Fixing my Acer laptops temperamental power socket/cable

in STEMGeeks2 months ago

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.

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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...


Case removal

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.

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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.

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One more power cable for the speaker, strangly attached to the lower part of the case being removed.

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The lower shell of the case was off, and a good chance to clean the vents.

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The battery was next, one cable here.

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The problem

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.

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After seeing that the cables were nicely connected, this order was canceled prior to shipment.

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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.

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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...

The fix

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)....

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... 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.

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It's not perfect but could easily be adjusted if the problem reappears. I'm happy enough with a red light - charging.

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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!

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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.

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End

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!

Asher

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I would have fixed it like this:

P.s. You're a dust-tweezering topgun!

What's up there - is MS Word indenting a paragraph for no reason again?

Satisfying dust clearance it was!

I've treated computers worse than this for less than MS Word indenting a paragraph! Lol.

I actually have an old Mac, one of the first of the flat panel ones from 2007 that I am going to shoot to death. I just need to find somewhere suitable to slay it. (And video the slaying).

Nice! And a camera doing 1000's of frames a second?

That'd be cool...But I don't think my little camera is up to the task...But you could MacAsher it and make it better I suppose! :)

I need a rest after this mornings work, Taraz is the camera whizz!

Lol...Tweezering is hard work for sure.

A huge hug 🤗 and a little bit of !BEER 🍻 from @amico!


Un caro abbraccio 🤗 e un po' di BEER 🍻 da @amico!

At least the battery pack still looked okay and not all swollen up. It seems those little boxes are timed or scheduled to go bad, I've had that problem on a few laptops over the years, but it was always time for a new one when it happened. now that games are no longer the driving force in computer hardware keeping up with software, it has no longer really become important to upgrade so often.

I was fairly happy with how inside looked, there wasn't really too much dust considering 3 years of constant use.

Feels like a new laptop today, I'm pretty chuffed :)

About 10 years ago when I retired was pretty much the end of my keeping up my computer upgrading, I used to buy a new one every 2 years, now I am working still on a widows 7 computer that is approaching 7 years old. It has a worn out fan, has done the over heating shut down on me a couple of times, and when I cleaned it I should have taken pictures, it was coated everywhere. I still haven't gotten any new fans.

Our local computer guy is a covid case study, store is open but you can not go in and browse and find what you want, he will get it bring it to the door, so you need to know what it is you want. I don't expect he will be in a profitable situation at the end of the year.

Does Amazon deliver out there? You should really get a copy of windows 10 as I think win 7 is unsupported now and could be more prone to malware/viruses. I think they do copies with legit keys quite cheap, 5 pounds when i looked last.

It's a shame for these smaller operations, I felt the guys at the shop i was going to visit ran an honest ship and were very helpful.

You really documented everything with pictures. I wish I had done this the first time I tried to fix my PC.
It was an old HP laptop and i wanted to upgrade the RAM. But unlike modern laptops, the ram slot was beneath the motherboard coming from below (that is above the motherboard technically). I followed a youtube video and was eagerly uncoupling...Lol.
I fixed the issue but then I was stuck with coupling it back. Took me a whole 3 days to figure out the fitting parts.

!ENGAGE 25

Thank you for your engagement on this post, you have recieved ENGAGE tokens.

Taking the photos as I went along was comforting for sure - I had no idea how much I was going to have to remove.

I fixed the issue but then I was stuck with coupling it back. Took me a whole 3 days to figure out the fitting parts.

Well done for sticking with it!

Well that's another joy of furlough I guess! Acer laptops are pretty good, I think my old one is pushing 10 years now and it's still going.

Sounds like you needed some Gorilla glue to hold those bits of plastic in place. Everything's better with Gorilla glue.

Araldite would have held it firm for life! I'm looking forward to you taking on the job of fixing the case hinges when they go.....those springs are fun!
Can't believe you cancelled the soldering iron though. Just making silver solder blobs is so satisfying and the smell is divine :-)
Well done in getting it sorted though. Stripping your own lappie down for the first time can be rather nerve-racking.
As for the dust......get down your local pound shop for a £1 can of air duster, you can get the nozzle down all the vents.
Top tip: Make sure you're wearing glasses when you blast it ;-)

My dad was a big fan of Araldite. I remember it being two pastes that needed mixing and leaving for a minute or so - something you wouldn't want on your fingers!

A soldering iron would be a nice to have, but I really don't like buying stuff I don't need as it will require transporting to wherever I go next, or selling/giving away.

Duster for a pound? I'll add it to my list which so far today includes a cheap mixing bowl for salads and the like. Cheers :)

Yep, time to mess about with things like this - my Furlough ends on Monday though!

One of the videos I watched shows a guy gluing the wires after a solder job, makes sense but I had no solder or glue so a good job this one was easier to sort out.

Oh yes I've seen that - it keeps the metal connections solid and all looks so neat on the videos, then you try and it's like enormous solder joints and glue fucking everywhere.

It wouldn't be a fix if you didn't have pieces left over!

I don't envy you, laptops are horrible beasts when you open them up, I have only ever gone as far as sticking in some RAM! You went at this like a pro! MacGyver style!

It was JUST sticking a RAM with my first laptop as well but it turned out horrible.
Right now though, I think I can even fix the earth😂. With the right youtube videos and right tools of course

Where would we be without YouTube videos!!!

YouPorn :D

Haha, I can only imagine the state of the laptop after that if those were the reference vids!! :0D

I can picture it and it has to do with all the ports. 😆

Wahahahaa!!!

No comment! :D

Well that's one way to stop it overheating!!!!

A fine future excuse :D

Macgyver isn't half as good as MacAsher!

Haha, MacAsher. It has a fine ring to it!! :0D

Everything about MacAsher is fine. If you've ever seen him tweezer fluff out of a laptop fan you'll know what I mean. :)

Hehe, yes indeed. The man has fine talents!!

I'm a whizz with a pair of tweezers...

As long as I'm more expensive than A Macdonald's I'll take it :)

Lol...AshDonald's burgers are way better than MacDonalds.

It wouldn't be a fix if you didn't have pieces left over!

True, I'm not missing the rattle on transporting it :D

I've done a bit in the past with other peoples which were on the brink of death - more pressure this time, but I did it! Cheers!

Hehe, it is a bit easier on your own stuff. Although you do sometimes get the fear sweats when you think you have goosed something good and proper

I have has those sweats before but not for a long time. Happily today was sweat free :D

Well done. It is so satisfying to take care of something yourself instead of turning it over to someone else to fix for you. I've pulled apart 4-5 laptops over the years to replace everything from the hinges that broke in a fall, to the trackpad, to hard drives. I wish they made some of the components (like that fan) more accessible for home repair. But they really don't want you to repair them, they want you to decide the laptop is dead and buy a new one.

Cheers! I am pretty chuffed, feels like a got a new laptop yesterday.

they really don't want you to repair them, they want you to decide the laptop is dead and buy a new one.

I think so, and it applies to so many things these days. Hopefully this one will do me a few more years and still be OK to sell/hand over to someone in need/be a backup.

I have the same type of issue with my Dell, I need to fiddle quite a lot for it to charge, but the socket is not loose, it just does not want to make contact.

Bummer. I assume you've opened it up and had a look on the web?

It does sound cable/socket related...

OMG!!! That was a scary disassembly. T_T Glad it worked fine after it tho! Surprised you didn't rekk your laptop :P

There was always a chance I would but it turned out OK in the end :D

Hello dear friend @ abh12345 good afternoon
It is good that you have encouraged yourself to repair your computer, it was finally something simple. If a technician had sent them, they would have charged you a fortune, because unfortunately, there are few honest technicians.
Well done, it is an example that we must follow
have a great night

.. . If a technician had sent them, they would have charged you a fortune

Yes I think so, and it was worth it for the learning experience too.

Thanks for dropping by :)

totally in agreement with you dear friend @ abh12345 the experience that one acquires doing oneself with our hands is unbeatable, learning does not take up space, we never know when we may need it
have a great night

What happens if it gets really hot and the plastic you wedged melts? ;)

I wish I had the balls to open things up like this. I have a couple old laptops I don't use anymore, so perhaps I should get digging around through them. I can't do anything else with them anyway.

I did wonder about that but this plastic should withstand heat. Might open it up and check in a few days to see if there is any signs of melting plastic.

The best way to learn is with kit you don't care about busting. Take photos often and work on a flat surface with space and good light.

I imagine that if it gets hot enough to melt the plastic, you have bigger issues.

Take photos often and work on a flat surface with space and good light.

"flat space and good light" are in short supply at this house at the moment :D

Yep, and a bit of heat could glue them into place :)

Man-cave last on the list?

Man-cave last on the list?

Yep, and probably a couple years away. It will be a princess palace before that.

Great fix! I love tinkering about with problems like this. Sounds like a proper beastie of a laptop.

Cheers :)

I enjoyed it, although that wouldn't have been the case had I ballsed it up!

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Oh wow a man of many skills! Great job! I would not even attempt this, I am very clumsy when it comes to technology😂 I wish I could do this too though🤔😍

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