Friday, April 03, 2015

The Dell Inspiron 6400/E1505 hinge switch is easy to remove

My laptop would sometimes wake up from sleep while closed. After some searching online I learned about the hinge switch. Replacement switches are inexpensive, but the replacement procedure seemed complicated and involved removing the top half of the laptop.

After opening up the laptop, I found that the switch can be removed without removing the top half. Just the hinge cover and keyboard are in the way. After unplugging the switch cable beneath the keyboard, the switch can be carefully manoeuvred out.

The hinge cover was the worst part. It's easy to open the screen 180 degrees and pry it up via the slot on the right, but the clips at the left side didn't disengage easily. I was afraid I would break something, but after looking at some videos I just continued, with carefully distributed force and some wiggling. The keyboard is easy to move out of the way, with just two screws at the top and easy pry points near Backspace and Esc. There is no need to unplug it, but be careful to not put stress on the flexible cable.

I also tightened screws connecting hinges to the bottom part of the laptop. They were a bit loose and this improved things, but the plastic itself flexes anyways. The top half would need to be opened up to tighten the hinge screws there, and that involves a lot of plastic clips.

I simply took the switch out and didn't replace it. I don't think I'll miss it. It's such a tiny delicate thing! Whoever designed that part of the laptop is an idiot. I assumed they would be using a magnet and reed switch or hall effect sensor.

This picture is with the switch removed. Its location is behind the black sleeved WiFi antenna cables where they enter the top half. The oval shape of the plastic where the wires enter actuates the switch.

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