Anyone remembers Irene’s old (refurbished) DELL Latitude C600 (750 MHz, 256 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD, 14,1″ TFT) laptop/notebook ?


Well, one day it fell down and the hinge + cover broke at the right side – a problem a lot of notebooks have as parts like the hinges, their covers and the TFT display often brake on notebooks. As a consequence of this, spare parts for such problems are available on Ebay & Co. but require a little investment in terms of at least US-$ 30 and if the battery is also run down, it doesn’t make sense to invest more money in an older machine. In case you have no other (stationary) use for such an inmobile computer (print/file server, router, etc.), it is wiser to sell it as a broken item for those guys who are willing to refurbish it again or use the remaining parts to repair other notebooks.

Since Irene didn’t have any proper use for it, and since she didn’t have the time to sell it locally, she gave it to her mother who took it back to Kenya and from there I picked it up and took it with me to Germany. Imagine this notebook has travelled many many miles just to be repaired!

Hinges for DELL notebooks are expensive – I followed some auctions on Ebay and realized that I’d be too greedy to invest something like EUR 30,- ++ for a (2nd hand!!) hinge – a part which consists of poor aluminium and isn’t that big. The jua kali spirit in me suggested something different…


While chatting with Hash last night, I realized I could use a TUSKER bottle cap to repair that hinge.


The bottle cap of course proved to be too small – although I have to admit I was dying to see a TUSKER item being used for the reparation of the broken hinge. Well, maybe next time.


The next piece of (ma)bati I sighted in the kitchen was an old cookie box – for some ppl that’s just rubbish but for me it equals a source of clean, thin sheet metal that I could use for the repair.


I cut out the desired size, double-layered it (to improve stability)….


…and used flat pliers to mold it around the remaining parts of the hinge.


After some small adjustments, the “new” hinge just fit in perfectly well:


Two screws and some glue add to the stability…


It isn’t THAT strong of course, but compared to what it looked like before, it just works and that’s all I wanted to achieve.


DELL Latitude C600 + Kubuntu. Perfect!

Now, anyone in need of a refurbished notebook? :-)

Author: jke

Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Instagram.

23 thoughts on “DELLicious”

  1. OMG!!OMG! Impressive! Holy ..okay I’m just mesmerized by that Jua Kali innovative piece of work. Who woulda thought it? Mama Mia I ‘m so impressed. Thank you for convincing me not to throw it in the trash. Genius!

  2. Neat stuff! I see you are a kubuntu phella. I’m a gentoo fan myself. But with vmware player I have managed to sample some of the other flavours without committing to install them. Give one to virtualization!

  3. eh fundi! thumbs up! i’ll contact you next time I break something, whaever it will be you are the one to fix it!

    …und nu schnell zurück an die arbeit

  4. Very impressive. I noticed how you made sure you downloaded the tusker into your s drive and deleted all the biscuits before you embarked on the mission!
    Do you use kubuntu on all your machines?

  5. Have you read ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’?

    There’s an incident where the central character makes a washer (or shim) out of a coke can to fix his bike. The guy he’s travelling with who owns an expensive bike can’t believe it. He would only let a properly fitted and and sourced washer be fitted to his bike by a qualified mechanic.

    Of course any quality mechanic would know that the coke can solution was as good as any.

    Good work.

  6. Heh! This is great. I had the same problem once, but I simply swapped displays with one of the office junkers.

    See, we have 2-3 laptops here that are on their death row. They are usually are so beaten up,that the are only good as source of spare parts.

    But this is an awesome tip. I will definitely use it if I’m in a pinch.

  7. What you need is dry graphite powder to keep the hindges moving freely. Ask an airline mechanic for an equivalent. Otherwise, I think Madagascar produces a lot of this material.

  8. @Johnny: I might be taking this notebook back to Kenya later on this year – still need to exchange two empty cells in the battery pack though.

    @Mental: Kubuntu is just a temporary solution as I wanted to see its perfomance on that machine. Still haven’t tested the modem (winmodem?) so sijui if it works.

    @All: thx, comments are always appreciated! I’ll use some WD-40 on the hinges or might also try some graphite powder.

    Makes me think of another jua kali solution that I’ll need to blog soon…

  9. Now, if only i could fix an dead IBM T-21 screen with a tusker bottle top and a tin of biscuits! This is a true definition of the term dilemma. A new screen’s cost is so steep as to have one wonder if it is worth it!

    Still, even if she’s blind, she runs like a charm on Fedora …

  10. I had a Dell C800 in which the hinges would no longer hold the screen up, it would move freely, thus I’d have to keep on hand on the screen to keep it from flopping over one way or the other.

    I fixed it by taking the hinge pins out and turning them around and then stuffing them back together. The pins are splined on one end, so stuff the splined part into the piece that didn’t have the splined part stuffed into it. The screen wasn’t as tight as a new hinge asm, but good enough to keep the screen at a viewable angle.

  11. I’ve meanwhile sold the DELL for something like EUR 200,- to a relative.
    ==> The bottom line: taking this machine apart and repairing it gave me a good insight into DELL’s (older) notebooks and what it’s all about.

  12. OMG…this EXACT problem has happened on my Dell…

    Bastard hinge on the right has snapped. looks exactly like the top picture…I will try and find some suitable metal.

    Also looked on ebay for some hinges.

  13. i am having a similar problem .. the flat piece on the hinge is sticking out forward , so the cover wont stay on because the flat piece is in the way. any help please ??!?!

  14. old blog entry…so what :) similar problem. So you just stick the butter cookie hinges inside or do you somehow connect them? and you have to disassemble the screen ? :O the upper part is stuck 45 degrees towards me.

  15. @Mikko: may be best if you disassemble the screen and check out those hinges. I’d recommend looking for used hinges on eBay.

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