Common Problems And Fixes For Laptops
Because of their mobile nature, laptops and notebooks are highly vulnerable to environmental influences. We show you six smart ways to repair your notebook yourself quickly and easily. Especially fixing the power jack for a latptop can be challenging.
No matter how hard you try, sooner or later even your mobile PC will have “experiences” with falls, bad luck and worse. However, it is not recommended to sprint to the PC repair service or the manufacturer with every laptop ailment immediately. Because many notebook problems can be solved much more cost and time efficiently. And you can fix them yourself. All you need: a few everyday tools, spare parts and a little hard work. Some of these repairs aren’t much harder to manage than an art project for 7th grade. However, there are now also various modern laptops and notebooks that are not only difficult to repair themselves, but also cannot be opened by themselves. If you do not see any screws, this could be an indication that you will fail this project.
Using the example of some aged mobile PCs, we will show you a few popular laptop problems that you can easily solve yourself – from broken cases to battered network adapters and scratched displays. Of course we also tell you what materials you need and what budget you should plan on. But be warned: Your system will almost certainly differ from the ones shown, may need special spare parts or even require a completely different repair approach. Therefore: YouTube is your friend.
You should also do research when it comes to the right spare parts: especially for power adapters or fans. These may look relatively similar, but in operation they can differ significantly. So use eBay, Amazon and other online shops to find the right spare parts.
Repair Laptop Power Jack without soldering possible?
If the power jack inside your laptop is sitting lose or even broke off completely, you will have to fix it somehow. If you don’t want to take professional help, or maybe you cannot because you are on a business trip and need to fix the problem quick, we can show you how to do it properly. but keep in mind:
Fixing this problem without soldering is almost impossible.
To replace the power socket, the laptop has to be completely disassembled and the mainboard removed. The defective socket gets soldered out by hot air (5 solder points). By the way, this is very tricky and difficult to do without using a hot air soldering device. The part of the broken pin(s) still remaining in the board also has to be removed. Then the spare socket has to be soldered in. The socket needed here should be a standard spare part of the same brand as the laptop and one used in other notebook brands. But be careful: Not all laptops use exactly thie same socket, even when they are from the same company. Finally the complete Laptop has to be assembled (reassembled) component by component.
If your laptop is not held together by a case which uses screws, but glue, you will need to get professional help!
Worn cables on laptop power adapter
Costs: approx. 5 to 15 Dollar
Time required: 1 to 2 hours
Material: silicone sealing compound, all purpose tape tape, protective gloves (optional)
Because a laptop or notebook computer that goes on many business trips also needs to be plugged in and unplugged regularly, it is only natural that the power adapter and cables suffer over time. If you notice damage to your notebook’s power adapter or cables, it is recommended that you repair them quickly. After all, not only can it damage the mobile computer’s battery, but it can also cause the device to go up in flames.
Fortunately, many power adapters now have detachable or replaceable cables, which you can get either online or at any electronics store for more or less little money. However, if the power supply itself is the cause of the notebook problems, it can also quickly become expensive: depending on the power supply and manufacturer, a new replacement can cost between 20 and 75 Dollar.
Or you simply repair it yourself. There are several options available to you. If it has to be done particularly quickly, you can patch the defective cable with a little insulating tape or duct tape. This prevents further damage for the time being. However, this method is not a permanent solution: the tape will come off over time and make the cable a thoroughly “sticky affair”.
The better way to make damaged cables fit for use again is to use silicone sealant. You can get this in every DIY store and now also in some supermarkets. The silicone compound reliably seals the damaged area and thus protects it permanently. Those who value optics use black silicone.
Now to the procedure: First you should tape your work area with some painter’s tape or masking tape. The crepe tape can be easily removed from any surface without leaving any residue, while the silicone compound does not stick to the crepe top. Now apply a drop of silicone to the damaged area on the cable and spread it there. If you have sensitive skin, you should use protective gloves. Let the silicone cure for about one to two hours. The result should be a cable that can be repaired and used for years – and as flexible as if it were new.
Cracks in the notebook case
Costs: approx. 10 to 25 Dollar
Time required: 2 to 3 hours
Material: epoxy putty/repair compound, sandpaper, razor blades, felt-tip or touch-up pen, protective gloves (optional)
If a jam bread falls, then usually on the topping side. If a laptop falls, it usually hits the weakest parts of the case: the edges. If you don’t have a specially reinforced ruggedized notebook, chances are that your mobile computer will have damaged or even completely broken corners after a gravitational impact.
The secret of this repair: epoxy. You can get the repair compound online or at any hardware store – so you can carry out such a laptop repair on the road at any time. Whichever brand you choose, it doesn’t matter – just don’t touch any material that hardens too quickly. There could be inflexible moments if the curing process is too fast.
This is how you proceed: First, the damaged area should be clean and free of grease. Now it is time to prepare the repair compound. This consists of two components that react chemically with each other, which leads to the hardening of the material. It is therefore important that the components are mixed as well as possible. At this point it is also advisable to use protective gloves if your skin does not react well to chemicals. As soon as the material has a uniform colour and feels more or less like plasticine, it is ready for use. Now press the mass onto the corresponding area and restore the original shape of the casing with the help of razor blades (or a knife). Make sure that the mass is pressed on correctly and that no holes or leaks remain. Excess material can easily be removed with a piece of cloth as long as it has not yet hardened. Now wait about one to two hours until the hardening is complete. The patchwork should now feel at least as stable as the original plastic case.
If you are not a fan of visible patching, the finishing touches now follow – in the truest sense of the word. First, use 150 to 220 grit sandpaper to make sure that the treated area is smooth. For a scratch-free finish, wet sandpaper (2000 grit) is recommended. Now you only have to take care of the colour difference. Depending on the colour of the case and the size of the repaired area, a felt-tip or touch-up pen is recommended. Varnishes from model making are also well suited to make case repairs to the exterior of laptops and notebooks forgotten.
Notebook: Power-Button broken
If the power button on your notebook is broken, you can either repair it or replace it with a trick. We show you how to solve the problem.
- Backup: Before the laptop stops working, you should back up your data to an external storage device. Of course, this is only possible if the laptop is still on.
- Battery: In some cases, it may not be the power button that is defective, but the battery. Please make sure that the battery is fully loaded.
- Repair: Switch off your laptop and unscrew the device. On some models you can simply remove the cover above the keyboard. Check whether the area around the power button is dirty and clean it. You may also notice a defect.
- Specialist: If the problem cannot be solved at all, the only solution is to have it repaired by a professional. In many cases a contact has broken off. Although re-soldering is detailed work even for professionals, it only costs around 20 to 30 euros.
- BIOS: If the computer is still running, you can take the wind out of the sails of the defect with a little trick. Read on in the next paragraph.
BIOS: Switch on laptop without power button
Depending on the laptop a different BIOS is installed. The different manufacturers also offer different options in your BIOS. On some devices useful functions are available that replace the power button.
- The first thing you need to do is to access the BIOS. Of course this only works if the computer is still on. Do not shut down the PC for this purpose, but restart it.
- Once you have reached the BIOS, you can browse the numerous functions. If you are lucky, you will find a function that lets you start the laptop using a fixed key on the keyboard.
- Desktop computers often have the option “Power State after power loss” in the BIOS. This option starts the computer when the power switch is flipped. Under certain circumstances, this is also possible for laptops.
When the laptop fan stops working
Costs: approx. 15 to 35 Dollar
Time required: 1 hour
Material: screwdriver, compressed air spray or vacuum cleaner, spare fan
A noisy or malfunctioning fan is not only annoying, but can possibly cause the “heat death” of your laptop or its components. This problem is not difficult to solve – if you’re lucky, you won’t even need a replacement fan.
Older laptops usually have a single fan – newer and more powerful systems may also have two or more fans on board to create enough “fresh air” between the processor, graphics hardware and hard drive(s). The problem is that all fans eventually become clogged and dirty, get noisy and operate at lower efficiency. So if your mobile PC makes strange noises or regularly has an operating temperature beyond good and bad, you’ve come to the right place.
Before you do anything, check your case for places where fresh air comes in and heat escapes. Once you have found all the ventilation grilles, use compressed air spray or a vacuum cleaner to remove all dust and dirt. If that solves the problems, your job is done.
Otherwise, you will have no choice but to open the case of your laptop. This usually involves loosening a dozen or so screws, and in some cases, disassembling the keyboard. If the way to the inside of the notebook is not obvious, take a look at the manual. Or YouTube. If the case is open, clean the fan first. Also take this opportunity to check whether any foreign objects restrict the fan wheel’s freedom of movement. If the wheel does not turn freely, the fan must be replaced. To find the right spare part as quickly as possible, make a note of the serial number and use your favorite search engine. Even for aging laptop and notebook models, you can usually find the necessary parts – either directly from the manufacturer or on eBay and other platforms.
Once you have the new fan in your hands (and are sure it’s the right one), remove its used counterpart. To do this, you’ll first have to disconnect the fan’s power supply – depending on your system, you may need to remove a bracket first. Again, if in doubt, we recommend the instructions or a short YouTube search.
Now carefully remove the old fan and adjust accordingly – space inside a mobile PC is limited. Care should also be taken with the connection to the heatpipe: This is often connected to the fan – either with screws or a plug connection. You should be absolutely careful not to damage or bend the heatpipe, otherwise the efficiency of the entire cooling system may suffer.
If for some reason you go too far and suddenly have the bare CPU in front of you: make sure there is enough heat transfer compound. This is necessary to dissipate heat from the processor. If there is too little of it, this can also lead to overheating. If the fan fits correctly, you can screw all parts back together. However, before you close the laptop case again, you should carry out a function test to ensure that you do not have to do twice as much screwing.
Jammed notebook keyboards
Costs: 20 to 120 Dollar
Time required: between 10 minutes and 1 hour
Material: screwdriver, replacement keyboard
One of the most common and frustrating notebook problems are jammed or broken keys. In some cases (for example, if you own a Macbook), individual keys are also available as spare parts. However, these are usually not very cheap. Therefore, in many cases the purchase of a replacement keyboard is not only cheaper, but also more efficient if you have to do without several keys at once or have other keyboard problems.
So first of all you should go on the online search for the right spare part. The usual platforms are also recommended here. In the case of older devices, look out for used or repaired replacement keyboards, which are usually considerably cheaper than new parts.
On some laptops, there is a bar above the keyboard that houses the keyboard screws. On other devices, the housing must first be opened. Are you having trouble figuring out how to remove your keyboard? Again, the manual or YouTube will help you.
If the keyboard is exposed, you should make sure that the cable connection to the motherboard is not damaged before removing it from the housing. Take special care at this point and avoid the use of force. Once the keyboard is safely “unwired”, lift it out and insert the replacement. Now close the case and enjoy your new keys. Before doing so, test all keys for proper function.