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Laptop screen replacement 101

To assist our customers in the laptop screen replacement process, we’ve put together the information necessary to make an informed decision and to understand the terminology of laptop screens.
Laptop Screen Components:

The laptop screen is made up of three major components:

The Display – This is the screen itself.
The Back-light – This is a very thin fluorescent bulb (CCFL – cold cathode fluorescent) that provides the lighting for the screen. Its inside the screen assembly.
The Inverter Board – This is an electronic circuit that powers the back-light. It’s separate from the display assembly and is typically mounted right below the display assembly.

Types of Laptop Screen Failure:

Cracked Screen – This is due to accidental damage, from a dropped laptop screen or improper handling at the airport or during shipping. If the laptop still works with a external monitor, then most likely the motherboard and the video chip have not been damaged and the laptop can be restored with a screen replacement.
Vertical or Horizontal Lines on Screen – The circuits in the display panel are failing and the screen needs to be replaced.

Dark Screen – Faint images can still be seen on the screen. This indicates that the back light is not turning on. This could be due to a failed back light or a failed inverter circuit. Often in this situation, the light will flash on and off when the laptop is just turned on. In most dark screen cases, the back-light has failed and the screen assembly needs to be replaced. Laptops Restored can diagnose the cause and replace either the screen assembly or the inverter circuit.

laptop screen blackout

Laptop Screen Replacement Criteria:

A laptop screen replacement is a significant fraction of the replacement cost for the whole laptop. When deciding on whether to replace, the screen we use the following criterion in making recommendations to our customers:

If the laptop has no other damage and its less than 3 years old, then replace the screen.

If the laptop is more than 3 years old or has other damage then invest in a new laptop.

Our reasoning is simple. Laptop manufacturers do not offer longer than a 3 year extended warranty. Thus, the design lifetime of a laptop is 3 years. It has been our experience that laptops older than 3 years are susceptible to multiple failures (screen, motherboard, hard drive).

Laptop Screen Sizes and Resolutions:

If you decide to have your laptop screen replaced, first you need to know the screen size, the resolution, and if its glossy or matte (Laptops Restored can make this determination for you also). Different laptops have different screen sizes and resolutions (the amount of pixels i.e. the clarity of the display). Most mainstream laptops have 14″,15″, or 17″ screens. Higher end compact laptops have 12″ or smaller screens. To determine your screen size, take a ruler and measure the diagonal distance of a screen.

The second item to consider is if the screen is widescreen or square. If the screen looks rectangular, then its widescreen. Otherwise it is square.

There are two ways to determine the screen resolution.

Many newer laptops will have a promotional label on the palm rest that states the screen resolution,
Go to Start > Control Panel > (Switch to Classic View if necessary) > Display > Click on the Settings Tab > Slide the screen resolution slider to More > Look at the pixels displayed (ex: 1200 x 800 pixels).

Finally, you need to know if your screen is glossy or matte. The simple rule is if your laptop was made after 2005 then its probably glossy. If it was made before 2005 then its probably matte. You can also determine it visually. If the screen is shiny and you can partially see your reflection, then its glossy. If it has a slightly frosted look, then its matte.

Laptop Screen Quality

A laptop screen can be replaced with a new screen or a used screen. If it is replaced with a used screen that is more than 3 years old, there is a significant probability that the screen will fail within 1 to 2 years. Laptops Restored on uses new screens in replacement.

New laptops screens are divided into grades, depending on the number of dead pixels. A+ grade screens have 0 dead pixels. A grade screens have 1-3 dead pixels, and B grade screens have 4-12 dead pixels. When ever possible, Laptops Restored uses A+ grade screens, and we notify the customer if for what ever reason (usually supply issues) that we need to use a different grade screen.

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