Recently, my son accidently dropped his Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop and cracked the screen. I’m not a computer repair tech but I’ve listened to a few Podnutz computer repair podcasts and got the impression this wasn’t a difficult replacement job. A quick search on Google uncovered an excellent video of the 1545 screen replacement on YouTube which convinced me I should have a go at it. I’ve written this post to give some tips on the procedure I used and my experience with the repair.
First I had to find a supplier of a replacement screen. I’m in the UK and Google came up with Laptop-Power UK but the first problem that website pointed out was that the screen could be one of two types – CCFL or LED. I wouldn’t know which until I’d removed the cracked screen and checked the part number on the back of it.
So first I unplugged the laptop from the mains and removed the laptop battery. Here are the screwdrivers I used for the job together with a pen for scale:
They’re actually jeweller’s screwdrivers – part of a set I got years ago for Christmas. I see similar ones on sale at Amazon UK. They have magnetic heads which are almost essential here otherwise the tiny screws could fall into the laptop keyboard if you’re not very careful. They also have a swivel top. I used the flat head screwdriver to carefully prize off the small black covers over the six screws on the front of the screen (four on top and two at the bottom). They’re just held in place with glue. Here’s a picture with the caps removed and showing the cracked screen.
Apologies for the poor photo but I’ve arrowed the position of the 6 screws to be removed, four along the top and two at the bottom. Put them into something like a small bowl for safe keeping along with the plastic caps – you’ve still got to order and receive the replacement screen so you don’t want to lose them in the meantime.
Next you have to remove the black bezel or frame around the screen. It’s just clipped in place so starting at the bottom of the screen just get your fingers inside the inner, upper edge and gently pull away. It should unclip. Then do the sides and finally the top. Take care not to bend the bezel too much or you’ll stress the plastic and have to order that as well! Here’s a shot with the bezel removed.
Next remove the three (even smaller) screws along each side again shown with red arrows in the picture above. After they are out, be careful now as the screen is just sitting in the metal outer frame and only held in place by the two cables indicated in the picture above – the data cable and the backlight cable.
Next, you have to unplug the red and white cable with the white backlight connector plug. Here’s a close-up of that:
I found I had to remove the screw shown with the red arrow before I could get the white plug out. Remember that when you put in the replacement screen, the white plug should connect with the red wire at the top and the white wire at the bottom.
Now you should be able to lay the old screen carefully forward onto the keyboard but take care not to pull or stress the data cables where they connect into the laptop. Once you’ve laid the screen down, you’ll see the data cable connector on the back of the screen:
It’s held in place with transparent tape. I had to peel this tape back from the grey edge as shown above. Yours may be slightly different and peel in the opposite direction. Once peeled back you can unplug the connector. Just note how it’s connected. When you get your new screen you’re going to have to plug this back in and it’s a little fiddly. Next, carefully peel the data cable from the back of the screen. Mine was held in place with adhesive. Once this is done, your old screen should now be free leaving behind the data cable attached to the laptop.
Then check the maker and part number on the back of the screen. In my case, I had a Samsung screen LTN156AT01 so from the Laptop-UK website guide linked above, I knew I had a CCFL screen. I ordered the part and it arrived in 2 days, very well packaged.
Fitting the new screen is just the reverse of the procedure already described and is really straightforward and quite quick. I couldn’t believe how simple the whole procedure was. The most important thing I could see was to be careful not to stress the connection where the data cable connects to the laptop when you are disconnecting the cable from the old screen and connecting up the new screen.
Once I had fitted the screen, I plugged the battery back in, connected to the mains and powered up. Surprisingly, the machine resumed straight away in the application my son had been using before the accident. Of course he hadn’t been able to see the screen to shut down the laptop because the crack had rendered the screen useless. He had just disconnected the battery.
So if you accidently break your Dell 1545 screen, have a go at replacing it yourself and save yourself some money. Leave the repair techs to tackle the harder jobs!