My wife contacted me, from the other side of the planet, to tell me that her laptop was having trouble. The screen would only work when the laptop was partially open. I told her that I could probably fix it when she got back home.
This is a common problem in laptops. The cable that connects the screen to the base runs thru the hinge. The opening and closing bends the cable and, after time, this bending and unbending of the cable damages the wires inside the cable causing shorts. Sometimes you can use the laptop in a certain position but other times it will stop working all at once.
The cables are usually between 15 to 25 dollars on Amazon and can be found by searching your computer's make and model number. In this case, it was a Toshiba Satellite S55-B5157. If you take your laptop to a computer store, they will charge around 100 dollars or more to fix it. If you can unscrew screws, pry off some plastic pieces, unplug a cable, plug back in a cable, snap on plastic pieces, and re-screw the screws back in, you can do this. It is not as intimidating as it may sound.
Step 1: Tools
I only needed a small Phillips screwdriver and a small slotted screwdriver. If your laptop has specialty screws, you will need the proper screwdriver to fit them. The only reason I needed the slotted screwdriver was to pry some of the pieces apart to a point I could use my fingers to pry the rest. You will also want to wear safety glasses, sometimes small pieces of plastic could go flying when you are prying off pieces.
Step 2: Take Out the Battery
Working with electronics, it is important that you remove, or at least disconnect, the battery. If you skip this, you could damage not only your laptop, but possibly damage yourself. This laptop had three screws securing it in.
Step 3: Take Off the Bottom Cover
After you remove all the screws securing the bottom cover on, you will have to pry it off. I had to use a small slotted screwdriver to get the cover to start coming off and then work my way around the cover gently prying with my fingers until the cover snapped off.
Step 4: Take Off the Frame Around the Screen
The frame around the screen almost stumped me. I started by prying off at the top corners. When I got close to the bottom corners, it seamed like it was stuck. I looked closer and found two tiny little covers hiding two screws. I popped the covers off with the small slotted screwdriver and removed the screws they were hiding. I was then able to finish taking off the frame around the screen.
Step 5: Remove the Screen and Unplug the Screen End of the Cable
There were four screws holding the screen to the top of the laptop. After removing those screws, I carefully placed the screed on the keyboard of the laptop. The cable was secured with tape that has to be pulled back to be able to unplug the cable. Look closely at the cable and use the new cable to determine which way you need to pull the cable to unplug it. One end of my cable had to be pulled horizontally and the other end had to be pulled vertically.
Step 6: Unplug the Screen Cable From the Base of the Laptop
Pay attention to the routing of the cable. Make sketches, take pictures, take a video, whatever it takes to be able to route the new cable the same way as the old cable.
Step 7: Route the New Cable
Route the new cable just like the old cable. There are other cables that could be damaged if you go over instead under. There are also little channels in the laptop that hold the cable in place to protect it. Plug the cable into the bottom part of the laptop first.
Step 8: Plug the Cable to the Screen
After routing the cable thru the hinge, plug it into the screen. The new cable came with a piece of tape attached to it. After I plugged the cable into the screen, I stuck the tape to the screen.
Step 9: Double Check the Cable Routing
Double check the routing of the cable before reattaching the screen, screen frame, and bottom cover.
Step 10: Test Your Work
After getting all the covers and screws put back, reconnect the battery and turn on the laptop. If all is well you are good to go. If the screen does not work, take the covers off and double check that the ends of the cable are plugged in properly. If the laptop screen still does not work, you may have to take it to a computer repair shop.
Step 11: Video
As Usual, I made a video. Some laptops are similar but some are completely different so you may want to search the internet and see if someone has posted a video of replacing the screen cable on your model of laptop.
I hope this helps you repair your or your friend's laptop.
Thank you for watching.