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Friday, December 5, 2014

HP Split 13 X2 (product 13t-m000 or E1N79AV) Screen Replacement

In this post, I will show you how to replace the screen in an HP Split 13 X2 (product 13t-m000 or E1N79AV) 2-in-1 laptop. This is one of the earliest HP Split's, but this procedure should be relevant to newer versions. This laptop has a base that contains a keyboard, large battery, usb board, and extra hard drive. The screen part is actually a detachable tablet that contains the motherboard, CPU, RAM, main SSD, power supply, another battery, etc.

The touch glass on the screen on the one I'm fixing got cracked from the lower right hand corner up the right side. The LCD was fine, but the cracked glass caused the touchscreen to freak out/ghost touching and not work properly, causing programs to randomly launch (because it thought I had double touched their icons) and the computer to crash. By being careful not to shake the screen (which causes the freak out), I logged on and went to the device manager (right click start icon->device manager). I went into the "Human Interface Devices" and started disabling drivers starting from the top of the list. If that particular driver wasn't the touchscreen, I re-enabled it. Doing that, I eventually found the touchscreen driver. Now the computer is usable, just without a touch capability.

But the whole point of this computer is to be able to use it via touchscreen...Thus, I started looking for replacement touch glass. I ended up calling HP out-of-warranty support. They will give you an instant (well, 5 minute) quote on most repair jobs for their parts and services. The people I talked to were very helpful. Turns out that you can't just buy the glass because it is bonded to the LCD; you actually have to replace the whole screen unit. It would have cost me about $325 (with shipping) to send the computer to them, for them to replace the touchscreen, and then send it back (5-7 business days). That's pretty reasonable, but the 5-7 days without a laptop is the killer. I then asked if I could just get the part: no problem. It was $180 with shipping for the screen assembly, with the stipulation that I return the broken part to them in the prepaid FedEx box within 15 days. It would have been $20 more if I didn't want to return the broken screen, so I decided to return it. I got the screen in a few days.

There was/is another problem with this laptop. HP seemed to be fans of the Ralink RT3290 WLAN (wifi) card around the time I bought this: it's in a lot of their 2013 products, including this one. By scanning internet forums, it seems that a lot of people have trouble with that card, but HP doesn't acknowledge any problems with it. This laptop exhibited the common "it keeps dropping wifi anywhere over 5m from the router" syndrome from the day I bought it. The two main causes seem to be out-dated drivers and a long run of poorly manufactured boards. It seems that if updating drivers doesn't fix the problem, you probably just need a new one (the newer RT3290's seem to be more reliable). Since drivers weren't my problem, I figured I'd ask HP for the cost of the replacement part. They wanted about $20 for a new one, which is way over-priced. You can find this card online for $5 or less and it is super simple to replace. If I end up replacing the one in this laptop, I'll do another post on how to do it. If I don't, you'll see how to do it in the pictures below. However, I think I may have discovered the source of the wifi problem in this particular case: one of the wifi antenna wires had a partially bent plug, which, when the back cover panel was put on the tablet, caused the cable plug to become partially disconnected from the card. UPDATE: The wifi is much better now.

Anyways, back to the screen replacement. There is a service manual for this laptop available from your HP product's page, but it didn't have the instructions for replacing the screen in mine, so I just used it as a reference. Tools required: an array of small Phillips screw drivers and a small flat-head screw driver. Be careful about static electricity. Disclaimer: I am in no way responsible if you wreck your electronics by following this guide. Don't do this unless you know what you are doing.

The first thing you have to do is shutdown the computer and detach the tablet. Next, you need to pull the little rubber stopper things (2) covering two screws out of the bottom edge of the tablet. Next, unscrew those screws. Then carefully pry the back cover off of the tablet. Start at one point and work your way around. This will take time because it really doesn't want to come off. After you have it off, detach the battery cable (red circle in picture below). You will also want to detach the two ribbon cables being pointed to with red arrows. The upper cable socket has a little black piece of plastic that locks the cable in place: you have to flip/rotate the plastic up using your finger nail to unlock it. There's a little ribbon cable that attaches to the right-most circuit board (hidden under the big black cable bundle) that I forgot to mark. Note that the right most circuit board actually comes with your new screen.

Note: You can see the WLAN card in the lower right. All you have to do to remove it is unscrew it, pop off the antenna plugs, and pull it out of its socket.
There are a ton of screws you have to take out next (red circles and arrows below). Luckily, most of the major components are mounted to a frame, so you don't actually have to remove an individual components. The first thing you should take off is the bottom (top in the picture) trim piece: unscrew the screws under the red arrows in the picture below, unscrew any other ones holding it in place, then gently pull the trim strip off. Next, finish taking out the rest of the screws. Note: I may have missed some and I may have marked extra ones. Look at the new screen assembly you got as a guide to where all the screws are. Also, some screws have to be taken out before others, and you sometimes have to lift other components out of the way to get to those screws. Keep track of where they all go; there are 3-4 types of screws.
Don't attempt to pull the frame off of the screen assembly yet. There are some adhesive patches you have to de-stick first (see yellow rectangles in below picture). I did this by careful prying with the small flat-head screw driver.
Now you should be able to lift the frame off of the old screen. Before you do that, remove the backings from the adhesive strips on the new screen. Now, lift the frame off of the old screen, lay it on the new screen, place all the small loose components, and start reassembling! Remember the base trim and also to re-enable your touchscreen driver.

Total time: 2.5 hours.
Total cost: ~$180.


  1. I will be trying this next week. I have not seen the screen that I am ordering from HP. Does it come with front bezel, etc attached?

    1. Yes. Glass and LCD screen are one unit. Pretty much everything else is mounted to a frame.

  2. Do you happen to have the part number of the screen?

    1. No, sorry. But I think it is in the manual.