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Airframer
06-18-2009, 07:24 AM
When I was working on aircraft, the (many) windscreen screws were of different lengths and some were non-ferrous for the compass. The simple solution was to punch the screws through a thin piece of cardboard as we removed them.

After I got out of the Navy and returned home, I thought it was funny how my father kept trying different ways of organizing screws for his laptop repairs sorted while the computer was disassembled.

When I started helping him, I would take 2 sheets of printer paper, one for the screws on the underside and one for the top, and just pop screws through the paper as I went, like a template for the windscreen screws. I will just pop them through in about the same spot on the paper relative to the holes on the laptop.

This may sound pretty low-tech, and may already be in use by ya'll, but it was an insight for my father. Thought to post this after watching a podnutz video where he tries to keep the screws nearby the hardware/ panels he pulls and they seem to scatter about

MrUnknown
06-18-2009, 08:53 AM
very nice suggestion. I will have to try this the next time I take apart a laptop which may be later today if all goes well.

iptech
06-18-2009, 09:23 AM
Good tip. In fact if you lay a sheet of A4 paper across the back of a laptop before you begin removing the screws you should be able to mark the exact position of the screws.

My hobby is old classic cars and punching components through cardboard as you remove them is a great way to ensure everything goes back together the same way it came off, it can save hours of frustration during reassembly and you won't be left with any worrying 'spares' afterwards.

DanF
06-18-2009, 10:52 AM
I will be dis-assembling a laptop today as well. From what the client told me... ants are attacking the laptop :eek:

Last time I've cleaned the laptop's keyboard from 7UP, and the smell was disgusting. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I will have to open it up and check what's inside for sure... eek!

anonymous Mac Tech
06-18-2009, 02:38 PM
I think everybody just finds what works for them. I just try to lay them out as they come off in the same pattern. Takes up a more bench space that way but its the way I've always done it. Of course since I've done enough of particular models I can pretty much just throw them in a zip lock bag if I'm waiting for parts and figure it out while I'm reassembling. I've got plenty of ice cube trays laying around for collecting screws but I never seem to utilize them.

NYJimbo
06-18-2009, 02:59 PM
I dont care what anyone says, I still tape them to a piece of paper when I remove the bottom or if the internals are complex. Nothing worse than finding a screw is too short when you a rebuilding it and realize you mixed up lengths and now have to tear it back down or hunt for a new screw. Also how can anyone remember which screw holes do NOT get a screw when its totally torn down.

Just the other day I was working on a older HP and as I was reassembling it if I didnt have the screws labeled in some way there was no way I was going to remember which screw holes should be empty on some of the holes.

There was a internal mount for a hard drive with four screw holes. Only two get screwed from the inside, the other two get one from the bottom and one from under the keyboard. Not something I would have memorized.

arrow_runner
06-18-2009, 03:14 PM
Sheet of magnet FTW

MBF
06-18-2009, 08:57 PM
I lay out the screws on the bench/table. But I like this idea better and will give it a try soon. Thanks for the tip.

usacvlr
06-18-2009, 11:23 PM
There is a far easier method for organizing and no I'm not telling. Plus after you've done enough you just know how any given system is built and what screw goes where.

14049752
06-19-2009, 01:40 AM
There is a far easier method for organizing and no I'm not telling.


Why? Is your business going to suffer so terribly much by revealing how you organize screws? Is it some super-top-secret method? I doubt it.

ITG Tech
06-19-2009, 02:29 AM
I gues he wants you to beg him befire he will spill his trade secrets. My, I thought this was a share with fellow fixers forum, not "I know something that you don't know". Oh well, I did get a lot of ideas from the other post.

AtYourService
06-19-2009, 02:58 AM
i have a rectangle shaped plastic drawer and i put the screws in it lined up the same position where i took them out

MrUnknown
06-19-2009, 03:10 AM
usacvlr probably does my current method, I put each screw in a laptop shaped jello mold and let it set in the freezer.

I actually usually try to put the screws into the item they were removed from when possible. Like if I remove a LCD, I put the screws into the hinges that they came from. If that isn't possible, I tape it to the component it came from.

breadtrk
06-19-2009, 12:32 PM
I use an egg carton or 2 or 3. I have most of the manuals and just download if it is a new model. Each step or component goes into a different egg hole. Revers order putting it back together.

usacvlr
06-19-2009, 08:42 PM
I'm a mail order and local business so sorry guys but some of you may be my competition. Some of you may have forgotten that yourselves. The guy down the street may be reading this. I'm very vague on here usually. You don't make a living giving out secrets.

No the thing with the mold idea is not it but that's clever. I did the old taping screws to paper method when I started out on laptops 3 years ago. But anyway, yes there is a trick of the trade which will eventually dawn on anyone who does enough of these. One thing is that every single laptop goes together essentially the same and once you realize the order in which it does you will never put a long screw in a short screw space etc. The only systems that do not fit the standard model are Sony and Fujitsu but after doing enough of them you will have them completely apart in 5 to 10 minutes and back together in the same.

Anyone who does anything long enough learns skills unique to their niche and those are valuable to have. Once you learn them your work will be blazingly fast because of it. A good magician never reveals his secrets.

One area that makes me cringe when I see attempted repairs are people's soldering jobs. I have seen the worst soldering on power jacks. Essentially everything you learned out of a do it yourself soldering book is wrong. Heating the joint first and applying solder to the joint will not work. Experiment with rosin core solder and you'll learn why. A dirty joint conducts no heat and will melt no solder.

I don't even let other techs in the area into my local shop and I will rarely take anything apart in front of anyone. My walk in business is nothing fancy, a few very sturdy wood/steel folding tables and long power strip runners, an oscilloscope, a couple of multimeters a good soldering station, an imaging pc, my software repair tool library on thumb drives, some special hand tools and that's about it excluding the point of sale system etc. Your primary tool in any business is your knowledge and experience. It's not your certifications and it's not your learned theory(in case of electronics). It's your troubleshooting ability and logical thinking skills. If you have those then you will beat any cert test answer memorizer any day.


Why? Is your business going to suffer so terribly much by revealing how you organize screws? Is it some super-top-secret method? I doubt it.

usacvlr
06-19-2009, 08:43 PM
That's a good method too. Not what I do but certainly clever!

I use an egg carton or 2 or 3. I have most of the manuals and just download if it is a new model. Each step or component goes into a different egg hole. Revers order putting it back together.

arrow_runner
06-19-2009, 08:58 PM
@usacvlr Oh how I hate Sony...

14049752
06-19-2009, 09:01 PM
If you don't want to reveal your "secret" method of organizing screws, that's fine. Nobody really cares. It's not necessary to make a post that says "There's a better way but I won't tell"...it's really kind of childish.

Now, if someone asked something that really mattered, like say a partnership with a supplier that gives you a major advantage, and you didn't want to disclose that...sure.... but something like organizing screws? Nobody's going to send you work because you're some genius screw organizer.

AtYourService
06-20-2009, 05:29 AM
i give out all my secrets, thats what this site is all about, im not in this business to be a millionaire, i just make a living doing what i like to do
i even had competition in my shop the other day and i showed him around and even gave him pointers on the best methods for spyware removal. id rather see more people in our field that know what the hell they are doing and not raping the customers with ****** overpriced work.

yea you fix laptops but youre not gonna go belly up because you told someone on a forum how the hell you kept your screws in order

Crgky127
06-20-2009, 05:34 AM
A good magician never reveals his secrets.

I know exactly what you mean, as I studied magic for over 10 years, and nowadays I often refrain from posting techniques I use in this job. However a good magician also doesn't rub into the audiences faces 'I know something you don't know, nan na nah na nah'. Just do the trick, and don't talk about how you aren't going to tell the secret. We shouldn't post everything on this forum, as it is public to competitors and customers, but what we do post should have a point.

usacvlr
06-20-2009, 06:34 AM
The point was to make people think about how they go about disassembly. The screw thing is huge. A high quality low torque high speed clutched cordless screwdriver with a narrow shank is also critical. I'll say this much. There are exactly 10 major categories of screws in EVERY laptop with the exception being Sony and Thinkpads/Lenovo. You figure out the categories and you will make your life easier. You really only notice the pattern after doing quite a few but once you do it really makes things so much faster. There are other gimmicks that are unique to certain series or models like how to disassemble only what you need to etc. I fillet them like fish...It's basically my whole living with the occasional desktop build or repair.

I know exactly what you mean, as I studied magic for over 10 years, and nowadays I often refrain from posting techniques I use in this job. However a good magician also doesn't rub into the audiences faces 'I know something you don't know, nan na nah na nah'. Just do the trick, and don't talk about how you aren't going to tell the secret. We shouldn't post everything on this forum, as it is public to competitors and customers, but what we do post should have a point.

LunchBox
06-20-2009, 07:51 AM
WOW I wonder what it would be like to work in your shop. The best soldering, best technique for removing screws etc and I really mean it.

BUT

I understand since you do mail order stuff probably all of us are your competition. I've worked with techs who don't share and I've gotten used to it.

But as it was said. Why say there is a better way, your way but you wont share. It would be better to not say anything or you can keep your secret but reveal something that wont hurt your business. The comment about helping each other is correct but since you can't why post when you know you can't?

There are people here who been working on PCs for 15+ years and you got better tricks from only 3 years?

You maybe you are one of the lucky ones that makes it to the end on being prideful or you may be one of those that the pride is got brought them down.

I sent you a PM asking to share you to give me some tips. You didn't ever respond with a "sorry it is a trade secret because of blah blah blah" I would have understood that and not thought anything negative about a comment like that. I am very fair and understanding but add you not responding anything my PM and what you entered here and it is just wrong.

What else . . . . I think thats all for now.

seedubya
06-20-2009, 01:15 PM
At this point, I'd just like to chime in in support to usacvlr. He has contributed far more to this board, particularly about laptops, than I have, for instance. Almost all of his posts are succinct, to the point and correct. If he says he was just trying to get people to think, without handing them his hard-earned techniques on a plate, then I believe him 100%. Furthermore, many members here have sent work to him and had nothing but praise for his services.

BerthaControl
06-20-2009, 03:05 PM
THank YOU! I have been placing them in a plastic holder for the past few weeks. Although they were all together, I had a tendency to spill them all over the place...and of course there is the whole "trial and error" phase when trying to place them back into the appropriate slot. It may sound lame, but I had never really thought of doing that before! I tried tape once, no luck. Thank you so much.

angry_geek
06-20-2009, 06:29 PM
Really? Getting personal over a method to organize screws? Find the method that works best for you.

Like usacvlr, I have taken apart a good deal of laptops. It takes me about 5 - 10 minutes to strip one down these days for most models. Most of the screws I leave in place as I lift the various parts out of the way. However, like usacvlr said, once you've taken apart enough of them, you start to remember which screws go where. A lot of the time I just throw them in a plastic container.

arrow_runner
06-20-2009, 07:36 PM
Actually, I PMed usacvlr for his secret, and he just sent me this picture....

338



j/k :D

NYJimbo
06-20-2009, 07:41 PM
Actually, I PMed usacvlr for his secret, and he just sent me this picture....

(picture removed)

j/k :D

Actually those are all the "extra" screws he had after doing re-assembles.

"Damn computer companies with all their unnecessary extra screws and stuff. "

angry_geek
06-20-2009, 07:48 PM
Just like a car repair, you always have a couple of left over parts. No big deal.:D

Kenhelms
06-21-2009, 10:42 PM
lol wow a trade secret that is about screw organizing.....


Personally i just use a foam block to stick em into. Kind of along the lines of the paper earlier discussed.

usacvlr
06-22-2009, 03:29 AM
I said I'd been working on laptops for 3 years.
I've been playing with computers since before you were probably born and working on ibm compat PCs since about 95.

WOW I wonder what it would be like to work in your shop. The best soldering, best technique for removing screws etc and I really mean it.

BUT

I understand since you do mail order stuff probably all of us are your competition. I've worked with techs who don't share and I've gotten used to it.

But as it was said. Why say there is a better way, your way but you wont share. It would be better to not say anything or you can keep your secret but reveal something that wont hurt your business. The comment about helping each other is correct but since you can't why post when you know you can't?

There are people here who been working on PCs for 15+ years and you got better tricks from only 3 years?

You maybe you are one of the lucky ones that makes it to the end on being prideful or you may be one of those that the pride is got brought them down.

I sent you a PM asking to share you to give me some tips. You didn't ever respond with a "sorry it is a trade secret because of blah blah blah" I would have understood that and not thought anything negative about a comment like that. I am very fair and understanding but add you not responding anything my PM and what you entered here and it is just wrong.

What else . . . . I think thats all for now.

usacvlr
06-22-2009, 03:34 AM
har har very funny.
10 categories folks. Every laptop has the same ten. You can make up whatever name you want for each category but it is key. The reason it's key is because it aids in disassembly and assembly until you just know the models by heart and it prevents the problem I've seen all too often which is a guy puts a long screw in a short screw place and magically a white pimple appears on the palmrest area.... I've done it too early on. You can remove those pimples with a hard flat tool to push them back down.

Actually, I PMed usacvlr for his secret, and he just sent me this picture....

338



j/k :D

usacvlr
06-22-2009, 03:36 AM
There is such a thing as the 'appendix screw' in a laptop but personally it's an honor thing. I hate to leave out a screw but I can see if you're in a major hurry you could leave out between 3 and 5 in most systems and not hurt anything. More than that and you are structurally weakening it or your're going to get vibration etc. With the category method you won't leave out a screw ever if you stick to the method and don't change your categories.

Just like a car repair, you always have a couple of left over parts. No big deal.:D

usacvlr
06-22-2009, 03:38 AM
I was once told by a russian guy at a company I worked for that in this business everything is tricks and everything is secrets. The category method is so important to the beginning laptop repair person you just have no idea. I'm not giving out the names though. That's 75% of it. Unless you've done as many as I have you just have no idea how important speed is and organization is CRUCIAL to speed.

Jory
06-22-2009, 05:17 AM
Edit: reread your post and my lame zinger was even lamer than I realized because I misread the first time