A New Lease Of Life For Laptop

Remember the broken laptop? I fixed it today. All thanks to Tyron Barrett who suggested I try Service Source. Repair it myself wasn't something that had crossed my mind until then. I'd thought about sending it away, but knew that would pricey and take a while.

Yesterday afternoon I called Service Source and told them my hinges had broken. They told me what I needed (ASSY, CVR, LCD, BK, 14000 (INC. HINGES), which I should have known) and it arrived this morning. It only took my 20 minutes to fix and cost £41. Not only is the hinge fixed, but the cover stays shut now, which it didn't use to. It's like a new machine.

That is, it looks new if you ignore the scratches and scrapes I added to it this morning. Google couldn't find me any information about removing lids of Inspiron 4100 so I had to work it out myself. What I didn't realise is that each of the four sticky feet on each corner of the screen hides a screw (as you can see in the picture). This is where you should start, not by trying to prize the top layer off with a screwdriver, like I did. Once you got this lower part off it's fairly obvious how to remove the rest.

This leaves me in a funny situation. I no longer have the excuse to buy myself that T42 ThinkPad, but I do have the desire to buy one. Looks like I'll have to wait for another excuse. Probably the next piece of work I get that involves being on site. Anybody need a consultant for a few days?


    • avatar
    • Bob
    • Wed 17 Nov 2004 09:06

    Good to see there are plenty of bits of food in the keyboard. A sign of a proper geek!

    • avatar
    • Michael
    • Wed 17 Nov 2004 10:04

    A real geek would remove the keypads and give the clean underneath with an aeroduster and cotton swab. :)

    It take a little practice, but the keys press back on very easily.

    • avatar
    • Blop
    • Wed 17 Nov 2004 10:30

    I was going to solve your problem by offerring to buy your laptop - but now you've told us about prizing "the top layer off with a screwdriver" ...

  1. I beg to differ on the Dell 4100 keycaps. They are not always so easy to press back on. The spring and plastic hinge mechanism underneath the cap breaks quite easily.


  2. Bought an IBM R51 yesterday - a good one, I must say

    • avatar
    • Marcin
    • Wed 17 Nov 2004 15:32

    Obviously too late now, but Dell provides detailed service manuals in PDF of all their PCs (laptop or desktop) on their support site. Was very useful when a few years ago I managed to get OJ into my out of warranty Inspiron 3500.

    Managed to get it all back together with only one left over screw!

  3. What about come to Brazil and help us with some new web applictions?

    • avatar
    • Chris King
    • Wed 17 Nov 2004 22:50

    How about this for an excuse? Use the old screen for a new projector and buy the new laptop. {Link}

    • avatar
    • Jake
    • Thu 18 Nov 2004 11:10

    Doh, I should have know to look on Dell. Here's the page Google didn't find for me: {Link}

  4. Hi Jake, glad I could be of help - I ordered a replacement LCD casing myself a few days ago, but it's taking slightly longer for them to source it for me. I have used Service Source in the past, however, and find them quite helpful in replacing broken plastic bits on my Dell laptops.

    Mind you, this time I had the foresight to put my new laptop order in BEFORE fixing my existing one! I'm now using a shiny new Inspiron 9100 which doesn't have all the screwdriver scrapes which my last one did (sound familiar?!)

  5. dell latitude cpi, laptop keyboard problems!!!

    Does anyone know of a site that shows u how

    to remove keyboard???

    the keys ASDFJKL; have stopped working whilst on holiday in the carribean, a friend said all i have to do is re-insert keyboard cable!!!

    Im a pc person soo i dont know where to start and the WWW aint helping !!!


  6. My Inspiron 4150 just split a hinge... yours was one of the first sites I found via Google, it helped demystify the whole thing quite a bit. It reassured me that I can do this myself.

    Here's hoping my newfound confidence is warranted!

    I only wonder if Service Source has a good American equivalent...

    Thanks for the insightful post,

    Thomas B

  7. Looks like eBay has individual hinges for $9.99 (USD)!

    • avatar
    • NG
    • Thu 11 May 2006 12:42 AM

    In the initial post here it is mentioned that the hinges are easy to replace, it said "Once you got this lower part off it's fairly obvious how to remove the rest."

    Are these instructions enough to try and replace the hinge (in my case the right one of Inspiron 4150 is broken). or are there any other detailed instructions I can get from somewhere ?



    • avatar
    • kate
    • Sat 10 Jun 2006 05:53 PM

    How can everyone be dropping orange juice and pepsi and coffee on there keyboard and it still works. Help. I had a few loose keys on my dell inspiron 4100. I took them off to fix them. I cleaned under them with a Q-tip and alcohol and now the thing doesn't work. I did this one other time with no problem. I know it's the keyboard because I connected and external one and it worked fin. Dell said the keyboard is shot and I need to send it in. I asked him if I could do it myself and he said no. I think I can. About a third of the keys still work, the rest don't. I only had 5 keys off to clean. Does anyone have any ideas other than replacing the keyboard?

    • avatar
    • Lorn
    • Wed 5 Jul 2006 06:20 PM

    I want to thank the previous poster for suggesting how easy it was to replace the hindges. apparently its a design flaw and for (now £50) I too have a new notebook

    again thanks

    • avatar
    • Rose
    • Sat 22 Jul 2006 01:30 PM

    It's pretty easy to replace the keyboard. I replaced mine without any problem after looking at Dell's technical support site (to locate the correct screws). What's not easy is getting a new keyboard from Dell that actually works correctly. My new one is dead on the left side of the spacebar. And I need a new battery again... sigh... it's always something :)

    • avatar
    • www.gemtech.info
    • Mon 20 Nov 2006 09:40 PM

    kate, when you applied alcohol to your keyboard, some of it probably seeped down in-between the the plastic layers that make up your keyboard's pressure switches. It is possible that this will dry after a month or so. Otherwise, it probably caused some corrosion on one of the button contacts or one of the trace wires. You have learned the hard way not to put liquid on your keybaord. To clean it, use compressed air. I have used something called "contact cleaner" on a regular cheap ass PC keyboard to fix a sticky key. Avoid removing your laptop keys. Many people do this and the key never goes back on correctly.

    • avatar
    • yudi
    • Tue 23 Jan 2007 08:18 AM


    I got some problem with my inspiron 4100. i buy it as 2nd hand customer. then i got the problem when i want to setup the configure, because it was protected by passsword. can I dissable the the password. I dont know the password and to who I must contact.

    would you help me to solve it?

    need your fast response.


    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Sun 14 Oct 2007 04:34 PM

    Brilliant! My laptop has a broken hinge too! Now I won't be taking it to the dump.

    • avatar
    • Nomi
    • Mon 22 Oct 2007 11:16 AM

    Hi Guys - found this via Google - seems very helpful but anyone know where to get the parts and instructions on how to do it now as i noticed most of the posts are a few years old!! My 4150's hinges have just gone on me - but my laptop is my life and business so really need to get it working again i would welcome any advice thanks

    • avatar
    • Mike
    • Tue 23 Oct 2007 03:18 PM

    Well, my part finally arrived today, and I was able to replace it fairly easily, and now my laptop is fully restored to it's former self. As per the original post, I ordered my part (online) from: {Link}

    It took me a while to actually find the part on the website (I think I searched for "hinge" or something). But the part number is "ASSY, CVR, LCD, BK, 14000 (INC. HINGES)".

    I was surprised that the item included the whole laptop cover, and not just the hinge, but no matter. There is no need to disassemble the whole laptop in order to replace it, as just the cover (and hinges) gets replaced. The trickiest bit was removing the frame surrounding the screen, because it has to be prised open (after the screws have been removed). It snaps back into place during assembly, by squeezing the edges.

    The only thing I found disconcerting was that I couldn't screw the screen back onto the metal frame - I couldn't find any screw holes. And my screen is only being held in place by the plastic frame. But maybe it is supposed to be like that, I wasn't paying enough attention during disassembly! In any case, it seems secure enough.

    Thanks again, for the info. I've now also replaced the battery, hard drive and upgraded the memory. So I think this laptop has a few more years left in it. Not bad considering it was made in 2001!

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Written by Jake Howlett on Wed 17 Nov 2004

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