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Apple eMate 300 – Fixing The Hinges

After pulling the eMate 300 apart and finding two faulty hinges and a punctured ribbon cable, I outsourced the hinges to a friend who is very handy mechanically (Thanks Andrew!). They were returned this weekend past looking fantastic.

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The basic idea was to pull the clutch springs off each hinge, put the stem in the vice and unwind the coils. Due to repeated folding of the laptop, the springs had wound themselves around the hinges and shortened far enough to lose contact.

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The springs had been lengthened once again and screwed down tight. The stiffness was also just hard-enough, but it'd be difficult to tell how it'd perform until the entire unit was back together. I was eager to get started on the re-assembly, but the ribbon cable had to be dealt with first.

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This was also simple enough. Scrape back the coating on the tracks that needed to be bridged. This happened to be the two right-most tracks and fortunately they spread apart as they turned the damaged corner. Note that, as the ribbon turns the corner, it is split in half and doubled-up. When applying heat, you'll want to put a divider between the ribbons so that you don't cook the other side!

I just happened to have a receipt from a recent trip to the post office which worked fine. One interesting note is that the receipt turned black, thanks to it being made of thermal paper, as I applied heat when soldering.

The ribbon was then complete and tested quickly with a multimeter. Not easy, as the pins at each end were way too close together... but I was happy with the result. From here... get it back together!


The only real notes are to make sure you have the PCMCIA and Serial covers in first before the motherboard. Also then make sure the LCD ribbon is clear of the stands top-left and that the volume and contrast sliders line up with the controls underneath.

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Once together, everything was tested and, somehow, it all worked perfectly!? What's next? Rebuild that battery and get AppleTalk over Wifi working properly.

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