A laptop’s keyboard may be the main interface point with the user, but the hinge mechanism of a laptop computer is an often overlooked critical mechanism that can make or break the entire ownership experience. The challenge is even more profound for tablet/laptop convertibles like this Acer Aspire Switch 10 (SW5-012) since it had to detach as well. Digging into this mechanism as part of my teardown unveiled a very intricate but also extremely robust piece of mechanical engineering.
The first challenge is, of course, figuring out where to start opening it up. I pried on the back plate hoping it would pop loose. It did, sort of, in a irreversible and destructive way.
But with it open, I could tell there’s an angled metal spine to this hinge and there are probably fasteners hiding under the rubbery material that cushions the main display unit when it is attached to this base.
The two rubbery cushions were held with double sided tape. Once peeled off, each exposed two screws that helped hold the top plate in place. They’re not the only fastening mechanism, though, there were many other places where the top plate held on for its life and it did not come loose willingly. I ended up breaking it into several pieces.
Top plate removal exposed many more fasteners, several of which held the backplate.
And the remaining fasteners held the metal spine to the bottom section. This is easily the highest density of screws in this machine holding everything together, reinforcing the critical nature of this component.
I finally freed the nine-conductor pogo connector that was one of my objectives for taking this retired computer apart. There are also a few magnets that held the display module in place as a simple and elegant “Acer Smart Hinge”. They will also be salvaged for potential future fun.
And now with the hinge thoroughly taken apart, I retrieved the main module which had been baking in the sun in preparation for fighting annoying glue.