I wanted to post up a story about how I just fixed my laptop (Dell Inspiron 9300, not a Macbook Pro). Iím still glowing from the success and wanted to share. I used to use the laptop to visit my friends and play computer games at their location with them (so it has a dedicated graphics card and was fairly advanced when I got it used in 2007).
In early Spetember my laptop screen went dark when I booted it up one evening. I had put it into sleep mode and when I woke it up there was no picture on the display. So I restarted it. No fix. I booted it up and down a few times, and could hear the hard drive spinning which said all was not yet lost.
I plugged it into an external monitor which worked, and told me the problem was with the screen, not the graphics card. I then took a step back and looked at the specs for modern games that I would want to play, and slightly into the future to figure out what a replacement would run me. I decided an upgrade in nearly every area (except screen resolution) would be ~$600 on newegg, or $500 during the Labor Day Laptop sale. I was able to resist the siren call of a sale though.
I opened the laptop up (using the service manual available on the manfacturerís website, a computer repair kit (mostly screwdrivers), and a series of cups to put screws in and keep them separate), and removed the screen. Some internet research of the problem told me it was either the power inverter to the screen (so the LED backlight wasnít receiving power) or the LED backlight to the screen (so the screen was receiving power but not lighting up). After an evening of opening up the computer, I found the part number for the inverter, and ordered an identical part on ebay ($5). The part came, didnít fix the problem. Thus I decided, the problem was the screen (new screen $80).
This laptop is a little old in the tooth, so I wasnít ready to go out and pick up a new screen right away. I debated for a few weeks, and got used to living without a laptop, and finally a friend suggested a genius idea. Buy a broken laptop of the same model, with a working screen! It took me a month and a half of ebay sniping to pick up a broken laptop at the price I wanted ($40). It came yesterday, and I switched the screens on the new machine and now I have a working laptop again!
Thanks to Mustachianism, I was able to 1) adjust to not having a laptop, 2) fix my laptop myself with another used machine so as to not create any new waste. Iím not yet advanced enough to take the next step of selling off the repaired laptop and living without one, but I managed to get it repaired for less than a tenth of the cost of buying a new(er) laptop!