Saving a Laptop
admin Wed, 02/25/2009 - 14:13
About 18 months ago I got a great little laptop that has seen pretty heavy use. Its an Acer Aspire 3680. The laptop is small, and light, and goes on the road with me all the time. I take it to genealogy research libraries, SAR meetings, when I travel for work, vacation, etc. The laptop "roams" the house as well, and can be found in any room depending on the day. Because the laptop gets lots of action, it was bound for an accident. Well the first big accident happened and almost sent the laptop to the graveyard (or recycling stack).
The computer was on the coffee table, with the power cord plugged into, and hanging down. Someone (not sure who) stepped on the power cord,j erking it down, and breaking the power jack (DC Jack) on the inside of the laptop (see the picture to the left). The broken power jack caused the laptop to not work. The laptop is out of warranty, and Acer wanted $3.00 a min to talk to me on the phone. So I searched the internet and found the service manual and figured out that I needed to replace the DC power board.
I found a place that actually sold the power board, so I purchased the power board (about $80.00) and decided that I would try to repair the computer myself. I have worked desktop computers before, and I am very comfortable with them, but this was my first run with a laptop. Essentially they are the same, just everything with the laptop is a lot smaller. I will have to admit that Acer was smart in the fact that they did not put the DC power jack directly on the mainboard of the laptop, but rather on a sub-board that carries the USB ports and connects to the mainboard further down (allowing for a little flex if needed). You can see the picture of the Broken DC power board to the right. The Yellow plastic is the DC jack. The Square block behind that are the USB ports. AT the far end of the board (to the right) is where the DC power board connects to the mainboard.
I had to take the laptop all the way apart (not joking...all the way) to get to the power board. It was not "hard", but at the same time it was not that easy either. I would not recommend the repair for the "average" person, but if you have worked with computers before, then you might be able to undertake the repair yourself. For me having the service manual was key, as it gave step by step instructions on how to dis-assemble the laptop, so that I could get to the power board. My thoughts were I had a dead laptop, and If I tried to fix it and it did not work, oh well. Not much lost. Instead, I was able to get it fixed. All in all it took about 2 hours to get it done, and it saved my laptop from the graveyard.