laptop monitor defunct--replacable?

I tripped on the power cord yesterday and the laptop fell to the floor. The monitor was broken, not physically, but I could only see the display VERY darkly, not nearly well enough to read, only that it was there (and when I started it up again, I could hear that the startup functions were performing, though I could barely see the various boxes on the monitor itself.)

it seems to me that something as simply as a light illuminating the monitor has broken, and it seems to me that I should be able to get this light replaced easily–but when I tried to get a new display for a previous broken laptop (six or seven years ago, when I literally had a monitor with a cracked display) I was told it would be cheaper just to buy a new laptop. Any idea what I’m looking at here (other than a blank screen)?

I looked at what it would take to replace my screen when my notebook went wonky after 5 years of being carried literally every day. At first, I thought about doing it myself. Teardown would require taking apart literally the whole computer, including taking off the heat-sink and pulling out about 100 screws. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

The display would run me about $150, the labor costs if I had it done in a repair shop would be about $250. Yes, that much. It takes even a tech an hour or more to take a notebook apart, get to to the display, and replace it. Then it takes about another hour to put everything back together.

I’m making do with a shim that seems to fix the intermittent connection problem I was having. Yours is a bit trickier. Unless it’s an expensive unit, it probably is cheaper to replace than to fix, unfortunately. You might consider hooking it up to a monitor or an HDTV if you’ve got one and using it that way. Could be a decent core for a digital entertainment hub if you’ve got the inclination to set one up.

You can do two things:
Thing one: plug a monitor into the laptop. This will make it not portable, but it will work. In XP, there is a setting under display properties to change the output to a monitor.

Thing two: replace the screen. This will cost about $150, but it is something you can do yourself. I had to replace the screen on my work laptop. Not really a big deal. All you had to do was unscrew the bezel, plug the new screen in, and replace the screws. The screen came complete with everything attached.

I did it on the first try. The screws are located behind the rubber pads on the bezel.

My work laptop had been runover by the previous owner, boy did we make fun of him. Amazingly it works just fine now.

Before you resign yourself to an expensive repair, find the repair instructions for it so you know what’s what inside the thing, and look to see if you only managed to knock a connection for the backlight or the inverter loose. I have fixed a couple “dead” laptops just by opening them up and re-inserting a connector.

If you can follow seventeen steps and keep track of 85 screws, you can swap the panel. Often, you can find panels on eBay, but keep in mind that the display panels are probably one of the most-often broken parts and the prices and bidding activity can reflect this, and there’s no guarantee that the panel you buy is any good.

Another “gotcha” is to determine if you’re actually buying a complete lid with display and backlight installed, or if you’re just getting one piece of it. A backlight or display panel on its own is pretty thin and fragile. It sounds like your display panel is fine and it’s just the backlight that’s either become unplugged or broken.

PS: Never, ever, EVER put anything on the keyboard but your fingers. Pens kill thousands of laptops every year when people close the lid and the LCD is crushed.

How old is your notebook and how much would it cost to replace? That’s pretty much the only relevant question.

It appears that either your backlight bulb or the power inverter to it busted but it could be something else. Diagnosing it then fixing it yourself will likely cost you a bit over $ 200.00 and it may be a waste of money if it’s not the screen. Most sellers do not let you return LCD screens or parts unless they are defective. Getting it repaired professionally will likely be double that.

If it’s not moved a lot in normal use using an outboard LCD monitor is by far the best option. They are relatively cheap on sale, and they are bigger, brighter and often better quality than than your onboard LCD. You can normally toggle between video output modes ie “onboard LCD > Outboard LCD > Both at once” using the function keys on your notebook (look at the key with the monitor icon). They are generally far easier on the eyes than the notebook’s built in screen. On most units you can also run it this way with the lid closed. If it’s set for external use and you start the unit and close the lid right after pressing the power button the notebook will use the outboard display. That way you can run it on the ext monitor without having to have the lid cocked open.

One thing some people do if it’s a recent unit and too expensive to service today is to get it replaced then store it and wait a year or two. At that point lots of used units and parts start popping up on eBay and you can get your needed parts for a fraction of today’s price.

First, you need to determine if the screen needs replacing, the inverter, both, or something else. It actually sounds like just the inverter, which is under $10. It is a simple repair. (So is replacing the whole screen.)
From http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2007/01/31/replace-screen-inverter-fix-backlight/

(Bolding & italics mine)
I replaced the LCD screen on my laptop 2 weeks ago. The cat had run across it, it tipped back, and he mashed in the screen. The replacement cost $119 new (including shipping) on eBay for a 17" screen. It arrived in 4 days. The backlight inverter would have been only another $7. It took about 20 minutes to replace. I already had a toolthat pries open the bezel once the 6 outer screws are removed, but I guess you can just pull it apart. I think there were 6 more screws inside. There are detailed instruction available for most models online. Hereare someinstructions I used.
Oddly enough, when I was troubleshooting I plugged the laptop into 2 different external monitors and nothing happened - the screens stayed black. I don’t know why. I knew it was the LCD screen only because we had a 2nd identical laptop and could swap the screens out.

If you do need to replace the screen, you might need to find the exact model number on it because some laptops use several different ones and you need to replace it with the exact same one.

One of the nice things about Mac notebooks: They have a magnetic connector to their power cord. Trip on the power cord, and it will pop out of the Mac notebook.

Sure, you’ll still bust open your skull, spend two weeks in the hospital, and then 6 weeks in rehab. But you’ll know your computer is still safe and sound and looking as cool as ever, and isn’t that really more important than your medical issues?

The built in monitor on my laptop did the same thing a while back, though I didn’t drop it. It turned out to be a burnt out backlight. I replaced it myself, seeing as the parts were only about $25, and I figured that the alternative was a new laptop, so I had nothing really to lose. Not a real simple repair, it involved soldering in the new backlight, but it worked out OK.