2008-01-04

Replacing a Bad Inverter on a Toshiba Laptop...

The year has just begun and my laptop decided to bork. It already borked some time ago. The problem was the backlight: it started blinking and the laptop would go to sleep. I search the web and found this blog. I tried to figure out if this was the problem with my laptop, but I was almost sure it wasn't, because even if I connected an external monitor Linux kept receiving spurious lid close events. It turned out to be the board that had the lid closing button. The trick was to find the parts, but I was lucky enough. I called my old boss, who also bought the same laptop as I did and asked her what happened. Well, it turns out that the laptop was going for recycling. Not a moment too late! I asked for it, she gave it to me for free (thank you!!!) and I repaired my laptop using the board of her laptop - which seems to have a broken video card...

Today the backlight finally hit the fan. I had been noticing some flickering of the backlight for some days but I completely ignored it and resumed working. It seemed to stabilize after some warming up. But today it went down and didn't came up, even after turning off the laptop and turning it on. I remembered the article and got to it. Since this might be useful for someone else I'm putting some instructions and a couple of pictures of the process. The pictures aren't fully illustrative, but it should be sufficient to get you there.

First thing: opening the laptop. This might sound easy but it should be done carefully so as not to scratch the laptop. This is a Toshiba laptop so you should first remove the button cover. This can be done by starting by the right side of the cover: you can find a small gap that is perfect to put a screwdriver in.



But you also need to open the screen. This is trickier. The screen has four screws: one in each corner. The top ones are hidden bellow the rubbers that protect the screen one it is closed. The lower ones are hidden below to little plastic covers that are glued on top of them. Remove the lower covers with care because you want to glue them again in order to hide the screws. In the top just unglue the rubbers from the inside out just the sufficient to unscrew. I didn't remove the rubbers.

Finally, and to complete the opening up of the screen you have to very gently start pulling the plastic cover. I'm not going to lie: this is something that is not for the faint of heart. I started in the lower part of the screen with my fingers pulling the plastic await from the screen, right above the TOSHIBA logo. Then I worked steadily with my hands as a small screwdriver all the way around the screen. The top of the screen is trickier, but once you free the lower and sides of the cover you can simple use the screwdriver to force free the top. DON'T FORCE the release of the spring that hold the cover shut when the laptop is closed: it is attached to the back plastic of the screen only. If you try to free it you might break something...

You should end up with something like this:



And these are the covers that were removed, set them aside:



With these covers removed the back plastic cover of the screen should fall off without a lot of effort.



Now you need to find the Inverter. The inverter is on the lower part of the screen. You can't miss it: it is the only board with integrated circuits in the screen. To remove it you will have to unglue the metallic protection on the front and remove two screws. After this you can the backlight power cord on the right (two black and white wires that go into the screen that control the backlight) and the control line on the left (this is trickier because it has isolating tape around it). Do not tear any of the tape or protections, you will need them later. I only unglued what was essential. Then you have the inverter free from the laptop.



Now, all you have to do is find a replacement for this part. Maybe eBay can help you, or even Toshiba. Since I have a scrap laptop I repeated the process and simple replaced the Inverter. Then is just a matter to mounting everything back up. It should be simple, don't force anything in: the plastics should go in nice and easy.

After all this process my laptop was running with a working screen.



Of course I'm very lucky for having an old laptop to steal parts from, but if you can find the missing part and it is not too expensive it beats having to by a new laptop. Hope this helps you and, once again, I would like to thank my old boss for providing me with a scrap laptop to remove parts from.

2008-01-03

New Year, New Adventures...

Welcome to 2008!!!

I wish you all a good year filled with health and happiness for you and your family. And when I say "all" I actually mean "all", even those that consider themselves my enemies...

When a new year comes along it is usually a time to think about what went well in the last year and what hasn't gone that well and to make some new year resolutions. If I believed in New Year resolutions mine would be to improve my health and fitness. Since I don't believe that making resolutions only once a year I won't make any...

My vacations are practically over. I was finally allowed to take a vacations. I said allowed because I actually had to site laws to get them to approve my vacations, but it was worth it: I finally got some time to just recharge my batteries, you know, sleep 11 hours per day, read a book and basically do nothing...

Work will start next week and I think it is time to scare the crap out of them. I believe I should be professional to the extreme, that is, to do only what I'm told. I've always worked for the same company and through all the years I've heard what I didn't deserve so many times just because I went the extra mile. I'm looking for alternatives and in the meantime I'll make some waves just giving my opinion, asking for it to be recorded on the minutes and then doing exactly what was asked of me, not more, not less. Let's see if the managers can handle this...

It will all start with a trip to the capital for a meeting and the trip still hasn't been approved. Looks like someone made a long trip to my country to have a meeting with me and I won't be there because I won't travel without everything approved (I've been burned previously and I won't be burned again).

I'm now part of an international standards body that is doing something that isn't worth doing. The first thing I asked when I joined the group was: "What is the problem we are trying to solve?". I got a lot of side answers but no one actually gave me a straight answer. I believe the group is inventing what doesn't need to be invented, that they are doing it just to go to a few conferences, make some presentations, write some papers and books. This is not what I signed for and it will be fun to see the progress of it.

So, this year all my technology related investigation will have to be performed at home. This means I won't use the company's resources and that I'll probably release it all under an Open Source License. Bad luck for the company I work for: if they don't want my best then it is OK for me, as long as I get payed.