How to Unlock the Motherboard Cables on a Laptop

Written by norm dickinson Google
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How to Unlock the Motherboard Cables on a Laptop
Needle-nose pliers help to unlock stubborn laptop motherboard cables. (needlenose pliers image by Jim Mills from

Unlocking the motherboard cables on a laptop is a matter of releasing the tiny plastic catch that holds the end of the cable in place. It can be challenging when the operation goes as planned and disastrous when something goes wrong. The cables are delicate, and there is always a danger of breaking the connector. There is never enough room to work freely and reassembly is difficult when the cables are removed correctly and impossible if they were just pulled out without releasing the catch first.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small flat blade screwdriver
  • Small needle-nose pliers
  • Flashlight

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  1. 1

    Slide the tip of the flat blade screwdriver gently between the base of the plastic connector and the protruding top of the connector and twist the screwdriver slightly.

  2. 2

    Move the screwdriver blade to the other side of the connector and twist the screwdriver slightly, prying that side of the connector up a tiny amount.

  3. 3

    Repeat the inserting and twisting of the screwdriver to release the lock. The small lock will slide up less than a quarter inch, releasing the cable.

  4. 4

    Reinstall the cable by sliding it fully into the connector and then pushing the small plastic locking clip back down around it and into place. Pay close attention to the proper orientation of the cable when removing it and whether it went in front of or behind the clip.

  1. 1

    Place the needle-nose pliers at the junction where the cable meets the motherboard.

  2. 2

    Slide the needle-nose pliers toward the cable until the pliers catch on the small protrusion at the top of the connector where the wires attach.

  3. 3

    Apply slight pressure to the connector and pull the wire and connector out of the socket slowly and evenly.

  4. 4

    Replace the cables by inserting them in the proper orientation and pushing with fingers or the needle-nose pliers if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • A gentle rocking motion works better than increasing pressure when removing cables or releasing clips. When working on laptops it is often best to hire a professional or to send the laptop back to the manufacturer for repairs.
  • Ribbon cables can be bent, torn or broken easily, and great care should be taken when removing or inserting them into connectors on the motherboard. Motherboard connectors for the ribbon cable have delicate locking mechanisms that can render the motherboard useless if damaged. System warranties are normally void once a laptop has been opened.

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