Performing Laptop Surgery

On Monday, I discussed how my laptop has been acting up.  I had resolved to buy a new power adapter/cord to see if that was the problem.  After all, they’re cheap (about $20) and hopefully that would be it.  Yesterday, though, I got an idea.  I couldn’t see if the power connector on the laptop itself was moving when I plugged it in.  The plug’s just too big.  But what if I (gently) pushed on it with something smaller.  Taking the earpiece from my Jabra bluetooth set and a flashlight, I poked at the connector… and it moved.  A lot.  It was kind of like how a kid’s baby tooth may wiggle just before it falls out.  And, no, this was not reassuring.

I began to worry that this was unfixable.  After all, I’ve never opened up a laptop that much before.  Desktop computers, yes.  I’ve even built those from scratch.  No big deal.  But laptops?  Even if I got it open, I figured that the component would need to be soldered in place and I had neither the tools nor the know-how to do this.  While I’ve been intrigued with soldering for awhile, I’ve never attempted it and a laptop computer’s power connector seemed like a bad first project.

So all was looking grim when a co-worker helped me track down some repair manuals for my laptop.  We poured over them as they detailed how to take the laptop apart piece by piece.  Then, it came to the power connector.  I was surprised to see that it isn’t soldered on at all.  Instead, it is plugged into the motherboard and clips on the inside of the case.  It probably just worked its way loose.  Suddenly, things were looking brighter as a plan formed.  I could use the manual to take my laptop apart, piece by piece.  Then, I would fix the broken power connector.  Finally, I would put it all back together again.  Hopefully, all will go well and my laptop will be as good as new.

This will be some delicate laptop surgery, though.  I’ve never tried anything like this before, but then again isn’t that how you learn?  At one point, I had never used a computer before and look at me now!  I will try to take a few photos to document it for a later post.  Hopefully, laptop guts aren’t too graphic for anyone.  Here’s hoping that, by next week, my laptop is fully recovered from the surgery with a healed power connector.

Have you ever taken apart a laptop computer, desktop computer, or any other piece of technology?