June 04, 2005

Powerbook Screen Repair

How to replace the bezel on a nearly new 15-inch Aluminum Powerbook G4 after it's been bent by a 4-year old child that knocked it off a desk

IMPORTANT: These instructions may not work for you and are for educational purposes only. Following them may void your warranty or expose you or the Powerbook to extreme danger. If you attempt to follow them and break anything, it's your own fault. Usual legal disclaimers apply.

You will need:
First, follow the instructions at pbfixit.com to remove the display. If your powerbook is very new, you might have to go through some additional steps to disconnect the Airport connector, since it's changed. You have to get to the Airport Extreme card, which is under the PCMCIA cage. The pbfixit instructions tell you that you have to remove pretty much everything (hard disk, optical drive, logic board, etc) to do this, but actually you don't have to. Try this instead:
  1. Remove one screw and one 4mm nut from left hand speaker assembly. Gently fold it doewn so that you can get to the PCMCIA cage.
  2. Remove the 4 screws (2 on the left, 2 on the right) and wiggle the cage slightly so that it's half-removed.
  3. You will see that the eject button is stopping it from coming out. Pry the PCMCIA cage away from the eject button and remove them both.
  4. Remove the 2 screws holding the Airport Extreme card, pull it out.
  5. Disconnect the Airport antenna connector. You may have to pull it quite hard.
  6. Once you've got the display off, you need to open it up. Slide a tool between the bezel and the gray plastic insert. The easiest place to do this is in the corners near the hinges. Work your way up the sides.
  7. Detach the hinge side by pushing in the spring clips. These are hard to find and quite fiddly. There are 8 of them. Once you've worked these loose, you can detach the bezel and TFT assembly from the outer case, but not too far; the Airport antenna cables join them together.
  8. Disconnect the Airport antenna cables from the small board that's in the U-shaped hinge cover. The board is in a paper envelope. The full bezel kit includes a spare envelope.
  9. Remove the orange tape (keep it somewhere) and the metal tape (spare included in kit).
  10. Remove the inverter board. It has two cables connected to it.
  11. If you're replacing the bezel, hinge cover or hinges, unscrew the 5 tiny and very annoying screws that attach the hinge cover to the bezel. One of them has a ground wire attached. Remove the hinge cover from the bezel.
  12. If you're replacing the bezel or display, remove the 8 screws that attach the display to the bezel.
  13. The bottom of the screen is stuck to the bezel with one of the strongest adhesives known to man. Use a sharp knife, a little brute force, and a great deal of care when taking it off.
You can walk the above list in reverse to reassemble everything. When you switch the machine back on, it will complain slightly. Just be thankful that it switched on at all. You deserve a fourth bottle of beer.

You can turn your old bezel into a rather expensive picture frame.

Along the way you might have noticed a magnet mounted on the back of the screen. You can use this to hold small objects, or maybe to attach your Powerbook to the fridge.

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