Disclaimer: What follows is an account of my experiences, thoughts, opinions and methodology. You should take anything written below with a bucket of salt. I will not be held responsible for damage caused by following in my footsteps. If you don’t know how to do something and don’t feel like experimenting, remember, it’s no shame to ask for help from someone who knows more. You have been warned.
Note: Although what I describe below is valid for the specific laptop model, most modern laptops can have their displays swapped in a similar or even identical manner. The main difference I’ve seen on some laptop models is that the display bezel may be held on with screws instead of or in addition to clips. If you see circular covers, be they rubber or plastic, the will probably be covering the screws that hold the display bezel and back cover together.
A friend brought me this laptop because the display had “horizontal lines”. By the time I powered up the laptop the screen had a nice diagonal break splitting it in two parts. First job was to find the model of the display panel itself. On with the disassembly…
Step 1: Take the display bezel off
As with all repairs, before you start remove all power sources from the laptop. Remove the battery and disconnect the power supply.
Taking the bezel off is quite simple once you know how. It is held in place by plastic clips. The trick is to place something thin under the inside edge of the bezel and gently pry it away from the panel and towards the outside of the bezel. Care must be taken not to break the display panel or the bezel. I usually use only a fingernail as it is strong enough to be able to apply torsion to the plastic bezel and soft enough to not scratch the panel. You can use a plastic spudger (the kind that comes in cheap mobile phone repair kits), just take care not to apply too much pressure. If the clips don’t unclip easily try again a bit higher or lower. Usually somewhere in the middle of one of the vertical edges is an easy point to start at, as the bottom is a bit tricky and the top has the webcam and microphone which may need some more atttention.
Once you have undone a clip go around the display unclipping the rest of them. It gets easier the more you have already undone. Once you reach the bottom edge you may have to wiggle the bezel a bit to undo the catches around the hinges. Take your time; that part can be finicky.
Step 2: Remove the broken/bad display panel
After you remove the plastic bezel, you will be able to see the panel mounting screws. There are 4 screws, one near each corner. Do not confuse the screws that hold the panel with the screws that keep the hinges and support frame in place. Look at the pictures below to help identify which screws to remove. I usually leave one of the top screws last as it helps keep the panel from falling while I unscrew the rest.
After removing all the screws, carefully lay the display panel on the keyboard face down. Try not to twist or otherwise stress the signal cable as the wires are very thin and can’t be repaired easily or at all.
Step 3: Detach the signal cable and replace the panel
Once you have the panel down you should be able to locate a sticker with the panel manufacturer and model. This will help you locate a replacement panel. The HP 15-ay014nv has been fitted with at least 3 different panels (all 15.6 inch but different resolutions and signal connectors). Be careful to get the correct one as in some cases the plugs don’t fit the wrong panel.
Once you have the replacement panel you can detach the signal cable from the old panel and plug it into the new one. The connector and the cables are very thin so be careful. The connector usually has clear tape over it to stop it moving while the panel is moved and also during vibrations in the laptop’s life. Peel the tape carefully just enough to release the connector. Once you have the connector back in place on the new panel you can apply some new tape over the old one to keep the connector nice and tight.
Step 4: Power up and test the panel
Now that everything is connected it is time for the big test. Lift the panel to its normal position taking care to route the signal cable as it was originally. Line up the mounting ears with the plastic pegs and insert a couple of the screws. Again I usually screw the top ones first as it helps keep the panel from falling.
Apply power to the laptop either by inserting the battery or plugging in the mains adapter and turn it on. If everything went well the display should light up and start displaying a normal image.
If the laptop doesn’t power up or the display doesn’t work go back and check that the connector fits correctly and makes good contact. If the display still doesn’t show an image make sure that the laptop is set to use the internal display and not some external monitor.
Step 5: Put everything back together
Assuming everything tested out fine it is time to reassemble the laptop display. If you haven’t done so already, screw the new panel into position and make sure the signal cable is routed correctly to the hinge and not pinched.
To replace the bezel is easy. Just line it up with the display back shell and press them together with your fingers to re-engage the little plastic clips. There is no need to use excessive force; the clips should go together with light pressure. Work your way around the display taking care to not bend or stress the new panel. The bottom part is usually the trickiest to clip together along with the hinges. You can apply a little bit of sideways pressure with your fingers to make the clips align better and engage. Just take your time and don’t be afraid to undo a couple clips and try again.
Do a final check that the bezel has been clipped all around and there are no gaps on the sides of the display. Close the lid of the laptop and check that the bottom part of the bezel and the hinges have clipped correctly. Open the display and do a final check that everything works correctly.
Congratulations!!! You managed to replace your laptop display on your own. It wasn’t that hard was it?