09-27-2012 08:03 PM - edited 09-27-2012 08:06 PM
The Pavilion series laptops are really well made in a lot of respects. I have owned my DV5t for almost 4 years now and I've been quite happy with it (except for rather anemic battery life). There is one thing that became a nasty problem for me, that being the left touchpad button. It is the most commonly used touchpad button and unfortunately these buttons were not well designed. They can easily break after a certain number of hits, whereby there's no longer any spring to it. Pressing the button ends up getting double-taps like mad. Also, the silver coating on them tends to wear away, looking rather unsightly over time. Once you start seeing the black plastic beneath, it won't be long before the button breaks. It's really a shame, because these tactile feel buttons work well--they just don't last. The newer HP laptops have those "lite touch" buttons which I do not like. The tactile feel is so much better. Unfortunately, it seems like most laptop makers are going with those solid state buttons to avoid another component that might go wrong. It's a shame, because with just a little more effort they could have been designed to last a very long time.
As of this writing, I have now gone through TWO of these touchpads. How did I manage to get another two chances? Well, they can be replaced but unfortunately they require you to disassemble more than half of the laptop. You see, the touchpad is integrated into the palm bezel, and the palm bezel is a piece of plastic coated metal that runs all the way to the back of the laptop. To get at it requires about an hour of taking the laptop apart. It's not for the faint of heart either. However, there is a service manual available that shows you what to do and I was able to follow it... thrice. Yes, the first button wore out after just under 2 years. The second one held up about as long. I use the touchpad buttons frequently, so... well, needless to say, now that I've got the 3rd bezel in place, I am going to rely mostly on an external mouse. And when I have to use the touchpad, I am going to use it very carefully, not exerting too much pressure (note that you can also tap the touchpad itself for a single click, something good to get into the habit of doing). Additionally, I'm going to put a sheet of protector plastic on the left mouse button to help avoid wearing out the surface.
So... one hour to disassemble it and a little more than an hour to reassemble it. It looked daunting to do at first, but believe me if you're patient and can follow instructions it is definitely doable. You don't need to be an HP tech to do it.
As for the parts, I obtained them from eBay. Apparently there are a lot of excellent condition used parts available from a variety of sources. I got the bezel for just under $30 shipped. Also, the speaker grille part is metal and tends to dent, so this time around I replaced it as well as the keyboard (the original was fine, but just a little touchy on one or two keys). With all 3 of these parts replaced, my laptop feels like new all over again. As for obtaining parts, you'll need to do your homework with the HP parts finder. There are many variants of the Pavilion laptop models with many parts in common, so the part you need can vary by number. The parts catalog can help you find them.
Anyway, that's about it. After having done this for the 3rd time, I figured there might be others out there with this problem on the brink of tossing out the laptop or selling it for parts on the cheap. It's salvageable!