How to fix a shortage in a laptop computer

Written by jennifer moore
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How to fix a shortage in a laptop computer
Fixing a laptop power shortage. (laptop image by Angie Lingnau from

To fix an electrical shortage in a laptop, you must determine what is causing the shortage. It could be something as simple as a bad power adaptor that needs replacing, a dirty fan assembly with a loose CPU connection, or a DC jack that has become damaged. In all cases, you can repair the problem. However, troubleshooting the problem requires you to take the laptop apart and check the functioning of certain pieces. Disassemble the computer in an organised manner, so you will remember how everything was attached and can reassemble the computer.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Manufacturer's manual
  • Jewellers precision screwdrivers
  • Electronic multimeter
  • New power adaptor
  • Solder
  • Soldering iron
  • DC jack replacement
  • Thermal grease
  • Compressed air

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    Power Adapter Problems

  1. 1

    See if the electrical problem is caused by the power adaptor. Older power adaptors can have fluctuations in power voltage, or the middle power adaptor box can become faulty. Check the light on the middle power adaptor box. This should be turned on. If it isn't, the power adaptor is not working correctly and needs to be replaced.

  2. 2

    Test the voltage output of the power adaptor. Plug it into the outlet and measure the voltage between the inside and outside of the connector that connects to the computer. Look at the adaptor to see the voltage diagram and read the multimeter accordingly. See if the cable is torn or broken in any way.

  3. 3

    Replace the adaptor if the voltage is inconsistent or the power box light indicator fluctuates or is turned off. Replace the cord if it is broken, torn or the wires are coming out in any way.

    Power Jack Problems

  1. 1

    Notice whether the laptop loses power intermittently. Wiggle the power cord at the connection to the computer and see if the power comes back or goes off. If it does, you have a power jack problem and need to fix the power jack soldered to the motherboard.

  2. 2

    Unplug the laptop and remove the battery. Remove the motherboard from the laptop. Follow the instructions given by the manufacturer's manual to do this. Review websites like Laptop Repair or Repair 4 Laptop (see Resources section) for further disassembly instructions.

  3. 3

    Remove the DC jack from the laptop. Refer to Inside My Laptop or Laptop Repair 101 (see Resources section).

  4. 4

    Replace the old DC jack with a new one and solder it in place. Refer to DC jack repair guides like the one found at Inside My Laptop (see Resources section).

  5. 5

    Reinstall the motherboard and reassemble the computer.

    Motherboard Inspection and Heat Sink Dust Removal

  1. 1

    Wiggle the power cord and see if the laptop stays on, or turns on and off. If there is no difference, the power problem may be caused by the motherboard or CPU failure. Follow the instructions in Step 2 of Section 2 to disassemble the laptop and gain access to the motherboard and heat sink assembly. There is no need to remove the motherboard from the plastic casing in this process. You just need to see the motherboard and have access to the fan, heat sink and processor.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the fasteners holding the fan and heat sink assembly. Blow them out with compressed air so that all dirt is removed. This could be causing the power shortage.

  3. 3

    Remove dust and dirt from all areas with compressed air, if you don't see any anomalies with the motherboard. The dust and dirt in the heat sink are probably the cause of the electrical-outage problem. Place new thermal grease on the CPU before mounting the heat sink again. This helps keep the CPU cool and prevents power outages on the computer.

  4. 4

    Check the motherboard for corrosion, burn spots or other anomalies. If these anomalies exist, the power problem is caused by the motherboard and you need to replace it with a new one. Take apart the rest of the laptop and remove the motherboard. Replace it with a new motherboard for the make and model of your laptop.

  5. 5

    Reassemble the computer and use normally.

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