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"SCREWED" IN - A different kind !


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#1
alexmat01

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Hello All,
Sorry for that topic title !! But thats the situation I am in now.

This might come at the low end of hardware issues too , but this has left me crippled in solving my issue. Hence the post.

I have a IBM Thinkpad 600E. Now its an old but been been running well and fine except for the trackpoint having an issue. I had updated the BIOS to disable the trackpoint. But some years back I had this issue and the service centre I gave it to, removed the keyboard and seated it well and the trackpoint was fine.

When it happened again I didnt bother to take it back there and was ok bypassing that by disabling it in BIOS and working with an external mouse. When it got to be a pain, I thought I will remove the keyboard and remove the connection seating and seat it well ( The reason I think my trackpoint still should work is because it moves up and down but misses the sidewise motion so I think it has to be do with the cable connection at the bottom of the keyboard).

I removed the screws from the bottom of the laptop but one screw has lost its teeth !! Apparently I guess the service centre had either used force on it or perhaps used a screw driver meant for heavier jobs and it chipped of the head of the screw. A little grip was remaining which when I tried to pull it out, faded off. Now what I have is a screw with a round hole on the top where it should have had the teeth to grip on tothe screw driver. To cut the story short, I now cannot remove this screw at all. Because of which I simply cant remove the keyboard and solve the trackpoint issue.

Has anyone come across such issue ? I researched and some say there is a way you can microweld a screw head on top of such screws and then use the welded head to pry the whole thing out, and get a new one in place.
Is this possible and if so where can I get this done ? Does the normal service centres do this ?

I guess else, the only way out is buy a casing and keyboard on ebay, rip out the current casing which is held on with the screw, and assemble the whole thing in - just to solve a trackpoint the hardway !

Cosmetic - If you use the IBM thinkpad, there is a black nylon coated cover to all the screw heads to hide the ugly screws and give a continuity to the black color of the thinkpad. Just like manhole covers.However these are stuck on with some glue. Since I removed them during this exercise, how do I stick them on. Is there a special glue for this or do I use the office glue (want to make sure that this will stick on despite the heat from the underside). I dont wanna use the permanent glue that you use to glue in broken stuff since I might have to unscrew them later on, who knows.

Truly "screwed" in :-(

If anyone can suggest anything than ripping this stuff out, let me know

Thanks a lot guys for your patience.

Alex
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#2
Neil Jones

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Screw extractors are available, however whether they're available in a small enough size for a laptop I couldn't say.

Typically if the grove is worn off, you can usually carve a new one with a hacksaw to make a new groove. Of course this is dependent on being able to get to the thing in the first place. Needle nose pliers may be of help if the nose is thin and long enough if only to loosen the screw up.

Failing that, short of taking the entire laptop part to a point where you can saw the screw in question (if its possible to reach it), not quite sure what else to suggest.

Edited by Neil Jones, 27 September 2008 - 03:21 PM.

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#3
Samm

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First thing to try is a small flat bladed screwdriver. Unless the hole is perfectly round, then you should fine that in certain places the hole is slightly wider than at other points. If you can find a flat bladed screwdriver that fits in to at the widest point very tightly then you stand half a chance if being able to unscrew it this way.

Failing that, and again assuming that the head has not been rounded off completely yet, then just try slightly different sized cross head screw drivers. Insert the tip of the screwdriver in the screw head as normal & try to turn it gently. If you feel it biting instead of slipping then you may be able to turn the screw with it. Apply some pressure down on to the screw when turning. This will help to stop it slipping. Be warned though - obviously the more times you try this & fail, then more rounded off the head will get! And only use good quality screw bits or screwdrivers. Cheap ones are ill fitting and will mash it up even more.


Alternatively, as Neil suggested, screw extractors are available which might be worth a shot if you can't remove it using a screwdriver. Whether you can find one small enough or not, I don't know. You'll find a good selection of them on Amazon by typing 'screw remover' into the search box.


IF ALL ELSE FAILS...you could try to drill it out but you would have to be very careful doing this on a laptop. You would probably want to use a battery drill with a left handed drill bit on reverse setting. A left handed drill bit is very similar to a screw extractor.

Soldering another screw to the top of the existing one sounds like a reasonable suggestion but I would be concerned about 2 things:
1) You may need a certain type of solder or flux in order to solder the screws together because of what they're made of or coated in.
2) If the screw gets too hot, you'll end up melting the plastic casing around it.
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#4
ahmooresville

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OK, here's a suggestion, not sure if it will work on your laptop, but it has worked for me on automotive applications when dealing with very small screws....
Get some epoxy putty, small round tube of grey putty stuff.... available at Lowes or any automotive store.
Break off a small piece, and kneed it until it gets warm and is all one color and no longer sticky... roll a piece of that into a small ball about the size of a bb and push it directly on to the top of the stripped screw... then place a small screw driver ( phillips) to make grooves and to force the putty better into the hole... remove the screwdriver and let it setup, about an hour or so... then gently attempt to remove the screw, placing more pressure downward than torque on turning, with any luck the screw will come out... hope this helps...
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#5
alexmat01

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Well I guess am stuck with this for the same reasons Sam and Neil suggested.

The hole is rounded off, in fact the screw is so small and the groove was about 2mm in length and if it chips off you pretty much dont have anything more to hold on to. :-(

Being a laptop screw, it sits in a recessed hole.So the head and all of it sits in a hole of about 4 mm diameter ! Given that the saw cannot be used.

I doubt if I can use an extractor (unless I get a very small drill bit) - the screw (again being the laptop screw and hence the miniature one) is about 3 mm wide on the head and perhaps 2 mm wide on the body. That makes it real hard for me to drill in.

Ahmoresville, your method sounds good but again I have to make sure this putty has to be big enough to have a good contact with the screw head when it sets and small enough not to set into the recessed hole in which case I would seal up the entire thing !

Leaves me no choices I guess ?

Instead of the putty am thinking use the super glue to bind another working screw head or screw to the damaged one and trying it. But before that I want to make sure this works on a dummy outside, else I will be this time left with a screw glued in and sticking out that I cant remove !!

Samm you are right about the soldering. Given the "miniature" constraint its tough.
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