The TRIANGLE HEAD screwdriver?

Seriously, WTF?

When did “they” start using screws that require the use of a triangle-shaped tip?

I was up Christmas Eve/Christmas morning putting together toys. The last one came in a big box that required both an allen wrench (suppled, but difficult to use on some spots because of the design), and a phillips (or cross) head screw.

I am almost done, and I am exhausted. It is 2:30 am. All I have left to do is insert batteries and I am finished! The battery compartment is secured by screws. The screws are DEEP in a plastic recess, and you cannot see the top of the screw (unless you use a flashlight). But, I figured it is a phillips head and get my long, thin phillips screwdriver and insert it down the hole. I can feel the screw, but the screwdriver just isn’t seating properly. A couple of times I think it is seated, and I push down hard and try to turn. Nothing. So I get my small “precision” screwdriver set designed for the backs of watches, eyeglasses, and computers. These are flat head screwdrivers. Again, they reach the screw, but only “kind of” fit. I finally decide to look down there, and sure enough, the damn screw has a recess for a triangle tipped screwdriver.

I have never seen one of these, nor do I own anything that will turn them. And I have a set of screwdriver bits that covers any number of screw types (over 100 bits) including torx (star shaped), torx with a raised dimple (these are often used for anti-theft, because most people don’t carry this type of screwdriver around), square heads, etc. NO triangle-heads.

I do some quick google-fu and find that Nintendo started using this type of screw, and you can buy a special screwdriver to open up a Nintendo console if you want. I am sure other companies use this type of screw also, and for a device that you would prefer the customer NOT open up under normal circumstances, it makes sense.

But a battery pack cover?

These aren’t special batteries, nor is this a high-tech toy. The toy requires 4 AA batteries, and as far as I can tell, all they do is provide lights to come on (it is a train trestle, and when the train goes over, the light is supposed to come on.)

I was going to pit these bastards, but I figured I would post this here first to see if these screws are in common use and I just haven’t bumped against them until now?

The box, by the way, does not tell you that you need this type of screwdriver, nor do the instructions).

Anyone else bump into these, and are they now being used in places where security is not exactly an issue?

And WHY on earth would a company put these on a battery compartment of a toy? I am sure the answer is “money”, but to not even mention this on the box or instructions makes it seem like they ran out of screws and just used whatever was laying around. The best part is they secure the battery compartment with 4 of these things. Maybe they were sued because some child swallowed a battery, but a normal screw would be sufficient to keep a small child from accidentally opening the cover.

I guess I will have to buy these screwdrivers, but I have no idea what size this thing is, so I will most likely have to buy a complete set. Once I do get these screws out, I will replace them with phillips or flat-head screws.

Ok, folks… Tell me how many products these screws exist on, and when was the first time you bumped into them?

thought those were know as “Apple” screws…

I think I saw one once on a disc drive that was not supposed to be opened. concealed by a piece of metal tape. All I wanted to do was destroy the disk and our sysop did have a screw driver for it. But what the hell is it doing on a consumer product that was meant to be opened?

Jeez, been around for eons. The McDonalds “Animaniacs” toys were put together with these, and that was in the 90’s. An ordinary Phillips screwdriver will often bite properly and turn them.

You maybe thinking of Apple’s pentalobe screw, which is a sorta rounded five point screw.
Triangle screw and screwdriver info here on Google.

Hopes this helps.

Thank you. This helped a lot!

Apparently, they are called “tri-wing” screws. Never saw one before, and am kind of pissed they are on the battery compartment. Does everyone except me have a set of these in their tool box?

Not sure why I never saw one before. I have never even seen these in a hardware store. Did a quick search on Lowes, and they only have bits, not an actual screw driver. That bit would not fit into the battery slot.

I feel your pain. I hate having to buy special tools that only get used occasionally.
In my younger days I probably would have got the DeWalt with an x/32" bit out, drilled those dang screws out, put batteries in, and seal the sucker back up with duct tape.

Maybe its just me, but if you have to buy a special screwdriver to open that compartment maybe it’s not meant to be opened.

My thought as well - are you sure that is how you’re supposed to open the battery compartment?

Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity.


No, hey, you know what? Let’s attribute it to malice. Screw the kindly philosophical quotes. I think we should go out there and start pulling manufacturing tycoons from their cars. Who’s with me???

Just the other day I ran into some. What a PITA.

A label that you have to break that says if you do, the warranty is no good.

Why the stupid screws? Just sell them another expensive gizmo and laugh all the way to the bank.

It is the lawyers fault & the juries that give out silly money … We are the enemy.

Uh… Yeah.

There is no other way to get the thing open.
This isn’t some electronic/computer gizmo. It is a plastic train bridge with little red lights FFS.

Well, at 3:00 Christmas morning, if I saw the guy who made this decision, I would have stabbed him in the chest with my Phillips screwdriver and showed him how great they work! (So, count me in)

Or you could just make your own.

Somewhere on your tool bench or in your tool box, do you have a set of allen wrenches or a hex key set?
They are 6 sided (ie a multiple of 3). If you don’t have one, you probably will find a use for one in the future, so buying a set isn’t a total loss. $10 @ HomeDepot.

If you are very lucky (and a little patient) you may find that you have a size that will fit snugly and that won’t strip the screw head.

Also, I realize that this is 8PM the day after Christmas and that by now you may have gotten Supremely Pissed and may have stripped the screw. If that has happened, here is a link that I found which you might find helpful.

My thought is “why the hell do so many toys require screwdrivers to change the batteries now”? In the old days, battery compartments could be opened without tools. Now you have to fumble around the kitchen oddments drawer to find a small Philips screwdriver.

Because kids eat batteries. Now most of us would say “well your kids are stupid and deserve to be powered by a 9-volt; we all managed to survive to adulthood with spring loaded battery compartments.” And you would be right.

Triangle screws are generally used as a security measure so as to make the compartment non-user accessible. Sometimes semi-permanent rechargeable or specialized lithium batteries will be put into compartments like that. Are you SURE you are supposed to be accessing or opening that compartment and that it does not already have batteries inside?

What is the name and model # of this toy?

I’ve noticed those triangle heads on other McDonalds toys over the years. It seems they’ve standardized on this fastener.

Heh, I would have raged out, but this is a wonderfully logical solution.