Replacing laptop bottom screws

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Mark_Cangila
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Replacing laptop bottom screws

Postby Mark_Cangila » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:27 pm UTC

I've been having some problems recently with my laptop. It's the Acer Aspire V5-561p-3875. It has been really flimsy and close to breaking. I also have seen loose screws after using it a couple times but thought nothing of them. However, I now checked the bottom and almost every screw is missing. I'm surprised it hasn't broken yet. Out of 17 screws only 5 remain. I tried to look it up, but I couldn't figure out what size screw I need or where I can get them. I found one thread here, but I'm not sure which screws are for the ODD, and what the M notation means. Does anyone know what type of screw I need, and where I can get it?

cphite
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Re: Replacing laptop bottom screws

Postby cphite » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:42 pm UTC

Mark_Cangila wrote:I've been having some problems recently with my laptop. It's the Acer Aspire V5-561p-3875. It has been really flimsy and close to breaking. I also have seen loose screws after using it a couple times but thought nothing of them. However, I now checked the bottom and almost every screw is missing. I'm surprised it hasn't broken yet. Out of 17 screws only 5 remain. I tried to look it up, but I couldn't figure out what size screw I need or where I can get them. I found one thread here, but I'm not sure which screws are for the ODD, and what the M notation means. Does anyone know what type of screw I need, and where I can get it?


The "M" stands for metric. M2.5x8.0 would be a screw that fits a 2.5mm hole, and is 8.0mm thread length.

You could check out this website: http://www.laptopscrews.com/Sizing.htm You can buy from them direct or just use them as a reference.

Be sure to measure both the head and overall length of one you already have, because those can vary - it doesn't have to be exact, but it needs fit the enclosure. You want to avoid anything longer than what you have - slightly shorter might be okay. If you click on the size on the website it'll show you a list of screws that match that size - you can compare to what you have. Be aware that metric screws are actually named for the hole they're intended to fit - not for the diameter of the shaft. In other words, an M2.5 is intended to fit a hole that is 2.5mm wide, so the shaft itself is about 2.4mm wide.

If you can't find anything that matches what you have, you can email them and they may be able to point you in the right direction; Acer is common enough.

Another route you can try is contacting Acer support directly and ask them to send you some; I don't know if Acer will do that, but I've had luck with both Dell and Lenovo so it might be worth a try. Or, if there is someplace local that sells or services Acer laptops, they might be willing to sell or even give you a few.

One last note... most of the screws you'll find will be .45 pitch but be sure to visually compare any new ones with an old one before attempting to install; you don't want to strip anything.

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Soupspoon
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Re: Replacing laptop bottom screws

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:54 pm UTC

(Ninjaed, but I've written it, so posting. Any conflicting info might well be down to my error/bad editing. Will check myself once posted.)

M-notation means it's in metric.

The number immediately after the M itself is the major diameter of the screw-thread in mm (easier than the #0 to #10 grades in imperial). The minor diameter (the depth within the screwthread) is usually not mentioned as it is a factor of the major one (thread-'heights', side to side).

This is usually followed by the thread pitch of the screwthread (as threads-per-inch in the imperial version of the notation) of mm/thread, i.e. distance between each turn of the thread.
(Edit: Yeah, if there's no smaller number after the diameter on, then it probably jumps from diameter to length and skips the (presumed standard) pitch for that particular screw-size. But worth trying to find out in both threads/mm and mm/thread to try to make a definitive match between subtly but importantly different products.!)

Then usually follows the length of the screw. Some variations (e.g. major-diametered smooth barrelling for part of the length, for screws used to hold rotating parts together like a screen hinge) might have more complexity, but I doubt this relevance to you.


If you have access to a micrometer (especially a pitch-depth one), vernier-caliper or similar measurer, take one of the surviving screws out (remembering where you took it from!) and see what its radius and pitch might be. A simple mm-graduated ruler (ideally steel, or from a good quality plastic graphical design set) can be used for this if you have a steady eye and hand or something with nice hard right-angled edges to assist you to read the diameter above the resting tangent. I imagine it'd be a whole- (or, at worst, half-) millimetre resolution of value that you'd need to discern. Thread-length may be to the nearest 5mm, unless it's 12mm.

If in doubt, take the laptop or at least a sample screw (of each known type, see below) to a suitable hardware store/device repair for their advice (and, if they can, to purchase from/through them to make it worth their while) and make it easy to check you're getting the right item. Align two screws anti-parallel (adjacent axes flush, screw-heads at each end top'n'tailing over the tapping end) and you should be able to check for any differences in pitch/etc.

The head being spade/cross/posidrive or something more exotic (e.g hex-star, with or without 'security' middle pin - unlikely on a laptop but maybe a concern if they do exist) doesn't matter so much as the style of the head, being possibly flatly cylindrical, countersunk-like of a form of rounded flattened dome (apart from the screwdriver depression) and how it fits onto/into the case depression, though if you match the latter you probably match the former. And there's plenty of 'hobby' miniature screwdriver sets that contain any or all tip-types you might need, if you don't already have one, perhaps hanging off a keyring loop. ;)


Without looking up your model, I'd expect screws to be grouped into case-closing screws (screw into the case-top/keyboard side case) and component-holding (holds the mobo assembly down, maybe the keyboard subunit if it's designed to remove without opening the case itself) and side-module anchoring (undo to slide the HDD/optical drivemetc chassis out the side) and they may be marked on the underside plastic with different raised 'hint' text, each of these being a different spec (typically length) of screw. So getting umpteen case-screws might not help if you also need to replace the screw that stops something internal from rattling, etc.

Also address why the screws are lost. Usually they've been undone during (or in the attempt to) opening the laptop for repair, and insufficiently tightened or lose the factory-given 'stiction' (rubber/wax layer) explicitly meant to stop them jiggling loose. If there was a small nut on the inside it could have come out of its seating. Other times they've been over-tightened, stripping some or all of the internal thread they need to hold in (if in molded/self-tapped plastic receiving hole, rather than a metal plug-nut). Though it's also possible to lose screws that have been static since the factory, post-purchase fixes tend to exasurbate the tendency to work loose again.

Apart from the lost (presumably not still rattling around) nut or completely stripped internal thread, a very small coating of rubber-solution might re-establish enough friction to delay the reloss of the replacement screw (and might help with other mismatches, but don't rely on it) by absorbing mechanical shocks that might loosen them again.

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Mark_Cangila
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Re: Replacing laptop bottom screws

Postby Mark_Cangila » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:12 pm UTC

It's starting to click really badly. Also, would somewhere like best buy know how to fix it? I have no clue why they keep falling out. I think it is shock if the carrying bag hits the ground too hard on the side.

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Re: Replacing laptop bottom screws

Postby Soupspoon » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:40 pm UTC

Click? As in high frequency fan-rub/spokey-dokey-like? Random mechanical sounds when sat still (possibly accompanying hard disk access)? A rattle when you manhandle it (on or off)? Speaking of which, it sounds like you throw it around (comparatively). Maybe invest in a better bag that stops you throwing it around and cushions it more when you do. But first make sure you have a laptop worth saving.

Some (most!) of those things need more attention than mere missing screws. But you can at least get them sorted while solving this 'new' problem.

No idea about Best Buy. Maybe they have a Tech Guys-type desk in them (like Currys/PC World electrical retailers do over here, but they don't sound like electrical+electronic specialists to that extent). I wouldn't know where to look, but you should be able to find a competent small-workshop computer-wrangler of some kind, these days, in your town or at least the next one over, in most parts of the world that have something like Best Buy selling them. (Maybe also some incompetent ones, of course. Hard to tell you how to tell the difference. Messy workspaces are far from a counter-indicator, and clean counters do not necessarily mean a workable workshop.)

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Mark_Cangila
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Re: Replacing laptop bottom screws

Postby Mark_Cangila » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:51 am UTC

I managed to find a store that sold screws. The screws were not exact but enough of them fit that I now have no flimsiness in my laptop and no noises. The clicking was a loud click, sorta like a pen, when I extended my screen. It is also gone.

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Re: Replacing laptop bottom screws

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:06 pm UTC

Well, sounds good (so far). Often laptop screens are hinged with deliberate friction between the hinge-plates (to keep the screen isat the chosen open angle), and maybe the laptop screws in the base case that were missing allowed the base hinge plate halves to move excessively in their seats when positioning the screen open or lowering it flush (or letting a remaining screw in a half-broken thread socket ranchet over its socket's thread with lateral movement). There's clicks and clicks, but now I know it's (probably) not some of the others…

Not the worst problem*, and if the additional screws are doing their jobs then it probably is 'fixed' for the foreseeable future. Keep an eye(/ear) on it, and don't stress it beyond what you really need to, is my advice now. If any more screws (re)ping out then the trick with the sparing amount of rubber solution might prevent that tendency for the successive screw, but perhaps ask around for tech-guy recommendations first.

(Remote repair of laptop hardware, and casing at that, isn't an exact science. I'd normally suggest I might take a personal look as at least a once-over - not that I'm even the best laptop repairer that I know, locally - but that's a marginal possibility at best given geographical/economic impediments in this case and there's no point even directing you at the person I am sure could give you the most comprehensive check-up at the best mates-rates, return international ticket on the airline of choice excepted. ;))


* Unless it leads to the multicore chord powering and dataing the screen (and similarly powering and return-dataing a lid-based camwra and mike) to be strained or trapped or worn. You've probably escaped that, though, if you haven't noticed screen-flicker already. They tend to put the cluster of wires in a safe 'hingeless' bit of the hinge and/or thread through hinge-axial grommits.


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