11-24-2008 09:22 AM
My R3000 presario laptop's power cord plug is malfunctioning. I searched on the internet and the first link I got from google search yielded this link which is very helpful
There are about 500 entries related to this problem. It appears to be because of poor soldering. Few opted to solve it on their own opening up the the laptop and fixing the soldering in the middle pin.
Has any one had this issue and resolved with HP . It would be interesting to see how HP addresses this issue related to poor manufacturing & quality standards.
11-24-2008 01:47 PM
Take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt. If there was poor manufacturing and quality standards involved, then why is it only this one set of solder joints having a problem instead of the others, only those on a part subject to physical stress because there's a connector hanging out that can get bumped?
Loose power jack connector is one of the most common problems of any laptop. Personally I think the entire industry needs a more robust jack and to have it be a panel mount jack secured to an inner bracket instead of structurally secured to the the PCB, but regardless of my thoughts on othe matter this is how most laptops are made. The Tom's Hardware topic you linked isn't really evidence of anything because they are not understanding the situation. Lead-free solder is not particularly shiney like past leaded solder was, lack of shineyness is not an indication of a cold joint anymore, rather whether it flowed and wet the entire area is the definitive sign. If the joint is broken, of course it is, that's what happens when a mechanical connector is repetitively stressed till the solder joint breaks.
I'm not suggesting it's impossible for it to be a factory defect, I'm only saying the descriptions of the problem are exactly the same as they'd be if there was no defect, only lead-free solder and the power plug was bumped a few times. It's not even isolated to laptops, don't even ask me how many times I've had to resolder or replace headphone jacks on personal radios, CD or MP3 players, etc, and power cord outlets on other devices. If this were a military spec design then we could say most products made today are defective but since most have the same flaw it's hard to point fingers at any one manufacturer or model.
The posed solution was the correct one, the laptop needs taken apart at least enough to access the connector, then if the interior center pin of that connector isn't loose, it can be soldered down onto the board again. If the center pin is loose the whole connector needs replaced. If instead of the solder joint to connector pin junction being cracked, the PCB pads or holes are torn up, then more creativity is required. The connector may need epoxied down then if the traces are intact that may be enough (however, if epoxy is used then it may be very difficult if not impossible to repair it next time if it should fail again, though having the epoxy on it does make it less likely to fail again), or a new wire may need added to connect from the jack pin to the next point in the circuit, or of course replacing the entire mainboard (on yours, based on the picture, though on some laptops the power jack is on a separate board so the entire mainboard won't need replaced), or finding an empty spot on the laptop outer casing to affix a new power jack that is wired into the circuit parallel to the old one beyond the break in the circuit.
With this last option, if you can't find a suitable jack that matches the AC-DC adapter plug, you'd get one that you can get a compatible plug for too and also replace the plug on the AC-DC adapter, making sure that both the jack and plug you choose are rated for the current of the AC-DC adapter, which might be in the neighborhood of 3 to 5 amps.
From the general info I've posted, I am suggesting that if the laptop is under warranty then you might as well see what HP will do but if it is out of warranty there is not much hope they will replace it without charge and it tends to cost no more to get it done locally if not doing it yourself. If you or someone you know has fair soldering skill it is not a difficult repair though if the socket itself needs replaced it might take awhile to find a compatible replacement. Sometimes I see replacement jacks on ebay or laptop repair parts websites, and often it's alarming how much they charge for what should cost $2... but if you need one and have to pay more, it's still a lot cheaper than the other alternatives.
11-24-2008 04:24 PM - edited 11-24-2008 04:28 PM
James has hit the nail right on the head. I see lots of laptops that need this repair. The Compaq R3000/HP zv5000 and 6000 commonly have the problem but the Dell Inspiron 1100 and 5100 are even worse. The problem is not poor manufacturing; it is poor design and I hate to say it; user negligence. I have never had it happen to one of my laptops. I sold my zv5000 last year, which I had faithfully maintained for several years; the longest I have ever owned a laptop. I sold it to a professional colleague to give to his two teenage children. 4 months later, he brought it back to me and it had the dreaded power jack problem.
The solution is, as James suggests, a redesign. For those who have the problem the difficulty of the repair should not be minimized. I have worked on laptops for years and will take them right down to the motherboard without hesitation but I do not do this repair because I do not have enough component soldering experience and my close eyesight is not what it needs to be for the repair.
The jacks cost $5-10 and you can find services on the internet and several on eBay which are now in a price war to do the repair. $100 and less is becoming common.
Here is a generic set of instructions with pictures. This will give you an idea what you would be getting into if you try it yourself:
By the way, no manufacturer will touch this repair. Officially, the only repair is a new motherboard. Even if this happens under warranty, they will not fix it because they claim user abuse. If you buy the damage insurance they will cover it but they replace the motherboard, not solder on a new jack. It is a guerilla repair.
Good luck with this.
11-24-2008 05:24 PM
>>If there was poor manufacturing and quality standards involved, then why is it only this one set of solder joints >>having a problem instead of the others, only those on a part subject to physical stress because there's a >>connector hanging out that can get bumped?
I have the same issue with the sound on/off button and that is exactly my point - In my opinion the manufacturing spec/process did not address a part that will be subject to physical stress and also with a part that wouldn't be subject to stress.
It is public news that HP outsources their manufacturing to contract manufacturers (so does Apple) but it is HP's responsibility to make sure that a part that will be subject to physical stress is manufactured to withstand the stress. In this case it did not happen.
Since I have the same issue with my sound on/off button. This confirms that it is due to poor manufacturing standards and quality. This laptop has not been used heavily (because I have a desktop and my office laptop) and has been moved only couple of times outside of my house in the last 2.5 years.
I do not have the warranty and HP won't fix it, but it is a genuine manufacturing issue as it has happened with 2 different parts.
The reason customers buy from "reputed" brands is that they do not have to become hardware/soldering experts or Engineers. Customers just want to use the computer and don't want to become experts in fixing them because the manufacturer didn't do their job.
11-24-2008 07:12 PM
I would not call it a manufacturing issue so much as a design and parts qualification issue, though one that appears in most makes and models as some kind of weakness. Will there ever be the perfect laptop? I doubt it, they change the tech and styling so often that by the time anything has a chance to break it's already obsolete. Add to that, that the EU thrust lead-free solder on the manufacturers. If your past laptops had all had lead-free solder, if they were otherwise the same design they would be more prone to solder fractures.
Customers shouldn't have to deal with these kinds of problems, but on the other hand the thing I see most often is customers trying to get more for less. They look at what CPU it has, whether it has a $10 bluetooth module, a $10 webcam, and still want it cheaper than something else without as many features. The customers' preference to buy the cheapest without concern for durablity has resulted in lower quality across the board except when a manufacturer specifically targets ruggedness - at a price premium. I'm guilty of that too, they just won't let me tear apart a laptop before I buy it so I'll know what it's like inside, so I have to guess about everything except the feature list and price.
Laptops are pretty inexpensive today, compared to years ago, and it seems some of the cost-cutting on the lower end models has trickled into the more expensive ones too... somebody out there complains or derates based on weight or style and not enough people mention durability like you've done, but after buying it and after the warranty is up, there's nothing left to do but repair it or start over.
11-26-2008 10:28 AM
11-27-2008 05:24 AM
Yes but the fact is that the market is just not behaving the way you are suggesting it should. HP is now the leader in laptop sales so whatever it is doing is working. The dv6000 and dv9000 series, of which HP sold hundreds of thousands over the last 2 years, are physical junk with motherboards that die at tremendously high rates and screen hinges that crack under normal use. Yet HP gains market share at the expense of Lenovo, which still makes a pretty solid product (albeit nothing like the classic IBM Thinkpads of the late '90's).
Cheap is winning and will continue to pull ahead for the forseeable future.