Tools Part I – Screwdrivers

Choose the correct tools for the job!

This series of articles "How to fix it" is for the tools you need to open and repair your widget. The choice of tools is an important part of this job. Some devices require special screwdrivers to disassemble. The work with a soldering iron requires some skill and knowledge. It’s good to use plastic tools in the process of dismantling to prevent the device from scratches. A broken tool is better than a broken device. So how do you choose the right tool? Here we will give you some information about the most popular tools used for fixing small widgets – screwdrivers, plastic and metal opening tools, etc. Of course, the first tool which we will talk about is the screwdriver.


• Perhaps the most ubiquitous of hand tools nowadays. You have to use the right type and size of screwdriver, otherwise you will damage the screw head and the tool. The screwdrivers that are used for working on laptops, smartphones, cameras and other electronic widgets are very small. We should mention that in some devices you can find screws of different types that may vary in head size as well. If you have a choice, use a screwdriver with a magnetic tip, it’s more convenient because the screws are very small. Many screwdriver designs have handles with detachable tips, called bits.

There are different kinds of screwdrivers classified by their tip type and size. The most popular is flat-blade or slotted screwdriver but it is unusable for our job. We will be concentrating on four of them, the ones most frequently used for small widgets – Phillips, Torx, Security Torx, Pentalobe and Tri-pont. …


Phillips Screw (PH)

The Phillips Screw (patented in 1935 from Henry F. Phillips) is the most popular one in use today – used for about 80% of laptops and 40-50% of smartphones. In the 1930s, cars were being produced on an assembly line using automated power tools. This newly designed screw improved the efficiency of the auto assembly line, allowing parts to be screwed into place easily and efficiently.

Left – PlayStation 3 Slim, right – Samsung Galaxy S4

Phillips drive sizes (different from the screw size) are designated #0000, #000, #00, #0, #1, #2, #3, and #4 (by order of increasing size). This size number is usually stamped onto the shank (shaft) or handle for identification. For our job we need smaller / tiny “jeweler’s” sizes. Phillips (PH) #00, #0 are the most common size screw in small electronic devices like laptops, tablets and portable consoles. The Phillips screws you will meet in laptops, game consoles and many of the smartphones – Samsung, iPhone, HTC, Acer, etc…

Torx screw (T/TX)

Another commonly used type is the Torx screw. It was developed in 1967 by Camcar Textron. Popular name for this drive is star, as in star screwdriver or star bits. The official generic name by ISO standard is hexalobular internal, sometimes abbreviated as 6lobe.

Left – Nokia Smartphone, right screwdriver bits Torx T4, T5, T6, T7

The Torx screwdriver, widely used for automobile repair was designed to take the torque that a Phillips screw can while eliminating the cam-out problem without damaging the head and/or the tool. It is very important to use a screwdriver of appropriate size, otherwise you will damage the screw head, which can cause you a lot of trouble. Torx head size numbers range from T1 to T100. A smaller number corresponds to a smaller dimension of the screw head. Smartphones use sizes T4, T5 and T6. This screw is used in many smartphone models (Nokia, Sony, HTC), hard drives, some laptops and cameras.

Security Torx Screw (TR)

The next model is the Security Torx screw. It’s a variation of the Torx screw and is also known as Tamper-Resistant Torx (often shortened to Torx TR) or pin-in Torx. It contains a post in the center of the head that prevents a standard Torx driver from being inserted.

Left – screwdriver Torx Security size TR8 and TR10, right – PlayStation 3 Slim

You can’t meet this type in mobile phones because he is impractical for a small size of the screw head. You will need screwdrivers size TR8 and TR10 for disassemblig the PS3 and XBox (TR10 and TR8 for PS3 fat and only TR8 for the slim and ultra slim desighn). The new mac models also used Torx Security screws but smaller sizes.


Pentalobe screw (TS)

The Pentalobe screw have been used by Apple since 2009, when they were first implemented in the 15-inch MacBook Pro. It was an attempt to lock individuals out of their devices.

Left – Pentalobe security screw on iPhone 4S, right – Pentalobe screwdriver

The Pentalobe screwdriver is a five-pointed star-shaped pattern. The head sizes number include TS1 (0.8 mm – iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus), TS4 (1.2 mm – MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display), and TS5 (1.5 mm, used on the 2009 MacBook Pro battery). For the iPhone Apple uses only two screws of this type for secure the back cover for 4th series and display assembly for 5th and 6th series. In the market, you can easily find a set of screws with Phillips head and replace them.

Tri-point and Tri-wing screws (TS)

The Tri-point and the Tri-wing are very similar. This is why many people confuse the two models. Both of them are used for security purposes.

The Tri-point, security screw is similar to the Phillips screw, but it has three points rather than four (resembles the logo of Mercedes). More often you will see it like Tri-wing Y tip. These specalized screws are usually used on Nintendo game consoles and some digital cameras.

The Tri-wing screw, also known as triangular slotted, is a screw with three slotted “wings” and a small triangular hole in the center. It’s used in some mobile phone chargers.

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