Sunday, February 19, 2012

You never know, unless you try. Inverter replacement Dell XPS M1530

A few days ago I'm sure some of you saw that I posted on my Facebook that I needed a good laptop repair place in, or around downtown Long Beach.

Long story short. I was editing photos a few nights ago, and I luckily I use a dual monitor set up as I use a large LCD hooked into my laptop hdmi port for photo editing. As I set there editing I glanced back at my laptop screen and noticed the whole left side of the screen had went dark, you could still see the icons, but barely. However the right side of the laptop screen was fine.

I said to myself ...oh, no, that can't be good.

So, I immediately stopped what I was doing, and hit Google, to see what I could find out, and within about an hour I had done enough research to be pretty sure the Inverter was going bad on my laptop. The Inverter controls inverting the power to supply to your laptop screen. I also knew it wasn't the video card because the external monitor I have hooked up worked fine.

One thing I did read on a forum is one person posted that if the left side of your laptop screen is dark rest assured your Inverter is going bad, and once it completely fails your entire screen will go black.
So, that was invaluable advice because this laptop is my main editing station, and I have a lot of editing to do. I knew if the screen died totally I would be dead in the water. As I said earlier though I run a dual display system, but I had my external monitor set up as my secondary screen, and the laptop is my primary. I knew if the laptop screen went completely dark even though the external monitor was working fine, I would not be able to access any of the icons from my main laptop screen.

So, I immediately went in, and switched the screens...making my external screen my primary screen.
I was really bummed, but I at least felt better knowing I at least would be safe is the laptop screen went totally black if the Inverter failed completely. I was tired, and just decided to go to bed, and think about it.

Next morning I awoke still bothered by the laptop delima, and as I set down at my desk, and turned it on it showed my Dell boot screen but about 15 seconds after the bootup the screen went totally dark.
I was like wow, thank goodness I switched my external to my primary screen as it didn't take no time for the Inverter to completely go out, and I now knew it was the Inverter for sure because one of the symptoms is your screen will work when you boot your system, but will go dark after your in your main screen.

So, I spent the next couple hours contemplating my next move. I even considered just going, and buying another laptop, or getting a Macbook Pro. I have a top of the line Dell XPS which is suppose to be Dells closet equivalent to the Macbook Pro. So, I plan the move to Mac at some point, but my delima is I use Sony Vegas for video editing. I've never used Final Cut Pro, and my Sony HD1000 that I shoot my wedding videos with hooks up via Firewire, and the new Macbook doesn't have a Firewire port. So, my Dell XPS does, and that is why I chose it over a Macbook to begin with.

So, if I bought a new Macbook Pro Im still stuck in that delima. So, I decided best strategy would be fix what I've got if it didn't cost more than the laptop is worth, or even a couple hundred is more than I would want to sink into it. So, I started pricing Inverter replacement, and the pricing was all over the place, but lowest price quoted was $140 which I thought was pretty cheap, and reasonable, but they were backed up, and could take 3 days to a week before I would get my laptop back.

I really didn't want to be without my laptop for that long. I knew I had time since my external display was working fine. I just couldn't take my laptop anywhere, and use it unless I wanted to drag along the 24" display, no thanks. I also have a nice cheap Compaq backup laptop I can use.
After some more thought I on a whelm decided to check ebay to see if I could find an Inverter on there for my laptop, and how much would it be. I heard normally they range in price from $40-$70 bucks via computer store. Again, I didn't think that was to bad for a laptop part.

To my surprise though I found a whole page full, and all priced $15, and below. I thought it had to be some mistake, but after sifting through, and reading the pages I saw that was the typical price on ebay for them.
I wanted one that was a buy now feature, and to my surprise I found one there, the seller had an outstanding seller feedback, and the Inverter was listed for less than four dollars, and free shipping.....I thought how could I pass that up, but then I don't know anything about laptop repair. I knew the Inverter was located on the bottom of the laptop screen, and you had to remove the entire LCD screen to get to it...and honestly that was a little intimidating, but I thought what the hell for that price I couldn't pass it up.

I bought it, four days later I had it in my hand. Looking at my laptop I couldn't immagine tearing into that thing to get to the Inverter to replace it with this new one, and what if I broke, or ruined my laptop completely because I had no idea what I was least now it still worked as a desktop with a external monitor. I decided that day not to attempt it. I had work to do, and I wanted to sleep on it.
Keep in mind I'm very comfortable tearing into a typical PC. I've worked on my own desktops for years, and I built my very first one back in 1994. I've replaced processors to dvdrom drives to internal hardrives....laptops...not so much. I've never replace one part on a laptop, and I didn't have any confidence really that I could.

On the other hand I'm not the dullest tool in the shed. When I was really young, I never really had the money to have my stuff fixed, cars you name it. So, first line of repair was me. If I could fix it than I would.
I've learned to fix lots of stuff by just reading how too. If I can find a good manual telling me how, than I have about a 85% shot of repairing it myself. Anyway, I decided to tear into my laptop, and see if I could fix it. Worse case I screwed it up, and would have to buy another one.

As soon as I started removing the bezel two minutes into trying to figure out how to get it off. I cracked it by pulling too hard where it actually doesn't come apart. I was like oh, no this isn't starting good, and I almost threw in the towel right there, but it actually let me see exactly how the bezel did come off, and it wasn't the way I had been trying to do it. The crack was small, and superficial...really can't even notice it. So I continued....

After that it all flowed like clock work within 45 minutes I had taken the entire screen out, and apart, replaced the bad Inverter with the new one.
I put it all back together, and hoping I had done everything correct I fired it up to see if it worked, and low, and behold, it worked like a champ. I couldn't believe how beautiful, and bright the screen was. I realised that the screen had been a lot darker, and not that bright for some time.
So, it is completely fixed, and for a grand total ...are you ready for this....... *$3.49* ...yup, it cost me a grand total of three dollars, and fourty nine cents. #winning
The moral of the story is...don't ever be intimidated to make something happen on your own. Take a chance. It won't always work, but at least you can say you tried.

Remove Besel

After removing six screws holding lcd screen lay it flat across keyboard
Unhook power supply from lcd screen, and unhook wire at bottom from inverter
Remove lcd from laptop
Remove old inverter, and plug in new inverter
Reverse steps, put back together boot up, and you should have this.
Back to normal, back to work
Total price of repair  #winning

1 comment:

  1. i like your post its very informative. keep sahring more.
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