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]

74 thoughts on “Fixing That Broken Laptop Power Jack

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. US 7311526 B2 is the patent… and it references DOZENS of previous patents for the same exact thing… further proof that Apple never invented anything, but sure loves to take credit for the work of others, and prevent others from using it… hmm… kinda like Disney..

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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 :\

  7. 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.”

    1. 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.

  8. 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

    1. 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)

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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).

  24. 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.

    1. I have seen pogo pins for sale etc. But there don’t seem to be dc power jack things around with the sense wire in the center except through straw sellers on eBay and Amazon. (Not ODMs.) Thing is, they take a $0.21 connector and charge $12 (50x not counting what the sales platform takes to make shipping look like $0.)

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. Use hot air, but also flux. Those connectors and some big tabs on the body go through vias which of course connect on GND and local Vcc planes, so you’re heating a lot with your 100W Hakko.

      I thought I’d fix one ASUS connector by pulling up some grab tabs on the side and popping a weld tab at the back of the top (with a 1.2 mm flat, it worked) but it didn’t flip up…perhaps as if the sides go down and have through via connections that are still soldered. Will consult M. Dremel and see what I can see.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    1. Sorry, the image 404’s now.
      Basically I soldered two wires to the mainboard of the netbook and two crocodile clips to the mains adapter.
      Later I used a small ATX to power the netbook.

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