Unofficial Guide to Aftermarket LCD Replacement

KEY POINTS:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

BACKGROUND
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.

REPAIR STEPS
We will follow the disassembly steps in the Official Display Kit Replacement Guide and begin where steps deviate.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Perform “Step 7: Remove the Display.”
  4. 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.

LCD rear
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.

  1. 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

  1. Prepare the free aluminum strips with double-sided adhesive and screw them onto the lid.

  2. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Enjoy your repaired laptop!

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Afterthoughts:

  1. Replacing the panel is a more involved process. I only recommend it for those who are willing to risk damaging their new displays. If you are not comfortable with these steps, replacing the screen via the officially supported Display Kit is more appropriate for you. This was a risky repair due to the fragility of the parts and lack of support if something else goes wrong.

  2. My suggestion to the Framework team: provide the model numbers/part numbers for components that may be sourced or are already being used by other devices. This can help those who do not have access to the Marketplace Kits or for repairs that only require a specific component, but not an entire kit (i.e. LCD panel vs Display Kit).
    2a. I see this important later on when batteries inevitably decay. Customers abroad may have difficulties shipping batteries due to restrictions (UN3481, UN3480 etc.) or for other reasons. If model or part numbers were available, there may be an option to source locally.

  3. I completely understand if points 2 and 2a were detrimental to Framework’s business model. My ideas are coming from a Right to Repair standpoint where at least the choice is ideally available. Yet I understand business is business and Framework needs to survive.

  4. Another suggestion to the Framework team: the NE135FBM-N41 panel is thin and fragile at 2.1mm. Anecdotes of screen damage with no clear history of accidents are accumulating in the Community forums. Perhaps a more durable and robust panel is something worth looking into in future iterations.

  1. Matte option please :grin:
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Well made! Thank you! :slight_smile:

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This is an amazing guide, and something I will definitely be keeping track of if I ever try to replace my display with a 3rd party matte one! Thanks for the amazing detail @John_Perez! A question, would it be safe to use a marker to put lines on the back of the new panel to have a better chance at lining up the metal strips before mounting them to the top case? I wonder if measuring and marking the back of the panel could make it easier and avoid messing up the alignment.

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The rear of the panel is made of aluminum and I think this would be safe. :slightly_smiling_face: Just be careful not to apply too much pressure with your marker and ruler.

In hindsight, I should have taken this approach. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’m impressed. We have an extremely expensive camera-based automated fixture (basically a fancy robot) that aligns and places the brackets on the back of the panel in production. Great work eye-balling the replacement!

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Any idea where I can get that display cable separately?

Thank you for this! I had to replace mine because the screen was broken out of nowhere when I opened it one day. This guide helped a lot and I was able to replace it successfully

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

That’s bit worrying ~ the screen just breaking. Was it a single crack or many lines of break?

@John_Perez What thickness of doublesided tape did you use?

@John_Perez Thanks for the awesome infos - do you know where to get the correct cable for this panel? I want to make a “first connect” to a bare motherboard (with the same problem of customs and cost)
Thanks

The tape measured 0.2mm. I recommend using the thinnest tape you can find. Otherwise, thick tape may not make the panel flush against the lid or bezel.

Sorry, I am not aware of what this specific cable is as I only reused the original one. Although there is an existing discussion on a project that may be similar to yours. Hopefully the thread can help you out.

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If I were to mail you a matte panel, how much for it to take a ride on your fancy robot machine?

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You are joking, all the way to Taiwan and to interrupt the production, not cheap I should imagine. :slight_smile:

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is it possible to replace it with a touch-enabled model?
I guess not. They probably ask for another cable.

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Thank you John, you directly pushed me into finical ruin. Just kidding, these were the missing parts I were looking for - now I could not hold back anymore and just ordered the panel ;). Thanks a lot!

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Hi @John_Perez , I am in the same situation with you.
My Framework Laptop was arrived to Hong Kong in 2 weeks ago. And today when I was trying to apply a screen protector, the screen cracked :sob:
Actually I don’t mind to pay for $179(+shipment and freight forwarding) for a new screen replacement but it is currently unavailable in the Marketplace
I might try to follow your steps to DIY unofficially.

Matte screen option please!!! It is quite hard to use when I am taking bus under sunlights

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Updates: Got my new display panel and done my screen replacement :innocent:
It takes me about 15 minutes to complete, very easy to do!

So why other brands like Lenovo / HP / even Apple is extremely difficult to do screen replacement :frowning:

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Depend on the model, HP displays are not as daunting.
A lot of their mid-low range models have un-fused displays (much like framework, where the display have its own “bezel”, are framed and attached to the top cover
separately.

However, their bezel is certainly not magnetic, so removing that can be a pain in the [_], but having a tight bezel also means less ingress, so I dont really have anything against that.
This also applies to my (2016) Dell XPS. The bezel I have no idea how to remove, and while the display is glued to the back cover, there is a “pull string to cut” that allow you to remove the display quite easily.

My Lenovo Thinkpad T14S have a fused display, but is connected to the bezel and is held to the upper cover via clips. And so a replacement is not too difficult.
Apple, heh, well. Is Apple.

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