Gotta love having an old laptop that has been handed down to you. I’ve mentioned it before that I’ve gone into it and modified the internal structure to prevent it from overheating the hard drive but in the end it still gets super hot and will not cool down with just the single fan inside. It’s a tough little piece of junk but right now I’ve got a bigger problem.
So the other day I was using it and the next day it wouldn’t power up with the AC adapter. Like most older laptops the battery has lost it’s usefulness and it needs to be plugged in all of the time. A thing I’ve found with Dell laptops is that they have this little pin in the DC adapter cord and that little pin is connected to a chipset in the transformer block to tell the computer that you are using an official Dell AC adapter and therefore allows you to charge the battery. If the pin doesn’t connect, the AC adapter is useless and the system runs until the battery dies.
It was difficult enough to find the answer to that pin but figuring out if it was the AC adapter or the motherboard has been a bit of a challenge as well. A couple days ago I checked the AC adapter voltage and it was fine but when I went to check the amperage, there was a spark and the adapter went dead. Great.
After removing the AC power and then plugging it back in, I found that the AC adapter had come back to life and also the computer saw it as a power source once again. I managed to get the battery charged and some productivity out of it before it started to fail on me again.
While trying to figure all of this out I ordered a part that would give me a final answer to the problem and better direction on a final repair. Right now I have the DC input jack ordered and when it arrives I shall be taking the laptop apart once again to solder in the new jack. Maybe I can modify the case some more and get some more cooling into it as well but if this doesn’t fix it, well, I might be able to buy a new laptop and if not I’ll have to plunk down money for another motherboard but on this model, neither option comes cheap.
I need this fixed soon in either fashion as I have a business to run and this little block of plastic and metal has sure helped, I hate to lose it.