Screw you, Dell
July 18, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to attach a Dell HDTV to its table mount and it's driving me completely insane.

I recently inherited a 5-year-old Dell LCD TV (model number W3706MC). Its previous owner had wall-mounted it, and while the table mount was still around, the four screws to attach it had been long since lost. For various reasons, I have to use the TV's table mount instead of wall-mounting it, and I'm having a ridiculous amount of difficulty finding screws that fit.

Here's the mount, and here's the back of the TV. The four sockets on the back of the TV fit through the holes in the mount, and machine screws hold the mount in place.

The problem? I have no idea what screws to use, the information doesn't seem to be available anywhere, and advice from slightly more handy family members and coworkers (and hardware store clerks) have failed. I've tried Dell customer support (they have no idea), online documentation for the TV and similar models (all of which skip the stand/mount setup and move straight to the in/out connections- they don't even list the mount and associated hardware in the parts list), Dell's third-party out of warranty repair service (bupkiss), searching around A/V forums online (they only address the question of how to wallmount the TV), etc. I've tried 4mm (too small) and 6mm (too large) screws, and before I waste more time and gas driving across town to get a bag of varying lengths of 5mm, I figured I should ask the hivemind to see if anyone has advice. At this point I'm not even sure Dell uses metric machine screws...
posted by Merzbau to Technology (11 answers total)
Take the whole thing to your local hardware store and start trying different screws until you find the right ones.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:20 PM on July 18, 2010

Does your TV have speakers mounted to the sides with screws? Do those screws fit in the holes for the stand?
posted by MegoSteve at 1:25 PM on July 18, 2010

You're likely having problems with the thread pitch, not the screw sizes. Unless you have a gauge set, all you can really do is go to a hardware store and try them out. Local hardware stores, and Ace Hardwares seem to have the best selections of things like this.
posted by sanka at 1:41 PM on July 18, 2010

3/16" = 4.7625mm

Do the nuts unscrew from the TV? Might be a little more portable that way.
posted by rhizome at 1:49 PM on July 18, 2010

Response by poster: MegoSteve- the speakers do attach to the sides, but with this weird S-shaped plastic clips with built-in screws. They can't fit over the sockets in the back of the TV in such a way that I can tell if they fit, unfortunately.

Sanka- I was worried about that. The clerk at Home Depot was under the impression that thread pitch wouldn't be a problem if it was metric, but I could definitely believe he was wrong.

Rhizome- the sockets don't unscrew from the TV. I'd take it to the hardware store, but it's quite large and heavy, and I'm a fairly small guy who had to enlist help to get it into my apartment in the first place.
posted by Merzbau at 2:00 PM on July 18, 2010

I'm not sure how high in the Dell support echelon you got to but I'd try calling Dell Support again. Be nice and gently insist on getting level 2 support or higher.

There has got to be *some* documentation about that model in the Dell 'archives' somewhere.

I work in tech support and I know I'd see this call as a challenge and would want to find a solution for the customer.
posted by eastofottawa at 2:16 PM on July 18, 2010

Maybe I'm seeing this wrong but those look like silver coloured allen bolts that the previous owner has left in the back of the tv. Can you not remove them and pass then through the holes in the stand?
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:08 PM on July 18, 2010

Sorry, don't know how I missed the previous suggestions.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:10 PM on July 18, 2010

I would try Ace Hardware or a dedicated fastener store (Google/Phone book). In my experience, these places have a much better selection, and a much more helpful staff than Home Depot. Ideally you load the TV up into your car (or a friend's car or Zipcar, etc.) and take it with you. Then you go to the store, tell them you're having a lot of trouble finding a screw and could they help you out. In my experience, they'll have no trouble accompanying you out to your car while you try out every damned screw in the place to find the one that fits.
posted by !Jim at 3:28 PM on July 18, 2010

Every Dell device I've ever seen that assembles with screws has used standard-pitch metric ones. If 4mm is too small and 6mm is too big, I'd be very surprised to find that ordinary M5 screws didn't fit. But tjhen, I'm in Australia. If you're in the US, pick up some 3/16" screws as well, just in case.
posted by flabdablet at 6:56 PM on July 18, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice, and sorry about the somewhat combative tone of the question (and title)- I'm not exactly great with hardware, and I'd gotten frustrated about what seemed like a ridiculous amount of difficulty to get what should have been a trivial bit of information. After buying a set of every 5mm screw, I've finally found a size that works- 5mm x 30mm, in case anyone finds themselves in my position and searches for that information.
posted by Merzbau at 5:29 PM on July 24, 2010

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