Instructables

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.

Why?

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).

Symptoms

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.

Solution

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.
 
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Step 1: Cautions

Picture of Cautions

Warning

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.

Caution
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

mconn773 years ago
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?
hat depends on the laptop, you might want to call the manufacturer and ask
daveorne3 years ago
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?

Thanks,

David
trebuchet03 (author)  daveorne3 years ago
 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.
daveorne3 years ago
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?

Thanks,

David
trebuchet03 (author)  daveorne3 years ago
z3r05 years ago
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.
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.
moneee985 years ago
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
loopygoter5 years ago
dude, cann i buy ur laptop?? >.>
panstar15 years ago
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 !
kentech5 years ago
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.
n00bl0r14n5 years ago
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?
othoniel6 years ago
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
rpertusio6 years ago
Thanks! Had to replace the backlight in my ZV5000.
Here's another laptop backlight replacement guide. Could be useful too.
handson6 years ago
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)  handson6 years ago
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).
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)  handson6 years ago
I'm glad to hear things worked out for you :D And congratulations :)
Thanks again!
Thanks so much for your reply. I guess I'll start to work on my laptop soon, wish me luck :D.
front242006 years ago
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)  front242006 years ago
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)?
fegundez16 years ago
excellent timing!!I am repairing a laptop at this time,the thing went dark no warning.it 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 fegundez16 years ago
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)  fegundez16 years ago
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)  fegundez16 years ago
I'm not leaving the site -- but my stay with instructables HQ ends at the end of the month :/
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) 6 years ago
I forgot to mention,anyone have any crazy ideas to hack/modify this laptop? Considering I've gone so far already :p
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)  chalky6 years ago
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 :)
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.
remove all the plastic on it, put some led, and mount it in glass or transparent rigid plastic
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.
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?
fegundez16 years ago
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 panel..re-assemble...done!this has worked four times for me on projects others quit on.
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