Broken Switch

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Power On Button Not Working

Power On Button will not turn on your computer? There are fixes for that problem.

Why does something so simple fail?  Easy: cheap materials. A power on button (switch) has two moving parts and two contact points.

The switch is kept in the out position by a spring, when you push the switch in a plate that has two contact points make a temporary contact with another two contact points that allows a signal to go from the power supply to a relay on the motherboard turning on the power to the motherboard. Reverse the procedure to turn the power off on the motherboard.

Very simple, very effective, until it breaks.

Normally the power-on button will out last the other parts in the computer, motherboard, drives, power supply, and so on.

There is always an exception to the plan, no?

Depending on the age of a computer most people will wear out a keyboard first, then maybe a drive will die, but more than likely the computer will be replaced before any of the above.

When the power on button fails you have some options:

  • Replace it
  • Replace the case (if the motherboard isn't proprietary)
  • Buy another computer
  • Short out the wires for the power on relay when you want to start the computer (not recommended!)

The cheapest (and safest) is to replace the broken switch, however finding a replacement for a proprietary computer case may be difficult, and it may be more expensive than a run of the mill computer case.

Normally the switch is located in the front bezel of the computer case, depending on the case manufacture it can be as easy as removing a couple of screws or pressing on some tabs while pulling on the bezel, do not use a lot of force on the bezel or the tabs, they may break if too much force is used.

Note: Laptop and tablet switches are the same however replacement is more than likely not possible unless you can find an exact same case/keyboard that is used and then the the process would be time consuming and the possibility of breaking another part very high.

Once you have the bezel off you can then look at the switch, some are held in with plastic tabs that you pry in towards the switch, some have screws.

Look at the switch, older computers had the wires with connectors so changing the switch was easy, just disconnect each wire one at a time and put on the appropriate connection on the new switch.

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Newer switches have the wires soldered to the contact, this means you will have to disconnect the two wires from inside the computer on the motherboard, note where the wires go from the motherboard to the switch. Remove the old switch then insert the wires for the new switch in the case and pull them down to the motherboard and reconnect them.

(You may want to take some pictures incase you are interrupted while doing this job. That way you will know where the wires went when you come back to finish).

Once the wires are connected secure the switch, before putting the bezel back on test the switch to see if it will turn the computer on.

If it doesn't then check the wires, are they backwards? (This really shouldn't matter but you never know what is inside the switch).

Put the bezel back on and pat yourself on the back, you just save yourself a lot of money!



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