Surface Pro 3 Battery Replacement Changes?

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Pro 3' started by netuser, May 20, 2014.

  1. netuser

    netuser Member

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    Does anyone know if they made any design changes for the Surface Pro 3 vs the older models that will allow worn out/degraded batteries to be replaced out of warranty at a cost comparable to what Apple charges for replacing sealed batteries on MacBook Airs and iPads ($99 to $129 range)?

    The previous Surface Pro models had a battery that was installed/manufacured in a way that made future battery replacements close to impossible even by trained repair technicians.
    So, if you have an out of warranty Surface where the battery life is no longer meeting your needs due to normal aging over time, your battery replacement through Microsoft consists of trading the whole unit in for a refurb at a cost of somewhere around $500.

    See previous link for details:
    New battery replacement cost from MS? - Microsoft Community


    Probably not worth spending that money on your, now outdated, Surface. This makes your device disposable after a couple of years other than maybe using it as a desktop PC always plugged into A/C power.
    The only workaround for this issue I have seen if someone suggesting that you buy the accidental damage insurance at extra cost and "making sure" the device gets damaged beyond repair before the coverage expires so you get a new battery in the replacement device. Tacky, and I'm not sure that would even work.

    It would be great if Microsoft made the battery replacement possible at a reasonable cost on the the Surface Pro 3. Ridiculous battery replacement costs will keep me from seriously considering buying a Surface.
    Even if I wanted to get a new model in 2 years anyway, I would like my old unit to have a replaceable battery so that it will worth something when selling it.
    If the battery is worn out or down to only a couple hours and it costs too much to replace the battery, it will be difficult to sell the device for more than a "give away" price.
     
  2. chipgallo

    chipgallo New Member

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    I found a YT video showing how to open one with a heat gun and some shims. Probably only a matter of time until a service depot offers battery replacement.
     
  3. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    Having user replaceable batteries require a much thicker device because of the safety requirements, having it sealed in the systems allows them to forgo the shielding and casing required, this the thinner, lighter devices. All closed systems now have a 3-4 year shelf life...its the nature of the industry. I would imagine that the SP3 will be even more difficult due to the Vacuum Process the device goes through during assembly.
     
  4. netuser

    netuser Member

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    Was the video for a Surface Pro 3, a Surface Pro, a Surface Pro 2, a Surface or a Surface 2? They may all have a different level of difficulty.

    Also, it isn't just an issue of opening the case. After the case is opened, the battery is installed in a way that makes it near impossible to remove without damaging lots of other things (maybe it tears the motherboard). So, it looks like they end up basically gutting it and needing to install other new parts just remove the battery. That would be a reason why you just have to pay for a whole refurbished unit when you send your Surface Pro in to Microsoft for "battery replacement."
    It doesn't make sense that a third party depot would be able to replace the battery better than Microsoft-trained technicians through the official repair channels.
     
  5. netuser

    netuser Member

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    Too bad if that's true. However, the iPad Air and MacBook Air are thin and light with a sealed battery and they still were able to manufacturer it in a way that allows battery replacement through their repair depot to happen at a cost that most people would be willing to pay ($100-$130).
    Sealed batteries are not new. I am not even asking for user-replaceable batteries, just batteries that can be replaced by a tech in a repair depot at an economical cost.

    Even if the life of the device was only 4 years, the last year or two of use will be bad if your previous 8 hour device is down to 3 hours or less. This bad experience will likely send more past buyers to competitors as they try to avoid a repeat experience on the next device when they find out the cost of replacing the battery is so outrageously high that it isn't saving them a lot of money over buying a new unit.
    Throwing away a $200 Venue 8 Pro after two or three years may not be a big deal, but a loaded $2000 Surface Pro being trash in 3 or 4 years is not the same thing (will they want $1000 or more for refurb replacement of your 3 year old i7 Surface Pro 3 in 2017?).
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  6. Korlon

    Korlon Member

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    I don't know about the SP or the SP3 but I opened a friends SP2 a month or so back and found the battery sealed to the rear of the case. I did not attempt to use the heat gun on it even though it looked to be sealed with the same adhesive used to seal the screen.

    With all the effort needed to open up the SP2, even if the battery were screwed in place any tech would still charge more than $100 to replace the battery. Just to access it requires removing the screen, detaching I think 4 ribbon cables which are somewhat fragile and are located just inside of the adhesive making the whole prospect of removing the screen precarious in itself. But even if the technician manages that without problems he still has to contend with over 70 screws attaching the motherboard to the casing, not all the same size either. Then after removing the motherboard/SSD can the technician even attempt to approach the battery.

    Now I was a novice opening up a broken SP2, not really taking a whole lot of care, and it took me an hour to remove the screen. Took me about 2 hours to remove the screws and organize them in a way so I could reassemble the darned thing. So in all lets call it 3 hours for a novice, probably take 1.5 hours for someone more skilled than I and with practice. Now there's the tricky part of removing the battery unaccounted for, plus the replacement cost of a new battery. Yeah, maybe the $500 cost from MS is warranted.
     
  7. netuser

    netuser Member

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    Until someone opens up a Surface Pro 3 to see what it looks like inside, we will not know if battery serviceability is the same, better or worse than the previous models.
    Hopefully, iFixit or someone else will do this soon.
    If they designed it poorly where the cost of battery replacement is so high that you are better off trashing the device after a couple years than replacing the battery, it is a poor design and I will choose something else.
     
  8. chipgallo

    chipgallo New Member

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  9. netuser

    netuser Member

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    I'm really looking for specific information on the Surface Pro 3, since it may be different than previous models.
    It may be a few weeks or months before they tear down a Surface Pro 3.
    Maybe it will no longer be the least repairable tablet your can buy. (Score is 1 out of 10 for repairability).
    Maybe they can get it up to at least a 3.

    If not, this is off my list.
     
  10. drolem

    drolem Active Member

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    The SP3 is roughly the same design with glued on screen and glued in battery, so battery replacement won't be much easier, although I think it has less screws, and that should be a definite plus. I'm guessing the ifixit score will probably be 1.5 out of 10.... ;)
     
  11. netuser

    netuser Member

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    We will have to wait for a tear down to know for sure. There are other tablets and thin ultrabooks that are less difficult to reassemble that a Surface Pro, so it's possible Microsoft has found some better assembly techniques. It is not as if is is physically impossible to make a thin device where the battery can be replaced in a timely manner without damaging most of the rest of the unit.
    They said there are fewer layers of components stacked on top of each other compared to the older Suraface Pro models since they increased the size and spread out the parts.

    If not, for the people for whom the claimed 9 hour battery life is a major factor towards their purchase decision, this is a ticking time bomb in maybe 1 or 2 years when these people find out the battery life has dropped to unacceptable levels and they can't do much about it other than either trash it and buy a new device or pay a lot of money to rebuy the now out of date SP3 a second time as a refurbished unit.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  12. jnjroach

    jnjroach Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm on a 24 month replacement cycle so I'm good
     

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