Dell XPS 15 Screen Hinge - Mechanical Failure Guaranteed
I wish to put this issue out into the wilderness of the internet as a cautionary note - that it may be recorded and hopefully improved upon by the industrial designers at Dell.
The brackets that secure the screen hinge to the chassis of the computer are **bleep** into soft steel screwblocks. The metal frame that connects these screwblocks to the rest of the chassis is extremely thin sheet metal - less than a millimetre thick. This strip and the screwblocks - a soft steel monocoque - are bonded to the carbon fibre palmrest with epoxy.
Opening the computer screen requires force of 500g-1kg, and over three years, the stresses applied to this extremely thin piece of metal will cause catastrophic failure eventually.
If you want to see for yourself, open the laptop up and locate the DC power inlet where the cable plugs in. The jack itself is glued to the carbon handrest, and the power cables run through a channel in the metal next to the screwblock. If you notice, the flexion in this region of the laptop caused by opening the screen means that mechanical force is being applied to the two screws holding the back cover on - the two corner screws on the hinge side of the computer. Ultimately these two screws are providing backup strength to the screwblocks. The channel through which the power cable runs is totally unnecessary - there is clearance enough for the 2mm cable if that channel never existed - and if the screwblock were reinforced all the way down to the motherboard, I'd wager it would probably not suffer metal fatigue.
So, what can you do as the proud owner of a computer doomed to fail mechanically?
Epoxy resin (Milliput, Gorilla etc) can be used to fill in the gaps between the screwblock and the carbon walls of the palmrest. The channel the power cable runs through should be filled in. If I was the industrial designer, I would have put in an X-shaped brace into the metalwork where that stupid cable run is now. Both hardpoints for attaching the screen suffer a lot of flex, and both sides need reinforcing, in my opinion.
Dell - yes carbon is strong but it is flexible, don't glue 0.6mm soft steel to it thinking that cumulative forces won't eventually snap the metal!