Loose screws rattling in hinge/speaker of HP mini

After flinging my HP mini netbook onto the bed with the hinge open, a little too hard, a few too many times, I got a disconcerting rattling sound from the hinge, which also began to flex in a way it shouldn’t.

Paying someone to open it up would cost nearly the purchase cost, so I tracked down the attached repair manual from HP’s web site and set to work.

You will obviously need a good set of jeweler’s screwdrivers.  Also, getting the keyboard ZIF back in was really hard  —  needlenose pliers needed. I didn’t have any loctite (a liquid/glue that you dab on each screw before deploying it) with me, but that could be nice to use if you’ve got some (it was clearly used during assembly).  Good light and small fingers (or clever tools?)  are always useful… (hm, does this experience change my ideas about child labour?!)
I used paper and pen and masking tape to sketch out where each screw came from, and tape them to my sketch.
I followed the instructions for removing the display, since that’s where the rattle was. The steps to get there are to remove the battery (trivial), keyboard, solid state drive, and top cover.
I was successful; I found and resecured two  screws inside the hinge.
Some extra notes follow:

Keyboard

Careful getting the keyboard out. The “tabs” on the side are metal, not anything soft, and the “keyboard” is quite thick. The instructions fail to say that the way to get the keybard out is to push through the round hole on the back side! Easy! no damage to keyboard!

Removing mass storage device:

I left the SIM card cable in place (just peel the cable, which has a bit of stickytape to adhere it to the drive, up).
I think there is an error in the diagram for getting the mass storage device (in my case, solid state drive) out. On Page 51, they have reused a diagram, when in fact they mean to show a different LIF/ZIF — the one that connects to the drive.
This one was the hardest connector to deal with, for me. The ZIF (LIF?) is opened by just sliding out a black piece of plastic; there is no lever for this one. The other ZIFs/LIFs in the process (touch pad), by the way, are easier: you just flip up a hinge.
Update (Oct 2011: 16 months later screws were rattling again!): Actually, the vague/incorrect diagram just led me to disconnect the wrong end of the cable.  My solid state drive is connected by a cable whose outer (nearer the front of the machine) end is a flip-up lever kind of ZIF/LIF, so if you disconnect that one, rather than the one closer to the drive, it’s easy. Child labour not needed. You can reattach it before reinserting the drive.

Taking off the “top cover”

takes some force: there are many plastic clips to pull apart, it seems.

Update: There’s no need to remove the cable connecting the top cover to the motherboard; just leave it attached while getting at the hinge.

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2 Responses to Loose screws rattling in hinge/speaker of HP mini

  1. Malcolm Watson says:

    My hp mini also developed “a disconcerting rattling sound”, but I chose to ignore it until the hinge partially detached. Many many thanks for pointing me in the right direction to re-attach everything. I have never opened a loptop up before in my life and was stunned and amazed when it actually rebooted after I got all those fiddley little bits back together. =]

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