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Digital HiNote Ultra2000 Laptop
Power Button Repair

By Julian H. Stacey

A friend tried to power off this laptop.
whole laptop
When it wouldn't turn off he pushed harder. Wrong ! The power switch broke. Many laptops likely have equally small delicate switches, be gentle, they're not rugged tower chassis switches.
Though the hands that broke this switch were big male, strong hands, even smaller female hands might, (though perhaps temperamentaly less likely to go the `more force' route smiley face icon It's also possible that such small fiddly plastic as you will see below may have been overstressed previously by a sequence of people, so the last person with whom it breaks, may not have been pushing that hard. One can't know, so one can only remember: be gentle smiley face icon The outer plastic can (& in this case does) disguise the switch as seeming bigger (& assumedly stronger) than it really is.
If anyone encounters these particular (or other potentialy fragile) laptops:
  • If they don't work on a gentle push, something's wrong, pushing harder may not help, may break things, just hand it back to owner, (without pushing harder, let the owner break it!).
  • To power off this laptop type, One must simultaneously also push the Orange "Fn" key (bottom left).
section of keyboard with Fn key
So I took it apart (Notice main board under keyboard is removed, exposing work mat on table. Screen also unscrewed.)
top + screen, no base, on rubber mat
& found the broken off green power switch, (which was just a piece of Green hard plastic, 2 pieces now, the big bit moved to the left, used to be connected to the small bit still connected to the edge of the chassis.
croken button cover
After removing the screen from the base unit, I had a clearer view of the green switch cover, plus the actual tiny switch & even tinier black plastic push switch in its shiny metal housing. That gives one a clearer idea of just how fragile the whole thing is. More pressure is Not what this power switch ever wanted.
croken button cover
The coffee pot earlier propped up the dis-assembly while I inspected what I'd need to do.
inside the laptop inside the laptop
Another view of where the switch broke off from, note the screen is no longer attached at top of picture.
inside the laptop
I used a hot glue gun to rejoin the 2 green bits of plastic, (not cyano -acrylate as that would just have broken again on next flexing push). I also glued both to the chassis.Note I only glued it to the chassis at the corner end where it was originally designed to bend. There's no glue to the chassis the other end. It's thus now (& even before, was) most appropriate to push the button on the end of the button that's more towards the middle of the chassis, away from the corner.

As my new construct would be stiffer than before, & the green plastic would be under considerable stress before it bent in enough across the gap, to push the small black switch, before I installed the big Green bit back in place, I previously cut, bent & glued a thin strip of plastic (from a nylon washer) on the left (toward middle of chassis) end of the green switch, to fill up the gap. I then had to bend laptop chassis outward while inserting the green switch cover.

The switch now has just about no free play, & bears straight on to the black switch, the lightest of pushes activates it.
Any excess pressure is now even more likely to break the Real switch within (the tiny silver metal thing soldered to the green board), & thus do more serious damage. (But it wasn't worth tying to buy a new switch cover, as it's an old laptop, & manufacturer DEC, was bought by Compaq, & them by HP, & so it's obsolete, & also not my `Main' laptop).

As before, the "F1" key Must be pressed simultaneously, else the PC won't turn off (but will turn on).


the repaired switch

Because I didn't know what I was getting into, & was going slow, as I didn't want to break anything, this job took over 3 hours, & I was using lots of small tools, was well lit, lots of space etc. I had to disconnect lots of tiny connectors, all very easily broken. It's no job for anyone who might fumble, I wouldn't recommend it smiley face icon

The laptop is now repaired & again runs Free Software.
The stickers on the laptop:



Some other Hardware Projects I've Done

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