Power Connector

A common weak spot on most laptops is the DC power jack. If someone trips on the wire while you have the power adaptor plugged into your laptop, chances are that the power jack will get damaged.

Dislodged pinOn most laptops the DC power jack is soldered directly to the motherboard and there are only three or four small pins holding it in place. Unfortunately that makes the power jack quite weak. Any sideways pulling of the DC power cord while attached to the laptop will usually dislodge at least one of these pins, breaking the solder around it. Modern laptops use quite a lot of power, from about 70W to 120W or even more. The bad electrical connection from the dislodged pin will cause sparks and heating that will eventually burn a hole through the motherboard and can even be a fire hazard. The usual signs of that are:

  • The battery is not charging properly or stays at half charge despite that you have been using the power adaptor.
  • The screen flickers (the brightness is changing) while the power cord is plugged in. This is caused by the laptop switching between DC power (screen is brighter) and battery power (screen is dimmer).
  • The DC plug gets hot after a few minutes of use and may even smell of burning.
  • There are “scratching” sounds coming from the DC jack.

All of these symptoms are caused by poor contact between the DC power jack and the motherboard.

There are several models of laptops that are resistant to this problem. All older Dell laptops that use the three pin DC power jack are usually not affected, probably because the power cord pops out easier. Also some older Sony Vaio models, and 1-2 Toshiba models where the DC jack is attached to the case away from the motherboard and all new Apple laptops, where the DC power cord is magnetically attached to prevent any damage to the laptop if someone trips on it.

To test for broken power jack:

  1. Remove the battery
  2. Plug in the power cord
  3. Start the laptop
  4. Gently wiggle the DC power plug on the back of the laptop

If your laptop shuts down abruptly (looses power), find a repair shop that can resolder or change the DC power jack as soon as possible, as the motherboard has already started to burn around the dislodged pins. Some repair shops will offer to replace the whole motherboard, however the price of a new motherboard together with the labour charge for installing it will usually be greater than the current value of your laptop and can go well over a thousand dollars.

Fully disassembledReplacing or re-soldering the DC power jack is not an easy job too. It usually takes two to three hours depending on the damage and the model of the laptop. To reach the power jack, the laptop has to be completely disassembled and the motherboard taken out. Then if the board around the dislodged pin is badly burned, the power jack has to be un-soldered and the board has to be patched. After that a different power jack has to be installed, attached to the case of the laptop and connected with wires to the motherboard, as the patched board wouldn’t be strong enough to support the original type of power jack that was soldered directly to the board.

76 Comments

  • #76 by osita February 10, 2015 at: 2:07 pm

    when a charger is plug into a system the power is returned back to the charger and it switch off the system what might be the cause?

  • #75 by aarthi January 14, 2015 at: 7:00 pm

    I have acer aspire windows 8 laptop,which is 6 months older. It shuts down when it reaches 70% Is replacement of battery a only chance?

  • #74 by dan January 14, 2015 at: 4:21 am

    Hi there i have a acer aspire 5742 laptop, and basically the corner of the bottom plastic case of the laptop broke off leaving the dc power jack exposed and because of this, the dc power jack eventually broke off the motherboard. there was a few sparks but because of this i decided to get a new dc power jack and bottom cover for my laptop through a repair guy. he intially said to me it was a motherboard fault however he didnt have a charger to test my laptop working so when i brought my charger, it charged the battery but was unable to switch on through the power button or charger. my problem now is he is saying there is a short in the screen(basically the screen aint working) of which is causing the problem but i have asked many of my friends and they have said to me that a new screen won’t solve the problem of which will require more money and i dont want to give. so im asking anyone on here do they believe a new screen will possibly solve my problem.

  • #73 by ADEWALE David January 4, 2015 at: 11:55 pm

    Please I have an Acer Aspire 5735z, I have been using it for a while. However, it suddenly developed a tripping problem that is it power down to reboot continously to no avail whenever I plugged it into source. Could this be down to dislodge power pin too?
    From David.

  • #72 by Matthew December 22, 2014 at: 9:41 am

    Am having HP laptop which was working right until today. All metal on the system seem to have current in them. When I used tester to touch even bolts it indicated that they have current, what could be going wrong? Please help

  • #71 by TJM December 10, 2014 at: 4:08 am

    Thanks for the info on the power connector issues when all it needed was to be re-solderer rather than thrown in the garbage!! I have a Dell XPS M1710 and its worked perfectly since 2008 when I bought it brand new. This was the only issue I’ve had with the laptop ever and I would hate to have chucked it in the trash when I didn’t have too. It now works perfectly again. I think that the power cable connectors are a weak spot for laptops as well due to the fact that the power cables will generally just hang there on a 09 degree angle without any support at all and then if you happen to trip over the cable and you cause a couple of good “pulls” then you have an issue for sure. I remember reading something a while back to where you could buy a small type of “brace” for the power cable and I think all that you needed to do with this “brace” was to plug it into a USB connection close by and attach the power cable to it, then the power cable wouldn’t just hang down on the 90 degree or so angle, it would be more straight out, without a bend in it. Does anyone know what item I’m referring too?? I would like to track one down to prevent this issue from happening again. Any info would be helpful. For some reason, I think the word “jack” was in the items name or maybe the company, I’m not 100% sure though, it was a while that I read that article. Thanks in advance.

  • #70 by ariyan khan November 12, 2014 at: 11:45 pm

    i have acer aspire 5735z which adapter cable was broken out and after soldering it’s working properly as before ..so i wanna to know that “is it right for my laptop or not?”

  • #69 by Sanchita August 8, 2014 at: 7:14 am

    i have hp pavilion G6-2320TX, when i open the flap of the laptop it gets open itself only for 2-3 seconds and the get shut down even with or without the battery and even i pressed the esc button it showing the information but doesn’t hold it for longer , could you tell me the reason and the cost of repair

  • #68 by Daniel July 17, 2014 at: 12:22 am

    Pls, I have dell latitude E5410, when I pluge in my charger,my computer is chargeing normal and work normal but de mouse move slow or move abnormal but when I unpluge the charger, the mouse move normal againe and if I pluge it again the mouse move abnormal againe. Pls help me.. Thank you.

  • #67 by plugged June 17, 2014 at: 12:29 am