Computer Related > Tea and pentelobes Miscellaneous
Thread Author: Zero Replies: 16

 Tea and pentelobes - Zero
So, last night a full hot cup of tea decided to empty itself all over my 12 year old macbook air.

much panic, emergency mopping, reveals a completely dead PC. Wont charge either

So out comes my laptop repair toolkit, complete with pentelobe screw bits. Much disassembly, of tiny screws, connectors, boards and battery with the aid of my illuminated visionaid magnifying glasses qtips dialectric spray and switch cleaner We end up with a macbook that boots, a screen that works a trackpad that works but a dead keyboard.

So with that level of functionality I was able to connect a pc keyboard by usb, and backup all my files to an external drive because Its lifespan is almost certainly limited. A quick bit of shopping research bags me a new 2020 model M1 macbook air from costco for around £795 delivered.
 Tea and pentelobes - Zero
Limited lifespan was a bit of an understatement. The display adapter has regressed to its 1960s drug filled disco psychedelic phase. With some extra thought after my breakfast, It looks like it may have entered a display test loop.
 Tea and pentelobes - Kevin
Have you tried switching it off and back on again?
 Tea and pentelobes - Zero
No didnt try that.....

Looked at a youtube vid of taking out the keyboard. Its a keyboard destruction job, it kind of peels out like a floormat full of pebbles
Last edited by: Zero on Thu 8 Feb 24 at 13:13
 Tea and pentelobes - Kevin
My Dell laptop has a dodgy 'C' key on the keyboard. I'm using alt-codes for the time being. A replacement keyboard is cheap enough but looks to be a pita to get the old one out without having loads of screws left over when it's back together.
Man maths says get a new laptop - NOT another Dell (the fans are noisy as F!)
 Tea and pentelobes - Zero
And the new one has arrived, updating it to 14.3 Sonoma as I type. I accidently ordered the rose gold one, a bit noncy but I guess its slightly classier than 737max colour. Feels a bit sleeker and thinner than the old one
 Tea and pentelobes - Zero
And so I guess to a quick Review of the Macbook Air 2020 M1 release.

Apple M1 CPU, 8gb memory, 256gb SSD, 13.1 inch 2560x1600 IPS display.

Its about 2cm smaller than my old macbook, due to much thinner bezels, and a bit lighter too, has no fan. Aluminium case like the old one, (in rose gold tho - err its an acquired taste) feels very robust.

Its fast, fantastic display, keyboard flat keys but feels good under the finger, good large multifunction touch pad. The OS - 14.3 Sonoma - has one (hundreds) of over the top "useful" widgets, tools and menu bars, none of which are in the least bit useful but can easily be kicked into touch. The OS is fantastic at process and memory usage in a way that windows can only dream of being. Security is bank vault tight, so tight it needs to be checked in because it gets in the way, but easily tweaked. Issues? lack of ports - only two USB 3 (apple calls it USB 4 or thunderbolt*) ports and a headphone jack. Charges through one of the USB ports, so finally I can charge my laptop through the car or caravan outlets.

* The issue, only two ports, easily fixed with a 25 quid USB hub, that offers 2 USB C, two USB B, ethernet port, HDMI port, and SD card slots. Apple would have you believe that because they are called "thunderbolt" ports you need to shell out over 100 quid for one their hubs to get the same functionality that 25 quid buys you. (yes yes I know about the "speed" issue that isnt an issue.)

So why does one buy an Apple product when one dislikes Apple products in general.

I have been into macbook airs for 15 years, They are expensive, but extremely well built, capable, rugged, ergonomically delightful to use lap tops. To mitigate the expensive, I go for runout models (the 2023 M3 version is 1200 quid) and this one came in at £790 quid delivered to the door.
 Tea and pentelobes - zippy
Apple do make good looking, quality hardware. I hope you enjoy it and it gives you a long service life.

Does Mrs Zero's laptop need upgrading? If so you could give her the rose gold pink one and get one in a man's colour! :-D

Their OS is very efficient. I like IOS but I haven't been able to get on with the Mac OS, old dogs, new tricks I guess. I will give it a proper go one day.
Last edited by: zippy on Fri 9 Feb 24 at 23:44
 Tea and pentelobes - zippy
Laptops are more difficult to repair nowadays. I remember replacing the screen on the lads laptop (well over 10 years ago now) and it was mainly removing screws and bolts. Now it's all snap together casings and glue.

Adding hardware is more difficult too. Previous laptops I have owned had hatches for memory and hard drives. Then you had to remove the bottom tray. On a recent one, the HHD / SDD were under the motherboard so you had to remove both the top case, screen, bottom case, then main board to access the ports / slots - bad design.

Another pet moan is integrated batteries. They are a consumable. They should be easily replaceable like they used to be - bolted on the back of the device.

(I read somewhere that the EU is mandating user replaceable batteries on mobile phones.)
 Tea and pentelobes - Kevin
>Laptops are more difficult to repair nowadays....

I think there's over 20 screws in 3 or 4 different sizes that need removing to replace the keyboard in my Dell. Plus various bits of sticky tape that cover connectors and hold down FFC cables. And then the brittle plastic clips.
It's not difficult. A 10yo could do it but I don't have a 10yo.

>Another pet moan is integrated batteries...

The old Thinkpad that I use when out and about has a battery that clips on the back. I have the bigger, high capacity battery for it which sticks out about an extra inch but almost doubles the runtime. The Dell will be replaced with another Thinkpad when I get around to it.
 Tea and pentelobes - zippy

Work used to supply us with Thinkpads. They were great. One of the best keyboards around and an aluminium chassis made it strong. My last one survived numerous drops and bashes whilst at client's premises. We now have HP Elite Books. Elite they are not. The screen quality is awful.

My previous Lenovo, a Y910 was built like a tank, with a solid aluminium top to the screen and a superb keyboard. It met it's match with a can of cola knocked by an errant toddler.

My current Lenovo, an LOQ seems to be ok (4 months in), but the keyboard isn't a match on the Y910's and the case is clearly made to keep costs down. It is also not powered by a USB type adaptor :-(
 Tea and pentelobes - Bromptonaut
Are laptops designed for business use any more amenable to tinkering and repair/update than those pitched at home use?

The machine I have from work at present is an Acer, one of several bought from Argos at the start of the pandemic. Domestic spec and even after my best efforts still got far too much bloatware.

It's as slow as a very slow thing indeed and might be better with a memory upgrade but unlike some I've had previously there are no hatches in the underside to access the memory bank.

Last one I messed with belonged to my son when he was at Uni. Turned out it's failing to charge wasn't down to anything in the charger though; it'd been dropped and cracked the MoBo.
Last edited by: Bromptonaut on Sat 10 Feb 24 at 16:49
 Tea and pentelobes - Zero
Entirely depends on what you mean by "business". To some purchasing departments*, business mean "cheap". To others it means rugged and reliable. Same applies to makers and suppliers of such kit.

*IT departments will over specify, procurement departments will chop it down.

You get what you pay for. A 1500 quid lenovo will be on an aluminium chassis easy to take apart and replace major components. a 400 quid Lenovo wont. All laptops have moved to soldered in memory (due to size and performance requirements) Most will be able to change or upgrade the SSD. If I was in the game of getting a new Windows laptop, I would follow the same guidance I did for my mac. A 1400 quid+ when new, but discounted by nearly half because its a gen 1 or two behind run out model from a business supplier who overstocked. Lenovo probably. Or Asus.
 Tea and pentelobes - Kevin
> Lenovo probably. Or Asus.

Those are my preference too. I'll probably go with a runout or A1 refurb last gen Thinkpad.
 Tea and pentelobes - tyrednemotional
... I have an 11-year old ThinkPad (12" bought for portability).

It is built like a brick outhouse, and is very easy to upgrade, being all metal case with a fully screw-off base. It has had memory augmented since purchase, and an SSD substituted for the spinning disk. Still fully functional, and travels in the motorhome.

Unfortunately, due to the processor generation it won't (officially) support Win11, so its life is limited.

It is hardly "thin and light", and IMO that's where many of the support/repair issues arise in the newer ranges where that's "a thing".

Internal thin batteries and plastic cases do not a good match make (I've replaced one in a cheap Lenovo for a friend), and "thin" leads to such abominations as soldered memory.

Having said that, the most recent laptop purchase was a Lenovo Yoga Slim C7 Ideapad at knock-down price and that seems exceptionally well-built (all metal body) with the only downside being fixed capacity soldered memory.
 Tea and pentelobes - zippy
>> Are laptops designed for business use any more amenable to tinkering and repair/update than those

>>The machine I have from work at present is an Acer, one of several bought
>> from Argos at the start of the pandemic. Domestic spec and even after my best
>> efforts still got far too much bloatware.

Ours are purchased from a tier one distributor who has a copy of our distribution pack on in - the version of the Windows to use, the key start up software and all the locks in place so we cannot change anything.

Once we connect to the company servers our own applications are downloaded as is MS Office.

Everything is locked down including the browsers, printers, permissions on what we can print etc.

There is no bloatware thank goodness.
 Tea and pentelobes - Zero

>> Another pet moan is integrated batteries. They are a consumable. They should be easily replaceable
>> like they used to be - bolted on the back of the device.

Generally speaking, they are still easy to change, tho you do need to take your brave pill and take a few screws out to get to it.
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