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I have indeed encountered this, both on laptops and on portable ham
radio gear. The problem is that the female adapter takes a lot of
strain from most power plugs, which go in straight rather than using
a 90-degree flushmount connection. As a result, anything that pulls
on the power cord presses the pin in the center of the jack to the
side. The internal connection to that pin is usually a heavy-duty
woven wire that's capable of bearing a large power load without
overheating. This requires extra solder for a good connection... and
therein lies the problem: it's stiff and a little brittle. After a
while, the solder starts cracking and the quality of the connection
goes down until it just doesn't work anymore.
What you have to do to fix this is take it to a computer repair place
(doesn't have to be a Dell or Compaq or what-have-you place
specifically; this is a really standard repair that any qualified
technician can do) and have the connector replaced. Bad news: it's
not very cheap. Most of the cost is labor, but it's still probably
going to run you $100-150. (I had to do this on one of my wife's
Compaq laptops recently and it ran $140.) When you get this done,
ask if they can find you an adapter for the power cord that plugs in
flush as I mentioned, or perhaps a strain relief connector of some
kind that protects the power jack by anchoring the power cord
elsewhere on the chassis.
If you've got a friend who's handy with a soldering iron, you may be
able to have him/her pop the case and do this for you. It's actually
not a difficult repair for people used to opening up laptops, but it
*is* a pest, hence the cost. Some laptops also have the connector as
part of the motherboard, which means you may have to replace the
motherboard. Check and see--the price may be radically different for
your laptop as a result.
It's not the best news, but I hope this helps.
www.hedtke.com <-- website
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541-685-5000 (office landline)
john -at- hedtke -dot- com (primary email)
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At 12:31 PM 4/7/2008, Nancy Allison wrote:
>The power connection to my laptop has become increasingly
>unreliable. When I plug in the power cable, the connection isn't
>made, and the laptop continues to work from the battery. I used to
>be able to jiggle the connector to get it to settle in so the
>connection would persist.
>Now, short of standing and pushing down on the connector with my
>thumb, I can't get the connection to stay up. I am currently using
>my backup cable, which has the same problem but it is not as severe (yet).
>At the computer store where I bought it (and where the warranty is
>long outdated), the salesman said that this is the "dirty little
>secret" of laptops and that lots of them have this problem. Only
>IBMs and Apples have solved the problem (the Macs by splitting the
>cable into four, with four magnetic connectors).
>Have you encountered this problem, and were you able to solve it?
>Maybe my backup cable will last until the laptop is obsolete, but if
>it doesn't, I will have no way to use my laptop.
>Thanks for all suggestions.
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