HPLX.NET HOW-TO: The Hinge Crack Problem

Many 200LX owners are in danger of having their palmtops develop a crack near the hinge.  But many 200LX owners will go for months, or even years, thinking they're safe because they haven't noticed any problems.  In the meantime, however, their brutal opening and closing of the screen is slowly bending and twisting the case near the right hinge, until one day SNAP!  It's all over for the palmtop.

But there are steps you can take to make sure this doesn't happen to your precious 200LX.  Try calling HP; they seem to now have realized that the hinge crack is a problem and they may replace it under warranty.  If your unit is out of warranty, you could be in trouble.  Follow this helpful guide if you can't get it fixed for free by HP.

Step 1.  See if you have the crack.  Many people miss it just because they don't know where it is, and because it can be hard to see in the early stages..  Here's a picture to aid in identifying the problem.

Click here for an example of a real hinge crack, courtesy of the Palmtop Network.

Step 2. Decide exactly how bad it is.  Is it about to break clean through the plastic... or is it just a little crack?  If it's not too bad, you might be able to keep it under control just by being careful when you open and close the lid.  Otherwise, you're going to need to take further action.  (Unless you're the sort of happy-go-lucky person who would sacrifice your 200LX just so you wouldn't have to take proper care of it.  No, you couldn't be BOTHERED with such DIFFICULT TASKS as PRESERVING YOUR POOR PALMTOP'S HEALTH!  Okay... must calm down...)

Step 3.  Decide how much cosmetic damage you're willing to put up with.  If it's a lot, then go ahead and apply a bit of superglue along the crack and squeeze it together.  This may result in an ugly scar, as superglue hideously deforms the plastic on the 200LX.  To cut down on the cosmetic damage, put a strip of scotch tape over the spot with the crack and carefully remove a sliver of tape around the crack.  Then generously apply the superglue.  The tape will protect the covered area.  If done right, this little trick can fix the problem while keeping your palmtop lookin' good.

Step 4.  If you don't want to do that, you have a few other options.  You could stick the nameplate that comes with the 200LX over the crack.  That'd probably do the trick, but it might not look natural.  The best solution would probably be to open it up and fix it from the inside.  A strip of metal, perhaps, should strengthen it enough to prevent further cracking.  If it's serious, you might be able to apply superglue from inside and seal it up tight with nobody the wiser.

Step 5.  Now is the time to call HP and complain.

Copyright 1999, David Sargeant.
Last Updated 1-2-1999

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