How to Fix a Broken DC Jack?
Why is a Broken DC Jack Bad?
A broken DC jack results in unreliable charging and can kill the motherboard with quick switches between battery and AC power. While the easiest solution to this problem is finding a computer store that will do it for you, I don't think it's the most wallet friendly too. If you know how to take a laptop apart, can use the soldering iron and confident about working inside a computer, you can do it for yourself.
Things You Need, Things you Don't need
I would like to ask you to stop reading right now, if you have never soldered a thing in your life or think you can't do it in a notebook where solder points are less than a millimeter in diameter and there are heat sensitive parts scattered around. I strongly suggest anyone with less than 5-10 successful soldering points done on a multi-layered PCB to ask for professional help instead!
You will need:
At least two different sizes of Phillips-head screwdriver
- Replacement DC jack connector
- Bowl for screws you take out
- Soldering Iron
- Slotted head screwdriver
- About 3 hours of time
Did I mention that you need patience? Laptops are expensive pieces and are to be handled with care, so you need to be able to come back with a cold head even if you fail for the thirteenth time to pop out a little plastic piece. Laptops are put together in a self-interlocking way with many little parts to break off, so steady hands and patience are must.
I did this on a Fujitsu-Siemens A1650G most recently, and it worked out just great, however the soldering points are not something I'd show to my teachers in tech school.
Use a good point-headed soldering iron preferably with temperature control so that you can safely remove the broken legs. On a multi layered PCB there are a lot of things you can easily break off or fry, so do it carefully.
Take the laptop apart according to the service manual, or take your time to figure out how to do it. The usual method is to remove all screws from the bottom par, and trying to figure out a way to remove the keyboard and the flat cable, because there are screws going the other direction under it.
You usually have to remove everything to get to the DC jack, so remove the screen too. Note that the Wi-Fi antenna runs around the edge of the screen so don't forget to unplug it from the wi-fi card on the bottom side of the notebook.
When you've taken everything apart, remove the old connector, and all its broken legs. Clean the holes so that the new connector fits in without stressing. When removing and installing the connectors make sure that you don't bend the printed circuit board (PCB), because there are layers running inside that can break and result in complete motherboard failure, or strange errors.
When you solder, try to get one point done in one move, if you can't remove the broken bit in 3 seconds, let it cool and try again a few seconds later, SMD parts around it don't like excessive heat for too long.
When you're ready, put the notebook together paying close attention to what screw goes where. If your notebook charges, you've made a good job, if it doesn't you may need to take it apart yet again to see if there is something you can do to fix it.
If nothing else helps, you can always ask for professional help, but don't forget that tampered motherboards may cost more to fix, or the store can deny doing it altogether.
How Much Does it All Cost?
Total cost of the process should stay under about $20 if you have the tools already, if you don't you might want to either get it fixed with a professional, or consider buying them if the quote they give you is much higher than that.