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