Laptop DC socket repair: piece of cake?

I’m having power issues with my laptop with I believe is due to a failed DC socket (the “female” part on the laptop that the power adapter plugs into). I’m checking local repair shops to see if I can get a good price on a repair, but if not I’m considering repairing it myself, which would require disassembling the laptop and soldering a replacement socket on.

Is this advisable? Any tips?

On the laptops I have replaced the DC socket on it was a big pain.

You basically have to completely disassemble the laptop to get to the socket and under the motherboard. There are around 30 screws that must be removed (all different types) and every part of the laptop must be removed (keyboard, cd drive, hard drive, fans, LCD screen, etc, etc, etc. When you are done you will have hundreds of pieces.

Then you have to remove the old DC socket and solder a new one on.

Then you have to reassemble EVERYTHING before you can really even test to see if it worked properly.

After you get everything back together you do a quick prayer and hope you got everything back exactly right and try to power it on.

Most likely you forgot to reattach the cable for the LCD or keyboard or something and you have to take it all apart and reassemble it again.

Plan on 2 to 3 hours of work and a lot of patience.

You’ll need a soldering gun, solder, a toolkit, some bags to hold the different screws, a camera to take pictures to help you remember, and you’ll need to search online for the service manual for your laptop so you know how to take it apart because they all have different weird quirks!

to do the soldering you likely will need a low wattage temperature controlled soldering iron with good tips and lots of soldering skill.

Off warranty?

Experience with working on electronics?

Could live without it if necessary?
If yes, then go for it.

Normal working rules apply; cut the power, don’t cook the circuitry… avoid static electricity, ensure proper ventilation. And test everything thoroughly before you run power through it.

Here’s some guy’s project… to give you an idea. How to modify damaged DC jack | Laptop Repair 101

And he even has alist of manualsfor popular makes…

Basically depends on whether your particular laptop is easy to disassemble. I’ve done this repair myself on a former laptop, but as dfwitexperts describes I pretty much had to take absolutely everything apart. Though in that case the socket wasn’t directly soldered to the mother board, but rather it plugged in via a short pair of wires (theoretically that should have made it even easier to replace, but Sony doesn’t like easy…). But I’ve repaired other laptops that are much easier to deal with. If you’re lucky and have a very easy-to-service laptop, you might be able to access the broken socket just by removing a few screws, an access door, and a plastic bezel or two.

This is very common on laptops. Google and you will find the parts and techniques. Several sites have offers for the complete job.

In my case, I never planned on carrying the laptop around so I was not burdened by needing to unplug the socket. Research showed that only two wires of the five on my Dell had current and polarity. I was able to cut and paste connections to those inputs. After that I epoxied the thing together so it is splinted and won’t move or disconnect. I’m good to go. I could easily carry it in a small briefcase. The battery still works and charges. I have lots of backup equipment, but if I really needed the broken one, I think I would have a pro do it.

I had the same problem, dc socket solder come loose. really simple solution, a tiny solder at the motherboard, BUT, to get to the weld as the others have commented is a huge pain in the butt.

i work on computers (PCs) a lot, I am a repair person from way back, BUT I farmed this particular job out to a shop that gave me the best price that I found.

I think it was 40 euros. (i’m in Spain) Considering the labour involved, I went for it, been running like a charm, since. As I said, I shopped around and found lots of absurd prices for the job before settling on this one shop.

My local PC repair place quoted me $120 for this and claims it’s a huge pain. I believe them.

Computer shop owner hat on

It is a huge pain and about 1/4 of the time the customer comes back with it broken again in a few weeks.

We charge $175, basically because I hate doing them so if they wanna pay $175, I will do it.

This is literally the most difficult hardware repair most computer shops deal with.

Thanks for the responses.

I’m wary of doing this myself, but I haven’t gotten a good price quote from anyone.

Whadda ya mean $175? You said it would cost $49 to bring it in! I could take this down the street and they wouldn’t charge 175! Where’s the manager? I wanna talk to the manager!


Could you tell us what model your laptop is? That way we can look up what it takes to dismember and repair it in your case. You might, might just luck out and have a laptop that’s easy enough to work with that anyone who can handle a screwdriver can make the repair.

Gateway MX3215

Here is place that will do it for $100.

The part of their ad I liked best was** lifetime warranty**.

Nope those 6 pin jacks are the hardest ones. The center pins on those are a bitch.

They also have some kind of contact layered into the board that if you don’t get enough solder in the center hole it wont make contact even though it looks like its soldered in good.

I’ve done several of them. Sometimes the jacks are mounted directly on the motherboard, and that means you have to find the exact same part to fix it. But other times, the power jack is on a sub-assembly.

When you take it apart, make a drawing of the layout of the bottom of the unit showing all the screw holes, and use double-faced tape to stick each screw to the drawing. The thing is, you may have a bunch of screws of the same diameter, but they will be in half a dozen different lengths. Do the same thing if you have to remove the motherboard.

How much is your time worth?

Beyond this one thing implied, but not directly addressed by the other responses is that the dis-assembly process is not only a huge PITA it is also fairly hazardous if you have never disassembled a notebook before (or the notebook is unfamiliar) as there are a number interlocking plastic bezel and interior pieces on many notebooks that go together like jigsaw puzzles and will crack and break if stressed too hard or pulled the wrong way, and if it’s a critical piece you’re screwed. Replacing notebook hard drives, CD drives and screens is breeze compared to extracting the MB and then trying to reliably solder a jack on a small, complex multi-layer board.

Send it to a dedicated place unless the value of the notebook is small enough it does not matter. This is really an involved and delicate job better done by experts. If you want to treat it as a science experiment go ahead, but don’t fuss if it turns to poo.

Let’s be realistic. Definitely has to be farmed out to others… as folks have mentioned. to that online $100 repair, add $$ for shipping the laptop to them.

at this point figure out if it’s worth it.

another thing, when my laptop was “unsoldered”, I could always find some wiggle of the cable and subsequent propping in place that would allow it to function.

a drag, but rendered it usable. keep shopping around. I did for a while before finding a cheaper place.

even that shop had problems with layering of the motherboard solders. i phoned them a lot to watch progress and the guy at the shop admitted he was stumped for a bit before finding the correct way to do it.

i think if someone showed up today asking for the same service, he would quote a higher price.

another thing to remember is that the economy is in crisis, especially small businesses. so computer folks are looking for customers. you could bargain a bit when asking for prices.

Apparently that particular model has the dc jack soldered to a mini circuit board separate from the motherboard. The cheapest place I could find that sells the whole jack board is this here, and they want $55. If you could somehow get ahold of that part for cheap, though, it looks like a relatively easy fix. It seems from this repair guide* that you’d only need to remove a few screws, one plastic bezel, and the keyboard. Then you just replace that power jack board and plug it into the motherboard. ETA: And since the jack isn’t soldered to the motherboard, you could attempt to repair the jack without risking the motherboard itself – just the little jack board.

The jack itself looks like a PITA to resolder – as drachillix mentioned, you’ll never be able to resolder the center pin. But if you’re lucky that pin might be just fine, and the broken solder joint might be one that’s easily accessible.

Personally, I’d go for it. But I’m fairly gung-ho about ripping things apart especially when there’s nothing to lose. I’d attempt to resolder the existing jack, though I wouldn’t bother trying to solder on a replacement. If that doesn’t work you can spend the $55 for a replacement power jack board, or give up and call it a loss.

And even if you can pull off the repair perfectly, plan to spend many hours of your life on this project.

*which isn’t for the same exact model, and the pictures are really tiny and the directions are vague…

It was my understanding that the dc jack was on a separate board, but $55 is actually the best price I’ve seen for an entire unit. I may just try to solder the existing socket I have back on to the board, just to see if that works, and order an entire new board if it doesn’t.

Now if I can only pry this laptop apart…Lazybratsche, you wouldn’t happen to have directions for that, would you (seeing as how you’ve found everything else ;))?