Introduction: Repair Your Broken Laptop Power Cord.
Fix your laptop power cord that hasn't been supplying consistent power for the past month, and completely died today. No matter how much you fondle the cord into this position or that, it won't charge your battery or power-up your computer.
Here's the fix that costs zero dollars and only requires patience, some basic tools, electrical tape, and the perseverance that only a true cheapskate can muster. I performed this instructable on my very own HP Pavillion's power cord and adapter.
Where's the Break?: Consider where the break in the power cord occurs.
- This Instructable is for a break in the coaxial (round, thin) cable, near the adapter instead of near the laptop pin/plug. In my case, the cable break was close to the adapter, so much so that I had to break it apart to get enough wire for the fix. If you're even closer than I was, you may have to solder.
This instructable may not help you if:
- You have 2" of cord on either side of the break. If so, you don't need to read on. Just cut the cord at the break, expose about an inch of cord on each side, twist the separate insides together, insulate from each other w/ e-tape, then wrap the whole mess with e-tape.
- Your cord is breaking on the base-end of the strain-releif (as was the case for Surroundsound). Your fix will slightly differentiate from this Instructable. See Surroundsound5000's comment in the comments at the bottom of the page. He includes some helpful pics.
Notes: I somewhat followed Morris Rosenthal's example, as well as Prometheus' example for this instructable.
8/31/09 UPDATE: It's coming up on the year anniversary of my power cord repair. I haven't had to repair it again and haven't had any complications. Here's hoping for another year!
12/28/10 UPDATE: Consider epoxy over e-tape when binding the power adapter back together. Epoxy adds a couple bucks to the repair and can be intimidating, but it is less insulating and therefore less prone to causing the unit to overheat... Last month my power adapter started overheating (to the touch) so I decided to unwrap the whole thing, saw some air vents in the plastic, epoxy it back together, and add stick-on rubber foot pads. It helped with the overheating issues.
Step 1: Set Up and Evaluation
Tools I used: Chisel, Hacksaw, Electrical tape (or shrink tubing), wire cutters and/or strippers, flat head screwdriver (preferably sharp-ish and wide-ish), optional: two monkey wrenches for prying.
Time: It took me about 1 hour, most of which was spent figuring out how to pry open the adapter box.
Step 2: Break the Box: Getting Into the Adapter
It took many techniques to figure out how to open up the adapter box. The plastic was too weak to crack open w/ just a screwdriver. It just scratched with pressure, while the seam remained firmly bonded.
So, I managed to create a deep groove around the entire seam w/ a chisel. The groove helped to safely (and, unfortunately, extremely slowly) hack-saw my way through the plastic shell (not any further than the thickness of the plastic). Even at this point, the two shell halves remained attached to one another. So, a slow and steady twist of a broad flat-headed screwdriver at each corner cracked something inside to enable the box to finally open.
Step 3: HP Adapter Insides
This is the precious inside. Top view and bottom view. I pretty much didn't open up any further than this and I tried to avoid any damage to any parts inside.
Step 4: Fixing the Cord
The cord was coiled up slightly inside the box. I pulled it out all the way. Cut the cord at the end of the rubber spring thing (aka "strain relief") where the cord was breaking. Then I tried stripping off the "strain relief" w/ pliers... that didn't work, so I used a razor blade and slit one side lengthwise and kind of unwrapped the "strain relief" off the coaxial cable. I tried to keep the "strain relief" intact so that I could use it for the same function when I was done.
Then, I proceeded to strip all ends of the cable, remembering which was inner and which was outer in the coaxial. (If you have enough space to afford some staggering in the stripping, do so to further prevent short circuiting.) I twisted together the outer wire, thoroughly taping. Then twisted the inner, thoroughly taping. Then wrapped the "strain relief" back around the newly repaired cord.
Soldering would have been more secure, but I had none of that equipment around. The access to the soldering points in the adapter isn't horribly difficult, but it may require further disassembly, which I wasn't interested in doing.
Step 5: Close Up Shop, May Add Reenforcements
Finally, I got to shut-er up. Unfortunately, I didn't have the benefit of an adapter box that locked shut or was fused or glued shut, so I got clever with some duck tape and Black e-tape for finishing. Some commenters have innovated and closed up the adapter box w/ a glue-gun. [UPDATE 12/28/10: After 1.5 years of wear and tear, the original repair job using e-tape started causing the adapter to overheat, so I resorted to epoxying the case together.
OPTIONAL: For some added support, I taped a rubber splint about where the previous break had occurred. I used some thin rubber sheeting material that was in the corner of my garage. It was just luck that this rubber sheeting as stiffer than just the cord, but more pliable than the "strain relief" which means the cord will curve gradually under any side tension.
Hope this might help some a ya, that are in dire straits with you computer power supply cord! Good luck and be careful!