Fixing that broken laptop power jack

It seems that there’s a whole range of Toshiba Satellite laptop computers that suffer from a power jack design that is prone to breaking. We see some good and some bad in this. The jack is not mounted to the circuit board, so if it gets jammed into the body like the one above it doesn’t hose the electronics. But what has happened here is the plastic brackets inside the case responsible for keeping the jack in place have failed. You won’t be able to plug in the power adapter unless you figure out a way to fix it.

We’d wager the hardest part of this repair is getting the case open. Once inside, just cut away all of the mangled support tabs to make room for the replacement jack. The one used here has a threaded cuff that makes it a snap to mount the new part to the case. Clip off the old jack and solder the wires (mind the polarity!) and you’re in business.

Anyone know why we don’t see more of the magnetic connectors (MagSafe) that the Apple laptops have? Is it a patent issue?

[Thanks Dan]

Comments

  1. brncomputer says:

    rather than all that you could just glue it back in place… e6000 the technicians duck tape. -http://goo.gl/qkLKb

  2. Requiem says:

    For serious? That’s going above and beyond what needs to be done on that jack. Open it up and use some LocTite Super Glue. Everything around the jack will break before that glued part budges.

  3. David says:

    I’ve fixed several of them, just line the jack back up and drop some epoxy on there.

    Good as new.

  4. blargy says:

    There are a few things imo that apple does right, one of those is their power connector. Not the brick though I hate that stupid square thing.

  5. tehnoo says:

    Wow, yeah that’s fixing it the RIGHT way. Looks pro. Well done.

    I would have just thrown some epoxy in there, but then again, I’m a lazy sob.

  6. randompherret says:

    came to say the same requiem if it is just the bracket that holds it in broken, glue it back in. Some Hp’s have the same sort of setup, but it is solderless – just unplug old and plug in new.

  7. tehnoo says:

    …and yes, Apple exclusively owns a broad patent for “magnetic connections to electronic devices”… so yeah…

    • JJones says:

      I’m not sure what the exact improvement Apple patented over the previous magnetic power connectors ( as commonly found in Japanese kitchen deep-fryers and rice cookers etc. where safety is the concern). I think other manufacturers decided adding complexity to the power adapter was unwarranted.. and given Apple’s problems with it I think they were right. Cool idea.. but not practical?

      Next Apple invention – get rid of Mag-safe and add Airbags for a soft landing.

      • Jon says:

        My USA deepfryer has a magnet power connector as well. Maybe it is because it’s mains power, like most kitchen devices, while with Apple it’s already gone into the ‘device’.

  8. gnomad says:

    I have salvaged a few old laptops that have suffered from similar problems. In all cases, the battery was dead as well, so I simply soldered the power adapter right to the laptop. The hardest part is always figuring out just how to get the laptop open. I just think of this as a bonus puzzle to solve.

    I am pretty sure Apple has a patent on the mag-safe adapter, BTW. It is a great idea in theory, but given that mag-safe cables rarely last more than 3 years it is hard to say whether this is really any better…

  9. Penrebl says:

    This is not really the same issue but I am sure this information will come in handy to someone. The jack broke off inside the socket of my Acer A500 tablet on the weekend. Because it is so tiny, it is almost impossible to grab with tweezers or needle nose pliers. The way I got the broken jack out of the socket was to get a tiny barbed fish hook and unbend it, then I pushed it down into the centre of the broken socket until it felt stuck in there, I then grabbed my trusty pliers and pulled the fish hook back out along with the broken off jack. My solution might be a bit brutal but it works great.

  10. dustin says:

    Just as a note i feel like should be added here, if your power jack can still get power by wiggling the adapter around a bit, don’t hesitate and GET IT FIXED. that wiggling causes the power jack to arch the board, and if it does it enough it can zap a few smd chips around the power jack, and it can tear the O ring on the board up, making it very very hard to solder a new jack on.

    Some laptops actually have it where the laptop jack can be removed fairly easy because it plugs in to the board. but the majority of laptops are not like this.

    and sony laptop jacks in particular can be the hardest to re solder onto the board as well as finding the correct jack.

  11. aztraph says:

    The Toshibas that I had gotten a hold of (5 of them I think) all had the same problem of not getting power from the supply. But it wasn’t the problem listed above, every single one of them had a poor connection were the center pin of the jack was riveted to the rest of it. there was even signs of a little overheating. Little bit of flux, little bit of solder, and they’re good as new. still working and that was about 18 months ago. but that’s just a repair job, didn’t think it was hack worthy.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nifty repair, I just need to rethink what is hack worthy in my own mind, maybe I’ll end up posting something.

    • dustin says:

      yea, toshiba’s have that problem. espically the cheaper bought ones from places like Walmart. those tend to be pretty easy fixes once you use solder that doesn’t suck :)

      It’s also worth noting that if a resistor pops near the power jack, you can easily trace it and solder in a jump wire in its place, i have done that a few times. the article was pretty good if you want to really ramp up the sturdyness of the power jack, but its worth noting not all laptops have the room for such a hack like toshiba’s tend to have.

      just depends on the laptop really. the worst hack job’s ive seen are where people will run wires outside of the laptop and let the power jack hang..i suspect because they aren’t very decent at soldering small things :\

  12. Mike says:

    The Oracle of questionable information says “Apple exclusively owns US Patent No. 7311526 (“Magnetic connector for electronic device”, issued in 2007) and does not license the MagSafe connector or the patent.”

    • Daid says:

      IMHO, those connectors are quite novel and are something you really should be able to patent. The problem is the 20 years the patent is valid. Which is at least 4 lifetimes in the current tech environment.

  13. Bob D says:

    To the contrary I’ve found Sony laptop power plugs among the easiest to replace, and rarest to need it since they are rarely soldered directly the board. Putting something that runs the majority of the power and takes the majority of the strain directly on the board is simply an awful design decision, though it probably saves $0.07 per unit during assembly.

    Great work to the original for not simply epoxying the whole thing in there. Going the extra mile is often worth it.

    For the curious, the Apple MagSafe patent is #7311526
    http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=sSuhAAAAEBAJ

    • basroil says:

      Not sure how apple got away with that overarching patent… too broad.

      Simple way around it is:
      1: Make the connectors spring loaded (magnets keep plug in place but connectors are spring locked)
      2: Some lorentz effect magnets (not sure how you can pull that one off without massive heat)
      3: velcro (I like this one best)

  14. Ben Mordecai says:

    I’ve fixed this before. The most annoying part is when the touchpad cable comes unplugged.

  15. miknix says:

    Did the same a month ago. My HP dv6535 power jack was making a bad contact and for that reason the resistance to current (the laptop takes around 5 amps at full power) was high to the point of getting real hot and melting. All of this happened while I was watching a movie (with packages compiling in the background – I use Gentoo). Luckily the circuitry shutdown in time..

    In doubt of the cause, I replaced both the on board power connector and the cable to the power adapter. Got everything from ebay for less than 20 euros.

    Everything is working fine now.

  16. uhg says:

    I made my own “ghetto magsafe” using a couple of rare earth magnets, two thicknesses of copper rod and a dollop of polymorph – basically creating a homebrew pair of magnetic, male/female two-prong plugs.

    Connects like a charm and still detaches before any harm can come to the power plug in my (non-Apple) laptop.

  17. MisterPG says:

    i just fixed my exact same laptop last week… crazy glue did the trick… and yes, figuring out how to get the case open and the keyboard lifted took a while.

  18. MisterPG says:

    PS – it’s an L300D and if you pop off the key, there’s a little pull tab to pull up the keyboard assembly.

  19. MisterPG says:

    that would be the ENTER key … original post didnt allow a tag

  20. NATO says:

    This is a well known repair that has been practiced for DECADES now. Why, why, why why. Why is this still new to people? Ugh.

    FYI, Krazy glue and other cyanoacrylate based adhesives are NOT good for this application – They are too brittle and will fail again when pushed past their modulus of elasticity (what little they have LOL) so make sure you use something like a quality epoxy.

    Also, yes, apple has that patent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. I think it’s pretty crappy that they were granted such a patent in the first place, yet another example of how huge corporations with money can stifle any creativity in this world.

  21. Blue says:

    Yes! Toshiba Satellites have a big problem with this. I have fixed two different ones with this problem already. I used glue though. The method used here looks awesome and looks like it will last longer than glue. =P

  22. CampGareth says:

    Time to sort out that old G4 powerbook we have kicking around, dodgy fan, dodgy keyboard backlight (power supply for it on the way out) and a connector that needs wiggling. Only reluctant to do it because I’d rather drive a nail through the screen, personal preference I guess :P

  23. NatureTM says:

    Hahaha! I seriously just fixed my Satellite plug about 3 days ago. I just ordered the replacement part online for about $5. The part number was printed right on the part. Google, buy, plug and play. I don’t see why someone would prefer the method in the article.

  24. BinaryImp says:

    I once actually used a MagSafe board from a MacBook and the MagSafe connector from a dead power supply to fix a friends 17″ HP laptop that had power supply connector issues. I wasn’t 100% certain that it would work at the time, but a couple of years later it’s still going strong.

  25. alxy says:

    An older Acer Aspire One has the same issue. I fixed it with JB Weld and filled the gap behind the connector with hot glue. It’s been holding up well for months with kids use and abuse.

  26. James Holden says:

    this is a common issue with a few toshiba laptops, the jack itsself is not broke – usually just the clips that hold it in.

    in my shop i take some two part plastic epoxy and smear it all around the jack and stick it in place

    and yes, i do force the customer to buy a new jack if there is any play in their existing jack – even a new one is going to have to be epoxy’d though.

  27. Skeltorr says:

    Thank toshiba you can do this. Power jacks are usually soldered to the mobo and this kind of repair isnt.

  28. Indigno says:

    I’ve fixed that exact model before. The clips in there are flimsy, but at least Toshiba designed it so that it could be replaced. I had another where the jack was soldered directly to the mother board (I assume this is common) and it broke and took a chunk of PCB with it.

    Now I have jack problem with my tablet, unfortunately it’s quite thin so I’m still trying to work out how to fix it. The jack isn’t out of place, but the central pin in the center broke off.

  29. Here’s how I did a similar repair with Sugru. Sugru keeps a bit of flexibility when it hardens so it’s very sturdy.


    http://eastbay-rc.blogspot.com/2011/10/sugru-repairing-dx6i-charger-port.html

  30. ZeroCool says:

    He’s damn lucky that it’s not soldered to the motherboard. My laptop is going to need a new plug sometime soon.

  31. dan z says:

    actually magsafe is suing apple for there use of magnetic connectors and the only reason other companies aren’t using them is its more expensive and who really needs them i mean laptops have batteries for a reason if your going to use it somewhere where it could be knocked over just charge your friggen battery

  32. hospadar says:

    I repaired one once by just totally desoldering the jack (which was shorting itself out sometimes) and putting in some wires that ran out to a radio shack power connector. It gave the laptop a cute little pigtail and it worked well. Eventually the wires wore through (I didn’t put a cable gland in) and I had to replace them with some tougher wires.

  33. YaBa says:

    meh… we do it all the time in our shop.
    It’s a common Portuguese expression:
    “Desenrascanço”
    :)
    But congrats on the photos/details.

  34. Spode says:

    A really neat job – perhaps a little overkill, but I’ll take influence from this for a job that deserves it more :)

    I would have thought a bit of epoxy or sugru would have been the quickest fix on a cheap laptop.

  35. garhol says:

    Used to do this a lot, run a couple of wires to the underside of the board and affix the contacts there.

    This problem was really common on cheaper models esp. the old dell latititude and their ilk.

    I remember being impressed with IBM’s laptops many years ago when I spotted the female connector clipped into the board. Designed to pop off when under stress and then easily clip back in. Sometimes making it break controllably is far nicer than trying to make it robust and hope it doesn’t pop.

  36. DaveM says:

    Hey alxy – just beware using JB Weld on plastics because it doesn’t seem to bond as well as regular 5-minute epoxy or, better yet, a 2 part adhesive made for plastic (e.g. DevCon Plastic Welder or PermaTex PermaPoxy 5 minute Plastic Weld).

  37. grandmacomputer says:

    Those magsafe connectors are *so* cool.

    It has saved my Grandmother’s macbook countless times since 2006 or so when she got it.

    Could an adapter be sold that would not infringe the patent? The adapter would not be a magnetic connection to an electronic device.

  38. Hacksaw says:

    As far as apple owning a patent that covers “magnetically connecting power to an electronic device”…while they may have a patent they stole it from companies that have been making deep fryers for 50 years.This is a fine example of a beurocracy making things so difficult they miss the obvious. Perhaps they get away with it because it is DC power not AC? If you put the transformer inside the box and not in the brick there is nothing Apple could say about it.(yes I know the transformer is in the brick for a reason)Jobs is dead I give Apple 3 yrs before they are too.

  39. nachowarrior says:

    The jacks themselves are relatively sturdy on most of your consumer laptops. The problem lies in the fact that people are neanderthals and cannot seem to grasp the fact that yanking on the laptop while it’s plugged into the wall is a bad thing. It comes down to sheer stupidity. So if you break it, you deserve it.

    and you won’t see a “mag-safe” anywhere because broken jacks produce more revenue. That’s obvious. This barrel style of jack is on all of 150 million other consumer devices, yet you don’t ever see THOSE broken with a whining depressed neanderthal standing behind it.

  40. Tom says:

    I usually just put a pool of Hot glue around the New jack and the bottom of the laptop.. it works great. but I would not want to be the next tech to replace it..

    • sungod says:

      I used Hot Glue too. If I had to replace it a 3rd time I would rather be working with my hot glue repair than epoxy. An Exacto Knife can easily cut through Hot Glue, and Needle nose pliers can pull the broken jack out.

      Epoxy , what the hell!! You would need a dremel.

  41. nah! says:

    my old hp laptop has a broken psu
    and this plug
    http://www.elcomlux.de/images/product_images/info_images/1149_1.jpg
    im thinking of replycing it the same way the autor did, and use a standard psu

    still dunno why it has 5 connections thou

  42. Scott_T says:

    I tried to repair one of these once but the solder on the motherboard was so high temp my iron couldnt melt it.

  43. bitflusher says:

    This is not only a toshiba problem, I have seen about 10 broken connectors on laptops. I have done these repairs. I hate them, takes hours of dissasembly for a 5 minute soldering job.

    brands: acer, asus, medion, dell, something else.

    For me the dell mini 9 had the biggest design flaw: http://bitflusher.blogspot.com/2010/04/dell-mini-9-broken-power-connector.html a connector that could not handle the force…

  44. RobMink says:

    We fix these issues all the time. Yes, these Laptops are treated with two stage plastic epoxy. Many laptops that have the jack soldered on are instead fitted with a government surplus panel mount jack, with a short pig tail going to the mobo. The HP laptops with the blue LED are the biggest hassle and the worst fix as there is no good replacement other than the stock jack, and it must be soldered on like the original, essentially fixing it to only OEM standards.

  45. Chris says:

    I just used some super glue.

  46. Afterm4th says:

    I’ve done many repairs to many toshiba power jacks. For this one epoxy works fine. No need to buy a custom power jack.

    This model of toshiba makes it easy because the power jack isnt soldered directly to the mobo. There’s no reason not to use epoxy in this situation.

  47. im a pc tech and i get laptops like this all the time i use garrella glue to fix them works perfect

  48. feuerrot says:

    I had the same problem, but the power jack of the EEE PC 1000H is on the mainboard, so I removed a piece of the end of the jack and sold there wires:
    This is how I charge my EEE now
    Somewhere I’ve got also pictures of the mainboard, but I can’t find them now :/

  49. Wartang says:

    Yea, thank you, my computer works again.

  50. Anton says:

    Nice fix! Worked for my Toshiba.

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