Yair Mor's Blog!

The chronicles of an animator, 3D artist and illustrator

How to replace back cover and screen hinges on a Dell XPS17 1702x laptop

The broken hinge

The broken hinge

This is a quick tutorial on how to replace the back cover and hinges on the Dell XPS17 1702x laptop.

What happened to my machine was that the screws and plastic around the area where the left hinge connects to the cover all broke down. After several openings and closings of the lid, the screws got more loose, the plastic around them broke and the screen could not be even closed properly. As I carry the laptop around a lot, I need it to be opened and closed easily, so I had to fix this problem fast before more serious damage would have occurred.

I asked how much it costs to fix this at a local lab and they told me 800NIS (227 USD or 165 euros), and they emphasized that the result won’t be pretty and many customers complain about the looks of their computer afterwards. Yeah, so I decided to fix this by myself, and took photos to record the process and share it with you. This little guide should be used only as a reference. I take no responsibility for anything someone else does based on this article.

The new part unboxed

The new part unboxed

I bought the part I needed on eBay. After a couple of weeks it arrived. This is the back cover and the hinges attached. It also has some wires and connectors that I’ll talk about more later.

I used this YouTube video as a guide to help me with the disassemble.



Removing the hinge bottom screws

Removing the hinge bottom screws

First I removed the battery and made some place on my desk to work on. The hinges are attached to the computer using 6 screws, 3 for each hinge. Two of them are located at the bottom of the computer, accessible from the outside, right next to the battery.

The rest of the screws that hold the hinges are located below the silver cover plate.

Removing the keyboard

Removing the keyboard

To remove the main silver cover, we need to remove the keyboard first. There are 4 clips that need to be pushed back, in order to remove the keyboard. This was a bit of a delicate work, so be careful when doing it yourselves.




Prying open the silver casing

Prying open the silver casing

After removing the keyboard, use a flat screwdriver or a similar tool to carefully pry open the silver cover, starting just below the JBL logo on the top left of the plate. Work your way with the screwdriver both along the inner edges of the plate, where the keyboard used to be and also on the outside edges. Be careful with the screwdriver, especially near the trackpad, as there are a couple of ribbons there.

At first I thought I’d leave the keyboard and casing connected, not wanting to disconnect anything unnecessary, but it would have made it really difficult for me to continue working with the keyboard and that big plate attached to the computer.

I found out disconnecting the ribbons that hold these things was pretty easy: just lift carefully the black cover and pull the ribbon out.


The two cables that need to be disconnected from the WLAN card

The two cables that need to be disconnected from the WLAN card

Anyway, now we revealed the screws we need to remove, but before we do it, we still need to remove the two cables connected to the WLAN card. These two cables are the wireless card antennae, and they run all around the screen. The part I bought had two cables like that already installed, so I didn’t need the old ones (it also had more cables, for the TV card, but since I don’t have it, I ignored them). Removing these two cables is simple: just pull them out using either fingers or a small screwdriver.


Removing the bezel cover

Now it’s the time to remove the black bezel. Carefully pry open, using your fingers in a pulling motion, from the inside out. I don’t recommend using anything but your fingers, as the screen can be damaged pretty easily.




My laptop, now in the nude.Once the bezel is removed, we reveal the screen itself, the webcam and the NVidia 3D sensor underneath.





Remove screen screws

Remove screen screws

Now it’s time to detach the screen from the back cover. There are 6 screws holding the screen to the back cover. When removing the screen, notice that the webcam has a ribbon attached to the back of the screen, so be careful.

This is also the time to remove the webcam and the 3D sensor as well. Just pull them out gently, be careful not to touch the circuitry.

The hinges' screws

The hinges’ screws

Now it’s time to finally remove the back cover altogether. Unscrew the hinges carefully and pull them out of their sockets.



Screwing in the new hingesThe hard part was over. Now it’s the time to place the new back cover where the old one used to be. Make sure all the cables that go from the screen to the computer (the screen, the WLAN antennae, the 3D sensor and the TV antennae) are tucked neatly inside the hinges. Now you can screw the hinges in and connect the WLAN’s black and white cables to their appropriate connections. Any cables not in use should be tucked into the casing.

2013-10-22 14.47.09Make sure the webcam and the 3D glasses sensor are in their correct place and put the bezel back on. Just place it on the back cover and push on the edges to put it back to place.

Now replace the silver plate by doing the same thing. Don’t forget to connect the trackpad’s ribbons back!

After that replace the keyboard by first connecting the ribbon, then placing the bottom pins in their correct place and then laying it down and pushing it it till everything’s in place.

The final stage: close the lid, turn over the computer and screw back in the two screws we took out to remove the hinges. Replace the battery and that’s it!

I hope this little guide helped you a bit with fixing your own computer. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this, or anything else!


Demoreel 2013

image-for-blog My new demoreel is up! Check it out here. Shot breakdown in the description.


Shoft Film Journal #5: Introducing Kalyn

Check out the first renders of the hero of An Odd Job, Kalyn Zephyr. According to some stories, she played a part in a military coup on the new Kumio research facility in the colony of New Miletus several years ago. No official records were ever found to corroborate these stories. Her latest contractor is a large nano-tech company called EnTek Industries. No info about her mission could have been obtained, as of yet…



Here are a few animation tests:

Short Film Journal #4: The Lunter in 3D and a new name!

The Lunter has gone 3D, and this is what she looks like:


Also, I think “The Odd Job” is way better than “Risky Espionage”, so I’ll be sticking with that for now.

Short Film Journal #3: The Lunter landing test

After modeling The Lunter, I thought it’d better if I tested the landing gear I designed for it before texturing and using it in the film. This is the result and so far I’m quite happy with it. I’ll upload a finished render for this model later. Stay tuned!


Short Film Journal #2: Concept for The Lunter

In the film, the hero, a corporate spy for hire, needs to be able to infiltrate ships without being detected. Of course, most jobs usually up end with our hero shooting things to save his neck, but a stealthy ship can get our hero as close to the target as possible, without having to gun anyone on the way. In that line of business, it’s better to save the fun for the last moment.

That’s why our hero drives a Lunter. These crafts are originally intended for driving innocent people from point A to B. But thanks to having many empty installation slots, great maneuvering capabilities and being built to last, Lanters are the perfect choice for those professionals that want to remain in the dark. If rigged right and piloted well, you can avoid the best scanning systems and infiltrate any ship you want. But once you’re inside, it’s up to you…

The Lunter

Short Film Journal: Storyboard


I started working on a short animation. The film is set in a dark science-fiction universe. The protagonist, a spy, infiltrates a ship in order to steal information, but the spy runs into the ship’s security system and needs to deal with it.

This morning I finished working on the storyboard. It runs 1 minute long and it took me two days to finish it. Here are a few screens.

Next, it’s concept art. Subscribe to the RSS feed to be kept in the know!


Book Cover Illustration

The French sci-fi publisher Éditions ARMADA contacted me a few months back and asked me to allow them to use one of my art pieces as a cover for one of their upcoming titles, Souffleur de Mondes by Raymond Milési. I got really excited, of course. They also promised me a copy of the book. I hope it’s already on the way. I can’t wait!

If I ever learn French I am sure going to read it.

by Raymond Milési

Motion Graphics For Classics

Tel Aviv University’s Classics department asked me a few weeks ago to create a promotional video for the upcoming open day on February 15th. They wanted a sleek, good looking video that explains what Classical Studies is all about, what students will study and what skills will they gain.

They also wanted to share some student testimonials, to show how cool we are. They emphasized the video must look as “unacademic” as possible: something fun that speaks to young audience and conveys the notion that Classics is an interesting and challenging field.

As a student of the department myself, this project was really a merge between my professional activity and my academic passion, which up until now were pretty much separated.

The job was done in After Effects and Illustrator, and took about two weeks to get done. The testimonials were shot by one of the department’s students. I received content direction from my client, but the visual side of the project was really up to me. My main goal was to incorporate as many classical symbols into the design as possible. I used Illustrator to create all the Greek ornaments and the Ionic columns.

I love working in 3D in After Effects, putting in DoF effects and playing with camera movements. I thought of creating some sort of a temple from the columns, and place the testimonials in there. Having the camera dolly between the columns turned out to be a good effect.

Texts is the main tool for a classicist. I tried to convey that by placing as many of them as possible, and have them come in and out of shot, so the viewer will be immersed in classical texts. I used poems (Catullus), tragedies (Oedipus Rex), epic poems (Iliad), prose (Caesar) and speeches (Cicero). Try to guess where I put what :)

I wanted to end the video with something epic. Flying through the images really gave a dramatic tone to the end of the video, and it also fit with the narration, which says “You never stop studying Classics”.

New VFX test: The Scanners from Prometheus

Hi y’all. It’s been a while (as usual). This time I share with you a small test I made using 3dsmax and After Effects. I tried imitating the cave scanners used by the characters in Prometheus. The result is not similar, and I had to deviate from the original idea to emphasize the actual effect.

The live footage was shot using my phone’s (HTC One X) front camera. It was shot in Ben-Gurion University. The location was picked up by my girlfriend, Rinat, who is also the girl that appears in the video. So many kudos go to her.

The effect was partly done in 3dsmax and composed using After Effects. I will upload a breakdown soon.

Below is a screenshot of the effect from the original film.