Dropped MBA, hits ground, goes BOOM!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by danrel, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. danrel macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #1
    Hi everybody,

    This is my first post on MacRumors, but I'm a longtime onlooker :)

    Yesterday I had a terrible accident with my MBA. I was walking up the stairs in my home with my MBA open and when I reached the second to last stair, I tripped and dropped the MBA square on the floor. There was a loud >SNAP!< and the display was flat on the floor. In other words, whatever mechanism there was in the hinges that regulated its' opening angle has broken. I can now open the MBA all the way up so that the display is flat with the keyboard, etc.(Like how most Dell lappys can be opened). I took it apart, again, and could not find any loose parts of any sort.

    My question is this: Has anyone else experienced this? And if so, could this in any way damage the system any further? So far the MBA seems to work fine, the display still looks great, the hinges still have a lot of tension in them and to be quite honest, I like the fact that I can now open it so much wider when surfing the web in bed.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. drlunanerd macrumors 65816

    drlunanerd

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Blimey, sounds like you were lucky!
    I'm always gingerly if I'm carrying a laptop open.

    Not sure if whatever broke is important (e.g. you may end up chafing the wires that enter the display via the hinge over time). Could check iFixit.com.
     
  3. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #3
    Hi drlunanerd,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I don't think that the hinges are in danger of chafing the displays power/display cables as I've taken it apart and took a good long look at the display cables and how they are connected to the rest of the lappy. The cables seems loose enough to where they wouldn't be stretched or even really touch the inside of the hinge, where they go in at.

    I've read in another forum where something similar happened to another MBA owner. One person on that forum suggested that there is no reason that the MBAs display is restricted to its opening angle for any reason other than the fact that it could, and probably would result in a lot of tipped over laptops... That sounds feasible enough to me, but I still can't help but to be paranoid.

    I guess if the display does fail in the future due to this accident, then I may just end up making a very small desktop out of the MBAs innards. Might be worth a try. I'm actually in the process currently of creating a 'Super Mac mini' with a custom case, liquid cooling, the works. So another nifty mod might not be a bad idea if all else fails.

    Thanks again for your reply!
     

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  4. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

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  5. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    #5
    Maybe you can find takeapart photos on the internet somewhere that shows the mechanism that restricts how far back you can tilt the display.

    Just a guess, but I'd say it's some plastic nub somewhere on or by the hinge. I guess if you didn't find the broken piece when you took apart the MBA, it might have been lost on impact.

    There must be some reason not to tilt your MBA display back so far, so I'd do it carefully and infrequently. But I suppose you should enjoy your new found flexibility!
     
  6. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

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    #6
    I would suggest doing something to the outer casing v. the actual MBAir casing...
     
  7. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    That's just the OEM aluminum case. There's no after market case on it...The reflection off of the display bezel makes it appear as though there is a case, but it's just an illusion.....
     
  8. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
    Thanks for your response iSee!

    I read in a post on another forum where someone suggested that the display tilt restriction is most likely due to the weight of the laptop itself. It's so light, but the display itself is still somewhat heavy so there is the chance that if you had the display tilted too far back that the laptop could possibly fall backward, causing damage to the laptop. Sounds pretty likely to me...
     
  9. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

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    Location:
    San Francisco California, USA
    #9
    Gawd, it sure is deceiving from that angle. :eek: Is there any other physical damage to your MBAir?
     
  10. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #10
    No, none that I can tell. The grey plastic airport/bluetooth antennae cover isn't cracked or damaged whatsoever. I've taken the bottom off and looked around, but I couldn't find anything loose or out of place. Plus that was about the third time that I've taken the back off for cleaning/switching out the thermal paste for some worthwhile Arctic Silver 5. Sorry about that rant :).....but no, nothing else seems to be damaged at all.

    If you open the case all the way, the very back lip of the display bezel will scratch against the back of the case where the aforementioned grey plastic piece and the aluminum bottom case meet. I easily remedied this by placing two strips of the soft rubber from the bottom of an iPhone dock right where the bezel scratches the bottom casing.

    -danrel
     
  11. Acorn macrumors 68020

    Acorn

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    Jan 2, 2009
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    macrumors
    #11
    thats kinda cool. not that you dropped it but that it opens all the way. I have a black macbook and always hated the restriction of being able to open it only a certain amount.

    glad it worked out for you
     
  12. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #12
    I can drop it while it's open for you if you'd like. I seem to be good at that as of late. :D
     
  13. AIRniloc macrumors regular

    AIRniloc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    anozira
    #13
    i'm intrigued...

    i've taken my fair share of MBAir's apart, but i can't seem to recall which physical piece sets the 'display angle'...

    do your hinges still have their old 'tension'?

    also, change your PM settings if you'd like a 'gift' from a former mac genius :D
     
  14. Acorn macrumors 68020

    Acorn

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    #14
    nooooooooo! (pets macbook) my precious...
     
  15. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #15
    Yeah, the hinges still seem to have the same amount of tension as they always have, even when the display is tilted all the way backward.

    I would absolutely love a 'gift' from a former Mac Genius! Be it advice or any other tidbits of any sort!

    I changed my PM settings...I think. I'm a new member to this forum and am not that familiar with the PM settings. So, if I set up something incorrectly, please let me know...

    Thanks,

    -danrel
     
  16. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #16
    That's exactly how I felt when I heard the >SNAP<!

    Sorry, I was just joking fella. I could never intentionally do that to any computer, let alone a Mac :)
     
  17. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #17
    Newly built tilt regulator :) It works great!
     

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  18. JackSYi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    #18
    This sucks, I saddens me to hear stories like these.
     
  19. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

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    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #19
    It honestly saddens me to write stories like these. But what's done is done and I can't just mope around, feeling sorry for myself because of it. And I've actually had some fun trying to come up with ideas of how to fix/modify the hinge stopping functionality. So I'm alright with it, to an extent.
     
  20. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
    #20
    The couch fabric looks maddeningly familiar.
    But then again, so does the green shag treatment on the MBA.
     
  21. AIRniloc macrumors regular

    AIRniloc

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Location:
    anozira
    #21
    i think it would be pretty cool if we can figure out how to 'extend' the angle of the display..

    most advancements in technology happen by accident :cool:
     
  22. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #22
    I didn't choose the furniture fabric, trust me! :D But it works for what it is. The felt 'bumper' that I made is from thin, self adhering felt with an 1/8th" strip of one sided weather stripping(to add a little padding). It serves its purpose quite well, but I think there will be many revisions using different materials in the coming months, until I finally settle on a suitable design that's both functionally and aesthetically pleasing.
     
  23. Heavenkittykat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    #23
    This happened to my air too. I placed it kinda hestilingly in my bed and the hinge popped.. and I can open it all the way like the OP. I just have a question, I have an applecare on this MBA, would this incident invalidate my applecare?
     
  24. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco California, USA
    #24
    It would probably invalidate it due to operator induced damage; but the best case scenario would require a Genius to take a look at it and you might get a nice Genius that would setup a "warranty" repair or replacement. Keep us advised either way...:(
     
  25. danrel thread starter macrumors member

    danrel

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #25
    Indeed, it most likely will invalidate your warranty, but it's worth a try to ask at least. If nothing else, you'll just have an Air that has a widely opening display :)

    BTW - did the hinges in your Air lose any of its tension? If not, I wouldn't worry about it too much as I've taken my Air apart and cannot find any loose/broken pieces anywhere. And the wires that go into either side of the hinges seem loose enough , even with the display tilted all the way back, so I wouldn't worry too much. Whatever broke must have just been some small plastic nibs that regulated the hinge angle. I will be taking my Air apart again to further investigate and keep everyone posted...
     

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