How to Fix a Power Adapter




Introduction: How to Fix a Power Adapter

About: Matthew was previously a STEAM integrator with a private K-8 school. He loves taking things apart to see how they work, and will sometimes put those things back together. His 6-year-old wants to be a builder...

So as much as I enjoy Asus, I am currently incredibly irritated with the power adapter that came with my current eeepc. The front plate of the adapter has always been a bit flimsy, and yesterday when I pulled the adapter out from the wall, the faceplate decided remain embedded in the outlet, while the rest of the adapter rested quite comfortably in my hand. Since I was already running short of time, I grabbed the bit stuck in the wall, threw everything in my bag and ran off to school to fix later.

While this is built around my specific plug, these techniques should be able to be applied to any plug that has inexplicitly pulled itself apart for no reason what-so-ever.

Safety Warning: before unplugging an exposed wires from the wall, please ensure that you turn power off to that outlet. Your life is more important then fixing this plug.

Step 1: Issues

Getting to school and needing a computer, I set to the task of figuring out exactly what was wrong and how to fix it.

My first impressions was that there was absolutely no solder on either the cables that were ripped from the back of the plug, or the plug. There were small holes on the back of the plug, but they were too small to get any more then two strands of the threaded wire through. I currently have no idea how the wires could have been connected. I also find it awkward how much bare wire was exposed without any proper shielding, but that's just me.

All in all, it seemed an easy fix, I'd just solder the wires back on to where they popped off and call it a day!

Step 2: Not So Simple

No stranger to solder, I tried soldering wires straight to the plug to no avail. No matter how hot I got the plug, it was too polished and the solder just wouldn't stick. It was more difficult then trying to solder something to the bottom of a can of soda.

According to MikB:
You probably struggled to solder them back because they weren't soldered to begin with, some companies delight in using what appears to be stainless steel wire, unsolderable by mere mortals. Sometimes they are spot welded, other times crimped in some odd way. I'm not a fan of that.

Plan two, try to force a separate wire through the tiny holes in the back of the plug, and solder the cables to that. Sadly, the holes were too small to get any sort of wire to pass through.

Tried of burning plastic and making no headway, I decided I didn't care about keeping the plug pretty and went with plan three!

Plan three, get a different plug, cut it and half, and solder the two sets of wire together. Having no two prong plugs sitting around, I opted to go for a three prong and just ignore the third prong.

Step 3: Figuring Out Connections

So the first thing after cutting the new cable (which was left over from some old component), was to figure out which prongs of the plug went to which wires. Since the plug to my computer only used two prongs, I needed to make sure I used the same two prongs on the three prong plug.

I set up a multimeter to test resistance and checked for continuity between each of the three internal cable wires with the three prongs.

It turned out, the green cable went to the ground prong (which I've been told is standard), and black and white went to the other two prongs. Since my computer didn't care which way it was plugged into the wall (neither of the prongs was larger then the other), it didn't matter which way I soldered the black and white wires to the plug. I did do my best to look at where the cables wanted to be, and soldered them to the plug that they would have wanted to go to, but I don't think that mattered at all.

Step 4: One Last Thing Before We Put Everything Together...

Right before I started soldering the cables together, I noticed that if I'd kept going, the power adapter would have had a large exposed side. To keep this from happening, I decided to drill a hole right in the center of the faceplate for the adapter. If my fellow classmate wasn't asleep, I might have taken a dremel to the prongs to keep the faceplate clean. Looking back, I'm very glad I didn't as the final look of the plug is perfect.

To pick a drill bit, I compared the width of the bit to the width of the wire I had previously cut in half. I picked the smallest drill bit I thought the cable would just manage to fit through.

You can use a punch to center the drill bit, but I was in a hurry and eyeballed it.

Step 5: Putting Everything Together.

Now that everything was ready, it was just a matter of getting everything set up, soldered and adding finishing touches.
  1. Make sure you add any heat shrink and the faceplate over any cables that are going to be soldered
  2. Solder the two cables together
  3. Heat the heat shrink (or cut it off and apply electrical tape as I had to do).
  4. Prep the faceplate and internals for final closings.

Step 6: Wrapping Up

Snap the faceplate back in place and enjoy your new plug. If your plug doesn't have a snap, a little extra tape on the outside will work just fine. I did my first power check not plugged into my computer. I plugged it into the wall, and ensured the "I'm plugged in correctly" light came on. After that, I set up my computer for a presentation, plugged it in, and had it running for 6 hours. I've yet to have any problems with my fix.

As a side now, this is now my absolute favorite plug.

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    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    While I applaud you tenacity in repairing this ...

    First comment: If a mains power supply falls apart like that it's a dangerous piece of garbage, so repairing it leaves you with a repaired piece of garbage. Did you previously damage it, or should Asus be recalling this junk?

    Second: If one does fall apart, don't grab the bit in the wall until you've turned the power off. Yes, someone somewhere will try this and kill themselves :(

    Third: I hope that you are 200% sure that the prongs you left in the case never EVER accidentally become connected to nearby live components. Otherwise you have an additional level of dangerousness that even Asus didn't build in. And your mains cable now appears to have NOTHING holding it in place, so if it ever gets tugged on you have a new hazard to deal with. I know it must be near impossible getting a strain relief grip attached on there, but do think about that one!

    Fourth: You probably struggled to solder them back because they weren't soldered to begin with, some companies delight in using what appears to be stainless steel wire, unsolderable by mere mortals. Sometimes they are spot welded, other times crimped in some odd way. I'm not a fan of that.

    I've had mains plugs disassemble like that (on a power tool), and was lucky not get a shock. Original plug was in the bin straight away :)

    Take care!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    First: The adapter was just made with a shoddy panel. I've taken great care of that plug, never dropped or stepped on it, and it just decided to stay in the wall on day. I should have probably called Asus on it and tried to get a replacement, but I had to use my computer that day, and needed to plug it in. In the adapters defense, the front panel was the only part of the cable that seemed to be made at a low level, everything inside seemed quite resilient.

    Second: I completely agree with you on this statement, and hope that people use proper safety techniques to remove their cables. I've updated the first step to reflect this, please let me know if you think I should add more.

    Third: Everything within the adapter is quite well insulated and nothing should ever short out. The nice thing about adding the cable that I did to the outside, is now when I pull the cable out from the plug, there's no possible way to pull wires out of the adapter. When I unplug items from the wall, I grab the closest part to the outlet and pull from there (I never grab the cable and tug). By pulling on a well build cable, I have full confidence in the cable.

    Fourth: I've never heard of that. Thanks for letting me know. I've added what you said to step 3. Please let me know if that's not okay and I'll remove it.

    Finally, thank you very much for your comment. Please let me know if you have any other concerns.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Other concerns? Other than Asus's dodgy adapter in the first place, no :)

    Thanks for adding the changes.

    The bit about pulling out the mains wire by accident is based on the fact that every properly made piece of mains equipment with a tethered lead (what you have there, now) has a moulded on grommet, or a tightly gripping strain relief, or a P-clip clamping the cable inside, or some kind of device to grip the cable so that the stress of pulling at the cable cannot result in conductors coming through the case.

    Tying a knot in the mains cable is frowned on, however!

    I take your point about pulling on the plug to detach it in normal use, but I'm thinking of the accidental "foot caught in cable" oopsy moments.



    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, my confidence in Asus was shot when I saw that. The next time I need to buy a laptop I'm going to look a bit closer and non-asus tech.

    That's a very good point. I wasn't even thinking of tripped over wires. I think I'll take it apart in the next day or two and add a really tight zip tie on the back of the cable just to ensure it can't pull out. Thank you!