It’s really hard to repair broken Microsoft Surface devices, according to iFixit. For Surface Pro 6, iFixit ended up giving an appalling score of one out of 10 for repairability. The Surface devices use a large number of screws to hold the gadget together and as well as improve its durability, but the design makes it difficult for a normal consumer to repair the device.
A new patent application from the Redmond giant aims to address the repairability concern by using magnets.
Spotted by us, a new patent titled “Electronic Device with a Magnetically Attached Electronic Component” was filed by Microsoft in late 2017 and published by USPTO on May 9, 2019.
In the patent application, Microsoft says that modern computing devices have circuit boards that are attached to the devices using screws. While screws provide a robust and secure connection, it increases the manufacturing duration of the device.
“For instance, a typical motherboardMic for a laptop computing device with a CPU may require 10 to 15 screws to mount the motherboard to the laptop, which creates a long duration of cycle time on the assembly line as each screw must be manually installed,” Microsoft explains.
Furthermore, the use of screws to attach the motherboard results in re-workability challenges during manufacturing. It also increases the time required to repair the device as the engineer would have to unscrew the components to reach the problematic part and again screw it.
In another example, Microsoft says screw stripping on the housing is a common problem during motherboard attachment. When the threads on the housing are stripped, it requires the housing or chassis to be discarded, and it all leads to high scrap costs.
The solution is magnets
Microsoft patent details a new design for computing device which uses magnets. Microsoft says that the electronic component within the housing is magnetically attached to an internal surface of the device. The patent explains the use of magnetic force between the electronic component and the internal surface of the housing.
Microsoft’s patented solution is actually smart and it does have the potential to decrease the manufacturing time.
“An electronic device with a magnetically attached electronic component is described herein. An electronic device includes a housing and an electronic component. The electronic component is positioned within the housing and magnetically attached to an internal surface of the housing via a magnetic force between the electronic component and the internal surface of the housing,” the patent explains how the device would work.
“During manufacturing, the electronic component can be magnetically attached to the internal surface of the housing by aligning one or more magnetic attachment points of the electronic component within magnetic proximity to one or more corresponding magnetic attachment points of the internal surface of the housing of the electronic device to magnetically attach the electronic component to the internal surface of the housing,” the company adds.