Saturday, January 19, 2013

Replacing the T530's screen

This article is going to help you replace the screen on your Lenovo Thinkpad T530. Maybe you broke your screen, or you would just rather get more pixels yourself instead of paying Lenovo $250 for their FHD display. Whatever the reason, this how-to isn't nearly as hard as you think - it just requires a dexterous hand and some common tools. The good news is Lenovo prides themselves in products that are easy to modify. A screen upgrade isn't something posted in their service manual, but it's just as easy as installing a new hard drive or swapping out another component. Please note that upgrading the screen may void your warranty. Although this guide uses a Thinkpad T530, this tutorial should work for similar models, like the T510/T520, or the W510/W520/W530. Let's get started!

What you'll need
Here's what you'll need:
- About 1-2 hours for installation
- A compatible Thinkpad model (as mentioned earlier, most Lenovo T5xx and W5xx laptops. It's probably a very similar process to replace the screen in T4xx or other, older Thinkpad models.)
- A replacement screen (at the time of writing [Jan 2013], model B156HW01 V.4 seems to be the consensus for this kind of upgrade. This is supposed to be the FHD 1920x1080 screen that is used by Lenovo if it was bought directly from them. You may want to do your own research to find what screen will work best for you. Once you find your screen model, head over to to buy the upgrade. You can find the B156HW01 v.4 on their website here)
- A small Phillips (+) screwdriver (the one that's pictured above wasn't small enough to get some of the screws later on, so you may see pictures with another tool I pulled out of a "computer repair" kit. The smallest screw we'll be dismantling is about 3mm)
- A prying tool (a X-ACTO knife will work decent for this tutorial, but a spudger will work better. I used a tool called "iSesamo", which was incredibly handy. You can buy it online for less than $10 bucks - I got mine here)
- A steady hand and a brave heart

Before going any further, make sure you've unplugged your computer and removed the battery. You may want to ground yourself as well, but I didn't find this necessary for this tutorial.

Removing the bezels
Step 01: Removing the bezels and frame
Right below the screen, three adhesive bezels (one in the middle, one on each end) cover the screws on the frame. Use your prying tool / X-ACTO knife to carefully remove these covers. Keep in mind that they're adhesive, so you'll want to put them somewhere where they won't be handled or touched. As you can see in the picture, I applied a little too much pressure to one of the bezels and bent it right in half. Fortunately, it'll be easy to bend it back into shape when we reapply them, but don't use a lot of force here!

From here, unscrew the three screws and set them aside. You'll need to use your prying tool / spudger to remove the plastic outer frame. I found it easiest to start at the bottom corners and gently work my way up the sides and top of the frame. There's a magnetic sensor on the left-hand side, make sure the frame doesn't get caught on the wire! It's a little bit tricky to separate the plastic frame at the bottom. You will need to lay the screen down 180 degrees flat (fortunately, you can do this with Thinkpads) and gently pry the bottom with your tool. Be gentle, and take your time!

When I was removing the frame, one of the plastic clips got caught here.

On the left-hand side, a wire is connected to a small magnetic lid sensor. It
needs to be flush with the frame once we install the new screen.
Step 03: Removing the screen
There are four screws, one in each corner, that need to removed first. You'll want to make sure your screen is propped up before doing this, since removing these screws will separate the screen from the back of the frame.

I used some of the packaging from to support the
screen at this step.
There are also four smaller screws, two on each side that hold the screen to two thin metal arms. To remove these, gently lift up the monitor from the top and remove the screws one side at a time.

Be careful about losing screws - they tend to get dropped and
disappear! You can slip a piece of paper between the monitor and the
 frame to help catch some of the tiny screws, but screws can slide down
the paper and get lost in your floor / carpet.
By now, the screen should only be connected by the display connector. Carefully set the screen on top of your keyboard, like you're closing your laptop, to get better access to this connector. If you're going to sell your old screen, or save it for future use (like if the new screen breaks), it's not a bad idea to separate the screen from the keyboard with a piece of paper to protect from possible scratches. Watch out for the ribbon cable at the bottom of the screen!

I've circled the 40pin connector here.  This connects your computer
to your screen - don't break this!
To disconnect the display connector, you'll need to remove the tape applied to the connector. You may also notice that the grey ribbon cable is partly adhesive, and you may need to carefully separate the cable from the screen to have better control of the cable.

The connector itself is very tiny, so be extra gentle when removing it!
Once the cable is separated from the screen, very gently pull the connector out. Your old screen should now be completely separated from your computer, and you can set it aside.

Step 04: Installing the new screen
The screen I bought from had a clear protective cover on it, secured with masking tape. I found it best to place the new screen on the keyboard face down (in the same position as the old screen), then remove the masking tape from the back side. This still protects your screen from getting scratched by the keyboard, but it is easier to remove it now rather than when the screen is screwed back in the frame.

Carefully connect the ribbon cable to the new screen. It's easiest to lay the cable flat and slowly slide it into the connector - make sure the connection is even across all pins. You'll want to secure the cable with the tape / adhesive cable (you can add more tape if needed).

I highly recommend testing the screen before going further. Rotate the screen back into the frame / metal arms and replace the battery. My T530's integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 automatically recognized the new resolution and adjusted accordingly, but you may want to double-check the actual resolution by right-clicking the desktop and selecting "Screen Resolution" (Windows 7).

Looks good to me!
Step 05: Putting it back together
Now we just need to screw everything back up. Surprisingly, I found this to be the hardest step, especially when reapplying the metal arms. Re-install the small four screws to secure the metal arms to the new screen. The paper tip I mentioned earlier works even better here - it's a major inconvenience to have three of the four screws installed, then to slip and lose the fourth one behind the screen!

Once you've done that, use the larger four screws to secure the screen to the frame. Like mentioned earlier, you need to watch for the left-hand sensor - if it's not flush with the frame, you won't be able to re-apply the plastic frame. If you forgot which hole the bottom screws go in, overlay the plastic frame with the screen to locate it.
On my model, the outer holes secured the plastic frame to the laptop.
The plastic frame simply snaps back into place. Starting with the bottom, gently push the plastic frame cover back into place. Again, watch out for that left-hand cable! Finally, install the last three screws and cover them with the adhesive bezels to secure the frame to the laptop.

If you stick a small corner of the bezel to a X-ACTO knife or similar,
it makes it much easier to reapply the adhesive covers.
Hopefully, you didn't lose any of these small parts. I spent about a half hour trying to locate the last adhesive bezel before I found where it got stuck to!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!

New screen in action!


  1. Hi!

    Great guide :)

    I've recently stumbled across this: "if you had a hd or hd+ screen, you can upgrade to a FHD screen, but if you had a hd screen you will also need to get the fhd cable."


    I have recently aquired a T530 with the HD 1366 x 768 res., do u know if I then need a FHD cable if I plan to exchange the HD with the B156HW01-screen?

    Looking forward for your answer :)

  2. Hi MN88,

    I didn't need to replace the cable. My laptop shipped with the cheapest 1366x768, and upgrading only requires replacing the screen. Usually, replacement laptop screens will have a standard 40pin connector.

    Like the guide shows, you don't need to replace the cable.

  3. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

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  4. thom,

    Thank you for your excellent guide. I just changed firms and was used to the 1920x1080 display of my HP EliteBook 8540w laptop, so it's quite a downgrade to have the 1366x768 that was supplied by the new firm. Aside from that the Lenovo is quite OK, with a decent i7 processor and 8GB RAM. It's not made as well as the HP, but I'm sure it's cheaper.

    I'll be attempting the upgrade in due course.


  5. Hi there. I would like to upgrade my T530 with a touch screen, do you have any recommendations to which screen I should buy?

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  10. Thanks for your post! Today after changing my screen for a new FHD one, I noticed that the new one wasn't turning on. Checked more closely and noticed that it did turn on (I can see the 'refresh' slide across the screen on every image change) but the brightness was REALLY low. I can barely see the Thinkpad letters on boot up, and nothing more. Swapped my old screen back and it has the same problem. Hitting the brightness controls doesn't change a thing. Did I screw up somewhere?

    1. Well, I had accidentally blown 3 fuses and 1 diode. Took the laptop to a repair shop for fixing. Expensive but I got my backlight back.

  11. What screen is everyone using now a days to upgrade the T530. B156HW01 V.4 aren't readily available anymore from what I have seen. If anyone has another screen model I could use or know where to get a real B156HW01 V.4 let me know please.

    1. i've seen them on ebay. but still not sure if that's the correct way to go.

  12. Been meaning to follow this guide to upgrade the screen on my workhorse T530 for a long time, and finally getting around to it.

    From what you can see, will this screen work OK for me?

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer, and for posting up this guide :-)

  13. Worked perfectly! I bought my screen from this listing:

    Talked to the seller, it is the original part from AUO, not a replacement/compatible part. It looks amazing, very happy with it.

  14. Thanks for the great tutorial! Everything worked exactly as described.

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