Introduction: How to Disassemble the ASUS Transformer TF101 Keyboard Dock
This tutorial will guide you through how to disassemble the ASUS Transformer TF101 keyboard dock.
The tools you will need are:
- T-5 Torx screwdriver
- Smaller sized phillips head screwdriver
- Pocket knife or plastic case separating tool
There are only 4 different types of screws in this unit. 2 of which are the well machined torx screws on the hinged portion, 2 underneath the rear feet of the unit, however many hold on the PCB inside the unit and 4 phillips screws on the bottom inside of the hinged portion. So clear of an area on your table and lets get started.
Step 1: Removing the Bottom
There are two phillips head screws underneath the two rear rubber feet of the unit. Just stick your knife underneath them and easily pry them off. Notice how the bottom of each pad has a circle that contains either an R or an L for Right or Left hand. Also notice that each pad has a notch in it. When you are putting the pads back on make sure that the notch on the rubber pad matches with the notch on the bottom of the unit, also make sure that the screws interlock with the circles on each pad.
After removing the screws carefully pry the bottom plate off. I started from the right rear corner (with the unit bottom up) and used my pocket knife to gently pry the bottom plate off. You'll need to go back and forth between both sides in order to get it mostly removed. You'll then need to gently slide the knife between the outer metal casing and the plastic bottom plate on the front of the unit in order to completely remove the bottom portion. Be careful, there are two ribbon cables connecting the bottom portion to the top portion. One cable is for the keyboard, the other is for the track pad.
Step 2: Disassembling the Top Half
I figured I would start with disassembling the top half because it is less interesting with respect to how many components are attached to it.
First, disconnect the small ribbon cable that connects the mouse button board to the touch pad board. Then remove the two phillips head screws on either side of the button board. Then remove the button board from the unit.
You can stop here or continue somewhat further like i did and remove the mouse button bar. To do this you'll notice that on the bottom of the bar, on either side are two clips and in the center is a clip that acts as a sort of hinge. First gently pry out the two outer clips and then pop off the center hinge clip and voila, its off.
The keyboard was not removable without breaking all of the little melted plastic contact points. I did notice that there is more than enough room underneath the keyboard to install LED back lighting on the keyboard. Possibly a project for another day.
Step 3: Disassembling the Bottom
Start off by removing the 7? screws that secure the left hand board to the main unit. Be aware that two of the screws are hidden underneath a piece of foam padding on the top left portion of the board, near the power/data cable jack. Just peel up the padding to expose the two screws. Carefully lift up the board and maneuver it in such a way that you are able to expose the bottom of the board. Notice that there are four different cables. First, before you disconnect anything, notice that there is a small switch next to the cable jacks. Note its initial position. I believe that this is the battery disconnect switch that is used to disconnect the battery before any major servicing that involves removal of the board or replacement of the battery. It's initial position is "On" so go ahead and flip this switch to the "Off" position. You may proceed to disconnect each of the cables. Also note the position of the black and grey cable. They use the same connection interface and can be accidentally flipped when being reassembled. They should all easily pull out of their respective sockets with ease, except for the ribbon cable that has a latching "door" to keep it in place.
Next remove the four screws that hold the right hand board in place. This board is not as complicated to remove.
Next remove the screws that hold the hinges for the latch to base and remove the hinge.
Finally remove the two screws that attach the weight to the front of the unit.
You may choose to explore further and remove the battery. But i began to pry mine up but it felt like the individual cells were working against each other to stay stuck to the base.
Step 4: The Boards
I was rather intrigued by this battery switch. When I was first checking out the boards I noticed this mysterious switch. I have never come across one of these before that was facing into the unit with no way to access it from outside without having to disassemble. I figured maybe it was for flashing the ROM before they shipped out the unit. I decided to flip the switch off. plug in the tablet with everything still connected and saw that the dock battery light was blinking although i had a full charge. Upon disconnecting the tablet, flipping the switch back to on and reconnecting the tablet, the orange light no longer came on and the battery meter read both battery levels.
The SD and USB board are not as intriguing but non the less they're interesting to look at.
Step 5: Disassembling the Latch/hinge
If you decide you wanted to go even further you can disassemble the portion that actually latches the tablet and acts as a hinge.
To start, remove the two torx screws on the outer edge of the latch followed by the four larger phillips head screws and then finally the two smaller phillips head screws that hold the data connector in place.
Carefully pry apart the the back portion of the piece, the to parts should separate somewhat easily, perhaps with minimal persuasion with your knife.
Next, on the portion that still has the data connector and hinges still attached, you'll notice that there is a small plastic strip that runs the length of the piece. Insert your knife on one side of this piece, then slide the blade to the other end in order to easily remove this cover. You'll need to manipulate the latch elver in order to completely remove this cover.
At this point you should be able to remove the data connector and its cables the unit.
Finally, remove the screws that hold the font plate to the latching mechanism/hing assembly. Please, in the process of removing it, make note of the small metal tab that sits in a slot on the de-latching slide. When reassembling you'll need to make sure that you move the de-latching slide around so the metal tab will sit as it used to.
I ended up reassembling this piece 3 or four times because each time, after I put the final back plate on, the de-latching mechanism would not budge. This is because there is a small spring that is causing the mechanism to not function properly. What this spring does is hold the locking mechanism back into its "cocked" state. When you insert your tablet to dock it, a small plastic piece is pushed down and thus pushing the spring down and allowing the locking system lock the tablet in place.
Steps to reassemble:
Follow the above tutorial backwards, but stop when you are getting ready to put the two halves back together.
At this point make absolutely sure that the locking mechanism can be moved. You should be able to slide the little chrome piece back and forth and see the latches move in unison with it.
What you need to do, once you verify the latch works, is to retract the locking mechanism while you're putting the two halves together. So slide the chrome slider back all the way, put the two halves together and make sure that they interlock somewhat, then gently let go of the latch to see if it is held in place. If it's not held in place keep retrying.
Finally, before you put the screws back in, you need to push down on the bottom of the dock slot. You'll need to push down next to the outer screws. Once you do this you'll notice that case locks together better. There is also a spot between one of the data connector screws and the middle larger screw.
Step 6: Modify and Reassemble
There is plenty of space in the dock to add some sort of lighting, possibly a little larger speaker to round out the sound or maybe more battery power.
I did not do any modifications today but I am going to be looking into adding LED lighting to the dock. Maybe I'll use RGB LED's and figure out a way to control the color directly from the tablet.
Reassembling the dock is fairly straight forward. The hardest part is reassembling the latch/hinge, but once that's done it is smooth sailing from there.
I hope you found this helpful, if I can clarify anything please let me know.