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Laptop Power Supply Connector Failed

Laptop Power Supply Connector also know as the AC power adapter connector...

A question that occasionally comes up in the (old) Q and A forum on the main web site about laptop power supplies is the adapter connector.

The primary cause of a laptop power supply connector failing is it has broken loose from the plastic/solder contacts.

Some laptop manufactures use the solder contacts as the main mounting point for the connector.

That is there isn't any other stress relief on the connector itself. 1980's Portable computer, this is NOT a laptop... :)

I remember the first 'portable' computer I worked on was an IBM PC Portable. This was a 16 lb computer in a suit case. Really, maybe you have seen a portable sewing machine? (Us older folks will remember them, our Mom or Grand Mother had one they would take out of the closet and set on the kitchen table and sew things...) That is what the IBM PC Portable looked like.

Anyway the power supply in that beast was the same as a regular IBM PC. The point I am trying to make is that the power cord connection on the power supply was held in place by two screws one on each side of the connector.

When Compaq (now HP) came out with the 386 Note Book it was the first to have the power supply adapter that would reduce the AC to DC and could handle 240 Volt down to 100 Volt, that adapter weighed half as much as the notebook. The adapter connector was in the back of the main computer case. It also had two screws in a metal mounting plate, you had to take the power supply out of the main case to get to the screws.

As the notebook became the laptop, the weight of the computers was reduced partially by the miniaturization of the devices and components and partially to the reduction of metal in the laptop.

One of the first pieces of metal to go was the laptop power supply connector mounting bracket, most laptop power adapter connectors are mounted on a piece of plastic that is held in place by pressure between the upper and lower sections of the main case. The only structural strength in the assembly is the solder joints between the actual connector and the plate where the wires go to the power supply itself.

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What happens over time is the connector solder joints become weak then fail from the pressure applied by connecting and disconnecting the power cord from the adapter.

Occasionally you can correct the failed solder joints by applying a soldering iron (25 watt MAX!) and a small amount of fresh solder to the joints. Sometimes this will fail and the internal connector and mounting assembly will need to be replaced. (I find replacement of the assembly the best fix for most ACRE laptops).

Another indication that the laptop power supply connector has a failing connection is when the computer is moved it will shut down. This is partly due to the AC being disconnected and partly due to a short thru the AC power adapter.

If this is the case for your laptop you should repair the connector as soon as possible before any permanent damage is done to the power supply.

Also consider this: Vista and newer Operating Systems are more prone to corruption when the power is removed suddenly, each time your laptop shuts down ungracefully you should restart in the Safe Mode, this will allow the Operating System to copy new files into the driver cache folder, lessening the chance of a corrupt file system...

We need to remember that the laptop, netbook, and tablet are made to be light and portable. Some manufactures use higher quality parts and materials were as others use cheaper parts and materials.

What it all comes down to is how careful you are with connecting the power supply adapter cord to the laptop/netbook/tablet.

And if you "buy cheap, you get cheap" ...

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