Monday, October 22, 2007

Toshiba L25

This laptop came in with a cracked area near the dc jack on the chassis and the customer stated you could wiggle the jack to get it to charge. I could never get it to wiggle and power on and the laptop had no battery life.
The L25 was fairly easy to get apart and I had no roadblocks at all (This was my first L25 repair) and was about the same as the L15 version.
Once the laptop was totally torn down the jack had no signs of failure. The solder was completely intact and no small burns were visible that cause the wiggle symptom.
I desoldered the jack and replaced with a new one and the system was charging/powering on fine.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

HP ZE4600

These laptops are very similar to other ze4xxxx series along with the Compaq 2100, 2200, and 2500 series. They all use the same three pin, 2.5mm or five pin (same jack just adding two pins in front for better support) 2.5mm jack.
The 4600 came in with no signs of life and a very loose jack. The main problem with these laptops (Shown in picture) is that they only have three pins for support. Every day wear and tear can easily break this jack and with a little physical abuse it has no chance.
Getting these laptops apart is very easy and the solder hp uses generally comes out without much effort. In so many cases the jack is completely ripped off the motherboard and needs very little desoldering.
Replacing the jack made the laptop charge fine again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dell Inspiron 1150

Every once in a while I get a laptop that has already been taken apart. Of course I provide no warranty for this kind of repair but will still do it. With a laptop like the Dell 1150 it's very easy to put together from scratch with all the screws mixed up.
Someone had already attempted the repair and statistically that's bad. The repair attempt was very poor and some of the circuitry around the dc jack area was mangled and needed repair. I'd say this works about 30% of the time when an unexperienced tech has had there way with it.
I replaced the jack and got the laptop back together and it's charging again.

Dell Inspiron 1150

I saw a lot of dells last month and October is no exception. These dell 1150 laptops have been around for about three years so the fail rate is going to be higher than a laptop like the Inspiron 6000 which has been around for a couple of years.
The jack on this laptop was very loose and I had a full y charged battery to make sure the laptop could power on. It was so loose I didn't even bother trying to do the wiggle trick.
The center pin on the jack was broken back into the jack shield and desoldered with no problem. Replacing the jack made the laptop charge again.

HP Pavilion ZE2000

I always love the laptops that don't need the motherboard all the way taken out to get to the dc jack. These laptops have a small circuit board that the jack is soldered to.
This laptop came in with the wiggle to charge symptom and after it was opened up I could see the main voltage pin was burnt causing the laptop to charge inconsistently. The jack is a five pin 1.65mm with the right pin being the voltage pin.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dell Inspiron 5150

These laptops are very similar to the Inspiron 1150 and 5160. They use the same nine pin jack that many of the latest dells use.
The jack was so loose that when the laptop was torn down I could literally pull the jack off without any desoldering. After the jack is removed I still did the standard desolder job to get all the old jack parts and solder off.
The picture shows what a motherboard looks like after the jack has been properly desoldered. You can now add the new jack (also pictured) and give the proper solder job.

Dell Inspiron 2200

The Dell Inspiron 2200 uses the same six pin 2.5mm jack as the 1000, 1200, 1300, 2000, B130, and more including some Acer models. Like all the other models the most common symptom is the wiggle to get it to charge caused by the burnt voltage pin on the back of the jack. This case was no different.
On this one the ac adater light was still on but the adapter wasn't giving off any voltage.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dell Inspiron 1150

I did a lot of these last month and this is the second of the month. This laptop uses the popular nine pin dc jack from foxconn.
The laptop had been repaired by a different company and suddenly stopped charging during the initial first charge up.
The jack wasn't loose and the laptop wouldn't power on. Never a good sign with these repairs.
These laptops are fairly easy to take apart and the B130 article is very similar.
When the laptop was all torn down the solder job was very poorly done. None of the other circuitry was ruined but someone with little experience did the job.
I removed the other jack and replaced it with another nine pin foxconn jack. When the laptop was put back together it still wouldn't charge or power up. No surprise there.

Dell Inspiron B130

Dell's Inspiron B130 is very similar to the 120, 1000, 1100, 1200, 2000, 2200, and latitude 120L laptops that use this same 2.5mm six pin jack. All of these models have this problem. The most common unless physically broken is the burnt voltage pin in the back. You can usually do the wiggle trick to get a laptop with the burnt voltage pin to keep charging. Eventually this will stop working and you run the risk of breaking or frying the motherboard.
The disassembly of these laptops is fairly easy. You start by taking out all the bottom screws, hdd cover, ram/wifi cover, battery, and (once certain bottom screw is out) optical drive.
The back has two screws that need to be removed.
You can now lift the power button bezel out that gains access to the two keyboard screws. Remove those and carefully undo the ribbon cable and now you can take out the keyboard.
The wireless lead needs to be removed along with the lcd cable. Once that's completed you can lift out the lcd panel.
I call the area under the keyboard the "top plastic". All the screws can be removed from this area along with with the touchpad ribbon cable, cmos battery, and the cable that turns off the lcd when you close the lid. When all these screws have been removed you can take off the top plastic and gain access to the motherboard.
Remove all the screws on the motherboard that have a triangle next to them. You can now lift the motherboard out of the "bottom plastic" and have access to the dc jack. Soldering of the power connector can start.

Dell Inspiron 700M

The owner of this laptop bought the jack from me and tried to do it himself. I never recommend this but I'll sell you the jack if you really want.
This laptop uses a nine pin jack which is pretty rare. I feel like dell doesn't use much solder and that's part of the problem on these. This jack style usually has small burns on the voltage pins that create the ability to wiggle it to get it to charge.
In this case the jack was just loose and as always needed to be replaced. He brought it back to me with a bad solder job (can't blame someone who's probably never done this) and one of the voltage pins didn't have enough solder.
I simply gave it the proper solder job like seen on the side pictures and that was all I could do.

Toshiba M35

These laptops use a cable style dc jack that plugs into the motherboard via a cable. Unless the dc jack itself is physically damaged it's probably not the dc jack but rather a bad ac adapter.
Every time I've looked at one of these laptops it's been a bad adapter. These jacks even sometimes appear loose because the track they sit in to keep them stable is plastic and can break if a lot of force is applied giving it that loose dc jack feel.

hp ze4420us

Identical laptop to the article below except this one doesn't have the built in wireless leads.
The jack is completely gone off the back and has no battery life to be able to power on. Once I got the laptop all torn down it had the small burn marks around the voltage pin but the centerpin was completely gone. The ze4xxx series use a three pin, 2.5mm jack that is a pretty poor design. I think a dc jack should have at least five pins for it to be a solid design.
Replacing the dc jack did the trick and the laptop charges and powers on fine.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

hp ze4400

This laptop is very similar to the ZE5xxx series and compaq 2200, 2100, and 2500 series that have this same issue.
It came in with a very loose jack and melted ac adapter tip. I powered it on with the battery to make sure it wasn't dead.
These laptops are fairly easy to get apart and the 2500/5xxx series are a little bit harder. Once torn down the jack area was a little burnt and the jack itself was barely even on the board. I probably could have just pulled it off without even desoldering it. The jack came off with no problem and the resolder job went on without a hitch. The laptop was put back together but got no charge light. This is connected via ribbon cable which also controls the touchpad. Simply reseating it did the trick and the light/touchpad worked again. If the cable isn't seated just right things won't work.

Toshiba A35

Almost every time I've seen an A35 come in it's been a broken center pin. The six pin jack is very solid. I'm not sure if it's weak or just been abused.
I always get a little nervous when a laptop comes in and it doesn't power on. The jack was clearly broken and needed to be replaced though. I start to worry even more when the jack looks ok and doesn't seem loose.
When taking this laptop apart be very careful of the power button bezel. It's hard to get off and breaks easily. I pull it up until it won't unsnap then place a flat head screwdriver under the bezel and lift it up.
Replacing the dc jack worked fine and the adapter was still ok to use.

Diagnosing the DC Power jack problem.

Doing a correct DC Jack diagnostic is very important. Tearing down a laptop, doing the repair, and then having it not work can be really frustrating. A lot of the repairs we do are sent through the mail and I get them assuming they need the repair. That isn't always the case.
The first thing I do is check the ac adapter (Testing your ac adapter). You can get a simple volt meter from radioshack that will tell you is your ac adapter is giving off the proper voltage. Make sure to give it a wiggle because sometimes the wiggling to make it charge can be a break in the ac adapter.
If the adapter checks out I take a small flathead screwdriver and see if the actual jack is loose. These can be slightly loose from totally broken off and still have the same dc connection problem. If the jack is loose and the adapter checks out I try to get it to power on. I do this because I like to know that it can power on before I start working on it.
You also want to take out the battery and plug in the ac adapter. If the laptop can power on give the ac adapter plug a wiggle to see if the laptop shuts down.
Some of the main symptoms include:
  • Move the power plug and the laptop loses connection
  • Broken or cracked dc jack
  • Laptop won't charge but worked on battery
  • Power LED and battery LED flicker when the adapter tip is moved
  • Battery won't charge
  • Sparks come out the back of the laptop
  • Melted or very hot ac adapter tip
I had a laptop come in this week and I don't think it's the dc jack. The customer was pretty sure it needed a dc jack repair but after a diagnostic I thought differently.
It won't power on even with the battery, just suddenly stopped working, dc jack isn't loose, and ac adapter checked out.
If you don't have any of the above mentioned symptoms you probably don't have the dc jack problem.
Even if the laptop isn't charging you don't necessarily have a dc jack problem.
Another common symptom that isn't the dc jack is when the laptop just won't charge the battery. I've seen a few laptops that won't charge the battery but work just fine on AC. These laptops have some type of motherboard problem.

Friday, October 5, 2007

HP ZD70000

This laptop is in the same family of the ZV/ZX laptops and has the same dc jack issues. I haven't done one in a couple of weeks which is rare.
It came in with battery life left which is really nice for testing purposes. He bought the three year hp warranty and has had the board replaced five times! He was very informed about the jack issue and brought it in right away because his warranty had just expired. I always recommend a three year warranty with a laptop purchase. You just might buy one with this common problem.
The laptop charge light would come on when plugged in but as soon as I would try to turn it on the light would go off and the laptop wouldn't power on without the battery in. Not really a dc jack symptom but we went for it anyway.
Once the laptop was all torn down it had the classic burnt voltage pin on the back which was slightly burnt. I replaced the jack with a new one and laptop charged fine again.

Acer Aspire 3000 Series

I see more and more of these acer laptops. Now that they bought Gateway I'm sure we'll be seeing even more. I really like Acer and think they give you excellent quality and value for the money. I had a customers hard drive go bad in an Acer we sold and they overnighted him a new one. We also had a lcd that went bad and had a new one in our hands within two weeks. With the company AOC it took two months.
The laptop came in with no dc jack still attached. The center pin was rattling around the laptop and it wouldn't power on. Not a good sign.
Tearing down the laptop was pretty easy and not a lot of time and screws were involved which isn't a bad thing. It almost reminds me of the Inspiron 6000 because of the fairly easy to take apart design.
When I got down to the jack the pins were still attached but the center pin had been completely ripped out. Probably one that some tripped over the cord. The solder came off nicely and the new jack went on great. This laptop uses the same jack as the hp zt3000 among others. Once the laptop was all put together again and booted up and was working great.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dell Inspiron 6000

I did about 10 inspiron 6000 laptops last month and this is the first for October. It's always hard to tell if a laptop has this known issue or if a manufacturer like dell makes so many of these laptops and problems are bound to happen with that type of volume.
You could wiggle the jack to make it charge and the data pin would show the correct wattage. On these dell jacks they use a "data" pin on the center of the ac adapter tip to designate what type of adapter it is. When you go into bios it will say 90 watt (PA-10), 65 watt (PA-12) and so on. Sometimes the data pin goes bad and when that happens it won't charge the laptop but will power it. The bios will say "unknown" ac adater.
When the laptop was torn down it had the two back voltage pins that were slightly burnt keeping the laptop from charging without a wiggle. The jack, as always, was replaced with a brand new foxconn jack and the laptop charges fine again.

HP ZE5460

This model is identical to the compaq 2500 series of laptops. It uses the 2.5mm five pin power plug.
I wasn't able to get any of the normal diagnostics to work (wiggle, and adapter tested fine). Once the laptop was torn down the jack had the classic burnt pin that was keeping the laptop from charging properly.
Compaq does an equally poor solder job as any other and is pretty easy to de-solder. I always worry a but when the laptop doesn't power on in my presence but replacing the jack did the trick.

ZX5000 HP

Whenever I get a laptop I check the ac adapter with a volt meter. If it shows proper voltage I try to wiggle the adapter when it's plugged to see if I can make the laptop power on or charge. Doing this over a long period of time can damage the laptop but necessary for proper diagnostics. I always like to see the laptop power on before I begin.
The hp zx5000 is the same as the Compaq R3000 and ZV5000. The adapter showed proper voltage but I couldn't wiggle it to get it to charge and it had no battery life.
I striped the laptop down to gain access to the jack and noticed it had been epoxied on with a black substance. Some of the circuitry was covered by this epoxy like substance. I could see some burn marks on some of the other circuitry around the jack area. In that case it's not even worth trying to replace.
Never, never try to use an epoxy like substance to sturdy the jack. You can ruin the board and any possibility of repair. A good solder job will properly hold the jack in place.

Dell Inspiron 9200

This dell came in with the classic wiggle the adapter tip a certain way to get it to charge. Any dell that was made within the last few years (except B130, 120, 1000, 1200, 1300, 2000, 2200) use this same style jack.
I love working on these laptop because they were designed very good for taking apart. This chassis style includes 700m, 710m, 6000, 6400, E1505, E1705, 9200, 9300, and more that I can't think of right now.
Start by taking out all the bottom screws. You also take out the hard drive, optical, and ram and wireless covers. Make sure to take off the leads from the wireless card because they are attached to the lcd.
Now you can carefully take off the power button bezel which will gain you access to the keyboard screws. Removing those and the keyboard will get you to the "top plastic" bezel with screws labeled P. You can also take of the cmos battery cord, touchpad cord, and another cord. Once it's all removed you should be able to lift that main top plastic piece.
Now you're at the motherboard level. It has lots of cords to remove like the fans, speakers, and pcmcia slot. You need to remove some screws that hold the motherboard in.
You should be done!

Gateway MX3000

I seem to see the MX3000 series more and more along with the larger versions 6000 and 7000 series. The difference is a 14.1" and 15.4" screen.
In one of the pictures to the right you can see the MX3000 uses a separate small circuit board for the jack. It's a six pin 2.5mm style jack. You need some type of small clamp when you solder and de-solder the jack.
Nothing visibly appeared to be wrong with the jack once I got down to it but replacing the jack did the trick. The customer was also using a Targus universal which in my opinion is a big problem. The adapter says 15-24 volts. I personally would never use that on an investment like a laptop. When the repair was completed the adapter didn't even work and I sold him a real lite-on adapter.

Gateway M520

This laptop came in with a broken center pin. It was pretty much hanging by a thread. The board was a little burnt around the back jack area to.
The de-soldering went fine on this six pin, 2.5mm style jack. Usually when I see a six pin style jack the center pin seems to be the problem unless direct force (tripping over the cord, dropping, etc) breaks it.
This laptop is actually the exact same laptop as the Emachines M2352. They just put different brand names on the parts.
After the jack was installed all the parts came back together nicely and the laptop charges fine.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Another ZV5000

This is the second ZV5000 this month and I have another one waiting on the bench after this one is completed. This laptop has the classic dc jack symptom of giving it a proper wiggle to get it to charge.
This is a fairly easy laptop to get apart. I like to start with taking the fan cover off. Then I move to the under battery screws. Make sure you get the optical drive out before taking the main bottom plastic bezel off. Once the optical is removed you gain access to a hidden screw that keeps that main bottom bezel on.
Once all the screws are gone from the bottom you need to take the four back screws out that are hidden under a silver "sticker like" backing. Now the top power button bezel can be removed to gain access to the screws that hold in the keyboard. Remove those screws and take off the keyboard. Like many other laptops be very careful when removing the keyboard ribbon. So many times I see laptop with broken or mangled ribbon holders. I'll get some pics posted of what I mean.
You're about halfway through taking apart the laptop. You can now move onto the screws under the keyboard and power button bezel. Once those are gone you can go to the bottom of the laptop again and remove five screws on the tan chassis of the motherboard. Next are the screws that work with the docking station. You will need a flat head screwdriver to get these off.
If you've done everything right you can now lift the motherboard and still attached tan chassis off the plastics of the laptop.
Flip it over and remove the three screws under the cpu. You can also remove the heatsink screws and remove the cpu. Be very careful when removing this because you can rip the cpu right out of the locked socket if your not careful.
When I got down to the motherboard I could see that the solder had cracked around the main power pin.
The jack is very easy to de-solder and solder is also a breeze. Replacing the jack made this laptop charge fine again with no problems.
As always, I'm not responsible for any damage you might do to your laptop. The best rule of thumb is "If you need to ask you probably shouldn't try to do it yourself".

HP ZT3000 DC Jack Repair

The hp zt3000 is one the top ten laptops I see. It uses the same jack as a lot of current acer laptops and that also have the power jack problem.
When applying force to the right or wiggling it I could get the laptop to charge. A good way to diagnose a laptop like this is to take out the battery and if you can wiggle it and it shuts down you have the dc jack problem. You also need to use a volt meter to test the adapter because stress on the ac adapter can also give this symptom.
Be careful when taking off the power button bezel. You need to push back four connectors on the keyboard to get it to come off without breaking something.
When I got down to the jack it had the classic burnt solder crack around the jack that allows for wiggling to charge the laptop. The solder came off pretty easy and the jack went on with no problems.
As long as the motherboard isn't cracked this repair is about 90% successful when displaying these symptoms.

Monday, October 1, 2007

HP ZV5000

The hp zv/zx 5000 laptops are one of the top three laptops we fix with the dc jack problem. The factory solder job is machined and very poor. The solder on the jack seems to be low quality and not very much of it is applied.

This dc jack has four solder points. One in the back for power, one on the middle and two on the sides for support. Over time the back power pin heats up and causes the solder to crack. This leaves a very small open space around the jack and gives the symptom of being able to wiggle the adapter tip to make the laptop charge. This will only get worse and worse until moving the tip won’t make proper contact. You can also damage the laptop motherboard if to much strain is put on it and it cracks.

As always, we remove the jack even if it can be fixed and replace it with a brand new one. The solder job is much better than the factory and will last for years to come.

Emachines M2352 DC Jack Repair

This laptop came in with a melted ac adapter tip. Sometimes the dc jack failure can cause the jack area to get very hot and burn the board, jack, and or adapter. In this case, replacing the dc jack fixed the problem and the laptop charges fine after the jack was replaced. The ac adapter was even still working after the overheating.
The laptop was pretty standard as far as getting it apart. Someone had already attempted to take it apart so some screws were missing. If your thinking about doing this repair yourself always be very careful with the ribbon cables. About 50% of the time when some tries to do it themselves I see lots of missing screws and broken cable connectors.
The jack came off easy on this one and the new jack soldered on with no problems.

Averatec 2200 w/broken dc jack

The Averatec 2200 is a sleek looking 12.1" style laptop. I own a Dell 700M which is very similar to this laptop. Having the 12.1" is great for portability. This model is a pretty common laptop we see and uses the same dc jack as the hp zt1000 series which is also notorious for the dc plug problem. This jack uses 5 pins (one for voltage and 4 for support). In this case, the jack was completely broken off the motherboard. Once it was torn down the base of the jack was still connected but the center pin was rattling around inside the laptop.
Averatec uses decent solder and wasn't a five minute de-solder job. Taking apart this model is pretty easy and like my small dell doesn't have a ton of screws.
After the jack was de-soldered the solder went on great. I always try to use more solder than the factory to do the best I can to prevent this from happening again.
After everything was put back together the laptop power on fine and charged the battery up 100%. Another successful repair!