Fix a laptop screen? That'll cost more than a new laptop

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/15/fix-a-laptop-screen-thatll.html

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god this reminds me just how much I am not looking forwards to getting my Mac’s battery repaired; it started saying “service battery” around when Apple closed the local Apple Store for the 'rona, and the warranty’s run out in the time since then. This is the second damn time this one’s had battery problems, too.

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This seems excessive. There’s a reduced price for replacing the top case component for battery wear. If confirmed it would be about half of that amount. Also, if you’re replacing literally two thirds of the parts on the laptop, how expensive are you expecting it to be? You could definitely argue about thinness vs repairability but it is what it is.

It is excessive, but entirely believable.

Let’s not single out Apple. I had a cheap ACER laptop, the screen stopped working within the warranty period. Sent it in for repair and lo and behold screens are not covered by the warranty. They wold repair it for the inexpensive price of $375. The laptop was $299 brand new.

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Time for a new class of repair shop that will source a decent curved 27" display and 3D print a swank connection to the laptop with extended camera and lighting controls for that price, and throw in an ergonomic chair that seats 3 and has a lift/bounce kit.

Or, like replace the screen and alter all your pants and one dress to fit better plus reupholster a chair.

Or, replace the pad where it’s wearing out and weave fresh wool into the carpet where it doesn’t stick up right, and replace the screen and battery plus spill a tranche of flash media where it’s needed.

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it is what it is.

Here I could be cheered up by hearing it’s loafing repair techs with good bennies 23 3/4 hours of the day, but I need to hear they get costumes for halloween by a theatrical shop & tailor and something above that before I give it a pass as something Apple get to do.

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http://www.absurdnotions.org/page129.html

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Thank goodness for the folks at ifixit! (I have no ties to them whatsoever, other than being a very happy customer)

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Maybe just do it yourself? I did it on a Macbook Pro 2015 recently, with a hairdryer and a couple of old credit cards ungluing the old battery was really simple. Took about 60-90 minutes, because I was extra careful. Good as new. Most replacement batteries come with all the screwdrivers you need.

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Has this ever not been the case?

Not mention of the parts being recycled? Or are we supposed to be left with the image of dumpsters of “minimally damaged” laptops behind Apple Stores?

We can’t have less expensive (made by robots on 24/7 shifts stuffing boards with greater precision and speed than humans) and serviceable electronics. If there was, the market would supply them.

My very first computer was a Macintosh SE that I bought in 1989 for $2222 (which I remember mainly because up to that time, I had never written a check with more than two digits before the decimal point, though 2222 is also pretty easy to remember). One of the great things about it was that not only was it user-serviceable, it was designed with user-serviceability in mind. As were my subsequent Macs – one of them even had a sort of swing-out platform so you could easily move parts out of the way to get to the parts underneath.

I ultimately abandoned the Mac because version 9 of the OS became horribly unstable, OS X became (seemingly) hopelessly delayed, and I needed to get on with my graduate studies without losing big chunks of work on a daily basis. In the meantime, Apple has changed quite a lot. I don’t think I’ll be going back.

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If I fuck it up then I don’t have a functioning computer or the funds to replace it, and I need this to earn a living. It’s working, just with a limited battery life, a “service battery” warning, and an annoying tendency to fail to do an emergency hibernation when the battery runs out.

And even if I was willing to risk this, iFixIt doesn’t have guides or batteries for my model. I can wait a while longer.

(also the guide for the nearest thing to my model is essentially “disassemble the entire lower half of the computer because everything is wrapped around the batteries” and, sweet fuck no)

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Sometimes that “service battery” warning doesn’t even indicate reduced performance so much as “we’ve noticed the count of times your battery has undergone a charge cycle exceeds our recommendation”. Since you seem to be keenly aware of the limitations of your battery, I don’t see any need to rush out and fix it, or to risk your livelihood by doing it yourself.

I’d argue that these Macs were designed with repairability in mind, not user-serviceability. There’s a big difference there. On many of those old AIO Macs, you can’t even open the case without a special long-shank screwdriver. If Steve Jobs had his way, the Mac would have been hermetically sealed with no expandability whatsoever.

See:

About the only Macs that have ever had some actual user-serviceability in mind were the tower models, but even with those your ability to self-service is often hampered by bespoke components that you can only get from Apple.

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It would be interesting to know, but probably not easy to come by, what Apple’s own costs look like in this sort of situation.

It looks like even their enterprise warranty offerings are 3 years from date of purchase(compared to most PC OEMs who will offer up to 5 years, for a price, at least on their business lines); and component commonality between revisions of Apple products is pretty damn low; so if you are looking for a 2015 macbook display assembly you may well be talking about something that has either been gathering dust and bleeding time value of money in storage somewhere, has rolled off a lower volume production line that no longer shares economies of scale with any current products; or which has been refurbed in a similarly lower volume, presumably more labor intensive, rework setup.

The fact that they don’t even sell(at least not visibly, I assume that there’s some amount of money that would convince them; since in the worst case you’d just be paying Apple to buy and warehouse spares for you) warranties longer than 3 years suggests that either their enthusiasm for pushing new machines on people extends even to the change-averse customers who buy the (generally not cheap) 5 year warranties; or that their enthusiasm for custom parts and tight-tolerance assemblies means that even Apple doesn’t have favorably priced parts for very long once the device in question stops being manufactured.

Ha! That’s my exact story too! It was the new model with the high density floppy drive, 20MB HD and 1 MB RAM. I opened that thing up once I had more money and brought it up to 2.5 MB of RAM (hello, Multifinder!).

Related to this post is that back then, Apple had only a 90 day warranty. That ADB mouse died on me like 6 months in, so I had to shell out another $100 for a new one (yeah, I think I could have gone 3rd party, but I didn’t). I still carry a bit of a chip on my shoulder about that, being the poor student at the time and all.

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This story reminds me of when it was cheaper to buy a new printer than a replacement ink cartridge. Is Apple on it’s way to becoming the new HP?

Intrepid. My son and I nearly destroyed a Surface Book while replacing a shattered screen with a hairdryer and some cards. Of course we were impatient. In the end, the replacement screen was dangling loosely from the housing by the adhesive tape, yet without touch functionality, it powered up, Apparently, a ribbon cable feeding the screen had a slight tear. Then, ending any remaining life in the unit, the kids at the local PC repair shop finished the job.

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https://www.rossmanngroup.com/
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