Here is a horror story for you guys. So before I start, let me being with the two valuable lessons learned from my experience:
1) Make sure you follow directions carefully before cracking open your case. Don't go by memory.
2) Understand that Dell considers the entire Mini 9 to be a disposable / replaceable part.
So, my story begins with my desire to retrofit my Mini 9 with a stock Bluetooth module, which I order and got directly from Dell for the reasonable price of $20+SH. No big deal. When it came, I started the process of removing the keyboard and then the palm rest in order to expose the area where you are supposed to install the Bluetooth module. Once again, I would like to reiterate the fact that this is Well documented, and that the fault is entirely my own.
I read the instructions on the Mini 9 itself, and the turned the instructions off when I began surgery. You see, the instructions clearly point out that you are supposed to disconnect the keyboard (which I did), and the trackpad (which I did) and the power button (which I didn't do). As is typical in these kinds of devices, the the palm rest put up some resistance and did not want to disconnect from the base. When it finally gave way, the ribbon cable connecting the power switch board with the mother board ripped off from its solder joints and pulled a couple of traces from the power board itself.
I tried to repair the damage that I had done by stripping back the ribbon cable and soldering it back onto the power button board, but the cable was too short now because of the break to be able to fit between the two boards.
"Not to worry" I thought. I should be able to replace the part from Dell easily enough After all, the power button is a wear item, a moving part. They have to make allowances for their replacement. At worst, I will have to replace the entire palm rest, and get a new track pad in the process. But how much would it cost? $50? That would be reasonable, but what were the chances that Dell were going to be reasonable. So i started thinking higher. $100? That is one heck of a lot for what you are getting but you have to do what you have to do. I started thinking in my head "if it is more that $150, should I still replace it? "
So, you would imagine my shock when I called up Dell, and they quoted the price $357.
"But," I explained to him, "a whole new unit costs $250!"
"Yes." was his only response.
"I could replace my entire unit for that", but I was starting to figure out the this was the point all along.
So now, I am faced with either trying to see if i can jury rig something with my soldering iron again (and risk even greater damage), or shell out for a new one.