A500 Power Switch Broken, then Fixed

Discussion in 'Acer Iconia Tab A500 Forum' started by abarrow, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. abarrow

    abarrow Junior Member

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    Yesterday I went to turn on my A500, and I didn't get the familiar "click". It didn't turn on. Tried pushing the button several times, and it just felt dead.

    Sooo, living in Mexico and knowing that it would be weeks or months before I could get any sort of repair turn-around, I decided to have a go at fixing it. I found a couple of instructions on the web on how to open the case - almost frighteningly easy with a guitar pick or something like that. You can have the back off your A500 in about 20 seconds.

    Looking around where the power switch is, I found that it wasn't even attached to the motherboard anymore. It had broken off and dropped down into the case. Nothing for it! I decided to remove the battery, motherboard and whatever else I needed to get to it. It didn't take long, but you need to be real careful with the flat cables and other plug ins. One cable next to the battery connection I just couldn't get out, so I removed everything else and folded the motherboard over to have a look.

    All I can say is that either the Acer motherboard designers are morons, or someone didn't do their job. The entire power switch (about 2mmx2mm) is held down by three surface mount pads on one side. It's quite easy, with enough pressure, to just have the entire switch rock back and, in my case, just break off the motherboard. There are two small pins on either side of the switch, and matching holes in the mother board, that appear to be there as a means of soldering into the motherboard to provide mechanical strength. These weren't soldered in, and the holes clearly had never seen any solder.

    With a good light and a magnifying glass, and a very tiny tipped soldering iron, I was able to tack the three surface mount pins on the power switch back in place on the motherboard. I did try to solder the side mounting pins down, but I couldn't make it work. The space is tiny and there are other components on the board very close.

    The vibration motor is about 3mm behind the switch, and I assumed it had better mechanical strength than he switch did. So, I pumped some hot glue into the gap between the back of the power switch and the motor. All seemed pretty strong, so I re-assembled tablet. The switch felt good, and the system powered on!

    The entire process took me about 2 hours.

    Just a couple of points here:
    - If you do decide to remove the back cover from your A500, remove the SD card first. I didn't, and for some reason when I put the case back together the card came out a little and actually broke in half.
    - DO NOT SOLDER ON MOTHERBOARDS IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW. I'm a 30+ year electrical engineer and have been soldering things together since I was 9. It takes an extremely steady hand, the right iron and the right solder. If you don't have the skill or the tools, send your tablet off to have it done.
    - BE EASY ON YOUR POWER SWITCH. I'm sure my problem started when I poked my power switch too hard. Be nice to your power switch and you won't have the problem I did.
    - The hot glue thing works pretty well. If you are at all worried about your switch coming off in the future, it's pretty easy to pump a little hot glue down in there to give it more strength.

    I hope this helps others. It was pretty upsetting to sit down at a meeting with documents on my tablet that I needed for the meeting, and not be able to get it to turn on. it was quite a relief when it all came back.
     
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  2. Roddo

    Roddo Junior Member

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    My switch was completely adrift.

    The switch has three pins to the rear that must be resoldered to the board to restore contact. It also has two mounting pins that were never soldered to the board. Other weight-bearing comonents such as sockets are secured by mounting pins in addition to the contacts. Its obvious the switch hasn't been soldered in properly.


    You can fix it and its a real fiddle. You will need the sharpest tip you can find and I got away with a 0.4mm at 350 celsius. I did stick a very small amount of solder to the underside of the contacts to make it easier to get the solder into the joint with the circuit board. For me the space was so tight I melted some of the plastic of the switch. I didn't attach the switch to the board via the mounting pins and opted to get strength by sticking a blob of hot glue between the back of the switch and the headphone socket. This should stop it happening again.

    My advise is send it back as I reckon its ACERS fault. You haven't been heavy handed. Any one who can do this job isn't heavy handed.
     
  3. Icebike

    Icebike Member

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    With enough pressure you can break anything. Don't try to pass off abuse as someone else's fault.
    I suspect you dropped it or bumped it, but failed to mention that part.

    But good for you to do your own repair. Probably not the best recommendation for Grandma Polyester.
    I agree with Roddo, hot glue, or better yet Epoxy the whole back end of the switch assembly.
    And maybe get a case that protects the switch a bit.
     
  4. Douvie

    Douvie Member

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    Ice bike, you're right most people forget their own strength. I seen people punching touch-panels/touch-screens and then ask why it doesn't work. I have spent years repairing MFD's where the control panel buttons have had so much force that they have broken the PCB underneath. Pushing harder doesn't and won't turn it on - damaged button will give one result - np power.
     
  5. frnkws

    frnkws Junior Member

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    I do not suspect you dropped it because I did not drop mine and my switch just quit working today.
    I have in no way abused mine.
    The tablet is pretty well made but this may be a weak point.
    Mine was in sleep mode and would not wake up.
    I plugged in the charger and it woke up.
    Later it was sleeping and would not wake up.
    I had to reset it to get it working.
    I guess I'll send it in for repair or replacement.
    I have another tablet I can use while it is gone.
     
  6. MrWareWolf

    MrWareWolf Junior Member

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    I just fixed mine! I did NOT re-solder it! Initially I tried to stick a piece of plastic behind it (to keep it in place), where the vibrator is, but this was too large & it wouldn't fit it all back together properly... so I peeled it all back off there (the glue I mean), and then was when I realized that the switch was not even connected at all & it just SITS in place on the board. Sure, it might have been soldered from the factory, but it really doesn't need to be. It just needs to connect well enough to function properly. How I fixed it: I just got it in the right place, using the 'feet' that are supposed to keep it lined up with the three contacts..and globbed a big glop of glue beside it, where the LED is located on the corner of the board. Let the glue dry WELL, before gently pushing the button with a toothpick, or similar item, just to be sure it will 'click'. If you are able to make it click, it will work.

    IF Acer had just given a cm longer feet on each side of the button, the feet could be folded on the underside of the board, to keep it in place more permanently..THANKS for saving a penny per unit Acer! Fracker$ - anyway, back to the power-button... After assembling all the ribbon cables again, and screwing things back down (BEFORE putting the cover back on), power it on quickly to make sure it works. If so, then proceed with replacing the back cover..

    Notes: It was a PAIN to get it back together properly! The rear cover is impossible/difficult to get back into place properly, be sure to pull the sd-card cover OFF while you have it apart by carefully pushing the tabs back through using your finger nail to squish them & be careful about this, you don't want to break the little clips, or the slots they fit into.. removing the door will help you decide if the card-slot is lined up properly... Only when you get it lined up properly, will you be able to put a card into it again. Once you get that right, you can snap all the other clips around the rear cover.

    Once it is all re-assembled, power it on, and check again to make sure it works.. Try the camera, try the touch screen, etc. Also, be sure that you can put a card into the slot on the top. If not (it took me a couple tries), remove the back cover and try putting it back on again.. Also worth noting: I left my card-slot cover/door off entirely & put it in the box the tablet came in.. Where the books and quick-start guide are stored..
     
  7. frnkws

    frnkws Junior Member

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    I fixed mine also ,like Mr WareWolf did, no solder.
    I just used a small clamp to hold the switch tightly to the MB and hot glued it.
    I had no problem snapping the cover back on.
    Make sure the wires are put back in the right place and not under something where they don't belong.
     
  8. ak471

    ak471 Junior Member

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    I had the same problem. Getting the motherboard out was by far the hardest part of fixing it. Some of the plugs were really tight..needed screwdriver to pry them. To release the ribbon cables, one has to pull the black clamp up, which wasn't obvious. To reattach the part, I used epoxy (hot glue doesn't stick very well to the motherboard), and no solder. The epoxy was placed between the switch and the vibrator motor. To hold it while the epoxy cured, I used a clothespin.

    Now it works great. :)
     
  9. Douvie

    Douvie Member

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    one problem with epoxy. if the PCB develops a little heat the epoxy goes soft. Hot glue is better.
     
  10. Silleck

    Silleck Junior Member

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    my power button broke with tablet in the off position 3 or 4 weeks ago. it was under original acer warranty so i shipped it off to texas. 2 weeks later it's back and working perfect.



    I'm thinking i'll leave it in sleep mode vs shutting down at night.what do you guys recommend?
     
  11. Icebike

    Icebike Member

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    There is never a reason to power off these tablets. Its a bad habit to get into.
    It is designed to be on 24/7 and just sleeping when not in use. I can't even remember when the last time I rebooted my tablet was.

    Let it run.

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
     
  12. frnkws

    frnkws Junior Member

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    what does leaving it in sleep mode solve since you still have to push the power button to wake it up?
     
  13. Icebike

    Icebike Member

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    There are apps that allow you to use the volume buttons to wake the device. Wake Any is one i use on an aging Nexus One.

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
     
  14. Silleck

    Silleck Junior Member

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    waking up from sleep requires a tap on power button. power up requires button be held down for 4 or 5 seconds
     
  15. rusherjm

    rusherjm Junior Member

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    My power sw stopped working with the power ON. Now I can't turn it OFF. Can I use the reset button to restart/reboot?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012

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