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HP power port loose. Is it too risky to replace it myself?

Posted on 2004-11-07
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
My laptop warranty has expired. I can no longer keep my battery charged. Here's why... I no longer have a tight connection from the DC power cord to the power port in the back of the machine. When I plug in the cord there is bigtime wiggle/play, and the charging light seldom comes on unless I get the cord in just the right position.  I have 2 different power cords, and the same problem exists no matter which power cord I try. I have never opened a laptop case before, and I am wondering how risky it would be for someone like me to try replacing the power port at home. I presume I could get HP to mail me the part I need.
Any advice will be appreciated!
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Question by:boatful
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by:jamietoner
ID: 12518776
well most likely he power port is part of the motherboard and cant be replaced seperatly, if your good with a sodering iron may be able to fix it, best chance see if you can find another system like it on ebay that has a good motherboard and put it in yours.
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by:bobo_tech
ID: 12519003
Well you really don't need to be ALL that good with a soldering iron but mainly just know how to use one.

I would completely strip the laptop down (I arrange the screws in sections/cups, i put all the bottom screws in one cup, then i put all the screws from the back in another cup and al lthe screws from the top under the keyboard into another cup, and so forth).  Once the laptop is completely stripped down, remove the motherboard.

Now this is going ot sound odd, but you want a nice hot iron, not a low wattage 10 watter or something, you actually want something around 20-40 watts hot.  The reason is it will make the solder flow quicker and eaiser.

Take the hot soldering iron tip to the 2 or 3 spots where the powerplug is attached to the motherboard.  What you are trying to do is to melt the solder so that it reflows back into the crack created by the stress on the plug from the cord that goes into it.

Once that is done, reassemble and test.  it should be fine again, and you don't have to spend a bunch of money on a new motherboard.

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by:Panjandrum
ID: 12521871
what type of laptop are we talking about?
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Expert Comment

by:SagiEDoc
ID: 12532007
I would not attempt this. First problem is that the motherboard has various layers. Although there may be solder on the top or bottom of the board there may be unseen connections on the layers under this. The next problem is that HP will not be able to send you the part, but would instead require the entire board to be replaced. You may be able to find a company who would have the equipment required to do the job, that would be best. I worked in a HP workshop for a couple years, we had the equipment to do this kind of repair and normally the repair only worked seven out of ten times.
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bobo_tech earned 1000 total points
ID: 12546567
Even though, Sagiedoc mentions the mutlilayers, I still think if you are reasonalbly talented with soldering, it can't hurt.

I have done board level soldering on many motherboards (including a few laptop motherboards) and they really are more durable than peolpe give them credit for.

When a motherboard is sent through a wave solderer, its subjected to much higher temps than what you could imagine to do with a handheld soldering iron.

Also your motherboard is out of warranty.  Its dead either way, whether your repair it or not.  To have a repair center repair it, you are talking about probalby 2 hours of labor, which willl probably be more than 100 dollars.  Since this laptop is older (out of warranty) you could probably get a ebay replacmenrt motherboard for under 100-150 dollars so if the soldering does fail (chances are, it won't) then you will still be spending roughly the same as if you have a pro shop do the soldering job.

It bascially boils down to that heating up 3 solder pads where the power plug meets the motherboard isn't rocket science and is quite repairable.  Also to explain how multilayer motherboards work, most external components on a motherboard (like power plugs, and other non-surface mount components) are inserted into a little metal sleeve on the motherboard.  The tiny metal sleeve has a hole in it and that is what connectes the various layers together, not the actual components lead.  So when you are wetting the soldering down, you aren't attempting to heat up all those layers and reconnect all the layers but are actually just wetting the solder down enough so that it makes contact with the sleeve once again.

Good luck and don't be afraid if you are fairly confident in your soldering ability!
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by:bobo_tech
ID: 12546692
BTW here is a good pic of the metal sleeves that I am talking about:

http://www.kabalsrealm.com/Images/project_vp6/vp6_4.html

I got the page from this website:  
http://www.kabalsrealm.com/index.php?page=vp6_p1
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