Nowadays, laptops are being used more and more by professionals and all computer users. Earlier, a laptop computer was used by a professional who was on the move. But today it is fast becoming the preferred choice of each computer user.
The reason for this choice is relatively simple. A laptop occupies comparatively less space as compared to the desktop computer. The laptops are portable as they are easy to carry around, not to mention the convenience of the use of a laptop computer where all the different aspects come together so compactly.
Perhaps it is because of this compactness that laptops are usually more costly compared to the normal desktops. This means, that the spares are also equally costly and their repair process is also comparatively more complicated.
Laptop computer repair are often a complicated process which require specialized help and support services. Most laptop brands come with warranty for its spares and service and maintenance plans. Ideally, it is the best thing to avail of such a service and maintenance plan. But then there are different conditions where laptop repair services become necessary.
But first, let us understand the basic laptop parts which are often the subject of discussions revolving around laptop repairs.
A laptop is like a notebook (perhaps why they are also referred to as ‘Notebooks’) – when you open it, on one side is a screen, and on the other side is a keyboard. All the other ‘bells and whistles’ making up the computer, lie compactly under the keyboard. So when you open up a laptop computer to begin working, you have the keyboard right under your fingers and the screen right in front of you, attached to the body of the computer by a pair of hinges.
Now let’s see which parts of the laptop are often subject to damage and need repair services.
The first thing, which is quite common, is the keyboard. Laptop keyboards are not quite fond of liquids such as water, tea, coffee, juice, beer or wine etc. So when you spill some on your laptop keyboard, you are asking for some amount of trouble. 9 times out of 10 you are going to have to replace the laptop keyboard.
Ideally, therefore, it is advised that don’t keep a cup or glass of these and other liquids close to your laptop while working with it. It is just not worth the risk.
However, in the case that you do end up spilling any liquid on your keyboard, the best thing to do is to switch off the laptop. Do not try to turn the laptop upside down and shake it to get the liquid out. It does not work. If you must tilt it, then tilt the laptop towards the side where you have the CD/DVD Player. There are less number of damageable parts on that side of the laptop. Also, using a hairdryer to dry out the liquid does not help – it just melts the keys with the heat.
Don’t switch on the laptop until you are sure that the liquid has dried off its own accord. Once this has been ascertained, then you can attach an external keyboard to your laptop and switch it on to see if there is any other damage that has occurred.
Depending upon the amount of damage that has happened, your laptop repair person will charge you for the replacement of the entire keyboard and other repair costs. It is best to let an expert handle this. At least, for the first time!
Most keyboards are held in place by a few screws and the keyboard is connected to the motherboard with a connector. The keyboard connector needs a bit of careful handling, so unless you are sure, don’t do it yourself, as it may cause further problems to the motherboard while unplugging if done carelessly.
If some of the keys of the keyboard have come off, you may also have to go for the replacement of the entire keyboard. This is because very small plastic mounting arms hold the keys in place on the keyboard which are held together by little clips. If either of these have broken, it is very difficult to obtain spare mounting arms or clips. Plus, fitting them is a very detailed job and may cost you a lot of money.
Another thing which can go wrong with a laptop is its screen display. There are many complications with this particular problem. Therefore it is extremely essential to know exactly where the problem lies so as to reduce the cost of the laptop screen repair.
A laptop screen is in need of repair when you can’t see any image or you see a very faint image on your laptop screen.
A laptop screen is lit with a Backlight. This is a fluorescent tube, about a tenth of the size of your normal household fluorescent tube. This tube is attached to a small circuit board with a cable. The circuit board is similar to the ‘starter’ of the fluorescent tube. This circuit board is called an Inverter. It provides regulated power to the Backlight to light up the screen.
Often when you have a loss of screen display or no display at all, or a very faint image on your screen, there is a problem with either the Inverter or the Backlight. All you have to do is replace it and the problem is solved. Most repair personnel may end up asking you to replace the entire LCD screen, which will end up costing you an arm and a leg. Some may even ask you to replace the motherboard because the video card has failed.
One way to figure this out is to connect your laptop’s VGA Port to an external monitor and change to dual display or external display. If you see an image on the screen, then you know that it’s either the Inverter or the Backlight which has the problem, not the other parts.
Laptops have batteries which eventually give out and not charge. You may see advertisements where people promise to repack and / or recondition your laptop batteries so that they get back to top form.
Before you do that, check your laptop warranty, because doing so may end up making the warranty void. Also, all these things often don’t work as well as they promise.
The best course of action here is to replace your batteries with new ones. Most laptop batteries are very easy to remove and replace, and instructions can be found in the User Manual.
Before You Begin to DIY
Ideally, one should let the experts do their job. But small jobs can be done at home, by you. Before you begin repairing your laptop or replacing parts of your laptop all by yourself, you should have a few tools. They are:
- A Phillips Head Screwdriver (Type 0).
- A Phillips Head Screwdriver (Type 1).
- An ESD Mat or a grounded ESD wrist strap for electrostatic discharge.
- Needle Nose Pliers.
- A Pair of Long Nose Tweezers.
- A Teflon wedge or spade.
Before you use any specific screwdrivers to unscrew your laptop parts, look carefully. Most laptops will have a number displayed right next to the screw, which will tell you which type of screwdriver to use.
Avoid environment which may have static electricity discharges as this may ruin all your laptop repair efforts.
Keep all the screws in one place – make notes as you go along and check all the connectors and connections before you move ahead.
And most of all, switch off the laptop before you attempt any repairs. Otherwise you are looking to get a very nasty electric shock.