Dismantling, Laptops

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Station Explanation

The person working at this station will be removing usable components from laptops that have failed evaluation.

Incoming Laptops

Bring all laptops and laptop related peripherals such as power cords, laptop batteries, laptop bags, and etc. from Receiving to the Incoming Laptops station at the Mezzanine to the right of the Power Station.


Tools Required

  • small screw drivers (philips, torx, sloted, hex)

Usable Parts

Free Geek can re-use the following laptop components, your job is to collect them:

1) PC Cards (a.k.a. Card Bus, PCMIA) - Modem (telephone), NIC (network), Wireless

2) RAM (Memory) - small board with RAM chips and pin leads on one end, sometimes it will look similar to a PC Card but will have a size printed on it, e.g. 4MB

3) Hard Drive - should have a printed label stating brand, model and size
Warning: Note: The Hard Drive is to be REMOVED every time. The Hard Drive is one of the internal components that are not soldered into the motherboard.

4) Hard Drive casing - metal shell that fits HDDs into different laptops, please label the brand and model # of the laptop these came out of!!

5) AC Adapters/Laptop Power supplies - Initially, they should be put into the "unsorted" AC Adapter's box. If anyone has the time, please sort these into the appropriate boxes/categories:

  • Apple
  • HP/Compaq
  • IBM
  • DELL
  • Toshiba
  • Other

6) Laptop bags - First ask the Thrift store coordinator if he/she needs any laptop bags. We should be able to sell some in the store. Any extras should be taken to the white bins in the warehouse.

Important: If nothing else make sure the Hard Drive is removed and kept!

Non-Usable Parts

1) Spare or dead Notebook Batteries - Gather them in one big box. Once it is full, notify the recycling coordinator. The box of batteries should be taken to the Hackery by a third party eg. Purolator etc.

Work Steps

  1. Place a laptop upside-down at the workstation.
  2. NOTE: The location of each Laptop hardware(RAM, Laptop Battery, Hard Drive, Wireless Network Card, CPU+Heatsink/Fan) inside a laptop varies from model to model. Usually requires the volunteer to remove the keyboard on the laptop to be able to access the internal components. Another way to dismantle a laptop is to remove the screws found at the front or back of the laptop.

    When the volunteer is able to access the internal components of the laptop, he/she will notice that most internal components are soldered into the motherboard and is not removable. That is fine. Just remove the components that are removable.

  3. Remove any PC Cards and place in "usable parts" bin. Tip: Typically found in the left or right side of the laptop.
  4. Remove any removable components from the front and sides of the laptop. Tip: These parts might be locked behind a panel, or held by a lever or switch beside it on the side or bottom.
    • Keep the non-usable parts, i.e. floppy drive, CD/DVD drives, battery, separate as you remove them during these steps.
    • Once the RAM and Hard Drive are found and placed in the "usable parts" bin during these steps, skip to step 6.
  5. Look for components behind panels on the bottom of the laptop. Tip: Panels are usually held closed by small screws.
  6. Look for components inside the case.
    Warning: Laptops have sharp pieces of metal inside their cases. Be careful when opening laptops to remove internal parts.
    Turn over the laptop, flip up the laptop screen and lift up the keyboard-half of the case. Tip: A few small screws, usually found underneath the laptop or in the areas revealed by the parts previously removed, need be removed to allow the case to open. Some cases will also have plastic clips around the edge and require a little force to release.
  7. Close up the case, replace the panels and non-usable parts, and set aside the laptop as finished.
  8. Repeat for each laptop that needs to be dismantled.

Clean Up

  1. Place ALL laptop hard drives at the Hard Drive Wiping Station to be ready for hard drive wiping.
  2. Place laptop bags into the designated laptop bag bin located near the Laptop area.
  3. Place laptop AC/DC adaptor into the AC/DC adaptor bin.
  4. Place laptop ram into the designated cabinet on the same incoming table.
  5. Place laptop wireless cards into the designated cabinet on the same incoming table.
  6. Place other laptop peripherals into the designated cabinet on the same incoming table.
  7. Take the dismantled laptops to the Receiving Dock for the Warehouse Coordinator.
    Warning: Laptops can be heavier than expected. Do not take too many at a time.

Comments about Laptop Dismantling (from other Free Geek volunteers)

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