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Replacing the LCD on my late 2008 MacBook unibody

borise -

MacBook Unibody Model A1278

MacBook Unibody Model A1278 LCD Panel Replacement

MacBook Unibody Model A1278 LCD Panel Replacement

2 - 4 uren

Very difficult

Mijn probleem

My LCD had a so called Tape Automated Bonding (Tab) fault (see MacBook Pro 13 display problem). some days earlier the device fell on the floor which might have been the cause of this.

Mijn oplossing

I bought a new LCD from ifixit and checked out their repair guide which tells you to remove the whole display assembly first. However, there are other guides for replacing the LCD on the 13" Macbook unibody without removing it at all (found it on youtube, only works on 13" models). I decided to try it this way.

Removing the glass panel was difficult at first. Not removing the whole display assembly turned out to be a smart thing since you can place the device head-down on the table and use the other half (with the keyboard and all) to keep the display in place firmly.

I used a cheap suction cup (not from ifixit) and started to pull gently, then with more force, but the glass didn't give me an opening at all. At some point the suction cup broke, the rubber just came off. After almost giving up for the day I decided to go on without a suction cup. So I used a hair dryer and a credit card to get into the lower right corner. I started by placing the credit card in the small opening between the edge of the glass and the rubber lip (at right angle). Then I carefully and patiently (!) dug under the glass in the corner, and as soon I was in (or rather under) I could carefully detach the glass from its adhesive (frequently using the hairdryer to warm up the adhesive). Maybe I was just lucky, but for me this worked fine. Detaching the adhesive did take some time, a lot longer than I thought (it makes this weird sound which seems to be normal, but if you're careful you won't break the glass).

Removing the broken LCD was quite easy; be careful with the LVDS connector, though. You have to remove some tape from the connector which took me a while (be careful, in my case the tape stuck like !&&*). I just removed it so far that the connector itself lay free and let it stick there. Then there is a little clamp on the connector which you need to pull back. It has hinges and won't break when you pull it back and forth, but it's very thin so don't tear it off.

The biggest problem came up when it came to reconnecting the new LCD to the LVDS connector. The LVDS connector cable is very short and therefore there is not a lot of room for plugging it into the LCD. After trying for quite a while (I pulled on the tape to get it into place) I became anxious to break the connector, especially the little clamp on it. To be on the safe side, I decided to follow the ifixit guide and remove the display assembly.

I was hoping that this might allow me to get a little more length on the connector cable. And indeed this worked way better! With the other end of the LVDS cable unplugged and the display assembly removed you can push the LVDS cable back a little and this makes reconnecting the LVDS very easy. In my opinion it is definitely worth it removing the display assembly. It's not a lot of work and not complicated to do this, and it's definitely the safe way to go.

I reattached the glass panel using permanent double sided tape. I was sceptical about this, but it seems to hold fine. After all, the glass panel is not very heavy.

Mijn advies

Be patient and don't use a lot of force! You can do this repair and save quite some money, but don't rush it. Keep trying patiently and you will be fine.

My advice would be to leave the display assembly on the device while removing the glass and the LCD itself. Lying the device down on the display with the actual laptop sticking up in the air at any angle you might need gives you quite some control. Removing the glass, especially with a suction cup, seems easier this way (you can bend over the device and put some pressure on the part with the keyboard while pulling the suction cup).

Also disconnecting the LVDS connector seems easier this way since you can put the display at any angle you need.

However, when it comes to reconnecting the LCD I recommend to remove the display assembly to get some much needed extra length on the LVDS cable. Reconnecting it was very easy this way and removing the display assembly is not a lot of work.

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