Replacement Laptop Cord





Introduction: Replacement Laptop Cord

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

I absentmindedly left the cord for my laptop power supply somewhere the last time I used the computer away from home. I was chatting with friends as I was packing up and forgot it. The business said no one turned it in as a found item.

I could order a new one and it would cost me about $20 (US) by the time it is delivered. I decided to make my own from this appliance replacement cord I found at Home Depot for $6.33 (US).

Step 1: What Size Are the Power Supply Pins?

Drill bits make handy sizing samples. By sight guess which drill bit is closest to each pin. All three pins were a different size on my power supply: 3/32, 764, and 1/8 inch.

Step 2: Test Your Guess

It is not easy to get an exact size on the pins by sight. Test to see if your are correct.

Strip some #20 solid copper wire and wrap a loop around the shank of your drill bit. Slide the loop onto the pin. It should not be too loose or too tight. Try a different drill bit if the loop does not fit the pin properly.

Step 3: Wrap a Coil

Using the drill bit as a form, wrap a coil a 1/8 inch longer than the pin in the power supply.

Step 4: Compress for a Tight, Closely Wound Coil

Press down on the coil to push the windings close to one another.

When finished with a coil, cut the coil from the wire and set it aside. Size and wrap a coil for each remaining pin.

Step 5: Solder

Slip the coils onto their respective pins. Insert the correct ends of the appliance repair cord into the ends of the coils and solder each.

When finished, push hot glue into the opening as much as possible to make a plug fitting.

Step 6: The Plug Fitting

This is the plug fitting I got after the hot glue hardened. Actually, the hot glue did not flow into the bottom of the opening on the power supply as well as I had hoped. I have built it up some manually and trimmed it with a sharp knife to fit the opening. If I had not run out of hot glue sticks, I would have built it up more to cover the bare copper and make it safe from electrical shock. I plan to do that yet.

Step 7: Finished

The green power light from my laptop is glowing. I think I will not disconnect the cord from the power supply in the future so that I am less likely to forget the cord. But, my cord works. It cost me about $6 instead of about $20, and I did not need to wait 10 days to 2 weeks for delivery.



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    69 Discussions

    nice work make a kit out of it and give it everyone

    I have never used Sugru, had never heard of it until Instructables had a contest for things made with it, and do not know where I would buy any other than on-line. From what I have seen of it in projects by others, it would probably work.

    The patent websites I looked at for glue sticks indicated a low end melting temperature of 194F and a high end of 248F (90C and 120C respectively). If your power supply is in the heat range of boiling macaroni, you have deeper technical problems.

    1 reply

    I have been using this laptop cord exclusively during the last four months and it does work just fine. You make a good point about the cooking temperature for macaroni. I expect carpet fibers and table top finishes would be seriously damaged, too. Thanks.

    A good idea, but it is a risky endeavor for a small savings. Most retail electronics shops sell the "Mickey Mouse" style cables for ~%5.

    8 replies

    I do not enjoy electrical shocks any more than anyone else and take great pains to avoid them. If I thought it were not completely safe, I would not have made it, nor would I use it. My last experience with purchasing a cable like this was in 2006. The only place I could find was on-line with Radio Shack. The cable was $12.95 plus shipping.

    Neither do I. The only part I worry about is the fact that you used hot glue to assemble the plug. Adapters like that can generate a decent amount of heat, enough to soften the glue and potentially short out. Though it is a slim chance, considering the prongs will hole the wires in place, it is still a worry of mine. Plastic epoxy is generally what I use to fashion that type of thing. Heat does not affect it and it is quite solid. I was a little off on the price, it is still around that $12 mark at most places.

    As I explained to one of the people who left a comment, my power supply does not get more than lukewarm. It is never so warm that I cannot hold it comfortably, even when charging a depleted battery. That is not hot enough to melt the glue. I also mentioned in one of my responses that I did an Instructable on an Auto Charger for 6 or 12 Volt Systems. In it I used hot glue to insulate the transformer primaries. In 20 years of use I never saw any breakdown of the hot glue insulation. In a worst case scenario, let us say the hot glue softens considerably. The copper coils are still held apart from one another by the pins on which each sits. Even if the hot glue around the coils became gooey, the hot glue away from the pins would not get hot enough to become soft. I really think it is going to hold up quite well. I suppose a good epoxy would have been the stuff they use for sealing an automobile gasoline tank.

    Your power supply does not get more than lukewarm.

    But you are posting this as an instructable for other people who's power supplies might very well get hot.

    Keep in mind that I am not trying to knock you down, or insult your idea; only to add to the design.

    Two heads are better than one.

    If someone is concerned about hot glue melting on his power supply, he should plug it in and rest a stick of hot glue on the hottest part. Come back in an hour or two and see if the glue has melted.

    But how are they going to do that if they are trying to use your instructable to build a cable in the first place?

    Some options would be: 1) Borrow a cord from a friend with the same style power supply. 2) Lightly solder leads from an improvised cord to the ends of the pins and tape them reasonably well for the duration of the test. (Include as small a fuse as possible in the circuit for extra protection.) 3) Follow steps 1 through 5 of this Instructable for a test, taping as needed to insure nothing can short during a test. (See the note about a fuse in the option above.) 4) Find someone with a laptop whose power supply becomes quite warm after an hour or two of use, even if a different style than yours. Gain his agreement to allow you to conduct your melting glue stick test. I am certain a power supply hot enough to melt hot glue will also damage the finish on a counter, burn skin on contact, melt carpet, and cause spontaneous flames on newspaper. The point is that no normally functioning laptop power supply gets hot enough to make the hot glue I used in my Instructable cause any danger through melting.

    I bought one of these at the local radioshack for 9.99, But this is essentially the same thing. copper wire wrapped in plastic. I dont know the difference between the heat the regular coating and the hot glue can take, but so long as it doesnt melt should be fine.

    1 reply

    Thanks. I have checked the plug end I made while using it over spans of a couple of hours. Nothing rises to even the heat of my hand. It seems to be working out just fine.

    Now tell me how to fix the other part of the cable, assuming the power supply box is in tact. I really don't want to pay 80 dollars for a replacement...

    2 replies

    I assume you are talking about a flaw in the cable between the "brick" (power supply module) and the plug that fits into the side or back of the computer. It is essentially like replacing or fixing the jack on a pair of headphones or earphones. I believe there are some Instructables on that. The wires often become frayed inside the cable an inch or two back from the plug. I pare away the rubberized plastic covering the power plug. I cut a couple of inches off of the cable on the plug end and strip the wires from the brick back about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. I desolder the the old connections to the power plug and make new solder connections from the stripped cable. Doing them one at a time helps make certain the right wire goes to the right solder joint. Then I coat the plug in hot glue. While the hot glue is cooling, I keep turning the power plug over so the glue does not sag in one direction. I hope this is what you are asking. There is always the possibility the break in your wires is at the brick rather than the plug. That would be more difficult to fix.

    Why thank you. You said exactly what I wanted to hear.