If you’ve ever seen strange graphics artifacts on your computer screen like in the adjacent image, chances are that you have experienced the failure of a display adapter.
If such a display adapter is built into your motherboard (usually called “integrated graphics”), it typically uses a portion of your computer’s RAM memory for displaying video. This can have drawbacks, such as “choppy” video playback speed, or poor video game frame rates.
If you have integrated graphics, repair usually consists of either replacing the motherboard or adding in a discrete video card and disabling the on-board display adapter in the computer’s BIOS.
The Dell Inspiron E1705 is an excellent desktop-replacement laptop computer with its 17″ display and 1920×1200 resolution. One of the nice features about it is that it has a discrete graphics adapter, in this case an nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GS graphics card, with 256MB of dedicated video RAM. This means that it displays motion video and games particularly well. That is, as long as everything is working properly.
At the time of this writing, the Inspiron E1705 is a discontinued model, but the laptop is still under a 4-year extended “bumper-to-bumper” warranty that covers pretty much all of the hardware except the battery. So once Dell became convinced that the display adapter was bad, they agreed to send out a warranty replacement, and they even threw in a new LCD screen to boot!
Here is the display adapter and LCD screen replacement procedure. Note that this content is only intended to serve as a guide, and that by attempting these repairs, you assume any and all risk of damage, a voided warranty, or any other non-favorable outcome that may result. The screw lengths and their locations are critical; incorrectly placed screws can cause irreparable computer damage!
- Start with the laptop upside-down on a good working surface. The box that contained the new LCD panel was used here.
- Remove the battery and set it aside.
- Remove the 2 screws from the hard drive caddy.
- Slide the hard drive and caddy from its slot. Put the drive, along with the screws, to the side in a safe place.
- Remove the CD/DVD combo drive screw and slide it out as well. In this case there is a second hard drive caddy occupying the CD/DVD drive bay. Either way, keep the screw with the drive or caddy and set it aside.
- Remove the cover from the RAM memory.
- Remove the network adapters cover.
- Carefully detach the black and white wireless antenna wires from the WLAN module.
- Note the WLAN antenna connector details.
- Also note the connector details on the wireless adapter board for reference.
- Remove all 12 screws from around the perimeter of the laptop base. Note that the one screw which covers the Bluetooth module (if so equipped) can be left in if desired.
- Now carefully flip the laptop over and open the display fully so it lays flat with the laptop base.
- Locate the small slot on the right-hand side of the hinge cover.
- Remove the hinge cover.
- Hinge cover is shown removed.
- Unscrew the keyboard.
- Slide the keyboard up about 1/2 inch to access the ribbon cable.
- Release the ribbon cable connector.
- The ribbon cable connector is shown here in the released position.
- The ribbon cable is detached from the connector.
- Gently pull the WLAN antenna cable which is routed in the right hinge area out of the laptop body.
- Detach the video cable from next to the power button and remove it from the slot in the palm rest.
- Remove the 2 left side screws from the display hinges.
- Remove the right side hinge screws.
- The left hinge has a special tab on it that engages with the palm rest. Carefully lift out the LCD screen and set the screen aside for now.
- Lay the LCD assembly face up on a soft, anti-static surface. A piece of anti-static foam was used from the LCD shipping box.
- Locate the screwdriver slots just above each hinge
- Begin gently prying the top display bezel outwards to disengage it
- Remove the 4 screws from these locations on each side of the LCD panel
- Here is the LCD cover with the LCD panel removed
- Press in the locking tabs that engage the video cable connector to the LCD panel connector and remove detach the cable
- Detach the video cable from the inverter board
- The back of the new LCD panel. Note the red striped tape that says ‘Do not touch’.
- Lift the BIOS battery from its holder, and disconnect the LED panel and front media controls ribbon cables. If the battery is left plugged into the motherboard, the system BIOS time will remain after re-assembly. It may be detached at the connector on the motherboard, but the system time and possibly some BIOS settings may be lost.
- Remove the 6 screws marked with a letter “P” and set this group of screws aside separately.
- The locations of the 6 palm rest screws.
- At this point, the palm rest should easily detach from the base. If it isn’t, carefully check the screw holes on the top and bottom and make sure that no screws were missed in the previous steps.
- Here is what the underneath of the palm rest cover looks like. Once the palm rest is off, it is a good time to use a can of compressed air to blow any dust of of the processor and display adapter heat sinks.
- Remove the 4 screws attaching the display adapter to the motherboard. Note that these are captive screws, which means they are attached to the display adapter and don’t come out separately…
- Gently and squarely remove the display adapter, taking care not to damage the heat sink. Now would be a good time to use some compressed air to thoroughly clean the cooling fan areas and components. Before you clean a cooling fan using compressed air, make sure you insert a small screwdriver or other small object between the fan blades to keep it from rotating. Failure to do so can overspeed the fan and damage the bearings, motor, or both…
Re-assembly is in the reverse order of dis-assembly. Hopefully, if you have had to perform these steps, you don’t have any “spare” parts such as screws left over…
Contact Cartier Consulting for all of your computer repair needs!