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
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
“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
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.