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Casing cracks and bumpy-cracks/bulges on the hinge

Discussion in 'Support Area' started by Prometheus, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    So, I picked up my Pandora today, and found some bizarre cracks on the hinge (these are not the only ones, but I'll get to the other one after, because these have shown up ridiculously suddenly). I used it yesterday to try out Pickle's Lugaru port and it was fine - I check the hinge every time I open it because of seeing a couple of people's Pandoras that have gaping holes across the hinge in the same location as these cracks in mine have appeared. There are no holes in mine yet - the cracks are in the form of two quite prominent bumps which have quite literally sprung up while the Pandora has been safe in the bag I keep it in overnight!


    I've tried photographing them but can't - my camera can't focus on them for some reason.


    I also have another crack, which I noticed a few days ago. It starts at the rubber foot at the (when open) top-left corner of the lid, and it extends out from here, through/across the "lip" that leads out to the back of the lid, and right up and around the curved part which, when the Pandora is closed, forms the bottom-left corner of the unit when the SD Card slots are facing you. Again, this one, like the ones described above, literally popped up overnight. In the few days that this crack has been there, it has spread a few millimetres further, and now appears to be threatening the entire corner of the lid.


    These new cracks aren't like the old USB-port-area crack that I had on my previous unit, because with that one it was possible to loosen an overly-tightened screw and put a stop to the crack spreading.


    This Pandora has, as ever, been treated super-carefully, because I'm like that with my things. Why has this happened? On the hinge, in particular, the bumpy-cracks make it look as though the plastic is brittle. This is my fourth Pandora, and I really, really don't want to have to send it back for a fifth. Whilst I'm doubting it (given how unstable the structure of the hinge is now looking), is there anything that I can do to fix this myself, and be sure that it won't worsen or happen again?
     
  2. DavidBowman

    DavidBowman Member

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    Well, I'm not sure what sort of plastic that the case is made from, but there is a product called J-B Weld that is like magic for fixing all kinds of things. See this page for more information


    I'm not sure if that's available in the UK, but that was the first thing that I thought of. You may also check this product, called Goop. Again, I'm not sure if this is available in the UK, but if you can't tell, I'd say I'd lean towards some sort of epoxy.


    I know I'd rather do that than RMA for a 5th unit!
     
  3. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    We can get an epoxy resin/hardener under the brand-name of 'Araldite' in the UK and most of Europe, but that doesn't contain the iron filings that appear to be in this J-B Weld stuff - although I can't imagine how iron filings would add any strength to the final epoxy. That would work, but I can't suggest a way to apply it that wouldn't look hideous, without taking the hinge apart (which I also wouldn't suggest doing).
     
  4. craigix

    craigix Mega GP Mania

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    Plastics are a funny thing, the Pandora is made from PC-ABS.


    Oddly the stronger the plastic is made the more brittle it can become in certain situations (softer plastic would just bend). Even companies like Nintendo struggle with getting this mix right.


    If your case is still working fine don't worry about it, it might have 'settled'.


    We're trying to move the Pandora case production all to the UK to give us more control over the mix. I will give an update on this at some point in the coming months.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2011
  5. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    It's not, unfortunately. As I mentioned in my post, the cracks are still worsening.


    I don't suppose you know of some sort of ABS adhesive that would be suitable for the mix used here? (I gather that that stuff essentially "melts" the plastic back together. I've got an old CPS2 game board ere that it's clearly been used on, but I have no idea where to get it.)
     
  6. TJFBryant

    TJFBryant Island Man with Pandora in my pocket

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    I would suggest using an epoxy resin adhesive on crack.


    the JB weld stuff is used mainly for cold soldering and component adhesive and attachment.


    You don't need the JB weld stuff.


    On the other hand I wonder if the good old hobby plastic glue would work.... I have a feeling though the plastic isn't soft enough to create a "melted bond."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2011
  7. vadsamoht

    vadsamoht Well-Known Member

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    My suggestion would be to take the unit down to a hardware store and ask the people there for an adhesive that you can use safely on PC/ABS to fill and then coat the crack with.


    I'd also suggest being very careful with just buying the first epoxy resin that you find, because some can cause heavy discolouation of the plastic/paint or even exacerbate the cracking/crazing underneath the resin.
     
  8. Mr_Loon

    Mr_Loon Can't Remember

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    A photo would be really helpful for providing advice / understanding the problem. Have you used Macro mode on your camera? Look for a flower shaped icon to select Macro mode, or maybe try and borrow a camera from a friend if you're limited to using a mobile phone / GBA camera.


    Hope it all turns out OK and you don't have to return another Pandora.
     
  9. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    I have indeed - it can't focus on them with or without it (it's a very recent Fuji Finepix camera, and its Macro mode is generally better than that of my previous camera, which basically died). I'll see if I can get set out some of my fabric stash later for a better backdrop, which might or might not help, but I'm not too sure that it'll be able to focus on it even then.


    To give a more colourful description, though, until I have a moment for that: You know how a person's skin comes up in welts after being bitten or stung by an insect? It looks exactly like that, but on plastic, and with little "H"-shaped cracks across the tops of them, matching the direction of the seam of the hinge. :blink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2011
  10. double7

    double7 It's Evil Dragons magic

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    Does your camera have a two step shutter release button?


    If yes, set up good light for the picture. Get a non black object next to the pandora as a focus dummy.


    Target the dummy with macro mode an slowly push the shutter release button until the first feelable resistance, the first step.


    This will freeze the focus. Holding the shutter release button you can target the camera on the pandora. Push the release button harder to take the picture. If you didn't get a good picture, try distance and angle changes after freezing the focus.


    Doing so you can handle a lot of stupid auto-focus software issues. Check the manual of your camera, some have a lot of focus modes. Hope that helps.
     
  11. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    ^ Thanks for the suggestion. I'm only sorry to say that I only saw it after I figured out a way of getting the macro mode to see what I wanted it to see - I put my flash-drive (a beige bunny rabbit, which proved to be a perfect contrast) in the USB port. :lol:


    Here are the pictures - my apologies for their size.


    [​IMG]


    Firstly, here are the welts and cracks on the hinge, as viewed from above.


    [​IMG]


    This is the same picture as above, but with red lines highlighting where the cracks are, to clarify the information from the first image.


    [​IMG]


    This is the welts as viewed from the front - you can see how they stick out above an otherwise flat and straight hinge. You can also see the cracks running down off of them here, but I didn't feel a need to make another highlighted picture.


    [​IMG]


    This is the corner crack. My apologies for the poor lighting in this one.


    [​IMG]


    Highlighted shot of the corner crack. The crack actually continues around where the corner curves, but this can't be seen in this side-viewed photo.


    I'm rather concerned about both of these, but mostly about the hinge, as today, the welts look very much like they could flake off into a bunch of tiny shards.


    I'm half considering a *very* thin layer of Sugru, if I can't find a suitable adhesive to bond the ABS back together, but I'm unsure if it would be good enough for this purpose, as it would only be holding the current cracks together, and wouldn't prevent these or further ones from spreading or forming anew.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2011
  12. slaeshjag

    slaeshjag Advanced Member

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    I seem to have the same bulging as in your first pic, though my case hasn't cracked yet.
     
  13. Asmo

    Asmo Advanced Member

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    I have very similar bulges from day 1 (although you really need to hold it at the right angle in the right light to see them) - but no cracks (touch wood). I'd assumed these were as a result of coming out of the mold awkwardly or while still soft, rather than any internal pressure.


    I wonder if using the touch screen could account for any of the cracks in the hinge area, particularly on the extreme upper corners - this could be applying a twisting force on the hinge, if the screen is unsupported from behind.
     
  14. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    I've checked this unit for this sort of thing from day one (purely because of a couple of photographs of holes in those locations), and these weren't there on its arrival. It really does look like internal pressure, though, even though can't think of any reason why any would be present.

    If that's a possible cause, it can't be the case for mine - I don't use the touch-screen at all. :(
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2011
  15. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    My apologies for the double-post, but a third hinge-welt has formed since my previous post. Where the first and second ones are at the right and middle areas of the hinge, respectively, this one is towards the left.


    It's utterly bizarre - all three of them are evenly-spaced and everything. :blink:


    The new hinge-welt doesn't have any cracks in it, although at this point I'm assuming (given its sudden appearance) that it might mimic its brethren and take on that trait as well.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2011
  16. vadsamoht

    vadsamoht Well-Known Member

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    The thing that gets me is that what you're experiencing is really unusual behaviour for plastics. If there were air bubbles trapped in the plastic during moulding then you might get some cracks after a day or two, but the fact that these are continually coming up is puzzling.


    I know it's a stupid question to ask you you of all people, but you haven't subjected you Pandora to any extrame conditions, have you? Because all I can think of is that the casing has been exposed to either some environmental factor (e.g. heat) or something else that is causing the plastic to behave in an unexpected manner.
     
  17. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    I've said since the very beginning, if anyone's going to find bizarre behaviour with a device under normal usage, it's me. I have a knack for the impossible. :p

    Absolutely not, no. It's never in extreme temperatures, and it's always kept safe in a bag when not in use. (And it hasn't been exposed to, say, radioactive spiders, toxic waste, or anything else, either.)


    Perhaps the team implanted miniature plastic-burrowing moles in mine? :lol:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2011
  18. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    Ok, one last update, here: I've fixed the cracks using Sugru. I didn't put a layer on the outside, though - I stuck a chunk of it to one finger, and spread it across the cracks and then removed it, so that just the cracks were left "filled" (its consistency in its modelling-clay state is like Plasticine, so this was very easy to do). It cures to be silicone rubber that's adhered to the surfaces that it's been stuck to, so it should hold up just fine. :)


    This stuff is brilliant. And no need for an RMA. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2011
  19. MarioPandio

    MarioPandio Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear you fixed up your cracks.


    Just as importantly, did you video the process and (naturally inadvertently advertising the Pandora by extreme Ninja covertness) manage to make yourself the now 'hack of the week' sugru honey, busting moves in Lugaru, bunny fu style?


    Wait that all just sounds plain old wrong....


    Re-watching WatershipDown to further myself.
     
  20. Prometheus

    Prometheus Well-Known Member

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    ^ I had considered sending it in as a "Hack of the Month", but I'm not sure that advertising that my casing cracked would be a good idea. :lol: (And alas, Lugaru has a freezing bug at the moment. :( )


    Wandering off-topic for a moment, you know, I've never watched or read Watership Down. Really should do that sometime. :p
     

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