Using a Donor Laptop to Fix a Broken HP 250 G7 Laptop

Up next was a HP 250 G7 laptop that had not been very well looked after. A broken screen, keys missing on keyboard, no power supply and rubber feet missing on the underside. To top it off, it looked unloved with scuff marks and scratches all over the body.

The HP 250 G7 Laptop, with broken screen and missing parts

I am not one to give up on an unloved laptop and was more than happy to give this device the care and attention it deserved.

This laptop could prove to be more problematic if we are unlucky. As the screen is broken and keys are missing, plus I did not have a power supply when I started, I might find more problems as I try to revive it. If I did, I will aim to resolve those issues too.

Luck seemed to be on my side with this laptop. I have happened across an identical laptop on Ebay that was described as not working but looking at the images on the auction the screen, frame and rubber feet all seemed to be in great condition. I decided to enter the auction with a few days to go and set my highest bid. I had priced up the parts I needed individually to £120, so I was prepared to go to £110, plus £10 delivery, to get this laptop.

A few days later I had won the auction, and four days later the laptop arrived. It was ideal for my needs and would be an exceptional donor laptop to use.

The lovely Donor Laptop

Further fortune came my way. I had recently just been donated a broken HP laptop that was beyond repair due to water damage. It came with a third-party power supply, which fitted perfectly for the 250 G7 laptop too. I plugged in the power supply and pressed the power button. Incredibly, the screen lit up (albeit with a shattered screen), so there were signs of life! I was delighted and set to work getting the laptop looking wonderful again.

First, I went to replace the screen by gently pulling the screen bezel away from the screen and use a prying tool to softly release it. The plastic trim at the bottom needs to be bent slight around the hinges to release.

Releasing the Screen Bezel

The screen itself was held in place with 4 screws in each corner that need to be taken out, and then the screen could just rest on the keyboard so that the connector on the back can be seen and disconnected.

At this point I switched to the donor laptop. The initial plan was to take all the parts I need from the donor 250 G7 and fit them on the original laptop. However, looking at the laptop condition, it was in by far and away, a better state. Knowing that the original laptop worked my work would be much easier if I just swapped the components from the original laptop and put them in the donor laptop.

I thought about it for a whole 10 seconds, realised it was a brilliant plan, and got to work.

Back on the original laptop I turned it over to unscrew all the screws on the bottom. It had no rubber feet, so access was great. I then used a prying tool to gently unclip the base from the reset of the laptop around the edges, revealing the parts inside.

Using a Prying Tool to Release the Body

Switching back to the donor laptop I repeated the process, being as careful as possible not to cause any damage, to reveal its components inside. On the donor laptop the rubber feet need to be removed to reveal the hidden screws underneath.

Inside the donor laptop are signs of liquid damage. White powdery substances where evident on the wireless adapter and parts of the motherboard. No wonder it did not work, someone must have spilt something sugary on it.

To make sure the original parts were not affected by any side effects of liquid damage I decided to remove everything from inside the donor laptop.

Inside the Original LaptopInside the Donor Laptop
On the left is inside the original laptop, and the right shows the donor laptop

I unplugged the RAM stick, disconnect the battery, touchpad buttons and ribbons, SSD hard drive connector, standalone USB port and ribbon, the Wi-Fi card (which looks in awful condition, probably had liquid directly poured onto it), before accessing the keyboard ribbon and disconnecting it. I then unscrewed the processor heat sink, the fan and motherboard connection, disconnect the speaker cable from the motherboard next to the Wi-Fi adapter, unplugged the speaker in the top right of the board, and the screen connector just next to it.

To release the actual motherboard, I unscrewed the two hinge screws just next to the screen connector and two screws around the motherboard corners. Lifting the lid of the laptop slightly allowed the hinges to move away from the motherboard, and then I had space to get it out.

Turning the motherboard over revealed a lot of liquid corrosion around processor and Wi-Fi adapter area. At this point I had no idea if the keyboard had been affected, so I just prayed and hope it was OK.

Liquid Damaged Motherboard from the Donor Laptop

I left the speakers and wireless antennae in the laptop in the hope they still work. If they did not it would be straight forward to swap them later.

I spent some time cleaning off the residue left on the body of the laptop where the corrosion had occurred using a tiny amount of soapy water, and then dried it with a cloth straight away.

Cleaning the Donor Laptop

The laptop was now dry. I was optimistic I was going to have yet more luck with the keyboard as the film cover seemed to have protected the keyboard underneath.

With everything looking clean and healthy it was then time to get all the components out of the original laptop and ready to go in the donor laptop.

The Components from the Original Laptop

Now I must build it back up again, essentially in reverse. Position the motherboard from the original laptop in place, ensuring all cables and connectors are lined up and visible, and screw motherboard into position.

Reconnect the screen connector, and then the speaker next to it. The speaker connection was a bit tight due to a small cable and not much room to attach it, but it went in with a little bit of gentle persuasion. Reconnecting the other speaker, and keyboard ribbon, was easy in comparison.

Next up I had to connect the USB port board and ribbon, and then connect the SSD hard drive component, attach the ribbon, and screw it in position.

The SSD In Place

I attached the antennae to the Wi-Fi adapter, slotted the adapter into position and screwed in place.

Then came the touchpad board, which needed positioning before attaching the ribbons and screwing in place.

I wiped down the battery to remove any debris from it that was lingering from the rather filthy original laptop, position it in place and screwed it down.

Installing the Battery

Finally for the component transfer I inserted the RAM, which satisfactorily clicked into position.

While the case was still off, I tested the laptop by plugging in the charger and switching it on.

And it worked! We have power!

The Laptop Switched On!

Windows 10 has loaded within 30 seconds. Excellent. For now, I shut the laptop back down, disconnected the power and completed the reassembly.

I cleaned the bottom base of the laptop with a small amount of soapy water and dry immediately. This was just to give the laptop a clean shine. Once dry I reattached the base to the laptop and worked my way around the edges clicking it into position, being careful around any ports not to damage them. Once in place I reinserted all the screws.

Cleaning the Base of the Laptop

Reattaching the rubber feet concluding the hardware repair.

Just to finish off I clean the laptop case with a small amount of soapy water and a sponge, and wipe down immediately. And then only using a cloth (no water) I wiped down the screen and keyboard. This gives the laptop an almost new shine.

And to finish the fix I happily switched the laptop on, connected to Wi-Fi and installed any missed updates it needed to optimise the laptop ready for the customer to use it again. I am rather proud of this fix. The laptop looks brand new and works perfectly.

This fix is done!

The Fixed Laptop in all of it's Glory

Price Breakdown

Donor HP 250 G7 Laptop was found on Ebay @ £120.

Repair time was 3 hours @ £30.

Total cost: £150

Some components can be salvaged from the broken laptop including an 8GB RAM stick, a fan, heatsink, USB board, touchpad buttons and laptop base. Other then the RAM these parts only work in 250 G7 laptops, so they will be sold on Ebay to allow parts to be used to repair other laptops.

The screen, bezel, battery, and motherboard are not in salvageable condition and so will be recycled in an environmentally friendly way.

Skippy

Software Developer, Website Creator and Digital IT specialist over at The Legend of Skippy. I make stuff, that's essentially my job. And when I'm not making stuff, I'm fixing all manner of other stuff. It's a fun life to lead, and I'm here to share it all with you.