Replacing a laptop screen

Broken Laptop screen
That moment when you open your laptop, press the power button and you’re greeted by the rainbow colours of a cracked LCD screen.

With the design of modern laptops it would appear that this would mean the end of the device as the screen is secured inside the plastic housing with no obvious way to replace it. Fortunately with a little know-how it was relatively easy to source and replace the screen of my Toshiba Satellite C660D-1HK.

The first stage is to source the replacement screen. These can be found online from many suppliers but it is important to ensure the screen is the correct size and has the connector required. It is useful to search on the manufacturer and model of the laptop but be aware that some manufacturers will change the screen during the life of a product. Check the descriptions and if necessary check the connections match the originally fitted screen. For the Satellite C660D-1HK a replacement was easy to source and arrived in a few days. [Link to Amazon listing for NEW TOSHIBA SATELLITE C660D-1HK LAPTOP SCREEN 15.6″ LED BACKLIT HD]

Once the replacement screen arrived it was time to prepare the work area. A number of small screws and parts of the casing will be removed so ensure you have enough space clear. It is useful to lay out any screws that are removed to the side in a pattern matching the locations they came from. A small tray helps keep them from rolling away. Tools I used include a small selection of precision screwdrivers, craft knife, a plastic opening tool and some insulation tape.

We don’t want the laptop starting up while working on it so the battery is removed and placed safely to the side.

Front bezel removed
Front bezel of the screen removed allowing access to the LCD

On my laptop the front of the screen bezel is secured by four screws that are obscured by small sticky backed plastic covers. These are easily removed with a craft knife and placed to the side for the later and the four screws are removed. The plastic bezel was still secured and by careful use of the plastic opening tool it was possible to pry the front and back of the laptop lid apart, starting with the sides where catches holding them together are carefully released. It is worth taking your time doing this and if too many of the catches are broken off the bezel around the screen will become loose after we reassemble it.

With the bezel removed we can see the screen is attached by three screws on either side to the metal hinges. These are removed and again placed to the side. We need to be careful not to damage any of the cables connecting to the screen. On this laptop an integrated webcam is connected to a cable travelling up behind the screen and can be carefully disconnected at the top of the case.

LCD removed
With the LCD removed the webcam cable is visible and has been disconnected

Laying the screen on the keyboard we can see the main connector towards the bottom is secured with adhesive tape. The tape is peeled back and the connector carefully retracted from the socket on the screen. With the screen now free I took some time to remove any dirt or debris that had collected inside the casing using a small paint brush or soft cloth. The keyboard also had a faulty ‘D’ key which was removed and found a piece of grit under the key-cap. Laptop keyboards are very lightweight and have some delicate plastic fixings but with care I managed to repair the key and return the keyboard to full working order.

Fitting the new screen was the reverse process and started with placing the new screen on the keyboard and carefully fitting the connector. It is important to use either the existing adhesive tape or a new piece to ensure the connector stays connected as we don’t want this working loose.

New LCD fitted
New LCD fitted ready for front bezel to be replaced (protective cover should be removed before bezel is fitted)

Lifting the screen into place and aligning the screen to the mounting hinges allowed me to insert and tighten the six screws removed earlier. The webcam cable routed behind the screen was then reconnected. A quick last check to ensure any cables around the outside of the screen are correctly located so we do not pinch anything and the front bezel is reattached. The bezel snaps back around the outside of the lid and the screws replaced. Finally the plastic covers hide the screws.

Replacement screen working
The replacement screen showing the familiar manufactures logo during start-up

Now the moment comes to test the repair. The battery is replaced and the lid opened as if the laptop was about to be used. A press of the power button and we see the new screen showing the familiar manufactures logo, a job well done.

RISC OS Portsmouth Show 28th September

I had not been to a computer show featuring RISC OS for a few years so when I found out that there was to be one in Portsmouth I made sure I was available. The last time I had been to a show that featured RISC OS was the Acorn User show at Wembley Exhibition Hall in 1992 and I was not sure what to expect. Things have certainly changed during the last 21 years and Acorn no longer exist as a company but their legacy lives on in the ARM processor and RISC OS.
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Certified LabVIEW Architect – What’s it all about?

I passed the re-certification exam for the National Instruments Certified LabVIEW Architect after my previous certification had lapsed nearly a year ago. What’s the big deal then?

CLA-R results
Passed the Certified LabVIEW Architect re-certification exam

From the National Instruments site:

  • Highest level of LabVIEW certification
  • Demonstrates mastery in architecting and project managing LabVIEW applications
  • Valid for 2 years from date taken, recertification required to maintain credentials
  • Benefits: use of certification logo, listing on, exclusive events including annual CLA Summit

London to Brighton Bike Ride 2011

The British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Ride is an annual 54mile cycle from the Capital to the South Coast to rise funds for one of this Countries largest charities. This year the ride took place on 19th June and I joined 27,000 other cyclists for a day out in the English countryside.
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Multi threaded LabVIEW execution

Using four different RS485 serial ports to communicate with four data acquisition devices, each with four channels it should be possible to sent commands to the each device in turn while waiting for a response from the first. This will greatly reduce the time required to poll all channels. So why is it taking over 40 seconds for all channels on all ports when it takes less than 10 seconds to poll all channels on one device. LabVIEW should be able to run each port in a separate thread.

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Running LabVIEW as a Windows Service

Today I finally got around to using Visual Studio to create a Windows Service that will call a LabVIEW executable every 10 minutes to log temperature to a database.

We have been running a LabVIEW application as a service using a free version of FireDemon but found today that our corporate anti virus software marks the executable as a Trojan. Getting an exception for this will take ages so after referring to google I found an article on MSDN with the title Windows Services: New Base Classes in .NET Make Writing a Windows Service Easy.
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