DISCLAIMER: This project involves electricity. If you're not comfortable with electricity (a.k.a. "man-made lightning"), you might want to give this a second thought. I'm not a licensed electrical-anything, so it's distinctly possible that I did something that could/should have killed me and I just lucked out. Use caution. This project deals with capacitors on an LCD monitor power supply board, and the word "capacitor" comes from the Latin word for "capacity" (I believe), as in "this doo-dad has the capacity to kill you if you're not careful." Someone can fact check that for me.
This is my first Instructable, so I thought I'd ease into it with a disassembly project, rather than actually making something, 'cause I figure I can slightly reduce the trouble you might get in following my steps. I apologize that some of my photos are a bit blurry or partially obscured by my gigantic paws, but I was actually taking photos to help with re-assembly, then thought about doing an Instructable quite far into the process.
I have two Acer X193W+ monitors that kicked the bucket, and I learned online that replacing their blown "caps" (that's what people who know electrical stuff and are cooler than me call "capacitors") can often make them fully functional for under $10. Spoiler alert: It worked for me on both monitors! I searched online for disassembly instructions for my monitor and came up empty, hence, this Instructable.
I'm a mechanical guy, so I figured I could figure out how the thing went together (and therefore came apart). Not sayin' this is the correct way, just the way it worked for me. I'll try to point out dumb stuff I did along the way, so you probably don't want to just look at the pictures and do what I did, or you'll repeat my dumb stuff too. Nobody wants that.
Step 1: UNPLUG THE MONITOR!!
I hope I don't even need this step, but just in case... Man-made lightning. C'mon.
I've read that leaving the monitor unplugged for 20 minutes or so might make all the caps safe. My monitors were unplugged a few days as I was waiting for parts, so I'm not sure about the 20 minute thing. I do know if you touch your tongue to a charged cap, it'll tingle.
Just kidding about the tongue thing. Don't do it.
Step 2: Unscrew the Front and Back of the Case
Since this was my fumbling-through process, I looked for things that could be holding the monitor together. Under these two nice plastic covers were four screws. I removed the covers and then the screws. I later figured out this step was entirely unnecessary. Whoops. Leave the covers on and the screws in place.
See the one buried screw in the middle of the second picture? That's the one you need to get. It's located on the back of the monitor, near the bottom and centered right to left.
Step 3: Pry Apart Front and Back
Starting at either the top or the bottom edge (the sides are weird), gently pry the panels apart using a flat-head screwdriver. Don't go crazy-deep with the tip - you want to pry against the front and back plastic pieces, not against the screen. I found that a fairly large-bladed screwdriver, inserted in the crease along the edge and twisted, did a good job of popping apart the little clips holding the panels together. Several broke (see pictures), but it doesn't seem to have a negative impact on the reassembly. I mean... don't TRY to break them, but breaking one or two might be inevitable. Don't beat yourself up about it.
Once you've opened a gap, you can use a second screwdriver to hold open the gap, or (my approach) jam a finger in the gap and endure the pinching pain. Work your way across the top or bottom edge, popping open the clips with the screwdriver.
I actually opened the top and the bottom first, then went to work on the sides, but you could probably do "top, side, bottom, t'other side" or "bottom, side, top, t'other side" (and in whichever direction your handedness inspires you). At any rate, the sides are a little weird - you still want to insert the screwdriver into the crease, but instead of twisting, you want to flex the front panel outward. Again, work your way along the edge.
Some pictures would be helpful here. Sorry.
Step 4: Unscrew the Back Panel
There are four little screws connecting the back plastic panel to the magical parts of the monitor. Unscrew them.
The circuit board with the control buttons on it (which I've creatively nicknamed "the control board") sits in a slot in the back plastic panel. Slide it out of the slot and the plastic pieces will be fully disconnected from the important parts.
Step 5: Remove the Tape
OK. Here's one of those things I thought of after it was too late that'll help you later. You can see in the second photo that the right edge (looking at it right-side up and from the back) of the raised box (which I'm very creatively calling "the box" from here on out) is not taped. Trace that sucker. I'd suggest a mechanical pencil or even just a sharp regular pencil, but marking where that box is supposed to go will make life easier later.
Next, carefully and gently pull off the tape on the other three sides of the box. Making sure it's still in the correct location (check that first trace mark you made), trace the other three edges, making sure not to mess with the ribbon cables on the top and bottom or the wires on the side.
Finally, gently un-stick the bottom ribbon cable from the back of the monitor. It's only stuck in a couple of places and it peels up like tape.
Step 6: Unplug the Side Wires
There are four wires connected to the side of the box thingy. Three of them have clips on the top, but if you look at the second picture you can see there are no features for them to clip into, so they're just press-fit in. That means you can just (gently) pull them straight out with some needle-nose pliers. For reassembly, you just need to remember "clips and dot up, top blue, top pink, bottom blue in the extension, bottom pink."
Or look at one of the pictures again. Your call.
Step 7: Disconnect the Top Ribbon Cable
So... my first time through, I wrestled this cable out of the thingy it plugs into, thinking, "man, this is unreasonably difficult." Then the connector popped open. Whoops.
The morale of that nugget is to gently pop open the top of the connector and the cable pretty much falls out. I'd (legitimately) suggest using a fingernail rather than a screwdriver so you don't damage the socket or the ribbon cable.
Step 8: Flip Over the Box and Unscrew the Power Board
At this point, the box should be completely disconnected from the rest of the monitor (you'll be tailing around the control board, but it's nothing to worry about). Set the screen aside and flip over the box. At some point, the black plastic insulating film/sheet thing will fall to the ground, where it will possibly be grabbed by a poorly trained dog and taken into the kitchen. You'll need it later, so you should go get it back. I'll wait.
There are five screws holding in two circuit boards (see the second picture). In a prior step I pointed out the four cable-nut things that hold the monitor cables in place and help secure the smaller of the two boards. I completely disassembled all of that the first time through (and all five screws), then realized there's a much easier way.
Unscrew the four screws holding in the power board (conveniently marked in the second picture), then gently push in and up on the power connector (in the third picture) until you can get a grip on the board as shown in the fourth picture. The only thing keeping the power board from being free is an 8-pin "intra-board connector" (my term - don't know what it's really called) that you can see in the fifth and sixth pictures.
Gently angle the board up and away from the smaller board to disconnect the 8-pin connector and free the power board completely.
Step 9: Replace the Caps
The pictures here show the caps you'll likely need to replace (along the right side of the board), what a blown cap looks like, and what the cap markings on the board mean.
The actual replacing of the caps is pretty much the same for all power boards, and there are a ton of videos on YouTube and a few Instructables here as well, done by people who are way better at this part than I am. Because of that, I'm not going to get into the details, but you're going to de-solder the caps, clean the holes, put new caps in (polarity matters), solder them, and clip off the extra leads on the back of the board.
Step 10: Reassemble!
Do everything in reverse.
Seriously, carefully put the power board back in place, lining up the 8-pin connector first and angling the power board down and in. Once the power cable connector lines up with the hole in the box, it almost snaps into place. Replace the four screws that hold it in.
Line up the insulating sheet over the power board, check that the ribbon cable that still has the control board attached to it isn't twisted (differently that it's supposed to be), and flip the entire box back onto the back of the screen.
Use your handy trace lines to put it in the correct position! Wish I'd done that. I actually used the back plastic shell to scoot the box into the right spot - not very elegant, but it worked.
Connect the top ribbon cable by gently pushing it into the socket until it won't go any further, then snap down the flap to lock it in. Give it a very gentle pull to make sure it's secure.
Plug in the wires on the side, remembering the little poem from before (or looking at the picture), and to put the clips and the black dot facing up.
Step 11: Button It Up
I got some foil tape to secure the back pieces. Why? Because it looked like what was there originally. Is it the correct thing to do? I don't know. I'm making this up as I go.
Cut a strip of foil tape a little longer than the long edge of the box, then cut that tape in half lengthwise. Use a piece for each of the long sides to tape those edges down. On the top, I had to fold the tape in half so it wouldn't lay over the top circuit board at all.
Cut another piece the length of the side of the box, then cut that in half lengthwise. Carefully feed the tape under the side wires and tape down the short side of the box. Use the leftover piece to tape down the ribbon cable that connects to the control board, and to secure the side wires a bit more if you want.
Put the plastic back panel in place, and if you've done everything right the four side screw holes should all line up. Screw them in.
Slide the control board into its slot on the back panel.
Snap the front and back panels back together, working your way around the perimeter. Secure with the one remaining screw.
Plug it in, hook it up, and see if it works. If it does, congratulate yourself on a job well done and for saving $100 or so. Enjoy a cold beverage of your choice.
Step 12: A Note on Buying Caps
There is a company out there (who I won't name explicitly in case they were having a bad month) who sells little kits containing everything you need to replace the caps in just about any monitor. You'll find them on Amazon and their own website. I ordered two kits (one for each monitor), and they were at my house in a couple of days. Yay!
Then I learned I'd accidentally ordered the wrong kits. I got the Acer X193W kits instead of the Acer X193W+ kits. Whoops. I then spent a couple of weeks attempting to contact the company to set up an exchange, both via their e-mail and the phone number listed on their website, and I never got a response of any kind, despite the "we respond within 24 hours" notice on the website. Because of that, I can't recommend them due to a stunning lack of customer service. It is extra crappy because they're located about 15 minutes from my house, and I could have done an exchange and been back to the repair in a half an hour.
I looked at what I had and saw I could use two of the caps from the wrong kit and had to get the 220uF caps on my own. That launched an extensive research campaign into what brand of caps I should use, what parameters were important, etc., etc. I'll save you that effort and tell you that you can't get the right parts from Amazon, but Digikey seems to only sell caps from the "top tier" manufacturers, so that'll already put you ahead. Digikey is not compensating me for saying anything about them, this is my opinion, etc., etc., not responsible, etc.
I used Digikey's parametric search to narrow down the world of caps to find what I needed, and ended up buying two of these (for each monitor):
These won over similar caps because they have a 7000 hour rating.
To get the other two caps you'll need, I've done a parametric search and I've come up with these two:
These are also based on what is in-stock today, low ESR, longest life, minimum quantities, etc. Grand total: about $3.20.
When you're searching for caps, you want to look at manufacturer first. I got started with this list:
Next, you want to look at the capacitance and voltage, then rated temperature (105 degrees C or better in the case of all of these), then mounting type (radial, through-hole), then (for a place like Digikey) what's in stock and minimum quantity you have to purchase, then ESR and life rating. Digikey's parametric search makes this pretty easy.
The lead spacing doesn't really matter, as they bend. You can probably find a cap that's too tall, but it almost seems like you'd have to try.
Step 13: In Conclusion...
Unscrew, crack open plastic, unscrew more, untape, giant hands, unplug, open flap, dog-kitchen, unscrew more, push-lift-tilt-unplug, blurry pictures, desolder, replace, solder, plug-tilt-push-snap, screw, flip, close flap, plug in, tape, screw, snap, screw, Miller time.
Thanks for sticking with this. Good luck.