Bringing an HP Pavillion Laptop Back to Life
I saw this laptop languishing on a table at a swap meet. No power supply, didn't turn on. I got it for $5.00, and I knew I could find a way to rescue it.
I purchased a power supply, and it booted up. However, the LCD had a huge swath of dead pixels right through the middle. I wanted to install Linux on it, but I couldn't do that while hooked up to an external monitor — I couldn't be sure the system would drive the external monitor during installation.
So I knew I had to replace the LCD. However, I found that purchasing an entire refurbished display was cheaper than a new LCD. I found one that had been tested, so I bought it.
Looking at the teardown guide, I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do, but I knew there would be some surprises.
Surprisingly, removing the keyboard was the most challenging. There are a lot of screws on the bottom of the laptop body, and you need to removed them all, even if you're not tearing it all down. There are three keyboard screws that need to be removed before it slides out. I struggled with that and bent the keyboard a bit before I realized there were more screws. After that, it slide right out.
When reconnecting, the keyboard cable doesn't seem like it's all the way in. It doesn't go in very far, and I took a chance. It works!
A nice surprise was that the refurbished display has a web cam, which means an extra cable to attach... somewhere. I looked at the guide and compared it with mine. Sure enough, there was a connector on the motherboard for it.
After I reassembled everything, I booted up and it worked perfectly.
This laptop still had Windows Vista on it. I couldn't connect to my wifi network or get bluetooth to work. I tried updating Windows, but it kept failing. Instead, I installed Xubuntu — which was my original plan, anyway. After I did that, everything worked perfectly, even the web cam!
I should mention that I could not get the plastic hinge covers to go onto the new display. I decided it wasn't worth it, but I may try again another day.
I just ordered two new RAM modules so I can bump up the memory from 1 GB to 4 GB.
Even so, this is now a laptop that is totally useful and saved from the landfill. I'm really glad I took this on.
Take photos as you disassemble! If there are wires to be threaded or small connectors, it's so helpful to be able to refer to your photos when you reassemble. It saved me many times.
Go slow. Sometimes cables are hard to remove or reconnect. Take your time, and take little breaks. Eventually you'll get it.
Also, the magnetic mat is a life saver. I could group screws together and label them so I had no doubt about where they went on reassembly.