I broke my laptop.

It happened so quickly. I popped off the power adapter connector and swung the lid down to close it and CLUNK! The adapter connector had not popped off to the side, but rather flopped on top of my laptop speaker, and prevented me from closing the lid. It was sandwiched between the metal speaker cover, and the delicate LCD panel. Guess what gave? Yup, the LCD panel.

Now I have this lovely rainbow crack on the lower left of my display, and then the rest up from that is white. I have a white pillar covering 10% of my display, on the left hand side. My lovely 15″ laptop is now effectively a 13″. And I cannot see the Apple menu nor the FILE menu. So, good thing I am handy with the keyboard commands.

Well, what to do about this? Get a new laptop? Believe it or not, that was my first thought. I mean, I too was sucked into this “disposable object” mentality that is affecting everyone lately. One small thing breaks, and so you replace the whole thing.

Now, I did then, a few seconds later, think, “well, this should be fixable. Just replace the whole LCD. But, that might cost a lot. A lot more than the computer is worth.” And this is an older computer…2008 MacBook Pro. Would the cost of the repair be worth it on such an old machine? I did take it to the nearby Mac repair center, and they did quote me $550 for the repair. That thought made me go back to thinking that if it was going to be THAT much, and the computer is THAT old, why not just spend a few more extra hundred and get a more recent machine? The MacBook Air is $999…a refirb is $850. It’s not that much different.

Well, I can’t afford it. Normally I might have the funds for this in my business account, but I have other expenses that make that not viable. Also, I saddled my wife with a cheap laptop that I turned into a Mac (“Hackintosh” is the term), and really, she has been looking at the MacBook Air and drooling. If I got one before her…no, that wouldn’t do.

I showed the damage I did to a co-worker, and he said, “oh, you can just replace the LCD. That’s pretty inexpensive. They sell those…a friend of mine broke his LCD too, and he just replaced it on his own.” Well, I like that idea. So I googled the part…found one for $150. Much better than $550.

And then I found a video tutorial on how to do this replacement yourself. That is a bit daunting. I have to remove 37 screws, delicate wires, and at one point, use a razor to cut through the glue that keeps the LCD attached to the bezel of the lid. Scary stuff. But, I did replace the hard drive in my previous laptop, and that meant removing about as many screws, but also a ton of other parts. And I was able to do that. So, I think I’ll take the LOW LIFE approach to this and replace the screen myself, and keep my computer, that works JUST fine for everything I do, for a few more years.

When the LCD arrives, I’ll be sure to crack open a beer, and document the whole thing. And I’ll be doing so on my family’s blog, LIVING THE LOW LIFE…where we talk about living cheaply. Replacing a laptop screen instead of the whole laptop…or paying a LOT to get it done…is “living the low life.”