Parts of the Laptop

A laptop is a portable personal computer with a clamshell form factor, suitable for mobile use. They are also sometimes called notebook computers or notebooks. Laptops are commonly used in a variety of settings, including work, education, and personal multimedia.

A laptop combines the components and inputs of a desktop computer; including display, speakers keyboard, and pointing device (such as a touchpad), into a single device. Most modern-day laptop computers also have a webcam and a mic (microphone) pre-installed. [citation needed] A laptop can be powered either from a rechargeable battery or by mains electricity via an AC adapter.

I will quickly go over all the basic and additional parts and components that make up your laptop.

1. Palm rest

This is the part that you place your hands on when typing, it is basically the whole top half of the lower half of your laptop – minus the keyboard and media strip. When replacing the palm rest, it is common for the replacement part to also include the touchpad.

2. Keyboard

Self-explanatory here… If repairing the keyboard, the simplest way is to replace the entire keyboard, though Single key replacement parts are readily available in any computer hardware store.

3. Display Screen

This is what produces the images, accessible by removing the front bezel. Cracked screens can not be repaired and do need to be replaced.

4. CCFL Bulb

This is located in the display panel and will be found on the bottom end of the screen stretching from the right end to the left end…The CCFL

5. Display Cable

The bulb is enclosed in an open-end metal tray that hugs the bottom edge of the glass panel on the screen and shines the light up through the glass panel to illuminate the entire screen evenly.

These are made specific to each model laptop and are not interchangeable. ¾ of the cable will house the –data wires and the other ¼ will house the Power/Negative wires for the inverter.

6. Display PCB strips

This part is located inside the Power Inverter -laptop screen, in the middle-bottom of the screen housing. Some inverters will be located in different places, it all depends on the model, and those are rare… like on the rear side of the screen or the side of the screen, but again those are rare, and you will 90% of the time be replacing one located just below the actual display panel. 

The screen light plug is made in such a way that you can not reverse the plug and accidentally plug it in the wrong way, rather, it will only plug into the inverter the correct way (one port is larger than the other).

7. LED light strips 

These are the newer source of light for laptops. The light emitted is much brighter and whiter as opposed to the yellowish tint of a CCFL bulb. LED light strips will have the inverter/converter built into the rear side circuit board panel on the screen and they will not have a physical inverter board under the screen.

8. Hinge Set (L&R)

The hinges attach to the bottom base of the laptop and will secure on either end of the inner screen, securing themselves to the screen's rear cover, then securing the screen by using Hinge rails that run up each side of the screen.

9. Touchpad/Mouse

Another self-explanatory part that everyone should already know... Some of these will have the capability of being disabled or re-enabled by a button located nearby on the palm rest, some will not.

10. Media Strip 

This part is located directly above the keyboard and will sometimes include the hinge covers with it. It will usually include the power button, and some lighted icons such as a battery monitor, hard drive monitor, 15luetooth, and Wi-Fi monitor. 

Some laptops will allow touch-sensitive buttons and some will be push buttons, though all will be labeled. This part is usually just a snap-in-place part, though if it is secured to the laptop, its screws will be located in the battery bay and on the underside rear end of the laptop near the corners.

11. Optical Drive

This includes a DVD drive, a cd drives a Blu-ray player, or similar.

12. Hard Drive

This is where data is stored, the laptop can use different kinds of hard drives. The current 3 most commonly found are SATA, PATA IDE, and SSD. SSD refers to Solid State Drives, which are similar looking to a laptop's Wi-Fi card. The SSD is the newest of these three drives. 

The PATA Ide is the oldest of the three. The SATA and PATA drives are identical except for the connection plug ends, as they both use Platters and magnetics to store data. SSD cards are made with no moving parts. This is what makes them different than the typical drive. They will not produce heat like the SATA/PATA drives, most commonly used in Fanless Netbooks.

13. Wi-Fi Card

This can either be located on the bottom side of the laptop (most common place) or on the upper side – under the keyboard. This part is one of the most stable parts on the laptop and it will rarely fail, so if you are experiencing Wi-Fi issues, you would test all software end issues prior to changing the wireless card.

The brand of the card will be listed on the sticker of the card and will help you in determining what driver to use for that specific laptop. It is ok to mismatch the color guide for the Wi-Fi antenna wires. Typically the wires are white and black and will have colored arrows on the Wi-Fi card showing you what wire to connect to what site input plug. It is ok to plug the black onto the white port and visa versa as it will still allow for the signal gain of the antenna wires because remember, they are just that, antenna wires, not power wires which about 60 percent of the laptops shipped out of the Factory come mix-matched – reversed wires from day 1…

14. Ethernet Card

Most laptops will have this integrated into the motherboard and some will have an extension board that connects to the motherboard. Used for internet access or networking purposes, every laptop will have one of these on it, whether integrated or a card.

15. Power Button 

Usually located just above the keyboard, some laptops will place the power button in different areas, like the lid of the laptop, the front of the laptop, or its sides. 

Power buttons can be lever style, button style, touch-sensitive, or switch style. The most common is the push button style. When a power button is pressed, it pushes a button pad on the motherboard or a daughterboard.

16. Lid Lock Lever/Switch 

These can be a hook latch style or they can be magnetic. The more common style is the hook and latch style. This uses a push-pull lever, or a button to lock and unlock, which releases the lid from the bottom base locking port slots. The magnetic style has no visible working parts because the magnets are located in the lid and/or the bottom base of the laptop.

17. Hinge Cover

Hinge covers will secure to the bottom base typically using a snap and tab system, and some will secure with both snaps/tabs and screws (1 or2). So, first look for any screws and remove them, then attempt to unsnap them from the bottom base. You must use plastic prying tools to do this to not scratch the laptop. 

A guitar pick is a Laptop technician's best friend and you should run to the store right now and buy 5 or 10 of them.

18. Bottom Base

If you flip the laptop over when it’s closed, you will encounter the Bottom Base of the laptop. This will usually have removable covers located somewhere on it (hard drive cover, Wi-Fi port cover, etc…).

19. USB Extension Board

Each laptop model will use a different USB configuration, some will use USB extension boards and some will just have the integrated USB ports that come on the motherboard. 

This extension of the board is used to stretch Ports to opposite sides of the laptop when it is not possible to use integrated ports. They connect to the motherboard using a plug-in (daughterboard), or a wire and/or ribbon cables and plugs.

20. Ethernet Extension Board

These will typically be ethernet Extension boards included on the USB extension board though can be on their own boards as well.

21. Rubber Shoes/Feet/Screw Covers

Rubber shoes will be found on the bottom of the laptop and will also be found on the front bezel of the screen.

22. Case Covers

These are the covers that are located on the case Covers on the underside of the laptop. Typically they will individually cover the components separately. For instance, the hard drive will have its own cover, usually secured by 2 or 4 screws, Wi-Fi card access bay will sometimes have its own cover too. 

The RAM DIMM slots are always accessible from case covers and will usually have their own cover. Some laptops will combine the covers into 1 large cover or 2 separate larger covers.

23. Motherboard

The laptop's motherboard is the Main component laptop…It usually takes up ¾ of the inside of the base of the laptop.

24. DC Jack

This is where you plug the charger cord into any laptop. They are typically elongated box-shaped having power pins on the rear side and center… and grounding pins on either side. 

I will discuss repair on this part later in this book. Replacement jacks can be bought off any computer hardware store and are all usually under $10 USD per part.

25. Docking Port

These are used more often in an Office atmosphere rather than in the typical home.

26. RAM

Laptop RAM will be available at different speeds and usually, the laptop will allow the various speeds, though some are BIOS programmed to not accept anything but the default RAM assigned.

For instance, a laptop that was running DDR2 666 speed should be able to also run the next slowest speed of 555/533 and possibly the 444.

27. Bluetooth card

The internal Bluetooth cards are not typically integrated into the motherboard, they are usually plugged into the motherboard and will sit in a ―cage somewhere on the laptops casing, some are screwed onto the motherboard using riser screws to levitate it away from the motherboard.

28. WWAN Card

This card is identical to the WLAN card or the Wi-Fi card and is not installed on every laptop, rather it is more found on business-end laptops or gaming laptops. WWAN is commonly used for corporations or larger-sized businesses running cross-country or worldwide servers or networks. 

The same goes for Gaming based laptops like the Alienware m17x which uses Wwan to Game Online. A lot of manufacturers of laptop motherboards will apply the port contact pads but do not install the port due to specific laptop case specs and the port not fitting certain laptop case configurations.

29. Webcam

Laptop webcams have not had a lot of improvement in the past few years, I can’t think of any laptop model offhand that has a good Webcam. If a laptop does have one, it will usually be located on the upper portion of the front of the screen. It will usually have a microphone situated right next to it or nearby. 

These are almost always stationary cameras and do not move in any way, though there are models that have movable cameras. Acer has some models that used a spinning camera. It could rotate up or down, though not left or right.

30. PC Slot Card/SD/MMC

These will be found on both the sides and the front of certain laptops, more commonly found on newer laptops. They allow the use of external components such as Memory cards, Ethernet Network cards, Modems, and similar.

31. VGA Out

This is a port that will be found on almost every laptop ever released. It is used to connect an external monitor or viewing device. It is Video Out, not Video In. The most common thing to connect to this port is a Desktop Computer Screen.

32. HDMI/Other 

HDMI ports are found on certain newer laptops, mainly installed on ―entertainment-based laptops or Gaming laptops. It can pass Video and Audio to and from the television or similar source. DVI or mini DVI ports are also used on certain laptops to pass video.

33. Screen Bezel

Screen Bezels are the screen frames that cover the front side of the screen. Most bezels will secure to the rear panel by a Snap-Tab connection, often also using screws at all 4 corners and sometimes in the center of the upper and or lower screen bezel. Screen Front Bezels can also be secured with double-sided tape from the manufacturer.

34. Screen Rear Cover

This is the shell or lid of the laptop which is the back side of the laptop's screen. These can need replacing from abuse to the hinges. The Rear Screen Cover is typically connected to both the hinges and the front bezel, though it can crack and break if the hinges become loose or weak.

35. Battery

All laptops have a battery as it is the entire reasoning behind the Laptop itself and its portability ability. Laptop batteries are made with different strengths or values. They also make batteries for the same model with different shapes to them. For instance… A Dell original battery that was sold with the laptop rated at 3800mAH. 

That same model has the ability to run a better battery; the 4300mAH version, or better yet they offer a 6600 or higher… The higher the number, the longer the battery will hold a charge. Laptop battery manufacturers will make the higher mAH batteries using a different shape than the original, they will add a bump to the battery or they will extend the length/width of the battery. Personally, I prefer the Bump addition batteries because they will lift the rear end of the laptop up in the air which will keep its base cooler.

36. AC Adapter

This is also commonly called the ―charging cord and its purpose are to supply the correct amount of power to the laptop. The cord end of the AC Adapter which plugs into the wall outlet is the AC end of the cord, where 120 volts are traveling through to the center inverter power box. In this inverter box, the AC current (alternating current) is converted to DC current (direct current), then, travels to the plug tip. In this plug tip, you will commonly find 2 main wires… The center-power wire and the outer twisted grounding wire (usually wrapped around the entire circumference of the cable).

37. Internal Speakers 

All laptops will have internal speakers, though 90% of them are not of great quality. Are there more for the — dings and pings and beeping noises that the default sound theme produces when browsing windows explorer or internet explorer? They are not really meant to be blasting music from at its highest level.

There are some models, though, once again in the entertainment and gaming built series of laptops. They will add subwoofers and tweeters and amplifiers to enhance the audio.

38. Audio/Headphone/Mic. – Out Port

Most all laptops will have this set located somewhere on them. It is where you connect an external microphone or headphones or external speaker or even an external amplifier.

39. Printer Port

These used to be found on each and every laptop, but now you will rarely find these on your laptop as they are becoming outdated due to the use of Wi-Fi, USB, and Bluetooth.

It is a 25-pin port and would connect a parallel/serial cable to your printer. The list above is the parts/components that are the most common, the ones that typically all laptops will have… Yes, there are others not listed, but they need not be discussed in this particular book.

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