Sony screwed me again!
January 18, 2007 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Help me ScrewFilter! I have an old Sony Clie I want to open to replace the battery but Sony used evil, tiny 5 pronged tamper resistant screws.

I searched for "screw" and "sony screw" and had much fun but didn't find anything helpful. The screws are sort of like Phillips screws but instead of 4 blade slots they have 5. They are tiny at 2mm across. I've considered the melted pen trick but I'm worried the plastic will get stuck. Give the small size, it might not even be possible for plastic to get enough purchase to loosen them. Vice-grips are not an option as they screws are set below the surface of the Clie.

Any idea how I can get them out and if necessary replace them?

Picture of the offensive screw here.
posted by chairface to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Dang security bits. A Torx Plus TR, maybe?
Security bit sets aren't that expensive, but if turns out to be a really weird one, you might want to try:
posted by zamboni at 10:10 PM on January 18, 2007

How about a bobby pin?... If you strip the little plastic bulb off the end of the straight edge of a bobby pin, you can make a very maneuverable tool that might give you enough leverage to turn the screw... Good luck!
posted by amyms at 10:20 PM on January 18, 2007

Looks like a Torx, not a Torx Plus (five prongs, not six). You might need a set of drivers if you can't get an accurate measurement of size. Try McMaster-Carr.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:21 PM on January 18, 2007

It's not the answer you are looking for, but looking at that screw, I'd bet that a with a Torx screwdriver and a Dremel, you could build something that would work without having to resort to melting a pen (not that what I'm suggesting would be any easier, but maybe less messy on the device)

I'm thinking you keep the 12 o'clock, a bit of the 2 o'clock, and if possible a little bit of around 7:45 or so would probably work.

Hopefully someone will point you to the actual tool, but if not, I'm willing to bet that some grinding will get you to where you want to be.
posted by quin at 10:27 PM on January 18, 2007

This might be what you need.

hydrophonic: good point re prongs, but on further consideration, the slots are a bit too square for a torx.
posted by zamboni at 10:27 PM on January 18, 2007

It's not a torx. Torx and Torx plus both have hexagonal symmetry. This pentagonal symmetry. For that reason, a ground down Torx wouldn't work either. If I ground it down and bent the blades I might be in business though. Bending blades on a tip less than 2mm across would be kinda challenging but it's still a good idea.

What's also not clear from the pics is the cut groves are angled downward toward the center, like a Phillips.

On review, it looks like zamboni hit the nail on the head, so to speak.
posted by chairface at 10:40 PM on January 18, 2007

It looks to me like there's a little pin sticking out from the hole in the middle of the screw. I managed to unscrew a screw like this with a normal slotted screwdriver by just jamming it in there. It got stuck between the notches on one side of the pin. However, my screw was a little bit bigger than yours. Still, it's worth a try if you've got a tiny slotted screwdriver on hand.
posted by amf at 11:05 PM on January 18, 2007

If that were my problem, I'd be swearing, digging out my sacrificial tiny flatblade and filing the corners off it until it gripped well enough to work. I don't think I'd have the patience to wait for a super special five bladed thing to turn up in the mail.

But this is unlikely ever to be my problem, because I'm conducting a one-man boycott of everything Sony. The rootkit was the last straw.
posted by flabdablet at 1:03 AM on January 19, 2007

Yup, pentagon screw. The larger ones can be a bit hard to find drivers for, but the little ones like that can often be found in so-called "Communication Repair Tool Sets" (i.e. sold to wannabe mobile phone "hackers" for unlocking & cloning/rebirthing phones).

If you can't find one easily, ask your friendly local mobile phone dealer or repair centre.

On preview: flabdablet, they're not just used in Sony gear.
posted by Pinback at 1:29 AM on January 19, 2007

It's not a torx. Torx and Torx plus both have hexagonal symmetry.

Ack! Looks like I counted wrong. No more mechanical advice from me when I'm up past bedtime.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:18 AM on January 19, 2007

I have an assortment of precision screwdrivers that I use for situations like yours. I can usually find a straight bladed bit that will fit and bite well enough to get a screw out and then back in without too much, if any, damage.

BTW, they didn't cost me too much. Try Harbor Freight or Sears.
posted by 14580 at 8:20 PM on January 19, 2007

An update just in case anyone cares: I turned on the Clie today and it was dead. So I bought a new Palm instead of screwdriver and a battery.

At least it was good timing.
posted by chairface at 6:04 PM on January 21, 2007

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