Replacing a screen on a Dell XPS 1645
Replacing a screen is usually quite straight forward. A bit of care, organisation, and computer repair skills should allow the process to go smoothly. For a Dell XPS 16 series however, it is much more complex.
First of all, and talking about the 1645 only, you have a choice of 3 different screens in 3 different resolutions, sizes, and types, meaning you can’t rely on the model of your laptop to replace the screen.
The only way to be sure is to remove the screen first and make a note of the part number at the back of your screen. But immediately the problems start coming to you. The XPS 16 series screens are sealed to a plastic transparent screen (just like a digitizer touch screen) by a double face rubber tape, and you will have first to separate them. Not only this process will ruin the seal but also would allow dust and other particles to come and stick between a new screen and the Plastic”digitiser like” transparent screen.
Then, for some reason, (Even through Dell), it seemed quite impossible to find a HD 1920 x 1080 bare screen for the submodel of xps 1645 we had to repair, So I decided to make some search over the internet, and apparently the only place where the part seemed to be available was the Far-East, China or Singapore. I decided to go ahead, but the experience was not conclusive at all since the website didn’t indicate until the bottom of a (very long) page, in small characters, that the screen was in “used” condition, despite a quite high price…
So, just a piece of advice, be careful and read everything to stay on the safe side. Just for information, this screen worked for a month and died completely, which caused the bad surprise to see the laptop coming back to us, for another attempt of repair. Useless at this stage to mention that the shipping costs back to Singapore and the duty tax where lost, and the refund from Paypal was of course causing more expenses. Back to square 1.
Second attempt to find a screen somewhere on the planet, but always the same answer, Far East. It was a No Go! There was another option though, that I ignored in the first place for costs reasons, but made definiteley some sense after the technical difficulties encountered , and the shortage of bare screens for the 1645.
This option was coming as a full unit, including screen, front and back plastic covers, hinges, including Wifi internal cables and even mic and webcam. Basically the complete top part of the laptop.
The unit was guaranteed brand new by the Ebay seller, and was located in the UK. The price as well was reduced from £223 to £142, and became affordable. We ordered it and it came 2 days later. I had a great feeling about it! However, the repair itself was not accessible to the common mortal and I had to use all my expertise to not ruining all my efforts! Basically the computer had to be stripped off to the bone to have access to the 4 screws alowing the swap of the top units. I had to take a lot of pictures along the way to remember the many connections, wire paths and type of screws, but in the end, everything was back in place and worked like a dream.
It seems that Dell has decided to not provide the screen itself, but a full replacement unit, as the only way to do the job correctly. The cost is quite prohibitive but the laptop itself is an expensive model and worth the expense. Unfortunately, too many times customers refuse to pay for the proper way to fix their machines, which lead in cutting corners to achieve a result, causing waste of time, losses and frustration.
At the end of the day, the experience is not fully satisfactory for both parties, but should be taken as a lesson. Next time we have to deal with this situation, we will know how to treat it straight away. But will we get the job?