A couple of years ago, my mom and stepdad gave us a Samsung Chromebook because they had one and didn’t use it and because we will never turn down a free computer.
If you’re not familiar with the Chromebook, it is basically an all-online computer so it is handy for email and Google docs and stuff. It is also the type of computer that my school district uses for everything in school. Because of this, I plugged in the charger next to the table where we do homework and fire it up to check assignments, work on projects, and check school email. It is super handy.
Or it was super handy until I opened it up one day to find this:
I immediately closed it and put it back where I’d found it because if I know anything about fixing electronics, it’s that turning them off and ignoring them for a few days will almost always solve the problem.
Frankly, if you avoid pretty much any problem for long enough, eventually it will go away.
It turns out that Chromebooks aren’t one of those problems.
When I opened it back up a week or so later, the screen was still broken. Curses. How could that be? I let it sit for multiple days. Multiple.
Step two of the Stimey plan for fixing electronics is to burst into tears and hurl said electronic into the trash. I made a quick decision this time to take positive action instead.
It was a pretty radical approach.
It turns out that if you invest, say, four or five seconds Googling a problem, you just might find the answer. I found a link to a video of a guy replacing a Chromebook screen and then discovered that you can buy a replacement screen for, like, 30 bucks on Amazon.
Soon the screen showed up in the mail and I let it sit for several days because, well, it is an electronic item and I thought it would be a good idea to let it stagnate for a while—like a fine wine or a Chromebook screen you want to magically start working again.
When I finally got my nerve up to sit down and start ripping the Chromebook apart (seriously—ripping; there aren’t even any screws holding the screen casing together), I took a lot of photos because I thought it would turn into a funny post about how I destroyed a computer and electrocuted myself at the same time, but it turns out that replacing a Chromebook screen is really easy.
I pried the casing off, unscrewed the six screws holding the screen into the Chromebook, screwed back in the two screws that were actually holding something else into the Chromebook and were unrelated to the screen, and set about to unhook the cable that attaches the Chromebook to the screen.
This is where I ran into my only trouble. There is a tiny little handle that you’re supposed to yank on to separate the cable from the screen, but that handle is practically invisible so I yanked on the wrong thing and exposed some wires that were heretofore covered before I found the tiny handle, but it didn’t seem to damage anything and I found the handle prior to actually yanking the wires out of the connector, so it’s all good.
I attached the new screen, screwed it into the computer, and spent about 30 seconds re-shoving the casing over the screen where it clicked happily into place. I held my breath and pushed the power button.
Dude, you guys, I FIXED A COMPUTER.
Naturally, then I had to pry apart the old screen to find out what exactly a computer screen is made of. It turns out it consists of four different kinds of stiff plasticky film and a screen of indeterminate material. There is also a little circuit board that you can pry off and give to your kid.
Quinn wanted to keep all of the pieces of the broken screen, but that seemed like starting down a slippery slope that would end with boxes of broken parts strewn about our house.
Frankly, we don’t have any boxes to spare for that because all our boxes have been confiscated by our cats.
Jack took the bubble wrap from the box the screen came in, which also seems like starting down a slippery slope, this one ending with trash littered around our house, but it seems hard to fight that result.
I still haven’t figured out who broke the Chromebook in the first place, which really seems like a waste of my yelling abilities, but I guess the satisfaction of having done something new will have to be my only reward.