- The Framework Laptop’s LCD panel is replaceable with an aftermarket part aside from the official Display Kit in the Marketplace. The Display Kit includes the panel, aluminum brackets and EDP cable. In cases where only the panel is damaged, there is still a possibility of repair.
- The panel being used by Framework is manufactured by BOE with a model number NE135FBM-N41. The same panel is being used in the Acer Swift 3 and Acer Chromebook CP713-2W.
- Repair using the Display Kit is easier and has less risk for further damage. Replacing the panel only is more difficult, but is potentially more cost-effective and less wasteful.
Like many in the Community, I was also looking for a matte screen option and I purchased a matte screen protector as many have had success in this approach. Unfortunately, I cracked my panel in the process.
By this time, I have owned my Batch 6 Framework Laptop for less than 6 weeks. The device was also forwarded via freight to my country and I was well-aware of the lack of support. I considered ordering the Display Kit for $179, but considering forwarding costs, this would have amounted to $190-$200. The thought of such expense for an accidentally damaged screen in a 6-week old device gave me heartaches.
After searching the Community forums, I found this post by @Davy_Bell. I was able to source an aftermarket panel for only $90 shipped. While Davy_Bell was unable to document the process, I would like to build on his contributions by sharing my steps and afterthoughts on screen replacement.
We will follow the disassembly steps in the Official Display Kit Replacement Guide and begin where steps deviate.
- Follow the official guide until “Step 5: Remove the Bezel.” Skip “Step 6: Disconnect the Display Cable.” We will be disconnecting the display cable at the panel side later on.
- I recommend disconnecting the battery when doing LCD panel work. It is common for laptops to damage their displays when reconnecting cables if the board is powered. LCD panels typically run at higher voltages which the motherboard is not able to take.
- Perform “Step 7: Remove the Display.”
- The LCD panel is secured to the lid by two aluminum strips. The strips are of Framework’s design and adhere to the panel by black adhesives with pull tabs. Take note of the orientation of the strips and the “R” and “L” designations.
Photo from the Official Guide. Note the black pull tabs. Pull these sideways to remove the adhesives. The aluminum strips should then be free.
Rear panel with the adhesives removed.
- Proceed with disconnecting the EDP cable on the panel side. Peel off the tape with the Framework QR code covering the connector. The connector is locked by a metal clip. Flip this over with a plastic tool to unlock the cable. You should then be able to disconnect the cable with minimal resistance.
Partially lift the tape
The connector in locked position
Gently lift the lock with a plastic tool
Prepare the free aluminum strips with double-sided adhesive and screw them onto the lid.
Connect the display cable to your new panel and lock the metal clip into place. Return the previously lifted tape.
STOP at this point! Caution: you are about to mount the new panel into the adhesives. This is a point of no return. A misaligned screen will require you to separate the panel from the adhesives which requires a significant amount of pressure. This may damage your new panel. Keep your double-sided tape covered and “practice” aligning and mounting the panel before committing.
Alternatively, you may mount the aluminum strips to the panel separately, but this will require aligning them straight with a 3mm gap in a single attempt to avoid damaging the panel.
Once ready, expose the double-sided tape and mount your display. Apply gentle pressure to adhere the screen to the aluminum strips.
8a. Optionally, you may unscrew the mounts again and apply pressure on the aluminum strips from behind in order to ensure good adhesion.
Reassemble your laptop starting with Step 11 onwards. If you disconnected the battery, reconnect it ONLY after you have completed reconnecting the display cable. It is discouraged to replace screens with a powered board.
Enjoy your repaired laptop!