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Laptop LCD Screen Nightmare


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#1 of 6 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 09 2009 - 04:56 PM

For a few months now, the backlight on my laptop's LCD screen has been going. When the computer would start up, the screen would have a pinkish hue that would go away after a few minutes.

Well, today, the backlight finally died. The rest of the monitor is fine; if I get up REALLY close I can see the high contrast areas of my desktop very faintly. I call up Dell, who puts me through the scripted response, only to direct me to their Out of Warranty Repair phone line. Without even being able to pause and think things through, I'm on the line with this high-pressure Indian salesman who talks me into going through with the repair service after cutting the price a couple times. As soon as I hang up the phone, I google "Dell Out of Warranty Repair" and read absolute horror stories. Call the number right back and get them to cancel the order - 5 to 10 minutes after I'd hung up well after business hours. Go on my account on the Dell website, and lo and behold, the repair kit has already been shipped for a whopping $320 and change. I put in a refund status request and check back an hour later. In addition to the $320 order, there's a new mysterious $15 order. I have a feeling I'll be on the phone with my credit card company trying to mediate that whole mess.

And meanwhile, I still don't have a workable laptop and don't see any easy options for replacing the screen. I'd been planning to replace the laptop in a year or two, but that's not financially feasible right now - which is why I just invested in 2 GB of new memory at Christmas. The harddrive in the computer is also an upgrade. I've found compatible replacement screens listed on eBay and rather dubious eCommerce sites, but most are used and the new ones are only guaranteed to be "compatible." Since having high resolution, accurate color is important to my work I don't want to drop ~$200 on a cheap knock-off.

Right now, I'm leaning towards buying a used one off eBay for $60-100. The only thing I'm worried about is having the same problem a few months down the road. I think I started writing this out of a sheer need to vent, but does any body have any advice? Has anyone else replaced their laptop screens?

#2 of 6 Parker Clack

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Posted January 10 2009 - 01:24 AM

Adam:

What a drag. I have never replaced a laptop screen before so I can't help out there. I was wondering if you have an older computer monitor or other screen that you could plug your laptop into so at least you can still use the laptop until you have a chance to upgrade your screen?

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#3 of 6 Steve_Pannell

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Posted January 10 2009 - 02:03 AM

Adam, what model is your laptop? I know it's a Dell but which one?

I have a recently deceased Dell Inspiron E1705 (motherboard problem - screen is still in excellent condition) so if they're the same we might be able to deal.

#4 of 6 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 10 2009 - 07:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker Clack
Adam:

What a drag. I have never replaced a laptop screen before so I can't help out there. I was wondering if you have an older computer monitor or other screen that you could plug your laptop into so at least you can still use the laptop until you have a chance to upgrade your screen?
Thanks for the sympathy, Parker. Fortunately, I talked to my neighbor this morning, and she recently replaced her desktop monitor with a new one, so she's going to let me borrow the old one until I fix my situation. I took the whole screen half off today, which isn't pretty but should be perfectly functional
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_Pannell
Adam, what model is your laptop? I know it's a Dell but which one?

I have a recently deceased Dell Inspiron E1705 (motherboard problem - screen is still in excellent condition) so if they're the same we might be able to deal.
Thanks so much for the offer, Steve! Unfortunately, the E1705 uses a 17" screen while my Inspiron 9100 uses a 15.4" screen. Adding to the confusion, over the course of the 9100's run Dell used three different model screens: a 1280x800 resolution screen, a 1680x1350 res screen (the one I have) and a 1900x1200 resolution screen. I took apart the screen assembly, and found the model number for my screen: LTN154P1-L01, a Samsung. I've got a bid now on eBay for a same model screen from an apparently new computer that's being sold off for parts. If I don't win that bid, I'm going to buy a backlight for $10 or $20 and make a go of installing it myself. If that fails, I think I'll invest in a nice external monitor that I can use like I'll be using my neighbor's old one. That way I wouldn't lose the value of the purchase when I replace the computer down the road.

#5 of 6 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 11 2009 - 08:54 AM

Here's my current setupPosted Image:

Posted Image

Not the prettiest or cleanest of solutions, but it'll work until I can get a better replacement.

#6 of 6 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 16 2009 - 06:23 AM

As it turns out, I did win that bid, and my new(ish) $80 replacement LCD screen arrived in the mail today. There are a few fingerprints and smudges on the screen but no worse than the old screen before it died. Despite being the same model Samsung screen, it was pulled out of a different model laptop so the screws were tougher going into the new one than they were coming out of the old one. It's also a little more sensitive to disturbances (a pixel dies everytime I apply too much pressure on one of the edges, but works again when I gently touch that part of the screen) but since it's tethered to the AC adapter anyway I'm not too worried about it.

Here's some pics:
Posted ImagePosted Image





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