Fixing the power port on my HP Pavillion

August 13th, 2008 - 10:54pm by Slye Fox

The ol' laptop has served me well for the last 4 years, but for the last few months the power port (were the cord plugs in) has been severely decrepit. It's generally necessary to fiddle and fuss and wedge something in place to keep the damn thing connected. The battery hasn't charged for years, so the 'puter doesn't go unless it's got a direct link to the 120V outlet on the wall.

So I've been putting up with it in hopes that it wouldn't get worse and trying not to bump the corner whilst working or surfing the net. Then one evening, my buddy Karl, tells me he sees this all the time. All you have to do is re-solder the plug port on the motherboard -- that made a lot of sense. Wiggling the hell out of it probably forced a reconnection that was edgy at best. Which is exactly the symptoms my laptop portrayed. But tearing into my only home-link to the online world seemed risky, so I continued to put it off.

Tonight I dove in anyway. From the pics* you can see you have to take the entire damn thing apart to get at anything. It's intimidating. Good thing HP publishes a handy "this is how to take your computer apart" step-by-step guide.

In an hour, I had the thing tore apart all over my counter. And upon inspection of the exposed power port, noticed that both the solder joint was cracked and the ground post was pushed back into the element so that it barely connected anymore.

You can see the epoxy mess that
had to be scraped away (see below).

The solution was two-fold. Re-solder the original brocken joint and re-enforce the element so that the ground post wouldn't push back again when the plug was inserted. Re-soldering was a snap. It was easy to get to. Recreating an electrical connection between the ground post was another matter. Solder wasn't sticking to the brass part. I had to wedge the post out, sand it with emery cloth, and heat the hell out of it before I got the solder to stick. Then with the part pre-soldered, I re-inserted it into the element and remade the connection to the ground spot on the green board. Success! A quick check with the ohm-meter confirmed electrical connection.

Then I mixed up some super 3M brand industrial epoxy and built up a lump behind the ground post so it couldn't push in again. It took 3 hours to have the stuff solidify before I could put the laptop back together again.

And after all that -- huge success! It powered right up and the power connection is no longer "edgy". :)

The ill-fated power jack.

My advice to those who endeavor to try this... follow the directions in the maintenance manual carefully and don't skip any steps! And keep track of all the tiny screws!

*note - I took all these tear-apart pictures and close-ups of my repair and then somehow in trying to download them, managed to erase them instead. :( Dammit it all anyway. So sorry for the lack of illustration.

UPDATE: the damn epoxy broke and the ground pin pushed right back in. I stayed up nearly all night last night to refix it only to discover the power jack is now beyond repair. :( So I'll be rigging up a custom power connection to solder to the greenboard. Stoopid cheap-ass power jack. (new pics are from the second tear down.)

August 14, 2008 - 9:11am
damncutekitty says:

Doesn't matter if it's cars, computers, or the kitchen sink. Guys fixing stuff=teh sexy.

August 18, 2008 - 12:10pm
Slye Fox says:

Dammit it all. :(

Seems I've killed the 'puter for good. I must have taken apart and re-assembled my laptop yesterday at least 7 times. Each time with no response or signs of life when I hit the power button. :( :(

Don't know what else to try.

Shit -- no internets at home for me for a while. :(