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.