Fixing Eee 901, part 1

19.12.2008 16:53

I decided to fix one of the more obvious problems with the new Eee 901 myself, instead of sending it back to UK under warranty. It would probably take a month or so for the round trip and even the first time DHL had problems delivering the package to my address. I also have had some issues with this computer that a warranty replacement wouldn't fix. And of course, there's the pleasure of breaking that warranty void label.

I mentioned that the silver row of the four hot keys was a bit flaky on my model: Only the left one worked properly (that's the one that turns off the backlight on the default installation), while the right three required too much force to register a press and didn't give the click feeling.

After taking the computer apart, it was obvious where the problem was: under the upper plastic shell is a long, narrow circuit board that holds four tiny SMD microswitches for the hotkeys. This board is only mounted onto the shell with two screws on each end, with the middle additionally stuck to the plastic with some sticky aluminum tape. This arrangement isn't strong enough to prevent the middle of the board bending under the pressure of the finger pressing down on a key.

When you press the key hard enough, the board bends enough to catch onto the wall of the battery compartment some tenths of millimeter below it, which makes it possible to actually press the key if you put some effort into it.

Battery compartment padded with tape

The solution was obvious: I padded the plastic below the circuit with some layers of Scotch tape, so that it provides better support for the hot keys circuit board (the tape is transparent, so it's a bit hard to see on the picture above - look at the top left end of the shiny battery compartment wall)

Is anybody else having this kind of problems? It seems a bit strange that only my particular laptop would have this flaw.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Digital

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