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  • Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

    Hello, Helpful Internet Masses.

    In order to charge my laptop now (the cheapest model when I bought it May 2005) I have to push in the plug and wiggle it and bend it and shove it in different directions until I see the green charge light in front illuminate. Then I have to hold it there. It won't charge if I let go (if at all). It also won't charge if I turn on the laptop. Basically if I want to charge it, it has to be off and I have to hold the plug in place after finding where it likes to be.

    Is there a good solution? Can I hardwire anything anywhere (I have about eight years worth of experience with soldering irons, solder, and flux with slot cars, RC cars and helicopters but have never soldered anything PC)?

    Secondly, the very bottom picture is where the battery attaches. If fixing that little box the plug goes into can't work, can I get just that plug somewhere and get my own lithium battery charger that I'd use for my R/C car and heli lithium batts (online versions of laptop-specific battery chargers are around $180) instead of going through the rear of the laptop?

    Thanks to all in advance.








  • #2
    Re: Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

    Maybe the female and male parts have been compressed, stretched, and generally worn out. Before soldering anything, maybe you could shove something conductive inside the adapter end, which might help create a better connection.
    "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

      Thanks for the reply, War.

      I tried putting tiny pieces of aluminum foil about the size of a fingerprint inside the end of the cord itself, hoping the pin would connect better inside, but nothing was improved. I think that's what you meant. Plugging it in though, I noticed the little black/silver box the pin is located in moves back and forth maybe a millimeter or .75mm in most all directions. Should I try taking off the entire motherboard to look on the underside of the pin's box? That looks like a lot of work though. I think the cord is making a fine enough connection to the pin itself, I think the problem lies maybe in the pin connecting to the little box it's in or in the connection to the motherboard from there.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

        with the amount of dell laptop I have dealt with, this is by far the most common issue...


        there are many points of failure:
        1) the brick - mostly will be completely dead, but occasionally will be intermittent... light on brick or voltmeter will verify
        2) broken wire - same issue as before, but the brick still has a solid green light.
        3) loose connection inside cable connector - rare, but does exactly as you describe.
        4) worn or stretched parts inside laptop connector - common and does what you describe
        5) broken solder points (usually the load bearing larger grounding pins) - VERY common and very easy to fix. quick tap with the iron... sometimes requires a little more work though.
        6) overheated mobo / melted trace or swollen caps. very expensive, but power spikes would hit this first.


        if you have access to another machine or another power supply, do a swap to verify the power cord. afterward, pull out the volt meter and test the ohms while you wiggle the jack. I would just about bet that is your problem.
        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
        The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

        If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

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        • #5
          Re: Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

          Originally posted by =DdogG= View Post
          <snip>
          if you have access to another machine or another power supply, do a swap to verify the power cord. afterward, pull out the volt meter and test the ohms while you wiggle the jack. I would just about bet that is your problem.
          By "brick" you just mean the entire worthless thing, right?

          The little pin in the laptop that slips inside the cord wiggles, as does that silver block that holds the pin wiggles also.

          Re: the cord
          This is the third cord I've owned for this thing. After I bought this last one ($30), it did nothing to improve my predicament from the second cord. I don't know much about picking out parts in a laptop (I've only build one rig--this gaming rig I'm on right now), and I only have a spare Compaq laptop that's just as old and just as crappy.

          Thanks for the help. I'm kind of just fed up with it; I wish there were a simple way to get a decent amount of cash back out of it, but five year old Dell laptop hardware doesn't graze anyone's radar.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

            The "little box" is a moderately complex mechanical assembly, similar to the headphone jacks that disconnect the speaker circuit when you plug in headphones.

            I agree with DdogG that it could be a broken wire in the cable, worn out spring connector inside the receptacle housing, or bad solder joint. I've seen some pretty bad "cold" solder joints in my time that were fixed just by properly reheating the connection.

            My buddy has a nifty trick for spotting cold joints on high-density surface mount packages. He runs a dental pick down the (unpowered) row of pins, like running a guitar pick across strings, and listens for the pin that sounds "flat". That's the one with a cold joint.
            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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            • #7
              Re: Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

              is the cord the right wattage? dell's have 65, 70, 90, and 120 watt adapters that all fit the same plug.

              also, if the cord is right (since this is your third) it is most likely the jack inside the laptop.

              (and btw, by "brick" I mean the power brick... when the transformer is in the middle of the cord, it is a power brick, when it is directly on the a/c plug, it is a wall wart.)
              Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
              The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

              If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Dell's AC charge adapter being a pain

                I've had this happen to me four (4) times in 3 years. Thankfully the laptop is under warranty. Dell has to replace your entire MB to fix the problem, but in my case, every time, they came out 24 hours after I called them and fixed it right up in my home.

                If you still have it under warranty, go for dell tech support.

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