Introduction: How to Take Apart a Laptop

Picture of How to Take Apart a Laptop

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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)

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of Coming Soon!

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

This so begs to be case modded :D


tvazquez2 (author)2015-08-16

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!

JessyR (author)2014-12-22

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

Thanks Instructables...

mconn77 (author)2011-03-28

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!!

masterchrisx3 (author)2009-07-19

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

zack247 (author)masterchrisx32010-08-31

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

daveorne (author)2010-05-25

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?



trebuchet03 (author)daveorne2010-05-25

 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.

daveorne (author)2010-05-24

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?



z3r0 (author)2009-01-29

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.

imnotarealaccount (author)z3r02009-06-01

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,.

z3r0 (author)imnotarealaccount2009-07-11

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.

moneee98 (author)2009-02-11

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.

purewaterali (author)2009-02-01

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

loopygoter (author)2009-01-20

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

panstar1 (author)2008-11-16

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 !

kentech (author)2008-10-07

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.

n00bl0r14n (author)2008-07-15

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?

othoniel (author)2008-04-06

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

rpertusio (author)2008-03-21

Thanks! Had to replace the backlight in my ZV5000.

Laptop Freak (author)2007-12-26

Here's another laptop backlight replacement guide. Could be useful too.

handson (author)2007-10-05

May I please ask a question here? Thanks! What type of solder tool(and size) should I use for fixing my Toshiba Satellite A20/A25 laptop back-light connection? Thanks very much again!

trebuchet03 (author)handson2007-10-05

Pretty much any soldering tool should work - although, you shouldn't need it for this step (disassembly) ;) When it's time to solder up a new bulb, the idea is to have enough heat that you can solder quickly without getting the bulb ends too hot (and thus weakening them).

handson (author)trebuchet032007-12-17

Happy Holidays! Taa.. Daa.. Hooray for my lighted laptop screen! I finally replaced my backlightbulb after a long long journey (it's a long story, but anyway..) I'd like to thank you for your wonderful illustration and support, you really inspired me to be hands-on more (which I like to)... To replace the screen lightbulb wasn't easy for me, I've been through some difficult times, still I've had learned a lot from doing it so... Now, I could have a happy smile on my face, I need to thank you for all your generosity.

trebuchet03 (author)handson2007-12-21

I'm glad to hear things worked out for you :D And congratulations :)

handson (author)trebuchet032007-12-22

Thanks again!

handson (author)trebuchet032007-10-05

Thanks so much for your reply. I guess I'll start to work on my laptop soon, wish me luck :D.

front24200 (author)2007-12-02

I work on laptops for a living and it amazes me that people always jump on replacing the backlight first when their screen goes dim. The laptop in the example looks pretty easy but not all LCDs are easy to remove the backlight. Plus there is a risk of damaging the electronics in the screen (causing the "white screen" or lines after reassembly. Then you have to buy a $80-$200 LCD. If your screen goes dim, the best steps to diagnose it are: 1. Did the LCD show signs of backlight failure (red or yellow tint on bootup??). If so you can attempt backlight replacement. 2. Was the laptop dropped recently? (I see backlights get shattered in a fall once in a while) 3. If the answer to 1 and 2 is no, then the next step is to plug in a known good backlight or another LCD to your inverter. If you do not have one, a local repair shop that works on laptops should have some broken LCDs that they would be happy to give you If the test bulb lights up then replace the backlight. If not then replace the inverter. Ebay is a good cheap source for inverters although it can sometimes be hard to get the correct one. That is especially true if you have an Acer, Averatec, Gateway, Alienware, or other smaller branded laptop. And what is the reasoning behind replacing the bulb at the same time as the inverter??? Why go to the trouble if the inverter fixed the problem? Any feedback to my comment welcomed.

trebuchet03 (author)front242002007-12-03

And what is the reasoning behind replacing the bulb at the same time as the inverter??? Why go to the trouble if the inverter fixed the problem?

It was recommended. Given the life expectancy of a bulb versus inverter (barring any drops etc. as mentioned), why go through the trouble of having to take the thing apart again and risk damaging the electronics in the screen (causing the "white screen" or lines after reassembly. Then you have to buy a $80-$200 LCD when a $10 replacement bulb could have taken care of that :)

That's especially the case when the inverter fails as a result of the bulb. The reason for the red tint on startup is low current - trying to pull more than the inverter will offer. Older bulbs require more current to run. In my case, it wasn't until the screen started completely going out did I think there was something wrong with the back light (originally, I had thought it was the video card). Most people don't realize this problem until there's more of a catastrophic failure...

On the other side of things, I'll bet only a handful of people actually have a test bulb to check the inverter. The rest of us would need to actually buy a bulb and solder on the old connector to test. I have tried to get dead components from repair shops in the past - and never have any luck :/

Out of curiosity - how much would it cost to have someone like yourself replace a bulb (or would it be model specific)?

fegundez1 (author)2007-07-12

excellent timing!!I am repairing a laptop at this time,the thing went dark no must be the Florida air...or perhaps the (partly cloudy)liquid sunshine we have here.Thanks for the instructable.You are leaving?Certainly you will continue to visit these venerated pages,how could one leave completely?

Derin (author)fegundez12007-10-31

that happened on me too im using a ibm thinkpad and the problem was that the stupid laptop uses the ram as a vid card

trebuchet03 (author)fegundez12007-07-12

moopet is probably right in your case.... CCFL tubes don't just die -- they slowly fade away and give symptoms of their death.... That being said, if you need to replace an inverter you really need to replace the bulb.... So you could always try replacing the bulb first and then the inverter if that doesn't resolve your issue. You'll pay a little more in shipping should it turn out to be the inverter though....

trebuchet03 (author)fegundez12007-07-12

I'm not leaving the site -- but my stay with instructables HQ ends at the end of the month :/

moopet (author)fegundez12007-07-12

Unless you dropped it, it's way more likely to be a faulty inverter (in my experience they're the cause about 80% of the time).

trebuchet03 (author)2007-07-11

I forgot to mention,anyone have any crazy ideas to hack/modify this laptop? Considering I've gone so far already :p

chalky (author)trebuchet032007-10-05

you could start by taking some LCD screen cleaner and a anti static wipe to it first lol (looks like it's caked in dandruff) :)

trebuchet03 (author)chalky2007-10-05

Meh, it's just dust forming an anti finger oil shield :p In any case, I should have deleted that comment as I came up with some modifications that have been a big hit :)

mycroftxxx (author)trebuchet032007-07-12

That really depends on what you like. In your position, I would consider picking up some wood veneer (either real or synthetic) and starting a Steampunk Laptop modification a'la Ms. Kowal's Portable Typewriter and Adding Machine. If there is a different asthetic that you prefer, I'm sure you could get assistance from the instructable's crew gathering ideas and methods, especially if you were to repay by further publication.

ac1D (author)trebuchet032007-07-12

remove all the plastic on it, put some led, and mount it in glass or transparent rigid plastic

visus (author)trebuchet032007-07-12

i don't have time this summer, but most likely in the fall i think i will remove my screen to mod my lid. i have an hp and it has that little hp plastic emblem and i want to remove that and replace it with a blue led backlit translucent lcd logo by hooking the led up in parallel with the power led on the button. if i do it, i'll post it.

ll.13 (author)trebuchet032007-07-12

Well apart from putting blinky lights everywhere on it and giving it a paint job I don't know. maybe copy ewilhelm and put a squid on the lid?

fegundez1 (author)2007-09-15

I discovered something useful,when reassembling if your screen shows only bands of light mostly white in my case you can remedy this by adding a small amount of weatherstrip.If you look on the back panel you will see foam padding this has two jobs protect and help with even conducting along the do not touch band?I don't know the proper term,anyhoo put your foam pieces along the top area of the back where it will be sandwiched by lcd and back!this has worked four times for me on projects others quit on.

capricorn (author)2007-07-13


Magnelectrostatic (author)2007-07-11

I opened my moms cell up and thought I broke it when I saw the backlight, so even though I'm not replacing a backlight this instructable really helped.

T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-07-11

Wow, how much did you sweat during the process? Hehe

Nice job, I hope all turns out well =)

See you Aug. 11th!

Only a little bit :p Really, it's just glass, metal and plastic - nothing to be afraid of :D Unfortunately, I'm leaving July 28 :/


Sigh, I guess I won't see you then =/

Btw, do you have a G-mail account? (You can PM me with it, if you'd like)

About This Instructable




Bio: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.
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