Magical cases

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 count.

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* screw?).

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)

Reply to
D Yuniskis
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Friendly design: Henry Ford telling his Model T engineers that a carburetor had "too many screws" (about a dozen). The next design was also rejected because "it still has too many screws" (it had 3). The final design was held together by one screw.


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I regularly repair LCD monitors (as a hobby - at business rates it makes more sense to replace failed monitors). As you point out, time to gain entry is often the largest component of the repair. While I have become reasonably adept at separating cases with minimal cosmetic damage, some occurs from time to time. Before reassembling the case, I "spot" the locations of the latches with a drill bit, leaving just a small depression at each - just in case the same monitor comes back. It would be a great help if manufacturers provided some sort of subtle case marking as a service aid.

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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)

Reply to
D Yuniskis

No, it's Applied Murphology. If you prepare for an eventuality it is less likley to happen. And it hasn't happened *so far*

The All-Bran principle. ("If you eat it, you won't need it.")

You keep ana rchiove of photos?

Usually just applying pressure and locating "stationary points" reveals where they are, but which type is not always immediately apparent.

Yes, but of course that is where the manufacturer not only envisages service but actually encourages repair rather than dumping.

Laptop SMPS are classical welded packages that defy respectable entry. Normally they aren't economic to repair anyway.

Had a Belkin wireless router that died from failed caps. That case was definitely designed for quick_snap_together assembly but less_than_friendly disassembly.

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who where

Depends on the circumstance; no manufacturer wants to have product-safety suits, so we see the safety-rated power modules always as sealed units.

It's definitely easy to repair those SMPS units, I've done it. As the original poster noted, the time is dominated by case-rupture; manufacturer choice is NOT friendly to the tech-savvy consumer. Does anyone believe this is really a safety issue, though? If the DC cord is strained, and cracking the case lets you shorten the cable, how 'unsafe' is the result? I'm thinking, the manufacturer has a profit-from-repair-parts motive.

Apple makes their mice that way, too. Yuk.

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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 manufacture.

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.
Reply to
D Yuniskis

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