Have you ever been unable to use an electronic device because the power adapter plug has gone bad? Well, worry no more, because I am going to teach you how to repair the plug. It is a common occurrence with most electronic devices, especially the ones we carry with us, such as laptops. Most of the time people wrap the cord up and eventually, over time, will cause it to fail. This is a DIY tutorial on how to fix your own plug.
I purchased a cheap Toshiba Satellite laptop (Black Friday deal) because my Gateway 2000 had just broken (some girl at the library tripped over the wire and broke the motherboard, where the jack is, completely — I’m still looking for that girl, 5 years later, she owes me some money! lol). Anyhow, I lost the power adapter for my Toshiba and went ahead and ordered another one from Ebay. It worked for a while, then eventually the charger’s plug started giving out on me. Initially, I would have to hold it at different angles for it to charge, then it eventually gave out on me. So instead of ordering another charger cable, I decided to repair my current one — after all I do have a background in electronics repair. 🙂
Although, I wiggled my adapter around, I would recommend you not doing so, as this may damage the jack on your laptop’s motherboard — which is a little more complex to replace than the cable — but doable. That being said, it’s better to just test the voltage with a multi-meter and see if it varies — if it does, most likely an issue with the cable.
Another thing you can do is try to go to Radio Shack and try to find another plug that will fit into your socket and trim and replace.
Various types of power plugs
- Wire cutters
- Soldering iron *Note: this DIY assumes you know how to solder
- Electrical tape/liquid or heat-shrink tubing
Cut the cord/plug:
First, using a razor blade, splice open the rubber jacket around the bad plug. This will expose the wires:
As you can see the wiring is pretty messed up
After cutting the plug, the wires should be exposed. Now, you can cut the metal plug off the wire with wire cutters or a blade, and clean up the wire:
Negative twisted and ready. Take note of length differences.
Inside the cord, you should have 2 wires: positive & negative. The negative is usually the outside part (shown twisted, above) and the inside insulated wire is the positive. You need to make sure that the negative wires are longer than the positive, as in most scenarios the negative will have to be re-soldered back onto the side of the metal plug. As far as plugs go, there are some that require crimping the positive, and others that require soldering the positive wire.
Remember, never let the positive (+) and negative (-) wires touch. Make sure they stay separate! You don’t want to plug in the repaired cord and start a fire.
Crimp-style plug shown
Solder-style plug shown
Go ahead and use heat-shrink wrap or a piece of electrical tape to cover up the exposed wire:
heat-shrinked negative & crimped positive
Liquid tape used instead of shrink-wrap
Soldering the positive wire
Once that is done, we are ready to crimp the positive wire to the metal plug, or if you have the soldering-style plug connector, go ahead and solder the positive(+) wire to the back-end of the plug. Once that is done, solder the negative (-) wire (the one we just put heat-shrink wrapped) and solder that on to the side of the plug:
Solder on the negative wire
At this point, you are done with the connections and the cord should work. However, before we test it out, it is very important that we either heat-shrink wrap or electrical tape the entire exposed wiring up to the plug. Get some bigger heatshrink tubing and give it a final wrap or two to protect the cables/prevent electrocuting yourself.
Looks a lot safer to use now 🙂
Once, the outer heat-shrink tubing has been applied, you should be ready to test your adapter. Please use caution as I am not responsible if you mess anything up. Here is the completed wire plugged into my Toshiba:
…and charging! 🙂
We have just completed repairing our laptop’s power cord. This is a great way to save a few bucks. Yeah, you can always order another cheap adapter from China, which is what I did in the first place, however it ended up breaking within months. You are better off learning how to repair the plug yourself next time. If you do not know how to solder, please make sure you learn first. There are various techniques that I have seen people use. I might share my technique in a future article. For now, let your laptop battery charge.