Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Repairing an old Sony Vaio Laptop Power Connector

Over a year ago my wife’s Sony VAIO laptop started having issues. At first, it seemed as if the battery didn’t hold a charge for very long. Not long after, it began shutting off without much warning. We eventually realized the power connector on the back of the laptop wasn’t getting a good connection. I ordered a new power cord thinking the cord or connector on the cord was faulty or had been worn. That didn’t work; the only way to get power to it was to jiggle the connector back and forth so it would get power for a while. Any slight movement would disconnect the power. Over a period of a month or so this worked until one day it just stopped working totally. At that time, I wasn’t up to fixing it myself so I tried a PC repair shop. When I realized the cost wasn’t much less than buying a new one I bought Shelly a new laptop and mothballed the VAIO for a while.

Several months ago, I pulled the old VAIO out of the box and decided I would try to fix it and use it for a digital photo frame. I found a great deal of information on the web about the many problems people had been having with VAIO laptops – many having the very same problem with the connector. The fix was to disassemble the laptop down to the motherboard, de-solder the old power connector from the motherboard and solder on a new one. I began disassembling laptop expecting some problems, but figured I could handle it.

The culprit - A dead power connector soldered to the motherboard
The keyboard and lcd screen detached from the laptop. The fun is beginning.

My mad scientist table. I had to use the dremmel on some of the case just to get to everything! Soldering was about to begin here as I had to desolder the old connector and solder back on the new power connector to the motherboard.

Sony did not make this laptop to be opened up. Many screws to take out, but several of the screws were behind plastic. Even when I was able to access the innards, many of the screws were either too tight or stripped. Needless to say, I spent several evenings toying around the laptop until I had a bag full of screws and other parts and finally had access to the motherboard. I practiced soldering on some junk parts I had laying around and then de-soldered the power connector from the laptop. It went really well with no problems so I had my confidence up. I ordered a replacement power connecter, soldered it on the motherboard and began reattaching all of the parts to the point where I could power it back on. To my great surprise it powered up. I’ve never been so happy to see the Microsoft XP logo in my life!

For more on how I turned this laptop into a digital picture frame we use to display photos in our finished basement (placed appropriately on the bar :) HOW I CONVERTED LAPTOP TO A DIGITAL PICTURE FRAME
More Pictures on flickr HERE