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Magical cases

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by D Yuniskis, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. D Yuniskis

    D Yuniskis Guest

    Happy New Year!

    (more or less)

    Well, I started the year off fighting one of those
    notorious "plastic cases". You know the kind: you
    *know* there's a SIMPLE way to get it open but you'll
    be *damned* if you can figure it out! :> (this one
    was just too large physically else it would have -- and
    eventually *did* -- open easily).

    So, having taken my physical exercise for the day
    (year?? :> ), I wondered what sort of experiences
    folks have had with troublesome disassemblies.

    Ignore things that aren't *designed* to be dismantled
    (many items apparently are not!). And, ignore automobiles
    (we all know these are assembled in 7th dimensional space
    and teleported to our dimension just prior to sale).

    Are there techniques for assembly that lend themselves
    readily to disassembly (servicing) without risk of
    serious damage (cosmetic or otherwise) to the item
    itself? Old fashioned hardware (e.g., screws) doesn't

    I personally find laptops to be the most anxiety laden
    devices to service... too many *small*, fragile plastic
    "snaps" that can break (unless you are familiar with
    the particular model). At the other extreme, old
    Apple computers (Quadra vintage) seemed to be the
    nicest "no-brainers" to disassemble (perhaps *one*

    Since disassembly/reassembly is a big part of repair
    (time is money), anything that can cut down on the
    time required to disassemble (assuming it doesn't
    penalize the assembly time during *manufacture*) and
    reassemble contributes to lowering TCO on the item.

    (yes, nowadays that may be a moot point... :< )

    Aside from types of devices, any manufacturers that
    have been particularly "friendly" in this regard?

    (note this is just a topic for speculation/discussion;
    there are no "right/wrong" answers)
  2. D Yuniskis

    D Yuniskis Guest

    Hi Pedro,
    Yes. I find that even if there is no cosmetic damage *visible*
    on the outside of the case, I often end up breaking some little
    "snap" inside the case. Usually not enough to jeopardize the
    case's integrity but annoying for it to happen at all.
    "Comes back"?? I'll guess that means the repair wasn't quite
    up to snuff :>

    I take photos just so I can see roughly where the "snaps"
    are located. Often, seeing an item in pieces is enough
    to tell me which way to "apply pressure" on a seam, etc.
    Screw together devices often have arrows pointing to the screws
    which hold the case together (vs. those which are there to
    fasten internal objects to the case itself).

    Are there any "things" that just scream "don't bother with this
    one; it's going to be a real mess to open"? I.e., aspects
    of the packaging that will discourage you from even *trying*
    to do a salvageable (i.e., something that *looks* presentable
    when reassembled) repair?

    E.g., solvent welded cases tell me: "If you are curious as to
    what's inside *or* want to see what the problem with this device
    *might* be, then feel free to destroy this case to gain entry.
    But, don't expect it ever be able to reassemble it in a way
    that would ever pass for anything but a piece of patched
    together *scrap*!"

    (though I often *can* disassemble these cases and reassemble
    them without much ugliness)
  3. D Yuniskis

    D Yuniskis Guest

    Yes. Though since so many *other* things are also designed to be
    "hard to open", one wonders if it isn't just cost savings in

    E.g., I recently needed a particular 5V wall wart with center
    negative (plus the right barrel ID/OD). I managed to find
    one that had a single screw holding the plastic case together
    (remove screw, then "snaps" at the other end of the case).

    Imagine my delight to find the cord terminated in a nice 2-pin
    connector (instead of soldered to the board). Unplug connector,
    slide "pins" out, install them in reversed positions, plug in
    connector, reassemble case). *Sometimes* things go right! :>
    Nowadays, I think even (many) folks who *could* troubleshoot
    and repair would simply not bother. "Not worth my time, I'll
    just go buy a new one..." (or, use the bad SMPS as an excuse
    to buy an entire new *device* -- not just teh SMPS!)

    I really do think it is initially motivateed by litigation
    ("The defendant even put SCREWS on the high voltage power
    supply AS IF inviting my client to disassemble it and
    suffer the serious injury that resulted..."). So, some
    due diligence is involved.

    But, I think the biggest issue is probably ease of manufacture.
    I.e., solvent weld is a no-brainer operation.
    Do many people actually *buy* repair parts for things like this?
    I would think they are simply discarded along with the associated
    piece of kit. We live in a disposable society (at least on
    the left side of the pond)... :<
    Apple's approach to things has changed noticeably in the past
    10+ years. They've embraced the throwaway society.
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