The breakage of a hinge can be a serious problem to a laptop owner. Stiff laptop hinges not only hold the LCD screen up, they can be part of the overall structure holding the laptop together. Replacing a broken hinge can mean the difference between a working and nonworking laptop. Hinges prevent undue wear on internal video cables, route webcam connections and guide the antennas of any internal wireless cards. They are not easy parts to replace, but it is possible to do.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Internet access
- Clean, well-lit place to work
- Fine-tipped Phillips screwdriver
- Thin blade or small-tipped standard screwdriver
- (optional) Digital camera
Determine the make and model of your laptop. This data is usually available on the base of your machine.
Locate a user or maintenance manual for your make and model of laptop. You should start by searching the Internet for your make and model with the term "service manual." Certain companies, like Dell and IBM/Lenovo, provide service manuals in the technical support sections of their websites. Check the website of the company that sold your laptop to see if there are any manuals available. There are several sources for possible information on your laptop in the References and Resources sections.
Locate replacement hinges. If you have not already done so, search for your make and model with the term "hinges." A large market in laptop spare parts exists on eBay. Take notes while performing your search. An expired auction can be incredibly useful if it happens to list every make and model of laptop that is compatible with a set of hinges. Once you have a list of machines that use the part you want, you can search a lot more broadly if your initial searches did not pan out.
Research and Acquisition
Follow the instructions of your laptop's service manual to replace the broken hinge, if possible. If the manual is deficient, or you were unable to obtain one, follow some generic suggestions..
Flip your laptop over so that the base is facing up. Remove the battery and disconnect the AC adaptor if you have not done so already.
Look over the bottom of the laptop for screws. Press your fingertip against any stickers in case a screw has been hidden under one.
If you have a digital camera, take a picture of the base before you begin disassembly.
Unscrew each of the screws in the base and set them aside. Be careful as you proceed and make sure that you get every screw you can find. Since you don't have a set of directions, your best bet is to remove the entire top half of the laptop case to gain access to the most likely area where the hinges will be.
If you have a digital camera, take a picture of each screw hole and of the associated screw next to some common object for size. This will make reassembly much easier.
Flip the laptop back upright once you have found and unscrewed all of the available screws on the bottom. Open the lid carefully and examine the top of the base. You will need to remove the keyboard. Keyboard removal varies greatly by laptop model. There might be a latched-down section near the screen that holds the keyboard down. It has been unscrewed already, so remove it first. When you can do so, remove the keyboard.
Unscrew any screws revealed by the removal of the keyboard. Once they are gone, begin to remove the upper part of the base. Most laptops are clipped together on top of being screwed. Use the standard screwdriver or knife to carefully pry sections apart by pressing it into the seam between the top and bottom. Be careful and use patience.
Examine the LCD bezel carefully for screws hidden behind stickers, plastic plugs or rubber feet. Remove these screws and carefully pry apart the lid of the laptop to reveal the LCD below.
Inspect the attachment points for the broken hinge. Hinge designs vary greatly by manufacturer. The replacement hinge will give you a good idea of which screws need to be removed to swap the parts out. Remove those screws and replace the broken hinge with your new hinge.
Screw the hinge assembly into place and press the LCD bezel back together.
Screw the LCD bezel back together and replace any stickers, plastic plugs or rubber feet.
Replace the upper half of the base and clip it back together. Screw any screws from the base that are meant to be under the keyboard back in.
Re-attach and replace the keyboard, close the lid and flip the laptop over so that the base of the laptop is facing up. Re-screw the base back together.
Replacement and Reassembly
Tips and warnings
- If ti is possible, use a digital camera to keep track of the location and types of screws as you remove them. You can then scroll through the pictures in reverse chronological order to get a good idea of where to proceed at any point.
- Performing this repair yourself will void your laptop's warranty. If your laptop is still under warranty protection, take it to an authorised repair centre.
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