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Laptop Repair For Dummies?


Hi Folks:

    I have an HP Pavilion zv5000.  A more detailed model
number on the back says zv5120us, and the part nmber is
DZ329U#ABA.

    The battery has been having difficulty accepting a
charge.  And now won't charge at all.

    After trying a few things, it's likely that the
external power connector no longer is properly connected
to the system board.

    The repair shop quoted me $200 to repair it, but
said this was often a temporary fix, and wouldn't
guarantee their work for more than 30 days.

    I'm reasonably adept at mechanical things.  I've put
together a few desktop systems.  And the Maintenance and
Service Guide is available online.

    I'd like to try to fix it myself, or break it trying.

    So I have a few questions.

    I called HP parts, in Costa Rica, and they couldn't
give me a part number for the power connector.  Is this
a generic item I can find at an electronics store?

    I looked at Ebay, and someone selling one of these
system boards says they replaced the "dc jack", which
I'm guessing is the connector I need to replace.

    The manual says a tool kit with a "connector removal
tool" and a "case utility tool" is required.

    I called an electronic shop and they said the term
"connector removal tool" was a little generic.  Can
somebody tell me what this might be?  And do I need one
to get to the system board?

    Am I going to need a "case utility tool"?

    Any other advice is appreciated.

                                                  Thanks
                                                  Larry

Larry,

I had the same unit (actually, 5060 - but that's a derivative).
When a utility showed higher than normal internal temps, I
pulled the panel from over the cooling system and cleaned it out.

While it was open to that extent, I decided to completely
disassemble the unit. It took very little time, and involved
normal dexterity/tools.

If I recall correctly, the power jack is resolderable (if you've
broken it loose) unless the board itself is damaged. There is
considerable associated power management circuitry which should
last virtually forever, however, so the likeliest culprit is
that jack.

Ike wrote:
> Larry,

> I had the same unit (actually, 5060 - but that's a derivative). When a
> utility showed higher than normal internal temps, I pulled the panel
> from over the cooling system and cleaned it out.

> While it was open to that extent, I decided to completely disassemble
> the unit. It took very little time, and involved normal dexterity/tools.

> If I recall correctly, the power jack is resolderable (if you've broken
> it loose) unless the board itself is damaged. There is considerable
> associated power management circuitry which should last virtually
> forever, however, so the likeliest culprit is that jack.

Thanks Ike:

    24 minutes, and I get a reply.  That's great.  Of course I can't
tell if the connector is broken, like a broken tab, or has wiggled
loose.

    When I get it apart I'll unsolder it and take it to an electronics
shop, to see if they have a matching connector.

    I appreciate your reply and encouragement.

    Please check this thread again, I may have some questions.

                                                               Thanks
                                                               Larry

-----------------------------------------------Reply-----------------------------------------------

Unless the connector is a simple 2-conductor coaxial jack, it's likely
HP proprietary and you won't be able to get a replacement.

If it is a coaxial jack, it's not absolutely proprietary, but you still
may not be able to get a replacement that is an acceptable mechanical
substitute.

However, in most cases I've seen (I repair laptops, mostly Toshiba which
are mostly Coaxial jacks), the jack isn't damaged, it's just {become}
unsoldered.

One more thing...

It's an aging computer. There are two connections to be made,
and neatness does not count.

You can figure out where the + (center) of the power cable goes,
  and the other is - (ground). Even with a damaged proprietary
connector, you should be able to solder suitable wire to those
points, removing the connector, and running them to one end of a
polarized two-conductor connector. Cut the cable and attach the
other end of that connector. Voila! Not nice, but functional.

-----------------------------------------------Reply-----------------------------------------------

First, whether or not neatness counts is not up to you, it's up to the
owner.  It well may count, it may count a lot, in fact.

Second, many laptops have proprietary multi-pin connectors that have
more than just + and -, with some of the laptop power system (charging,
in particular) in the AC adapter.  They are not all just simple DC power
supplies.

Barry Watzman wrote:
> First, whether or not neatness counts is not up to you, it's up to the
> owner.  It well may count, it may count a lot, in fact.

You're right. However, when there's a choice between a neat
computer that doesn't work, and dangling wires on a working
computer, most people will pick the latter if the difference is
the price of a mother board.

> Second, many laptops have proprietary multi-pin connectors that have
> more than just + and -, with some of the laptop power system (charging,
> in particular) in the AC adapter.  They are not all just simple DC power
> supplies.

In this case, you're wrong. The OP said it's a ZV5000, which has
a two-conductor cable. A caveman could do it.

>     The manual says a tool kit with a "connector removal
> tool" and a "case utility tool" is required.

>     I called an electronic shop and they said the term
> "connector removal tool" was a little generic.  Can
> somebody tell me what this might be?  And do I need one
> to get to the system board?

>     Am I going to need a "case utility tool"?

I've never had a need for special tools beyond tiny screwdrivers, a
3/16 nutdriver and (rarely) needlenose pliers to completely dismantle
any laptop. You will of course need soldering equipment to fix the
jack.

-----------------------------------------------Reply-----------------------------------------------
I'm not wrong, I only said "many laptops have ....", which is correct.
I'll accept your statement that that doesn't apply to THIS laptop, but
since I don't have information on the particular model with the OP was
dealing with, I was only making a [correct] general statement.

If it's a 2-wire coaxial jack, he can probably get a replacement (if
that's even necessary ... it might just need resoldered).

Barry Watzman wrote:
> I'm not wrong, I only said "many laptops have ....", which is correct.
> I'll accept your statement that that doesn't apply to THIS laptop, but
> since I don't have information on the particular model with the OP was
> dealing with, I was only making a [correct] general statement.

> If it's a 2-wire coaxial jack, he can probably get a replacement (if
> that's even necessary ... it might just need resoldered).

> Ike wrote:

Thanks Ike and Barry:

    I appreciate your advice.

    It is a generic coax plug, and hopefully a generic part.

    I have to mix some work, programming, with computer repair this
weekend.  I haven't started unscrewing the case yet.  I hope to get
to that later today.

    It would be nice if the connector is intact, and just needs to be
soldered.

    On the other hand, it may be worth getting a new one, just to be
safe.

    I got a nice low power soldering pencil for this job.

                                                             Thanks
                                                             Larry

-----------------------------------------------Reply-----------------------------------------------

Barry is the generic expert - I've benefited several times from
his advice.

However, in this case I have specific experience with the ZV5000
and for once know more than he does!

My son, on the other hand, is still young enough to know
everything...

-----------------------------------------------Reply-----------------------------------------------

If it needs to be soldered, you might need a high(er) power soldering
iron.  The power connector goes to fairly massive traces, as PCB traces
go.  It takes some power to get the connector & traces hot enough to
solder properly, in fact one of the reasons that this happens is that
they often don't get soldered well at the factory.  Trying to use a low
power iron can do a lot of damage, because you may be holding this hot
iron on the PCB for a long time, damaging the board but perhaps without
ever getting the surfaces hot enough to really solder properly.  You may
need a 25 to 35 watt iron.

Barry Watzman wrote:
> If it needs to be soldered, you might need a high(er) power soldering
> iron.  The power connector goes to fairly massive traces, as PCB traces
> go.  It takes some power to get the connector & traces hot enough to
> solder properly, in fact one of the reasons that this happens is that
> they often don't get soldered well at the factory.  Trying to use a low
> power iron can do a lot of damage, because you may be holding this hot
> iron on the PCB for a long time, damaging the board but perhaps without
> ever getting the surfaces hot enough to really solder properly.  You may
> need a 25 to 35 watt iron.

Thanks Barry:

    That's exactly what happened.  The pencil was cleaned with one of
those sponges, tinned, and laid on a pin to warm it up for a de-solder.
But it wouldn't even melt the solder joint.

    I'll need to get another soldering iron tomorrow.  That's Sunday, so
probably from Fry's.

    Bucks are a little tight, I don't think I'll be able to afford a
variable power unit.

    What power do you suggest, 25 or 35 watts?

                                                             Thanks
                                                             Larry

-----------------------------------------------Reply-----------------------------------------------

For such a 1-shot deal, visit a 99c store. Work quickly.

-----------------------------------------------Reply-----------------------------------------------
The best soldering irons are the Weller temperature controlled soldering
stations ... they sense the actual tip temperature and apply whatever
power level is required to maintain that (up to some limit, obviously).
  While these are expensive new ($100 and up), I see used ones at
hamfests and flea markets for a fraction of that.  There are also some
similar imported units, functionally similar but of much lower quality.

If you have to buy a single fixed-wattage unit, I'd go with 35 watts for
this type of job, but don't plan to use that same unit for more typical
signal and logic wiring.  Also, pay attention to the physical size of
the tip, a larger tip will give you more "thermal mass", which you need
for this type of soldering.

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