My laptop won't charge...
January 24, 2006 3:52 PM   Subscribe

My laptop (due to me always having it in my lap) has quit taking power from my power cord.

I can sometimes rig my laptop in a position to where it can fully charge... but when I start the computer... it's a countdown of about 45 minutes, where it will then shut-down.

I've been told this is becoming more common because people place their laptops in awkward positions in their latp, detaching the "power acceptor" inside the laptop.

Any suggestions as to how I can fix my laptop?

Has this happened to anybody before?
posted by bamassippi to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You need a new battery. Happens to all of us.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 PM on January 24, 2006

Response by poster: No. The battery works fine. It's the port that takes in the power cord that's the problem.
posted by bamassippi at 4:02 PM on January 24, 2006

Or are you saying that it shuts down when the power brick is plugged in? If that's the case, maybe the cord from the brick is damaged.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:06 PM on January 24, 2006

Response by poster: No... I've tried multiple cords that work perfectly on other laptops.

This coputer won't recognize any power cord once the laptop is turned on... and when it is turned off, you have to "fig" the cord in a very awkward position so that the laptop will (slowly) accept power from it.

BUT the minute you turn on the laptop... it quits accepting power from the power cord.
posted by bamassippi at 4:10 PM on January 24, 2006

Best answer: It sounds to me like you have two problems:

1) the laptop will not charge while plugged in unless you wiggle the power cable or hold it at some angle..

2) if you do manage to charge it, the battery only lasts 45 minutes.

#2 is almost certainly a battery that needs replacement.

#1 could be caused by loose solder joints in the laptop's power receptacle. You can fix it by resoldering those joints. Not really difficult, but you'd probably want to ask someone who knows what he/she is doing.

It could also be caused by a receptacle that is physically broken in some way - in which case it's probably easier to order a replacement part and install it (which is more work than if it were a loose solder joint).

In either case, you would probably be better off sending it to the manufacturer for these fixes, as they have done hundreds of such repairs and would probably give you some amount of warranty.
posted by helios at 4:16 PM on January 24, 2006

Oh. given what you said in your last comment, it sounds more complicated.

It still could be a loose solder joint, but it could also be related to a short or additional resistance in the circuit board caused by a surge, physical damage, fluids that got inside the vents. Or, it could be a faulty power IC. You could try resoldering the joints and examining the surrounding circuit board for weirdness, but if that doesn't work, it could get more complicated.

In many cases like this, the manufacturer would just replace the motherboard (or the entire circuit board which controls power, if it's separate on your laptop) with a fresh replacement.
posted by helios at 4:21 PM on January 24, 2006

This sounds like what happened to my laptop, except mine recognized a power adapter under no circumstances, rather than just when it was turned on. There was a brief period when if I jiggled the plug appropriately, I could get it to recognize the adapter and start charging.

Yes, I even went out and bought a new AC adapter and that one didn't work either.

I finally took the laptop to the Apple Store and the guy at the Genius Bar played with it and tried different batteries and then told me I had to send it in for repairs. I balked at the $300 charge for a second, but I decided I really wanted my computer back and thus would be willing to pay up to make sure it was done right. It came back soon after I sent it away and has worked perfectly for the subsequent 1.5 years or so.

The Apple repair people of course didn't include any information about what they did to fix it, so I still don't know how one would solve this problem on one's own, if it is possible to do so. If anyone has a DIY fix, I'd be interested to hear it, but I imagine such a fix would entail some logic board soldering, which is not the kind of thing I would be comfortable doing on my own.
posted by epugachev at 4:21 PM on January 24, 2006

helios hit this on the head -- this exact problem happened to me, and I needed to replace the motherboard and battery. It has worked perfectly since, however.
posted by charmston at 4:25 PM on January 24, 2006

If your product is under warranty, please refrain from wiggling it into an awkward position to get it to charge. I have sent my HP laptop back NUMEROUS times for this issue and the last time they told me I was at fault because when I tried to get it to take a charge I would wiggle the plug and apparently broke the pin loose inside. They wanted to charge me $300 to fix this. After much arguing, I finally got them to cover it for me.

I've called local shops concerning the connection of the pin to the motherboard and one place told me it was extremely common, and they guaranteed the work after it was done, but still wanted a ton to fix it.
posted by phox at 4:37 PM on January 24, 2006

I had the exact same problem on my clamshell iBook. As others have already diagnosed, it was two problems... a weak battery and a short in the power port inside the computer. I took it to Tekserve, and the repair was going to run me $250, not including the battery. At that point, my machine was almost 4 years old, so it didn't seem like the cost was worth it.

I've been much more careful in charging my new iBook
posted by kimdog at 4:40 PM on January 24, 2006

My mother had this trouble with an HP laptop that was otherwise fine. She ended up shipping it back for repairs FIVE TIMES and they STILL couldn't get it right. (I think this was through BestBuy's warranty program, rather than HP, to be fair.) So she eventually gave up and just bought a new machine, since that one was getting too slow for her anyway.

I'd definitely get it repaired by the manufacturer.
posted by Malor at 4:45 PM on January 24, 2006

The power-adapter continuity issue was what caused the final retirement of my sainted ThinkPad 600E.
posted by Triode at 5:14 PM on January 24, 2006

grumblefilter: Same thing happened with my old clam shell laptop, too, and it broke AGAIN after it was fixed. Not to thread highjax, but anyone have any ideas for what to do with a lightly used 2000 clamshell that's been sitting, uncharged, since 2001? Such a waste.
posted by lalalana at 5:15 PM on January 24, 2006

this is an extremely common problem with laptops. I've found the most economical solution is to just spring for a docking station or port replicator of some sort (which is often cheaper than a single repair). if you send it to the manufacturer, the jack can become loose again and again. (before you buy, check to make sure that what you're getting does indeed have a power jack.)
posted by mcsweetie at 7:55 PM on January 24, 2006

oh yeah, this has indeed happened to me and buying a port replicator solved the problem.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:04 PM on January 24, 2006

Same thing happened to me with a Dell Lattitude D600 (or L, the 1.2 kg one anyhoo). I took it to a guy to fix it and he killed the laptop. It's something of pain when a repairman breaks something.

Anyways, on a related note, surely simple round plugs are better for avoiding these kinds of issues. This shows, most laptops have such a connected for the power now.

But the Apples do, and someone has just posted saying that they have problems too so apparently it doesn't solve the issue.
posted by sien at 8:06 PM on January 24, 2006

similar question.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:57 PM on January 24, 2006

Best answer: Using a laptop on your lap a lot is not a good idea if you're a guy.
posted by Sharcho at 4:31 AM on January 25, 2006

This happened to my Dell Inspiron. I fiddled with it more as it got looser. I started smelling ozone and then one day a week or two ago when I plugged it in smoke came out. I recommend not fiddling.
posted by fidelity at 7:06 AM on January 26, 2006

A tip for laptop owners. After trashing two Toshiba laptops due to continual problems with the DC power plug connection, I discovered a quick, cheap ($6) fix that is being offered on ebay. It won't repair existing problems but it will prevent future problems by simply removing the stress put on the DC cord that eventually cracks the solder on the mother board or prevents good contact within the connector itself. Suggest that laptop owners consider this to prevent an expensive repair later. It is adaptable to any laptop/notebook and can be viewed at ebay by querying "DC power jack protector".
posted by bravosboy at 6:40 PM on June 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

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