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I've replaced the HDD in a laptop, and while doing that I needed to disconnect several flat cables. Notably, the one for the trackpad is now causing problems.

The photo below is from the iFixit guide I followed and it shows several connectors (cream-white) and their locking tabs (black). The one being worked on is the touchpad.

That little black lock bar broke! So when reassembling, I can easily slide the flat cable into the connector but now there's nothing to push down on the connector to ensure a solid contact.

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Note that this connector is similar to this schematic, where the cable (with the copper contacts facing down) is loosely pushed into a slot and then secured by closing a hinged lid from above.

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Inserting the cable is no problem, but without the lid it only fits loosely, so there is no connection.

I can't physically remove and replace this connector. How can I repair this? I guess I need some method of pressing the cable down onto the connector's terminals.

  • Is it broken broken (into pieces) cracked, or merely displaced? – Journeyman Geek Sep 24 '15 at 8:03
  • In the photo, the spudger points to a black bar. This has come off the white base of the connector. My attempts to put it back revealed that it's very weak (by time?) and it has broken. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 24 '15 at 9:27
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Depending on how much space there is between the case and connector, some kind of shim might also be useful to maintain contact. In short, you need to emulate the friction fit the original ZIF connector did somehow.

Images courtesy of the OP, and taken from comments.

The bar in question goes inside the connector and sort of squishes the cable in place

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The OP ended up putting my slightly speculative answer into action using a shim - in this case a business card

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I'd originally suggested the use of electrical tape, which would be the thing to do were the contacts on top rather than below (I suspect) the connector but the shim seems to be what fixed it.

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