replacing laptop screen

  br1anstorm 17:00 06 Feb 2011

The screen on my Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop has failed. The display shows initially, but with a very pink tinge - then the screen goes black, although the display can still be seen very dimly if a light is shone on it. I can use the laptop with an external monitor (but this is only a short term solution and not very convenient!).

From the symptoms, this indicates that the CCFL backlight has failed, not the inverter.

Replacing the backlight seems almost as tricky an operation as brain surgery. So I'm thinking of replacing the screen. The problem is that Dell apparently uses a variety of screens from various manufacturers. Is there any way I can find out the specific model or part number and manufacturer of the existing screen without having to to take it out and look at the label? I would like to order the replacement screen before I try to remove the old one. From the Display Settings the resolution is 1680 x 1050, and the screen has a matte surface. Is it a WUXGA, a WXGA, or a WSXGA+, and how do I find its Dell part number?

Would a 1280 x 800, or a 1920 x 1200 screen work just as well, or would the video driver in my laptop not be compatible with these alternatives?

  robin_x 19:41 06 Feb 2011

Download System Info for Windows (SIW) Freeware version
click here;2

Click Hardware/Video in left sidebar to see your monitor details.

Someone else the other day was talking about backlight replacement. And my first thought was "too difficult". But actually you have to be careful with the whole screen anyway.

Upto you.

Link to previous discussions, with another link inside, how to replace the tube here=

  br1anstorm 22:21 06 Feb 2011

Thanks robinofloxley, I'll try SIW and see what it tells me.

I had seen some of the other sites you linked to about backlight-replacement. Also saw this one click here and this one click here and other forum posts. they all suggest it's not an easy job!

  robin_x 23:37 06 Feb 2011

Did you see this one I also commented on?

click here

I don't know how practical you are but really there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

If you can upgrade RAM,change a disc drive or whatever it's just a question of being careful.
I am an electronic engineer and well used to doing things.
But still I get the jitters with fragile stuff and especially modern plastic latches that are so easy to break as you prise them apart.

But why pay someone else? The screen will be £70 ish.

  br1anstorm 23:43 06 Feb 2011

Have just checked out the screen on my Inspiron 8600. It's a Hitachi HTC1C46 WSXGA+ screen. That opened up a real can of worms. I have just done a whole lot more online research - and discovered that there was a massive problem a few years ago where Dell shipped these laptops with either this Hitachi, or a Samsung one - model SEC3150. Many users found the Hitachi substandard, even when it worked, and sent their laptops back.

Too late for any warranty claims now. But it leaves open two questions: do I have a go at replacing the backlight (cheap but difficult)? Or can I replace my faulty Hitachi 1680x1050 WSXGA+ with a 1920x1200 WUXGA screen or a 1280x800 WXGA screen - either of which seems to be a lot cheaper than a replacement 1680x1050 WSXGA+?

  robin_x 00:25 07 Feb 2011

I would only replace exact like for like screens.
Unless you can google and find out if a different screen would work. Or if someone posts here.

But further, I wouldn't even do that. I would replace the tube. If you can replace a screen you can dig a bit deeper for the tube.

If you haven't found tubes yet, try
click here
click here
or other. Been many years since I bought tubes.

  br1anstorm 18:25 20 Feb 2011


  br1anstorm 18:39 20 Feb 2011

sorry about false start to this message (can't see how to edit or remove it).

Just wanted to thank robinofloxley and encourage other readers. I found a supplier of replacement backlight tubes on a well known internet auction site, and have just today successfully fixed the problem. It's delicate but do-able with care, and there is useful advice on various online sites and forums. For my Dell I found this click here and this click here and this site click here among the most useful.

Two tips for novices like me - try to find illustrated guidance on disassembly of your particular model of laptop; and then check (and look for more guidance) about the actual screen itself. The wiring, fixings, and PCB connections for each screen are different. My Dell had a screen made by Hitachi, and it was important to know how to unstick the adhesive tape!

For £12 for the backlight tube and a few hours of effort I cured a problem that others said would need a replacement screen and spending £hundreds. So definitely worth doing.

Good luck to anyone else who tries it!

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