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.

62 Comments

  • #62 by sunil January 3, 2014 at: 7:22 am

    hi i ve opened my dell vostro charger jack pin it is having 3 wires now i m getting confused how to connect it back ..its having 3 colors blue black and white please tel me how to connect it

  • #61 by Girish Attri November 24, 2013 at: 8:40 am

    hi, I was using a dell studio 1458 laptop, back in July my system had suddenly stop working. Though I am into IT field for quite some time, this time i am not able to track the actual problem.

    The situation is, as i connect my adapter to the laptop the power is seized from the it(adapter). My laptop is not working since then, and i do not want to invest any money into it. Is there any solution that i can opt for.

  • #60 by Antoile November 3, 2013 at: 4:06 pm

    Thanks for the fabolous informations.

    I had triped by inserting in my notebook (asus f3jc) a power adaptor of another laptop a few months ago.

    The pc immadiately shutted down. After having turned on it, it functioned perfectly, but from that day the battery doesn’t function. The computer doesn’t reveal it and the power adaptor doesn’t recharge it.

    Could you help me? It should be the DC power jack that is to be replaced?

    I tried the test you suggest, by gently wiggle the DC power plug on the back of the laptop, but nothing happened.

    If it is not the DC power jack what it should be? When I inserted the power in the jack, what it should be burnt on the motherboard?

    Thank you so much for your help.
    Regards

  • #59 by Junaidu October 23, 2013 at: 5:24 am

    i have all those syntomps you listed above. But i d’n know wether it affected my motherboard. How do i test such that i will give up it th motherboard is fulty. THANKs

  • #58 by shiv October 13, 2013 at: 2:45 pm

    i have dell inspiron1525 laptop when i connect adapter then aftersometime my left side screen become dark when i remove adapter aftersometimes its good mean if supply through battery then ok what is the problem,plz solve my problem.

  • #57 by linzey August 23, 2013 at: 6:40 pm

    Hi guys I have a hp G7000 laptop the power adaptors wires was exposed and it touched each other wile pluged in and laptop just died I bort a new adaptor but still the same thing don’t want to go on any help on what it could be please guy

  • #56 by linzey August 23, 2013 at: 6:30 pm

    Hi guys I have a hp G7000 laptop the power adaptors wire was exposed and the two wires touched each other it probably affected my motherboard cause I bort a other charger but it still don’t want to go on can you guys please give me advice and thanx in advance really apriciate it alot

  • #55 by csn August 3, 2013 at: 4:57 pm

    Dell Inspiron 10 mini…had the same problem as #45. I replaced the motherboard and the on switch and it works fine. Hardly ever used it..but read there were similar problems with the mini’s. Good thing, the two parts weren’t too expensive on ebay.

  • #54 by laura June 21, 2013 at: 6:45 am

    hi i have a dell inspiron N5010 and a dell inspiron M5040 and my problem at the minute is that both laptops say that they are charging but not taking a charge?? Ive tried swapping the batteries and ive got 2 power adaptors and tried both of them in each laptop and the same is happening is it possible that both laptops or power cables have the same problem or is it a problem with the motherboard if anyone can help id greatly appreciate it.

  • #53 by Juan Carlos Ladines Asencio May 11, 2013 at: 11:00 am

    Very useful information, I have a toshiba and the power jack need to be replaced. I was wondering if there is a cable to power the laptop from the pin battery connector. Thank you for sharing!