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Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

X60/X61 series specific matters only.
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Edward Mendelson
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Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#1 Post by Edward Mendelson » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:13 pm

I've been having some connection problems with the Intel 802.11n card in my X61 and wanted to swap it out with an IBM/Atheros card to see if that would fix things. Unfortunately, I stripped one of the tiny Philips screw heads that holds down the Mini-PCI card. Is there any plausible way to remove that screw (without drilling, something that I'm not sure would let me remove the rest of the screw)?

Thanks for any suggestions. I can live with the existing card if there's no way to get it out of ther, but it would be nice to be able to swap it out.

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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#2 Post by Atreides » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:41 pm

Not to hijack, but I have a similar question. I stripped one of the screws on the bottom of my Thinkpad quite badly, and I can't think of anyway to safely get it out.

Hopefully someone can help use both out.
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#3 Post by Harryc » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:44 pm


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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#4 Post by charles.atcher » Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:21 pm

For smallish stripped screws with the head exposed, I've used a good sharp pair of flush cut, or side cut pliers to grab the outside and twist. Basically just come at it from above, and place the tips of the pliers on each side. Squeeze tightly to make it dig in, then while continuing to squeeze, twist it in the off direction.

You want the handles to be parallel with the long axis of the screw, not perpendicular. I've yet to have that technique fail.

Recessed screws, drilling may be your only option.
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#5 Post by Atreides » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:13 pm

Thanks Harry, I'll try that once I can work up the nerve.
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:11 am

Just found this on eBay: Moody Tools Screw Extractor and Screwdriver Set/58-0670
http://cgi.ebay.com/Moody-Tools-Screw-E ... 0368573345
Seems to be ideal for laptops, if you don't want to drill!
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#7 Post by Edward Mendelson » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:43 pm

Very grateful for the advice here, and about to tackle this problem. Charles, is there any chance you might give more details on the right size/model pliers to use? I don't have anything that exactly matches what you suggest, but I suppose I can find something in Radio Shack. But any specific advice would be very good to have. Thanks!

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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#8 Post by Kyocera » Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:11 pm

Couple of years back I swapped a processor on my R52, one of the heads on the fan or heatsink screw got stripped. I got my dremmel and used one of the metal cutting discs to recut a slot so I could take it out with a flat tip screwdriver. I was sweating a lot but did get lucky and it worked.

I think that is the only thing that is really hard about tearing apart a TP, those little tiny screws.

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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#9 Post by charles.atcher » Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:26 pm

Edward Mendelson wrote:Very grateful for the advice here, and about to tackle this problem. Charles, is there any chance you might give more details on the right size/model pliers to use? I don't have anything that exactly matches what you suggest, but I suppose I can find something in Radio Shack. But any specific advice would be very good to have. Thanks!
Here is an example of the type of pliers I'm referring to.

http://www.action-electronics.com/grc/xcms545jv.jpg
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#10 Post by Edward Mendelson » Thu Nov 12, 2009 12:01 pm

Perfect! Thank you!

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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#11 Post by adrianaitken » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:23 am

Well, I got the screw extractor off eBay (link above). However, Googling how they work returns interesting answers (mostly involving hammers and drilling) :eek:
I assume that I just press down on the screw and rotate anti-clockwise to extract it ?
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#12 Post by Kyocera » Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:23 pm

I'm not sure what the tip of one of those screw extractors looks like, not sure if they will even work on all the tiny screws on a thinkpad but....the idea is with ANY mechanical screw extractor to put downward pressure i.e hammer or levered force from your hand/arm on the stripped screw, allowing the extractor to dig into the exposed remaining metal head of the screw and turn it counter clockwise, allowing it to be screwed out.

Putting the necessary downward force needed to extract a screw from a motherboard as fragile as an X6 series is not a good idea unless you can be very sure you are not flexing the board.


Grinding the head of the screw completely off so as to allow the device to be removed by just pulling up and leaving the threaded shaft portion of the screw in place is another option. But this requires a Dremmel or similar tool. Once the screw head is off there is nothing holding the device in place, then take fine needle nose pliers and grasp the shaft of the screw and carefully rotate it counter clockwise to "unscrew" it.

Like I said before this happened to me and I simply used my Dremmel tool to cut another channel or groove in the top head of the screw, obviously larger than the tiny phillips head pattern , this gave me a flat tip type slot to unscrew the screw out.


If you don't feel comfortable with a Dremmel tool or the screw extractor then you might send it off to someone who can do that for you.

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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#13 Post by adrianaitken » Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:03 pm

The reason I stripped the head is because of the blue glue they use to stop it vibrating out. I doubt a pair of pliers will give me enough grip on the small part left after Dremeling off the head.
the points of these extractors are small, certainly small that the head of the screws. It's just I've never tried this before :oops:
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#14 Post by Kyocera » Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:17 pm

I doubt a pair of pliers will give me enough grip on the small part left after Dremeling off the head.

That's not what I mean. The head of the screw is what holds down the card, once the head of the screw is gone there will be a threaded shaft left in the hole of the card screwed into the board, assuming you can get the other screw(s) out, the card will come out . What will be left once you remove the card is that small threaded portion of the screw all alone and by itself, which will have enough exposed once the card is gone to grab with some fine needle nose.

The head of the screw is what is preventing the the card from coming off, not the threaded shaft portion.

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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#15 Post by adrianaitken » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:35 pm

Ah OK. However, WHOPPEEEEEE. Used the extractor and got them out. So, anyone want to buy a screw extractor set. Little used :mrgreen:
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#16 Post by ilakast » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:08 am

Just found this on Aldi, it might be of use to someone
https://www.aldi.co.uk/en/specialbuys/s ... ver-set-1/
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Re: Stripped a Mini-PCI screw; solution?

#17 Post by Bibin » Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:34 pm

This happens to me on every X61 I've touched so far.

What I did was use a pair of diagonal clippers to basically cut away the previous Wi-Fi card, right through the PCB.. This leaves a piece of Wi-Fi card attached to the captive screw. I then use pliers to rotate the screw out. Then the new card is put in, and I don't tighten it so hard.

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