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.

99 thoughts on “Power Connector”

  1. Hi !

    From a friend I got a laptop HP nx7400. He told me it suddenly lost the power and that it just would not power up again. He was mentioning some possible lightning strike but the charger that he was using at that moment is still ok and working.
    The day I got this laptop I tried to switch it on and nothing happened. I check on internet about what could be wrong and found a post about ‘power reset’ which says: remove the battery, unplug the power and then press the power button on the laptop for some 60 seconds. Then you plug in the power and press the power button and it should start. I tried it but no success.
    I left the laptop with the battery out for some 3 or 4 weeks and then decided to repeat that ‘power reset’ again. This time it worked and the laptop started and I was able to work normally for few hours. After I switched it off and then tried to use it again next day there was the same story – it wouldn’t start up, no power. I tried the ‘power reset’ few times but no success.
    Again I left the laptop for some 3 weeks and before I plugged in the power, I did the 60 second power button press and after plugging in the power it started. This time it worked maybe some 5 minutes and then the power went off and immediately on again and it worked for few minutes again (less than the first time) and another power reset and this was repeating few times and the times while it was working got shorter until it wouldn’t power up again.
    Actually the same situation repeated for the second time. Leaving it for 3 weeks I was able to start it up, but it would start ‘restarting’ and the time being powered on got shorter and shorter until it would not power up again.

    Does anybody has any idea what could be wrong and how to fix this situation.

    Thanks in advance for any help,
    Regards Milan

  2. the same problem you have explained here I have nothing new except the model mine is 4500 just started yesterday,I broke the dc jack and replaced it ages before about 5 months worked perfect but now has started again I WILL TRY TO RE SOLDIER IF NOT FIX THE PROBLEM I WILL BUY NEW DC-POWER JACK,BUT MY ISSUE IS LAST TIME I REPLACE THE JACK IT DID COME OUT WITH 2 TRANSISTORS BUT STILL WORKS UNTIL YESTERDAY START OVERHEAT DO YOU THINK IT IS BECAUSE OF THAT AND WHY YESTERDAY WHILE I HAD IT 5 MONTHS AND NO PROBLEM? BECAUSE MY DC IS REAL INTACT I HAVE CHECKED IT IN THE MORNING TOO

  3. I have an asus g50vt laptop, smoke came out from power jack. Now when I plug power adaptor it shorts
    laptop still works with battery. I removed mother board to see if it can be fixed it’s pretty well fried.
    I know they make external battery chargers but is there another way to power laptop via docking station or other method. I do not want to replace mother board because I understand this is a comon problem on this model. it was about year and a half after new purchase, contacted asus out of warranty.
    Any advice would be appreciated thanks!

  4. my power cord connection to my VAIO laptop has become loose.Although the battery says plugged in charging, the battery life keeps decreasing and the laptop eventually shuts down. i also take about 30-40 mins to start the laptop. Kindly let me know a solution to this trouble and help me fix it.

  5. hi, I am using wipro model laptop (ECS) within 1 month i have replaced Only Power Adaptor, already i have checked arthin that is ok why all time is damage only adaptor please suggest..

  6. i have a laptop, HP nc8000, Last week i uses it, during the use, the light fluctuate, and now the laptop was powered off. i restart it now, but only hard disk is get powered for 10 seconds, no mother board or display get power… reply plz

  7. Just wanted to mention here that we offer a preventative solution called the LapTug http://www.laptug.co.uk, it works by using the network or modem port as an anchor point for the DC cable so that tugs and jolts on the cable don’t transfer to the DC jack. Cheap too. Hope it can help.

  8. I have a HP laptop G72 and the the end of the cord that plugs into the power connector broke. I bought a new $70 cord but hate to throw it out when all i need is that connector. And with kids in the house I’m afraid it’ll happen again . Is there anywhere I can get that end and what would the “correct” term for that?

  9. re: ross franklin,

    usually whatever the liquid touched is damaged, and maybe one other thing. The system shuts down when you spill something on it to limit the overall damage. It’s most likely the motherboard and keyboard.

  10. The power jacks are available on ebay for a little amount of money. If you are going to undertake this, I suggest reading up on desoldering techniques. Also, find a service manual for your laptop. Some manufactures have them free on their sites!

    What a stupid design, the power plug should be recessed in the laptop body with a strain relief on the wire. This would avoid the issue 100%.

  11. I purchased a Toshiba satelitte L-665 a little bit over 2 weeks ago brand new. For some ungodly reason, now the metal peice that plugs into the computer to charge it gets scorching hot. It slipped out and burned/ blistered my leg 2 days ago and it has burn spots on the metal peice. Also doesnt charge when its powered on and only stays on because the charger is plugged in however it does charge when its turned off. I called the place that I bought it from and the store warranty only covers up to 15 days but the manufacturer covers it up to a year. What do you think is the cause of this?

  12. I’m currently deciding whether or not to try and fix a HP laptop manually or take it to the shop. Seems to be a problem with a lot of laptops, particularly HP ones. Reading your article though I think it’s better if I leave it with the professionals as I’m not one for soldering.

  13. hi i hv a problem with my laptop…….when i press F10 to enter in BIOS than is demand password….and i hv have forget the password….polz help me can i reset the password or any master password…….thanks
    laptop- compaq c794wu
    BIOS-
    system bios version- HPQOEM-1
    SYSTEM BIOS DATE- 04/29/08
    Manufacturer- Hewlett-Packard
    SMBIOS version- F.33
    plug & play version- 83.21
    SMBIOS/DMI VERSION- 2.4

  14. I spilt a glass of wine over my 1 year old laptop and now it will not boot up.

    I have been told the mother board is stuffed and will need to be replaced. This is not cost effective considering the cost of a new mother board and the labour costs to install it.

    I would like to know if the mother board can be repaired

  15. Hello,

    My Adapter isn’t working. Ive gone through alot of links tried all of these types of ways to fix it but it’s not working at all, none of them that i tried worked. Right now my battery percentage is at 0. Its only alive because its plugged in. I have not contact the service or anything. I’m using a Dell computer, i would tell you what kind is it but i dont know what it is. I don’t know all that type of stuff. Anyways i dont know what it deals with i was about to buy another adapter but after looking at the links i saw that you dont have to buy another or it is a bad idea to do that. I dont know what it deals with or what i need to do to fix it (thats why im asking you guys). Also, this computer isn’t old its actually kinda new its about 3 or 2 months old and my battery has stop charging. I have been using the same battery sense i got it. Please help me with this.

    Thanks

  16. My husband dropped my Hp G60 Notebook. I was told that the power jack broke off from the motherboard but we can still “tweak” it to charge the computer is it worth the cost to have this repaired or to just invest in a new laptop?

  17. Hi people..

    I got a laptop HP dv6500. now the proplem is black scree from over heating these models are known for this issue is a design. i pulled it apart to cleaned the heat sink when i put it all together i had this issue.
    once i put on the battery or even the power cord the laptop turns on the fan runs for 2sec and it stops, i have power running to the HDD and front display is on, when i press the on button nothing happens. all led to HDD and few other LEDs are on just that there is power running through. I know i put all cables and every thing back to where it is

    any ideas how to slove this please help.

    Thanking you kindly..

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