The articulating LCD screen on my Sony A77 camera recently stopped working properly. The screen still functioned when it was placed up against the camera body, but when I extended and rotated it away from the body, it only displayed artifacts.

After some research, I found out that the flex cable of the LCD screen was likely damaged. By buying a new flex cable and studying the parts diagrams that I found online, I managed to repair the camera.

In this article I will explain what causes problems with the LCD screen on the Sony A77, what you can do to prevent them, and show how you can fix the screen yourself at home.

An animated GIF of a broken LCD screen on a Sony SLT-A77 camera.
The broken LCD screen on the Sony A77.

Before showing you how to repair the Sony A77 screen, I will give some more information on the problem and answer some frequently asked questions:

What causes Sony A77 LCD screen problems?

There are several reasons why the Sony A77 LCD screen can develop problems. One of the most common reasons is a fracture in the LCD flex cable. Other less common causes are damage to the screen itself or its electronics, or a problem on the printed circuit board of the camera.

A fracture in the LCD flex cable

The most common reason for problems with the LCD screen is that the flex cable that connects from the camera circuit board to the LCD wears out. When this happens, the cable develops one or more hairline cracks in the wires. The screen is then not able to receive the correct signals anymore, and it displays artifacts instead.

In the case of my Sony A77, when the screen was positioned against the body the traces in the flex cable managed to make contact well, but when the screen was moved further from the body the connection broke.

A broken flex cable seems to be the most common cause of the artifacts, so when attempting to fix the screen, this is what I recommend to try to fix first.

Damage to the LCD screen and/or its electronics

An other cause for problems is a defect LCD screen. This can either be the LCD screen itself or its control electronics.

Some possible causes for this are:

  • Liquids making their way into the LCD casing.
  • A sudden impact.
  • The LCD screen is at the end of its life.

The last reason does not happen too often, as the flex cable is usually first to go.

If replacing the flex cable does not work, then the LCD screen itself is likely the culprit and needs to be replaced.

A problem with the camera motherboard

Other (non-LCD) camera components can cause problems with the LCD as well. For example, the motherboard of the camera can develop issues due to old age, or due to the camera being dropped.

This usually shows up as a green screen on the LCD. Or to be more specific, a repeating green pattern on the screen. An example of this can be seen here.

In this case, the viewfinder of the A77 also stops working and shows the exact same pattern as on the LCD. This is an important difference with when the flex cable or LCD screen is damaged. In that situation the viewfinder still shows the sensor image.

Solving the green screen problem involves replacing the camera motherboard and is beyond the scope of this article.

Is it difficult to repair the LCD screen?

You will need to disassemble the camera, replace either the flex cable or the LCD screen, and then reassemble everything.

This may sound like a daunting task, but it is relatively straightforward. All the steps you need to take are listed further down the page. With enough patience and care there is not much that can go wrong.

What do you need to repair the LCD screen?

Some common tools and a replacement LCD flex cable (or replacement LCD screen). Everything is listed further down the page.

I managed to find my replacement LCD flex cable on eBay for about €50. You can also find it on Amazon. A replacement LCD screen can be found there as well.

Repairing vs replacing the camera

From what I found online, having the camera repaired at the Sony service center would have cost somewhere between $200 and $400 total for the assessment, shipping, components and labor.

Buying a replacement body (a Sony A77 Mark II) would have set me back about $1200.

Repairing the camera myself cost me ~$60 for the replacement flex cable. Obviously this option came with a bit more risk, but I was confident that I correctly identified the issue and that I was able to repair it.

Can you also use this guide to repair the screen on the Sony A77 II?

Yes! The A77 Mark II is not very different from the A77. The same exact procedure can be followed to repair the LCD screen on both cameras.

I have not repaired any A77II’s myself, but I have had people contact me and telling me they successfully followed these steps for their A77II. So I am certain that this works.

Can you do anything to prevent the A77 LCD screen from breaking?

Only if you never move the articulating screen. The primary reason for the artifacts is the flex cable that develops fractures. Limiting the strain on the flex cable will extend its life.

Aside from that, handling the camera carefully and storing it safely.

Read on to learn how to repair the Sony A77 LCD screen.

Materials

If you are certain that the LCD screen (instead of the flex cable) is broken:

Tools

How to repair the Sony A77 LCD screen

Top view of a Sony SLT-A77 flex cable in a zip-loc bag.
During the repair, be very careful with the new flex cable. Twisting or bending the flat part of the cable too far can cause it to break. It is important to be gentle with it to avoid a second broken cable.
The back of a Sony SLT-A77 camera body.
Start by preparing the camera body. Remove the lens and replace it with the body cap. It is very important to protect the camera mirror while we work on the camera. Continue by removing the battery from the body. We do not want to short anything out while working on and around the circuit boards.

Sony A77 body disassembly

A Sony SLT-A77 camera body with placed above it its detached rubber eye cup.
Slide the rubber eye cup upwards to remove it. This exposes the screws underneath that we need to get to.
A screwdriver unscrewing a screw on the back of a Sony SLT-A77 camera body.
Unscrew the three circled screws. There are two screws next to the viewfinder, one on either side. The other screw holds the diopter adjust dial.
Top view of a small transparent box with separators that contains some screws and a rubber eye cup from a camera.
Keep track of the components that go with each step. For projects like these I usually keep all small screws and components in a box with separators. That way I can easily keep track of the parts that I used for each step, and it will be easier to put things back together correctly.
A hand holding up a Sony SLT-A77 camera body. An exposed screw on the side of the camera body is circled.
Remove the circled screw on the right side of the camera body.
A hand lifting the remote and microphone covers on the side ofa Sony A77-SLT camera. Two exposed screws are circled.
Remove these two screws on the left side of the camera body. They are located behind the rubber covers that protect the microphone and remote connectors.
The bottom of a Sony SLT-A77 camera body. Seven exposed screws are circled.
Unscrew the seven circled screws on the bottom of the camera body. The orange circled screws(3) and the green circled screws(4) have different size threads. Make sure to keep them separate from each other.
The back of a Sony SLT-A77 camera body with a lifted LCD screen. One exposed screw is circled.
Remove the final screw. You will need to lift the LCD screen to access this screw.

Removing the rear cover

Two hands used to slide off the rear cover of a Sony SLT-A77 camera body.
Slide the rear cover off. To do so, first pry open the seam between the rear cover and the body. You can do this with your nails, a prying tool or something like a guitar pick. Anything that is thin enough to get in the small gap.
A Sony SLT-A77 camera body with the rear cover removed, visible are the printed circuit boards inside the camera.
Be careful with the flex cables when removing the rear cover. The orange and blue flex cables that connect the rear cover and the camera body are quite short. Make sure not to twist or pull them by accident.
A hand pulling an orange flex cable out of a PCB connector on the PCB of a Sony A77 camera.
Disconnect the orange and blue flex cables. Hold the flex cables as close to the connector as possible and gently pull. They should come right out.
A detached rear cover of a Sony SLT-A77 camera. Two exposed screws that are located under the LCD are circled.
Remove the two circled screws. These are the screws that hold the LCD screen assembly in place.

Disassembling the LCD screen assembly

The inside of the rear cover of a Sony SLT-A77 camera. Two exposed screws are circled.
Remove the two circled screws on the inside of the rear cover. The screws hold a long metal bracket in place. Once the screws are removed we can take the bracket off.
A hand lifting the rear cover of a DSLR camera off of a LCD screen.
Lift the rear cover off of the LCD screen. Be careful not to pull on the flex cable. If the bracket from the previous step has been removed, the flex cable should be able to slide right through the hole.
A LCD assembly of a DSLR camera with two exposed screws that are circled.
Remove the two circled screws on the LCD assembly.
The side of a LCD assembly of a Sony A77 camera. An exposed screw is circled.
Remove the screws on the sides of the LCD assembly. One screw is circled in the picture, the other one can be found on the opposite side of the LCD assembly.
A hand taking the plastic cover off of a DSLR LCD assembly.
Lift the plastic shield from the LCD assembly. Do not fully remove the shield yet.
Close-up of a flex cable in a LCD assembly of a Sony SLT-A77 camera.
Carefully peel the LCD flex cable from the shield. The flex cable is stuck to the shield with an adhesive backing.
A hand peeling off a flex cable from a metal plate in a LCD assembly.
Peel the flex cable from the metal plate.
A circled screw on the hinge cover of a LCD assembly.
Remove the hinge cover screw.
A metal hinge assembly with in front of it two detached pieces of a plastic hinge cover.
Pull out the two plastic pieces that make up the hinge cover.
Two circled exposed screws on the bottom of a Sony A77 LCD.
Remove the two screws on the bottom of the LCD screen assembly. The pictures are slightly out of order, so the hinge cover is back on again here.
A hand taking the back cover off of a LCD screen.
Remove the back cover from the LCD assembly.
A hand holding up a DSLR LCD screen assembly. Two exposed screws are circled.
Remove the two screws on the inside of the bottom of the LCD.
A partially disassembled LCD assembly of a DSLR camera.
Lift the metal hinge assembly out of the LCD casing.
A flex cable connector being lifted out of a PCB connector using a small screwdriver.
Carefully lift the flex cable from the PCB connector. I used a small flathead screwdriver to help lift the cable out of the connector. Ideally you would use something non-metal to avoid scratching any traces on the PCB.

If you wanted to replace the LCD screen itself, this would be where you would do it. Simply disassemble the LCD assembly a bit further, until you are able to remove and replace the LCD panel itself.

Unfortunately I do not have picture of these steps, as I only replaced the flex cable.

Flex cable removal

A connector of a flex cable that has been rotated in parallel with the cables of a flex cable.
Rotate the flex cable connector 90 degrees to orient the connector parallel to the wires. Take care not to force things too much and damage the wires near the connector.
Two fingers pushing a connector of a flex cable through a hole in a metal hinge.
Push the connector gently through the hole. It is a tight fit, but it is the only way to remove the flex cable intact. Again, be careful not to force anything.
A connector of a flex cable that is halfway inserted through a hole in a metal hinge.
Push the cable through the second hole in the hinge.
Top view of a metal hinge assembly and two flex cables, one of which is placed in a Ziploc bag.
The half-way point. This is as far as the camera needs to be disassembled. You can now insert the new flex cable and do all previous steps in reverse order to reassembly the Sony A77.

Tips for reassembly

A metal hinge assembly and a flex cable that has been attached to it using clear tape.
Use clear tape to reattach the flex cable to the metal plate. The new LCD flex cable I bought did not come with adhesive backing. I attached it by using some clear tape. Thin double-sided tape would also work for this.
A metal hinge cover with an arrow pointing to a hole in a plastic hinge cover.
Attach the hinge cover in the correct orientation. Make sure that the hole in the hinge cover is oriented on the opposite side of the flex cable. Threading the hinge cover screw through the new cable during reassembly would be quite problematic, to say the least.
A Sony A77 camera with a hand signaling "thumbs up" visible on the articulated screen.
Success! Replacing the flex cable solved the problem.

A summary of the repair process

  1. Remove the lens and the battery from the camera body.
  2. Slide off the rubber eye cap.
  3. Unscrew all rear cover screws.
  4. Take off the rear cover.
  5. Detach the orange and blue flex cables.
  6. Unscrew the LCD screen assembly screws.
  7. Disassemble the LCD assembly.
  8. Replace the broken flex cable (or broken LCD).
  9. Reassemble the camera by following the above steps in reverse.

Conclusion

This was a great project for me to do, as I always enjoy extending the lifespan of products. Especially when the alternative is spending a lot of money.

The repair was not as difficult as I thought it would be. The Sony A77 is a complicated piece of technology, but it seems to be designed so that it is relatively easy to repair.

If you find this article useful, please share it or leave a comment. I love to hear your feedback and questions!

27 thoughts on “Repairing a Sony A77 LCD Screen”

  1. Thanks a lot, my Sony A77 works great again! It took me an hour to follow the process, and I cannot even imagine how much time it would take without this guide.

  2. I was sure it is the flex band, but after switching it with a new one the display is still grey. Anyone experinced the same, what could it be beside the flex cable? Thanks for the good instruction, it helped a lot though.

    1. Hi!

      If it is not the cable, then the problem is probably with the LCD screen itself. Or there might be something on the LCD printed circuit board that is defective. Replacing the LCD screen itself will probably fix it.
      Another possibility is that the camera body PCB is malfunctioning, but that is a lot less likely. Especially if the A77 is otherwise fully functional.

      Did you double-check whether the orange end of the flex cable is fully inserted into the connector (on the camera side)? It needs to be pushed all the way in to ensure proper contact. There might be a small chance that it is not seated correctly and that is why it is not working. It’s good to rule that out before replacing other components.

      Please let me know.

    2. Thanks for the reply. It was strange that the shoulder display was dead too with the new cable. Right as i removed the flex band it was working again. Maybe i send the camera in, instead of buying a new display and it was the cable all the time….thanks for the help, and maybe i can tell you what the problem was in the future

    3. Hmm, that is strange. Perhaps something was being shorted out somewhere while the new cable was installed. I can’t think of any other reason why the shoulder display would also stop working. I would love to hear what the actual problem was if you manage to have the camera repaired.

  3. Hey Tim,

    Just wanted to tell you that my display is working great again since today. Bought an original cable from official sony service partner and it had the right length. Thanks again for your help, and happy holidays,

    Jens

  4. Your instructions and insights could not have been better! I just replaced the flex cable and am back in business. Clear, insightful, well-illustrated…these instructions were excellent all the way around. Thank you for posting them.

  5. Kerry T Givens

    Thanks for your helpful tutorial. Wondering if you can advise me on this: I tried to replace my Sony a77 LCD display because the finish on the screen was grossly defective. Bought a replacement LCD and in the process of hooking up the three little ribbon cables to the small PCB pasted inside the LCD assembly, the smallest of the three ribbon cables— the one which plugs into the small,white, non-locking socket on the PCB—separated from the LCD assembly completely. The connector is intact and still plugged in, but the other end of the ribbon is simply free and not attached to any weld or conductive connection that I can see. And not surprisingly, now my LCD is totally dead. What does that little ribbon attach to, and can it be fixed? TIA—

    1. Hi Kerry,

      let’s see if we can fix this. Based on your description and on what I could find in the service manual, I think that this is the ribbon that belongs to the SHD-003 (870) FLEXIBLE BOARD. This is a flexible circuit board that contains an ambient light sensor and a sensor that detects if the LCD panel is closed. It is possible that if the camera incorrectly thinks that the LCD is facing the camera body, it keeps the LCD off.

      On the right side of page 6-43 of the service manual you can see what the flexible board is supposed to look like. From your description it sounds like the ribbon part might be detached from the rest of the flexible board. In that case you can buy a replacement SHD-003 board for about $15 and install it. If the ribbon part is still attached to the rest of the flexible board it must also be installed correctly for it to not cause issues.

      On this diagram you can see how and where it should be installed. It is part #103, and it gets mounted in place with a small screw (part #140).

    2. Hi Tim, and thanks for that great explanation. Very grateful for that. Now I realize that what I mistakenly called a “ribbon” in my previous note actually is the entire part known as SHD-003. It is all in one piece, nothing broke off of it that I can see. However it literally fell out of the camera during my initial disassembly of the LCD display— when I pulled it’s tiny, stubby ribbon out of its socket, the whole board simply dropped onto the work table. Thinking this was a ribbon rather than a circuit board, and since one end (the actual ribbon connector end) was plugged into a socket, I just assumed that the other “end” of the part must have been electrically connected to something else. Obviously I was wrong about that. FYI I did not see any screw holding it in place. Thinking I must have severed something or dislodged some little connecting piece, I searched the tabletop carefully and found two objects—a tiny magnet, which I believe is part #106 or #116, and a strange, very tiny Y-shaped plastic part that I’m thinking might be part #104. I’m at work so I won’t see the camera again until I get home tonight. I’ll let you know what I discover. Does the magnet participate in telling the camera the LCD is open or closed? If so, I would think dislodging the magnet like I did would falsely signal the camera that the LCD is open, not closed. If that’s true, then I guess I can’t blame my non-functioning display on the magnet.

    3. Hi Kerry,

      the sensor that detects whether the LCD is open or closed is indeed magnetic, so it is definitely possible (or even likely) that the issues with the LCD are due to the magnet missing.

      I understand your logic with regards to the LCD behavior with a missing magnet, and initially I thought the same. However, after thinking about it some more I think it could also work like this:

      – If the sensor detects the ‘default’ magnetic field from the magnet near the sensor, the camera turns the LCD on.
      – If the sensor returns a different value (when the magnetic field changes a lot because of the magnet interacting with the magnet on the camera body, or in your case because the magnet in the LCD assembly is missing), the camera turns the LCD off.

      I have no idea if it truly works like this, but we can’t exclude the option. I do think it’s safe to say that reassembling the LCD assembly with all the parts in the right place is going to tell us more.

    4. Kerry T Givens

      Hey Tim— success! Well, almost. I put everything together and powered up… the LCD backlight went on, but nothing else appeared on the screen. I read in another forum that one source of this problem is not pushing the ribbon cables into their respective sockets as completely as possible. So I pushed them all in as far as they could possibly go, powered back up, and bingo— working LCD with all the usual data on display. Yay!

      Now there’s just one problem: the replacement LCD assembly that I purchased doesn’t seem to fit the Sony housing properly; it’s as though the entire LCD assembly is 0.5mm too thick. I’ve snapped it into the LCD housing as firmly as possible and put the four retaining screws in the bottom of the assembly, but the LCD assembly still protrudes from its housing as if it could simply fall out of there without warning. Any ideas why I’m not getting closure on this?

    5. Hey Kerry,

      glad to hear the LCD is working now. Well done!

      With regards to the LCD assembly thickness: if I were you, I would check the thickness of the replacement assembly using something like a digital caliper, and compare it with the thickness of the original.

      -If they are the same thickness, then something must be mounted incorrectly. Find what it is, fix it, and it should fit in the Sony housing again.

      -If the replacement assembly is actually 0.5mm thicker (not sure how, unless it is an off-brand Chinese copy maybe), then I am not sure how to fix it. My best guess would be to hot glue the back of the LCD assembly to the Sony housing, so at least you can be sure that it won’t fall out.

    6. Kerry T Givens

      Thanks Tim. I currently don’t own a measurement caliper but you’ve given me an excuse to buy one. The replacement screen was from a US seller on eBay, supposedly genuine, paid $28 for it. I had actually tried a cheapo replacement LCD from China a few weeks ago, couldn’t get it work at all (maybe my fault, not pushing cables in far enough again) but I noticed the same “too fat to fit” thickness issue with that one. Hmmm. I’ll get that caliper and do one more disassembly and see what’s what. Ironically I’m doing all this just to get the camera ready to sell. The old LCD had an ugly problem with the anti-glare coating on the display wearing off, looked like hell. Not an uncommon problem I understand.

    7. If you don’t have a digital caliper you might be able to just lay the LCD assemblies side by side and check by eye whether there is a difference in thickness.
      It’s less likely that both replacement LCD assemblies are thicker than the original, so that makes me err towards a mounting issue (something in the LCD assembly not clipping in correctly, a screw head sticking out, a misaligned component, etc.).

      The anti-glare coating is indeed pretty bad on these LCDs. I’ve got the same problem on my A77. It seems like the coating just dissolves and stains over time after comes into contact with skin oils. Not very pretty.

  6. Hi,
    Really nice “manual”. Mine has something like this issue, but I can still see the figures and numbers at the screen, so I wonder if this also is the Ribbon or might be the motherboard. Do you have any idea??

    Thank you..

    /Pia

  7. First of all, THANK YOU! Not only is the the most informative step-by-step guide, it is by far the easiest to follow on the net.

    Here is my issue (and predicament), Tim:
    The A77 articulated screen just went blank on me out of the blue. Everything else works fine except with the screen out, cannot see anything in the viewfinder. How may I troubleshoot whether it’s the ribbon or the screen? I am based in Kenya and shipping fees are an abomination to here and I’m truly anxious of purchasing one part and finding it’s the other one faulty (and sadly, I can’t afford to purchase both).

    Thanks again for this immense DIY follow along.

    Best,

    S

    1. Hi Samir,

      thank you for your feedback!

      That sounds like a tricky situation. I will do my best to help you.

      What I understand from your comment is that the viewfinder only stops working when you articulate the screen away from the camera body (“with the screen out”), is that correct? That would make me think that the problem lies with the flex cable. Perhaps it shorts something out in the electronics when it is moved in certain positions, causing the electronic viewfinder to stop working as well.

      If the viewfinder doesn’t work at all, then it might be something else. Let me know if that is the case, and we will go from there.

      Tim

  8. Thanks for the speedy response, Tim.
    My excitement overcame my clarity.
    The screen doesn’t work at all, totally blank, no signal. However, when it is articulated out, the viewfinder doesn’t work and remains blank.
    I did a reset and initialised it too and zilch.

    TIA, Tim.

    S

    1. Happy to help, Samir. 🙂

      It definitely sounds like the viewfinder problem is caused by a damaged flex cable. My guess is that when you articulate the screen out, the damaged cable shorts out some of the screen-related electronics, causing the electronic viewfinder to stop working.
      If this was caused by a broken LCD screen, I would expect the viewfinder to also not work with the screen against the body.

      It’s a bit concerning that the LCD screen never works though. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t work when the viewfinder does work, unless the flex cable suddenly developed multiple issues, or if the LCD screen broke due to the damaged flex cable. I think the last option might be the more likely of the two. 🙁

      Did you do a reset through the menu or a hard reset using the hardware buttons? The hard reset is the best choice, on the off-chance that this is somehow a software issue.

      Tim

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