Saturday, February 23, 2008

MacBook screen alignment: Apple doesn't do hinges

Hinges are not sexy.

Maybe that's why Apple laptop hinges are so problematic.

My iBook hinge died slowly and painfully at about age 3 -- pretty much everyone's did. The iBook lives in the kitchen now, with a scrawled above the display warning "do not close!".

I recall similar problems going back eons, though my PowerBook 165 hinges seemed to last.

Recently my 2-3 yo MacBook screen has been drifting out of alignment with the base. It's off enough that when the machine is closed there's enough angulation to produce a 2-3 mm overhang at the margins. I'm not alone, this post shows a picture of the same problem.

It's worrisome given the iBook history.

I haven't found any fixes yet. There are two screws by the hinges. I tightened them up and I imagined the alignment improved, but for all I know the screws are cosmetic (Apple does that).

Dell messes up a lot of things, but they do have nice hinges ...

Update 6/23: Recently I spotted one of our kids shutting the MacBook with the power cord trapped between screen and base. It's a tough, thin cord, just the right location and shape to twist the hinges. The cord it twisty, and it's not hard to get it trapped. A quick hard lid closing on the tough cord would warp the hinges. I suspect this could be a contributing factor ...


Anonymous said...

I have a Macbook, the hinge somehow has changed alignment and the opening of the macbook does not give enough clearance from the base and gives this click (plastic against plastic).

Anonymous said...

my macbook is only 2 months and i'm seeing it slow drift out of alignment.. whats up with that..

JGF said...

I have the same problem of course. I'm hoping someone launches a class action suit so we get a credit against future hardware.

I'm guessing it's some heat related problem -- differential response to heat warping the internal frame.

Suggests the machines won't have a long life, so Apple Care is not a bad idea for a new machine. (AMEX doubles the warranty and they have great service).

Or just hope for the class action suit!