Introduction: FIX Poor Contact of an AC Adapter

Picture of FIX Poor Contact of an AC Adapter

After a while almost every (laptop's) AC adapter starts to have a poor or intermittent contact. At first you can just twist the cable a bit at the outlet of the adapter to fix the connection. However after a while you have to twist and turn more. Eventually you will notice that the cable sheath is torn.

Then it's definitely time to FIX it instead of buying a crazy expensive new one while the adapter remains still perfectly working!

Here is a DIY How To!

Ingredients:
- basic soldering skills and stuff
- pliers

Step 1: Before You Begin

Picture of Before You Begin

I recommend that you check if it's really a poor or intermittent connection that causes your situation:

Therefore you twist (maybe pull or push the cable inward or outward to/from the adapter) and see if the connection problem is solved. If so then you can PROCEED .

If you wonder how to check: in case of a laptop's adapter it's easy: in my case the power inlet light up blue upon good connection or the status icon in the taskbar tells me that the battery is charging. Alternatively you can ask a second person to measure the output voltage of the laptop's adapter.  Check the normal output voltage labeled on the adapter first so you can set your meter correctly)

If you notice that while performing all those manipulations the problem still remains then it's most likely the adapter who is malfunctioning or broken en thereby it's not a 'poor connection nor intermittent connection problem' and you should STOP .

Step 2: Open Up the Melted Case

Picture of Open Up the Melted Case

In my opinion this is the hardest and most dangerous part.

These days they melt the casing together. Which means that there are no screws or bolts to open up the case clean and unscratched. You literally have to break open the case but do it in a slow manner! Otherwise the case will tear or break.

For this operation I've used a small screw driver , a small bladed knife and a special crowbar alike screwdriver (not really needed, you can use another screw driver as well but It's handy to put some more force between the two shells when it has opened a bit).

Ok, first things first: to guide you I'll detail the steps I've repeated over and over again to separate the two shells:

1) Be warned: if you loose control of the sharp knife you can cut yourself very badly even to the bone of your finger! So maybe wear protective leather gloves or just go to step two.   I've placed the knife's blade between the two shells as deep as possible and then tilted the blade (while keeping it pressed) up and down. You will notice because of that one shell fits into one another that one direction (up or down) will 'break' the melted connection. To this at every inch of every side of the shells' junction.

2) When the shells' junction has been 'cracked' or maybe even 'broken/separated'. You can use your small screw driver to lift every inch and open it more. Again: to this for every inch of every side of the shells' junction.

3) Now it should be able to put your screw driver between the two shells and while opening it a bit you can slide in the crowbar alike screw driver and use it to totally separate the shells. Make sure you don't scratch nor break the internal circuit or PCB! I liked to abuse the side where the high voltage (220/230V) connect is placed as a main lift spot because the junction is weaker at that side due the opening.

Congratulations if you managed it so far!

Step 3: Clean Up Both Shells

Picture of Clean Up Both Shells

Take out the circuit. Clean up the edges of both shells so that they fit together without any pressure (we need this in a further stage).

In my case the white wire is Vc (output voltage) and the 'black' wire is the Ground. Remember this/write down your situation (we need this in a further stage as well).


Step 4: Cut Out the Poor Connection Part of the Cable

Picture of Cut Out the Poor Connection Part of the Cable

Now we can proceed:

1) Desolder both wires.

2) Cut out the torn part of the cable. I've actually cut out almost 15cm to make sure that I didn't had to repeat this over in a few months because the non visible part around the torn area will become torn out quite fast as well if they become the point of stress.

3) Resolder the cable:

3.1) Remove the sheath of the cable
3.2) Bundle the shield: this will become Ground
3.3) In my case the white cable was protected by an aluminium shield as well which you can remove safely
3.4) Strip the white cable: this will become Vc (Voltage out)
3.5) Tin the white as well the Ground wire
3.6) Check the length by putting the circuit back in one shell and the cable through the strain relief
3.7) Solder both wires (in the picture I've put a heat shrinkable tube around the Ground (you don't have to heat shrink it) to make sure it doesn't short circuit with the aluminium shielding nor the bridged wire inside the circuit.

4) Check if the power adapter works

5) If so you can glue the shells back together. In my experience I've tried to use hot glue to make it more easy to open up in the future. However it seemed that the hot glue cooled down to fast and the glue was too thick to fit both shells nicely without any gap. I ended up by using quick plastic glue. Maybe someone have some tip to improve this step? 


Step 5: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

So you'll have your own repaired and perfectly functioning adapter back!

Enjoy your work and no twisting needed!


Comments

trietjebietje (author)2011-07-22

Nen echten leerkracht hé :-) Mooi hoor!

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Bio: Passionated about electronics, robotics, software and Chinese Arts
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