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Laptop charging jack loose, stopped charging, possible motherboard damage?

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#1 piroteknix


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 03:24 PM

A few years ago, my dad bought my mom a used laptop from a local college kid. She bought herself a new laptop this Christmas and passed the old, used one down to me.

It worked fine, except sometimes it wouldn't charge. The cord would have to be turned into some odd position, like bent around the screen, or folded under the laptop for it to charge. I didn't know if the problem was with the cord or the jack.

A couple weeks ago, the laptop stopped charging unless I held it in an impossible position. The computer worked fine, and it still held a charge, but the only position the cord could be in to make it charge was so funky, I couldn't deal with it anymore. I decided to bring it in to a local computer repair shop.

The man there said the jack was loose, like I figured. He told me he just ran out of the part he needed to fix/replace it, but he would order a new one. More than three weeks passed without word from him, so I called. He said my laptop had "a bad motherboard," and would cost a lot more than originally quoted to fix. I told him I didn't think so, because the laptop still held a charge and operated fine, but would only charge with the cord physically in a certain position. I even waited for the laptop to run out of battery, charged it for a few minutes, and turned it on to retreive a document for class. He said, when a jack is loose, it delivers a lower charge to the motherboard, which can result in damage. He claimed he replaced the jack and tried multiple cords, but it just wouldn't charge anymore. I begrudgingly paid him $30 and left.

I told my friend about the situation and he said it was surprisingly similar to an experience he had with the same guy. He took his desktop in because it had problems caused by a suspected virus (i.e. essential files missing, Avast alerting him to a virus, etc.) and the man told him he needed to order a part to fix it, and after a few weeks, told my friend it was a problem with the motherboard. But unlike me, my friend paid the guy a few hundred bucks to replace it. Incidentally, when he got it back, he kept getting blue screened until he pushed one part into place better, and turned another part around 180 degrees.

So here are my questions. First, is it possible that the motherboard of my computer is actually damaged because of a loose charging jack? It ran and held a charged fine until the day I brought it in. Second, if it actually is a motherboard problem, how much would it cost to replace it? The PC repair guy said it was "uneconomical" to replace it himself. Third -- and this probably doesn't belong on a board like this but here it goes anyway -- if the guy is giving out phony computer diagnoses, how could I tell? And what should I do to make sure he doesn't con anyone (else) out of their money?

The computer is an IBM ThinkPad from about 2004, running Windows XP, and I'm not sure where to find the model number.

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#2 fairjoeblue


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Posted 17 June 2009 - 03:31 PM

Usually the power jack can be replaced.
Sometimes simply resoldering it will fix it.
That isn't really a job for Jue Average to try at home though.
[Requires more then just a soldering iron]]

I sure wouldn't take it to the "repair" guy you described though.
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#3 rigacci



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Posted 17 June 2009 - 03:48 PM

The answer to your first question is YES, a loose connector can do damage to a motherboard. It doesn't seem like that should have happened and in most cases it shouldn't. Depends a lot on how much force is used.

To replace a motherboard in a laptop is usually cost-prohibitive. You could try ebay for a used one but then you run the risk of not getting what you really need.

The only way to know if he is blowing smoke up your b*tt is to take it to someone else that you trust and getting a second opinion.

There isn't much you can do to prevent people like that from 'ripping' others off. Just stay away and tell everyone you know. Just don't take an ad in the local paper or he could turn around and make trouble for you.

The IBMs have the model number and serial number on the underside, on a small white label. Some will also have a model # on the laptop, in a corner (sometimes a corner of the monitor).

My advice would be to get a new laptop. There have been some great deals available, like never before. I picked up an ACER for $350 but I have seen others in that price range or a little more.

In any case, good luck. BTW, I can't help thinking I know this repairman you speak about. The one I know will FDisk your hard drive and reinstall for the slightest amount of spyware while charging you $100. He also forces you to buy a new case and power supply when your motherboard goes south. A lot of unnecessary stuff.


#4 piroteknix

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 03:36 AM

Hey, I hope a week and a half isn't too much of a bump!

My friend came over this weekend and had a look at my computer. He hit the power button. And it turned on... :thumbsup: So I'm pretty sure it's not a motherboard problem :flowers:

He then tried plugging it in to charge it, but the jack seemed too small to fit the charging cord. I wonder, now, did my PC "repair" man replace the jack with a wrong, smaller model? And instead of telling me the cord wouldn't fit, just told me the laptop wouldn't charge at all? He claimed he tried two different cords, and both of them failed at charging my computer. Well, after a little wedging and shoving, my cord finally fit in, and my laptop has ran and charged fine ever since then. As good as new third-hand!

But my case might serve as a good word of warning to computer owners: if you have computer issues, make sure whoever you hire to fix it is knowledgeable and reliable. It really makes me wonder how many simple problems have been misdiagnosed as something more serious. And how many people have spent countless dollars to have these less-than-serious problems fixed.

Thanks for your help, guys!

Edited by piroteknix, 29 June 2009 - 03:38 AM.

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