The power socket and power cable have been loose for 4/5 months, and I decided that today was the day to find out if I could fix my laptops power supply.
At the end of 2015 I left the UK for Spain, leaving my old (but still very usable) desktop behind. I managed without a PC until June 2017 and this is when I bought my current and first laptop, in Valencia. Having owned a computer since 1985, the year and a half break was refreshing, but I was missing playing the odd game and had found writing posts on my phone was becoming a pain in the arse.
The laptop is an Acer Aspire F5-537 series and cost upwards of 1000 euros. With a 17 inch screen, CD rom, and 2 HardDisks, it's fairly chunky and has 16GB of ram with a 2GB graphics card, which was fairly decent at the time of purchase.
In recent months it's started to get quite hot while in use, but the bigger issue was the power cable and connector. The connection was loose, and required plenty of fiddling (laptop closed) to get a charge light. Even when the connection seemed OK, power would intermittently drop, sounding a 'beep', and dimming the screen as power saving mode was activated. These past few days it's been a right shit to get any lasting connection at all, and so this morning I decided to attack with the screwdriver.
This was after I'd had a look online to see what time my trustfully old PC supply shop was open. Sadly, they seem to have become insolvent, but this gave me the motivation to have a look myself, and I'm glad I did.
Before trying to open the case (for the first time), I decided to have a look at a few videos.
In these videos, which were not my exact model of laptop, the repair guy seemed to be removing more parts than I felt comfortable with, just to reach the power connection unit. As stated above, this is my first laptop and although I've messed around building desktop PCs in the past, I wasn't too keen on doing this with the smaller kit. But after a cup of coffee I thought what the hell, let's have a look...
A dozen standard-sized screws for the main part of the case, three smaller ones under the removed CD drive, and one for the drive itself.
The HardDisk was next, and easy to disconnect from power/data as some of the screws holding the case were keeping this in place too.
One more power cable for the speaker, strangly attached to the lower part of the case being removed.
The lower shell of the case was off, and a good chance to clean the vents.
The battery was next, one cable here.
As I suspected the socket for the power cable looked to be the problem, although it was not as bad as first thought. At 6 am this morning, around the time I was looking for what time the PC repair shop opened, I ordered a cheap soldiering iron kit from Amazon.
After seeing that the cables were nicely connected, this order was canceled prior to shipment.
The issue was that the socket housing was loose and inserting the power cable would push the housing into the laptop. The red squares in the top half of the image below show the gap that would close when the cable (with the case on and without me pushing the box out towards the cable for the photo) was inserted.
The bottom half of the image above shows the cable inserted and the socket boxes natural resting place having inserted the cable.
I needed something to hold the box in place...
Is a bit of a patch-job to be honest, but it did the trick. I cut a couple of small strips of plastic (from SSD card packaging)....
... and inserted these into the gaps. Because the socket box (technical term I know) wants to move back due to the pull on the cable, these plastic strips are held in place quite nicely.
It's not perfect but could easily be adjusted if the problem reappears. I'm happy enough with a red light - charging.
Although I can't see how these pieces of plastic, which fell out when I took the case off, could help keep the socket in place. They did probably do the job though, not anymore!
I guess the laptop was dropped on the cable corner (maybe landing on the cable itself) at some point, and so I'm happy that the broken bits don't include anything more serious.
Bonus item: Cleaning the fan
Opening a case and giving the fan a clean should have happened a long time ago, and I would recommend that everyone with a laptop gives this ago, or takes their kit to someone who can do this task for you, for cheap/free.
I used tweezers as I don't have a small vacuum cleaner. This proved to be quite satisfying - the removed 'dust' (anyone got a rizla?) is on the right of the image below.
After fearing the worst, checking out repair shops, and ordering a soldiering iron (before cancelling) I'm happy I took the plunge and had a go at this myself. It took an hour or so to complete the task (which was much easier than I had originally prepared for) and take the photos - well worth the learning experience and it didn't cost me anything.
Have a good one!
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