MacBook 13.3″ LCD Replacement

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Ahhh… kids…. such bliss. What could be better? Kids and laptops… or rather broken laptops.  

One of the kids’ 13.3″ MacBook LCD screen was damage – magically, of course. The screen had two very serious cracks which rendered the device pretty much useless. However, that didn’t stop them from using it anyway.. In any event, this is a quick article to point out a couple of really great resources to perform your own upgrade.

Obviously, Apple would LOVE to fix your broken laptop screen – but why let them have all the fun? Plus, embolden by my experience with repairing my plasma in a DIY method (relatively speaking…), I figure I’d try to handle this one myself.

Now – first thing on my list was to find out how to do this – if it was possible, yadda yadda. After days of research, I finally elected to use the following YouTube videos produced by Small Dog Electronics — Rebecca K is a ROCK STAR!! Rebecca K. demonstrates how to replace your MacBook LCD screen without taking the entire machine apart – whereas everyone else has you take apart the entire machine!

Video #1:

Video #2:

OK – now I know how to do it – I needed to find the appropriate parts. This took a little bit more time to do because of the asinine way Apple handles their notebook model types. Early-2008, Late-2008 are not what I call easy models for techies. Guess you can’t make everyone happy. After a bit more research online and a lot more comparison shopping, I got a line on this eBay item. (In case the link disappears or can’t be accessed: UpgradeWiz is the store/eBay user name. The model I bought was “lcd Screen WXGA MA472LL/A MB061LL/B Apple Macbook 13.3″“. UpgradeWiz’s part number was LP133WX1-TLA1.)

The attraction: $79!! No Tax, no Shipping! Come on! What DIY’er could pass that up?!

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The installation was VERY easy if you ever have looked inside a PC before. There are just a billion screws, so be organized like Rebecca in the videos. Here are a couple of other installation notes:

  • Be organized (really needs to be repeated.)
  • The video doesn’t show how to remove the front cosmetic bezel/frame from the MacBook. You can use a guitar pick or similar plastic shape device to just pry the bezel up. They are held in place by a dozen or so snap in plastic pieces — DO NOT LOSE THESE! You’ll need them later.
  • If you can, find that “O”-ring extractor tool that Rebecca uses to connect the inverter cable into the inverter. It may save a lot of time as you are working blind and the placement of the inverter cable is tucked up past the ribbon cable that seems to get in your way. I was able to get the LCD connected after about 30 minutes of fiddling with a very strong paperclip and skewer (my Wife just loves it when I raid the kitchen for tools) and the help of one of my daughters (she held the flashlight and gave me encouraging looks of doubts.)
  • Once you are done, you need to snap the front bezel back into place. To do this, you’ll need to remove the small plastic pieces (mine were gray) from the back of the bezel and seat them back in the LCD frame. This will allow you snap the bezel back into place. You may need to use a pair of needle nose pilers to ‘re-shape’ the plastic bits if you bend them too much getting them off the bezel. This took longer than the inverter process! I hate having fat fingers.

Everything is working perfectly and the total time for the install was about an hour and a half as I was being very careful. Hope this helps somebody out!
-JT

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