LG LCD Panel LP133WF2(SP)(A1) Teardown

After I checked the USB OTG reader off my teardown to-do list, I decided to continue ignoring what I had originally planned to do and continued tearing down another item that’s been sitting on my teardown to-do list: a broken LG LCD panel LP133WF2(SP)(A1). It was the original screen in a Toshiba Chromebook 2 (CB35-B3340) which I received in a broken state with the screen cracked. I revived the Chromebook with a secondhand replacement screen, and I set the original cracked screen with the intent of eventually taking it apart to see what I can see. “Eventually” is now.

Out of all the retired screens in my hardware pile, this was the most inviting for a teardown due to its construction. The ever-going quest for lighter and thinner electronics meant this screen wasn’t as stout as screens I’ve removed from older laptops. I noticed how flexible it was and it made me nervous while handling it. Most of the old panels I’ve handled felt roughly as rigid as a thick plastic credit card, this display felt more like a cardboard business card. I’m sure the lack of structure contributed to why the screen was cracked.

The primary objective of this exercise is curiosity. I just wanted to see how far I could disassemble it. The secondary objective is to see if I can salvage anything interesting. While the display itself is cracked and could no longer display data, the backlight was still lit and it would be great if I could salvage an illumination panel. And due to how LCDs work, I know there are polarization filters somewhere in its sandwich of layers. I just didn’t know if it’s practical to separate it from the rest of the display.

The primary concern in this exercise is safety. The aforementioned quest for light weight meant every layer in this sandwich will be as thin as it can possibly be, including the sheets of glass. And since the screen is visibly cracked, we already know this activity will involve shards of broken glass. I will be wearing eye protection at all times. I had also thought I would wear gloves to protect my fingertips, but I don’t have the right types for this work. All the gloves I have are either too bulky (can’t work with fine electronics in gardening gloves) or too thin to offer protection (glass shards easily slice through nitrile.) I resigned to keeping a box of band-aid nearby.

All that said, time to get to work: around the metal frame this panel is surrounded by a thin black material that contributes nothing to structure. It’s basically tape. Cut to precise dimensions and applied with the accuracy of automated assembly robots, but it’s adhesive-backed plastic sheets so: tape.

The adhesive is quite tenacious and it did not release cleanly. Once peeled, the top edge of the LCD array could separate from the backlight. The diagonal crack is vaguely visible through the silvered mirror back of the LCD.

This is a good start, but I can’t pull them apart yet. Right now they’re both connected to this panel’s integrated driver circuit board.

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