Did I wreck my laptop, and/or how do I fix it?

I’ve got a Dell laptop computer, 700m if that matters. I dropped it on its side from about 3 feet while it was plugged in. It came straight down on the adaptor plug and broke the spot where the adaptor plugs into the computer. Actually it didn’t completely break off right away, there were a few days where I could jiggle the plug around to make it work, but eventually the jack become completely loose and separated from the computer itself.

I did open up the computer a little bit to try to take a look myself, and I see that the jack is a small shiny cube, which is now compltely detached from the circuit board it had been attached to. The problem is that I can barely even get at the board to see what happened, much less enough to try to fix anything. After taking off a few screws and trying to open the thing up I came to my senses and put everything back together before I went beyond the point of no return. I’m 99.9% sure I didn’t screw anything else up worse than it was, with the exception that I did break the case of the computer a bit.

Bottom line, it looks like the only problem is that the about 1 cm shiny metal cube which contains the plug/jack is loose inside the computer. I’m having trouble getting at the board it had been attached to. I don’t want to to anything to further damage the functionality of the computer, although I’d be willing to cause any cosmetic damage as would be necessary.

By coincidence the extended warranty expired today, although I doubt that would have helped, considering I dropped it myself through no fault of Dell’s.

I’m not sure how much time or money I’d want to spend on this thing. The battery is already shot, there is already some cosmetic damage to the machine. Although it is only just over 2 years old, I did get a good deal on it, and wonder if a new comprable machine would cost in the same ballpark as the replacement battery and repairs.

Is there any chance this is something I can fix myself cheaply? Or, any ballpark guesses as to how much it would cost to get fixed or advice on where to take it? Any advice on what I should do?

Thanks for the help.

Most likely the jack can be replaced, the biggest problem is the fact that you tried to use it by wiggling the jack to get it to charge. there are surface mount components in close proximity and there may also be circuit traces in harms way. I have replaced dozens of broken jacks and the more you try to get it to work while it’s broken the more likely it is the system board is cooked by a short. The jacks can be had for $25-$50 and it takes me somewhere between 1 and 3 hours to make the repair and there is about a 30% chance that it still won’t work when I’m done. It usually ends up right around $175 +/- $50 before tax.

I had one that when I opened it up the jack with part of the motherboard still attached fell out onto the bench. But most of the time the plastic in the jack breaks or the solder connection cracks, I used to just re-solder them but most of the time the jack is just about worn out anyway so I don’t offer that option anymore.


With a loose piece of metal in the case, remove the battery now.

It does not look good for you. The power connector on most laptops is directly soldered to the mainboard. If you have not already fried the mainboard, you may be able to disasemble the laptop to gain access, and re-solder the connections. This is fine work, not to be done by the heavy handed. you need a very hot, very fine tipped iron, a steady hand (three of them) and a good eye. If the unit is off extended warranty, (which makes me think it is at least three years old) I would suggest considering a replacement. By the way, in our company we have around two hundred laptops, our most common disaster…someone places the laptop (in a carrying case) on the roof or trunk of a car while opening a door. Then drives off. At least all the pieces are still in the carrying case…

Every frickin’ HP laptop I’ve had for more than two years has suffered from this problem, where the AC jack eventually comes partially detached from the motherboard and stops working. You can get a brand new replacement jack for $10 on eBay, and if you can get the connections for the old one out and solder the new one in, it fixes it. It can be a huge pain to get those things desoldered and resoldered without damaging nearby components from the heat, though.