Stiff hinges or a lid that no longer shuts

A couple of PineBook Pro owners complained today on the #pinebook IRC channel about their lids no longer being able to close, leaving about a half-inch gap between the lid and the laptop body when the lid is in the closed position.  I already had to open my first-batch ISO PineBook Pro to recover from bricked U-Boot, Smile so I applied some oil to the hinges at the same time, to see what would be the results.

I used sewing machine oil, which is very thin and penetrates very well into the hinges.  After removing the bottom cover of the laptop, I applied two very small droplets of oil to each of the hinges, at the point where the metal shaft gets into the metal hinge body.  I dipped the tip of a small knife into the oil and used it to apply the oil, so I can have better control and end up using as little oil as possible.  You can also use a toothpick to apply the oil, for example.

Not much oil is needed at all; maybe a bit more is needed if the hinges are in really bad condition.  Also, make sure that no oil gets on the display cable that's close to one of the hinges, because the oil woud degrade the insulation/jacket of the display cable over time.

Before applying the oil, the hinges on my PineBook Pro were somewhat stiff, and there was very little to no "snap" action when the lid was closed.  In other words, the hinges weren't bad, but they weren't something to write home about either.  After applying the oil, the hinges became noticeably smoother, and there's a surprisingly strong "snap" when the lid is closed.  The lid definitely "snaps shut" after applying the oil to the hinges.

So, I'd call this a success. Cool
Very interesting. I'll be sure to do this when I get a chance.

[ SRA accepts you ]
A few days after applying sewing machine oil, the hinges on my ISO Pinebook Pro became a bit stiff again, which was rather strange, so I decided that proper investigation is required.  I had a chance to get a much better look at the hinges last time the back cover was off, so I'd like to share my further findings.

In a few words, applying sewing machine oil isn't the best option, especially not at the points where the metal shaft enters the metal hinge body, which I initially suggested.  Due to the construction of hinges, as visible in the attached pictures, oil seeps out of the hinges rather quickly, resulting in the hinges becoming stiff again.  The oil that ended up seeping out of the hinges and collecting iniside tha cavities that house the hinges is clearly visible in a couple of the attached pictures.

I took the screws that hold the hinges out, disconnected the battery, unplugged the ribbon cable that connects the screen to the mainboard, and detached the lid from the main body of the laptop.  That allowed thorough inspection of the hinges, but please keep in mind that not everything needs to be taken apart to properly lubricate the hinges: all you really have to do is to remove the screws that hold the hinges and then turn the hinges away from the main body of the laptop, using your fingers.  You'll be surprised with the amount of force you'll need to apply, and be careful not to pull the hinge close to the charger ports too much, to avoid pinching the display cable.  After that, the long slit that goes along each of the hinges will become exposed, which is the point where some thin grease needs to be applied.  Everything will be much more clear after looking at the attached pictures.

If you look closely at the attached pictures, you'll notice a light, silverish strip that goes along the hinges, which is the factory-applied grease.  Unfortunately, the grease that comes from the factory isn't thin enough to "seep" into the body of the hinges on its own; instead, once enough of that grease becomes consumed by the hinges, the remaining grease stays "trapped" inside the slit, effectively doing nothing.  In fact, I'm not even sure that thin enough grease exists; it's probably required to mix some grease and some machine oil to achieve the right viscosity.

I used a narrow strip of paper to push that remaining grease into the slit, and added a tiny drop of sewing machine oil per hinge to make the grease thinner.  Of course, that was only a temporary measure, because I didn't have the appropriate grease available at the moment.  The real solution is to apply some very thin grease along those slits, but the bad part is that exactly the same maintenance is probably going to be required again, after the hinges cosume the applied amount of grease.

Attached Files Thumbnail(s)

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