Laptop Hardware Issue Filter: Hard drive not doing much after replacing a power jack. Help?
July 29, 2007 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Resoldered a connection on my laptop DC power jack, and now the hard drives are creeping along until they stall out. What the F is going on?

I replaced the DC power jack on my Gateway 600YG2 Laptop a few weeks ago, and it was doing fine. I bought a new hard drive for the laptop (160GB) and about a day before swapping the new hard drive for the old, I apparently broke a solder joint on the new power jack. I took the laptop apart again, soldered the busted solder joint, and reassembled the laptop.

Ever since I resoldered that one pin on the jack, the hard drive has become very sluggish until it just stops altogether. I attempted to run Active Kill Disk on the new hard drive, and it won't even finish a pass of writing zeros. I thought, "well, I got a bum hard drive." I tried the OLD hard drive, which I knew was fine, and it's having the same problem. I tried installing XP, and the same thing occurs - it sluggishly plugs through the install phase, and then stalls out at around 45%, sometimes 61%. Something is obviously wrong here; I checked every cable, every connection, every screw in its right place.

I'm not saying that I DIDN'T screw something up when I was soldering, but this isn't my first rodeo, per se. I've been doing circuit level repairs on computers and automated lighting fixtures for years, and I've been certified in that trade as well. I'm always very careful, anti-static, and I was shielding the tip of my pencil iron from the other components with an aluminum heat sink.

What do you good folk think is going on? I cannot figure this out, and I love my old laptop. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it - or I should say there wasn't anything wrong with it save the DC power jack, which I fixed once.
posted by jimmyhutch to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you might have held on with the heat a little too long? Try the drive in another computer?
posted by tmcw at 3:04 PM on July 29, 2007

Sounds like:

a) You might have damaged something during soldering or disassembling.
b) The problem is an unrelated weird coincidence.

I have no intuition as to which it is, but I would start by checking the voltage levels on the power connection, and then the hard disk power connection.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:08 PM on July 29, 2007

("power connection" refers to the jack you soldered)
posted by Krrrlson at 3:09 PM on July 29, 2007

Okay, not an answer, but the jack on my same-model Gateway just went out too!
posted by IndigoRain at 3:20 PM on July 29, 2007

Hey indigorain:
If you can solder, go to they have one of everything. and cheap. it only took me about 2 hours of searching to find them... the one for the 600YG2 was something like 3 bucks, 5 for shipping.

I hope it helps.
posted by jimmyhutch at 10:11 PM on July 29, 2007

Let us know if your hard drive wigs out afterwards :P
posted by Krrrlson at 10:15 PM on July 29, 2007

My understainding (second hand information) is that people should never solder anything on a PC board. The machines that assemble them use very quick (and colder possibly) solder thus not heating up the elements too much. A hand solder, even a good one, will heat the component to a temperature that is beyond the safe range. So, if this is true you might have totaled the motherboard.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:23 PM on July 29, 2007

(In practice, most components on a PC board can be resoldered safely, as long as one doesn't keep the heat on for too long. This is especially true of passive components such as power jacks, which are merely chunks of metal.)
posted by Krrrlson at 11:03 PM on July 29, 2007

I've been doing this a long time on components worth tens of thousands of dollars. This isn't the first time for this for me - but this IS the first time I've had something catastrophic happen that I can't figure out.
posted by jimmyhutch at 6:55 AM on July 30, 2007

alright, this is ridiculous. I've replaced the ENTIRE MOTHERBOARD now, and I am still getting the sluggish response out of the hard drives. I wonder if some irreparable damage was done. Any insights?

Here's a random question that I don't know/can't find the answer to:

does a processor go bad?
posted by jimmyhutch at 12:25 PM on July 31, 2007

Have you tried different ram yet?

Did you handle the ram when you did the first solder? Maybe you introduced some static.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:41 PM on July 31, 2007


I replaced the 160GB HDD with the original 40GB drive, and successfully formatted it with XP. I also took my IDE to USB cable, attached the adaptor to laptop drive IDE, and plugged it into my desktop. As of right now, WIndows is running a format on it - is there anything that could cause a large 160GB HDD to not let Windows install on it on a laptop? This seems preposterous, but I have to ask.

posted by jimmyhutch at 3:56 PM on July 31, 2007

Perhaps youve hit the 137 gigabyte limit? Your BIOS may not be able to see a drive bigger than that.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:01 PM on July 31, 2007

In the drivers section on the gateway page theres a bios update from 2003. Might want to install it and see if it helps.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:05 PM on July 31, 2007

As I surf through my askme questions this Saturday morning, I wanted to end this with this knowledge that I received TWO bricked hard drives. Nothing was wrong but that - everything else was fine. I guess I couldn't believe I got TWO, one right after the other!
posted by jimmyhutch at 7:42 AM on September 1, 2007

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