Air's hinge area got upgraded a year ago?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by thinkdesign, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. thinkdesign macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    I had a chance to send a candid question to a Genius via one of his relatives, and today I got the answer back.

    I asked if there was any evidence that the current Air's hinge/hinge area got any hidden design strengthening... as maybe shown with new part numbers?

    I'm not vouching for this, but the answer I got back was "yes". With some extra info I hadn't asked for thrown in.... about a supposedly improved tendency to honor the warranty too... which the "known issue" admission alone didn't really pin down.

    Through the intermediary, unfortunately I can't keep going back with follow-up questions to get more precise answers.

    But it's a key bit of info on an improved hinge/area that I didn't have, before.


    (So this now tilts me away from the older $1,349. refurb model "value", towards a new or current-model-refurb 2.13 Ghz one. And I'll then at those prices I'll surely have to skip the next upgrade... Oi. Maybe my timing will be better, next time.)
  2. stoconnell macrumors 6502

    Mar 22, 2009
    Rockville (Despite REM's plea.)

    Hinge replacement policy:
  3. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    The question wasn't a policy one, it was a design one.

    In other words, are my odds of avoiding this nightmare the same or reduced with recently produced Air units.

    I do not want a computer whose case disintegrates, and then on paper the policy is ok we'll honor the warranty".

    Like most consumers, I want a computer that doesn't fall apart, to begin with. I'm just funny that way :eek:

    So... I wasn't discussing a policy question.

    Unless Apple adopts a policy of testing case designs adequately, before selling them. If every Ikea store can have testing machines on display... they can't be too expensive for Apple to buy a few!
  4. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    he's wrong

    part numbers have not changed, the part is the same

    i have had 2.13 hinges 6 months old come in for repair, and did not show any signs of abuse.
  5. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    MacModMachine: Thank you for that info.

    Do we know for sure that the "hinge" (by which I mean, the part not normally visible, I think it's a cylinder shape, probably w/ 2 "arms" as part of it)... is what actually breaks?

    This uncertainty is why I haven't called this "the hinge problem" as many do, but rather "the hinge area problem."

    I have not gotten far in studying this. Didn't get to ask the 'genius' follow-up questions. Never saw an actually broken Air.

    But the pictures avd videos I've seen, seem to show the two solid aluminum halves of the bottom (keyboard) part being pried apart. As if perhaps whatever screw pulls those aluminum slabs together is insufficient. It appears to me like the lower hinge arm is acting like a tiny crow bar, or pry bar. And then 1, 2, 3, 4 parts get damaged?

    Do we know for sure that any possible remedy to this design-detailing problem, would HAVE to involve a new part # for a different hinge?

    If you happen to know..... I'd be curious to see the whole list of parts that gets replaced in one of these repairs.

    My familiarity with hinges doesn't include laptop applications. But generally it seems that hinges are often stronger than what they're attached to. For example, screw a hinge to a big or small wood door, and what can go wrong tends to trace back to the relative softness of the wood.

    Aluminum is a soft metal. It would not surprise me at all if the Air's problem is that soft metal isn't an easy thing to attach a hinge to. Esp. since the air has less of that soft aluminum, than the mbPro.

    Assuming the hinge arms are steel, is there a detail to avoid a dialectric effect between the 2 different metals? Or is it so minor, they can ignore that?
  6. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

    Jun 11, 2010
  7. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows CE; IEMobile 7.11) Sprint PPC6850SP)

    $120. !!! Wow, that's some markup. In one hardware catalog, I saw a Japanese hdwe. company selling their version of these (which probable wouldn't fit), for under $5. a pair.

    They throw in the antenna cover, why, because that typically gets damaged too? But they're not throwing in those postage-stamp-sized hinge covers or whatever they're called. Which seem to loosen up with sideways play, in ".the hinge problem". They don't get damaged? Hmmmm.

    We need for some enterprising media outlet to publish an interview with an indy Mac repair expert, on this.

    I feel your pain. I don't want to be a volunteer quality control inspector for a wealthy corporation, either. I just want to be a customer, buying a reliably-designed and pre-tested product.

    All things considered ... I'm heading to the casino... I mean the Edison NJ Apple store (a town w/ a half sales tax deal; cuts the 7% tax in half) in a few days.
  8. astrosan macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2009
    latest model: hinge is no better

    I am sorry to say that my 2.13 GHz, SSD macbook air does have a hinge problem and is awaiting repair after less than a year of use.

    I was also hoping that version C had the bugs fixed :(
  9. H3241234 macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2010
    My 2.13 Air which is less than a year old also has this problem.

    It easily falls closed from a 30 degree angle and falls back when I have it in a normal position too.

    Can they replace just the hinges or does it involve swapping the top shell and screen?
  10. darrellishere macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2007
    They replace the entire shell. My replaced screen/hinge is much tighter, but I miss the extended viewing angles.
  11. thinkdesign thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 12, 2010
    Yeah, the Air's max. angle's designed a bit short.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the thickness limitation at that end of the case? The thicker MacBook Pros seem to have hinges that are (by now at least), what they should be, right?

    In hinge design, concealment means complexity escalates. Concealed hinges tend to be smaller, when a smaller max. angle of opening is required. Did Apple bump up against the limits of feasibility in the Air's hinge angle for a certain case thickness, but the overall thickness was already set in stone by Jobs; so that diagram of thicknesses Jobs used in the intro speech - comparing the Air to the Sony "won", and hinge functionality had to yield?
    The photographer posting in this thread was one of many who nailed the relationship between a slightly too small max. opening angle, and people presuming the screen can go back a little more and thus frequently pushing up against that limit. Thus causing the durability problem?
    In the stores, I never see anyone pushing the MBP's screens up against their hinge's range-of-motion limit.
    If a hinge will have it's limit pushed-on so much, then its design (and the design of whatever the hinge anchors into) needs to be strengthened in that specific part of the hinge's design.
    (And time-compressing mechanical testing must be done, especially for the Air, which it's obvious Apple didn't do.)

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