructions and successfully changed the bulb on my laptop screen. I would not have attempted this repair without them. Thank you very much for your detailed instructions and pictures.

    This instructable should be called how to change an lcd but still it was a good instructable

    dude, cann i buy ur laptop?? >.>

    My laptop is a ,compact presario 900US , 1.3 GHz which is not bad ! But I have done my share of abuse by droping it a few times ( when it was off ) & it still works fine. The only trouble I have had is having the back light cutting in/out ,but it didn't have red strekes on it . in the end it was not the inverter or the tube ,but a break in one of the wires in a cable . I might say when I took the outer wrap off it looked like the cables were nicked at the factory & covered up anyway. But I repaired the break & it never happen again ! moral check all the wiring first before replacing any parts !

    I am a first time visitor. This site is one of the best things that came out of the internet. This is the kind of thing that really helps people. I'm proud of one or all involved. There are a lot of good people in this world including the one or some who did this. A heart-felt thanks from Ken.

    If the screen flickers off and you have to shake it once to get the backlight on, does it have to do with the backlight or just some damaged cables?

    Hi, I'm peruvian, I have a problem with my pavilion zv5000, i need replace o repair the "bisagra", the screen falls, thanks for your help

    Thanks! Had to replace the backlight in my ZV5000.