UNDERSTANDING YOUR LAPTOP AC ADAPTER & DC JACK

 

!~WARNING~!

  1. Do not continue to use a laptop with a short in the DC Jack. Continued use can result in major hardware failure and laptop repairs bills.
  2. Never stick objects into the DC jack or hardware damage can occur.
  3. Ensure proper AC adapter removal and insertion techniques to avoid stressing the DC jack solder or bracket. Never pull or plug in the adapter at an angle.
  4. Inspect the DC jack for dirt or other unwanted objects.

 

DC JACKS – THE BASICS:

Because some smaller electronics like laptops simply lack the space needed to house a power supply, manufacturers made what is called AC adapters. Like power supplies inside desktops, AC adapters convert the 110V AC current from your wall outlet to safe lower voltage DC current needed for your laptop. The laptop DC jack is the piece of hardware that accepts the power from the AC adapter tip and transfers it to the motherboard via small metal leads that stick off the DC jack itself.

The main roll of a laptop DC jack is simply to be the middle man between the AC adapter plug tip and the motherboard. It has no moving parts but wears out on many models of laptops due to a combination of reasons, in some cases poor design but in most cases because of repeated misuse when plugged in or inserted and removed by the laptop owner. Over time the added stress from misuse can cause the DC jack to become loose or damaged and when this happens the DC jack is no longer able to transfer the power from the adapter over to the laptop motherboard. The final result is a laptop that no longer shows any signs of life.

There are three common types of DC jacks in use on most US model laptops.

  1. DC jacks soldered directly to the motherboard.

Reason For Failure:

  1. Cracked solder joints.
  2. Damaged Jack leads or center pin.

Part Cost: $5-$20

 

  1. DC jacks integrated onto a daughterboard.

Reason For Failure:

  1. General board defect.
  2. Cracked solder joints.
  3. Damaged Jack leads or center pin.

Part Cost: $25-$50

 

  1. DC jacks that are part of a wire harness.

Reason For Failure:

  1. Broken wire lead.
  2. Damaged center pin.
  3. Damaged case bracket.
  4. Short in wire itself.

Part Cost: $10-$30

No matter the DC jack type, once it fails you are left with no alternative but to replace it and in most cases this will mean complete disassembly of the laptop in order to remove and replace the failed DC jack. It is recommended anyone with a failed DC jack seek out professional repair assistance unless experienced with small electronics and ESD risks.


 

DC JACK REPAIR PROCESS:

The process of repairing a laptop DC jack depends on the type of jack and its location. In most cases the laptop will be disassembled down to the motherboard for removal. Once the motherboard is free of the case the repair process depends on the type of DC jack.

 

  1. DC jacks soldered to the motherboard.

DC jacks soldered to the motherboard have the greatest chance damage being caused to the motherboard due to the need for extreme heating for unsolder/solder work. Flux remover, flux, solder, solder iron, solder wick and an ESD safe environment are all requirement for a successful DC jack repair when soldered directly to the motherboard.

 

  1. DC jacks intergraded onto a daughterboard.

When dealing with a DC jack soldered onto a daughter board the first thing to determine is if the DC jack failed or the daughterboard itself. If the jack failed then a new one can be soldered onto the daughterboard. If the daughterboard failed then the DC jack and board must be replaced or if possible the board repaired.

 

  1. DC jacks that are part of a wire harness.

DC jacks combined into a wire harness can in some cases be replaced without complete laptop disassembly and tend to be the easiest of the three to repair. Once the laptop is disassembled the DC jack and harness unplug from the motherboard and the new one plugged in. Although an easy replacement, in many cases the reason for failure of this type of DC jack is the bracket build to contain it which also suffers damage over time and requires repair.


 

TIPS:

– No power to your laptop and unsure if the DC jack or AC adapter is bad? At Waco iPhones, we offer a complimentary test of your AC adapter to help determine the cause of your no power problem. We carry a large selection of laptop AC adapters in stock and can test if your AC adapter is the problem. Should your laptop need the DC jack replaced, we offer affordable repairs with warranty. 

Waco iPhones offers laptop repair services on most major laptops for problems large and small. Hardware to software, we have you covered.