At my computer repair shop in Louisville I see these three problems over and over. Sometimes it is the result of normal wear-n-tear. Parts wear out, right? And there are plenty of lemon parts with computers. I’ve seen a new hard drive fail in the first thirty days of use, for example. But sometimes accidents happen. And, often mistakes are made due to the fact that people don’t know how to properly maintain and handle their computer equipment. This article will make you aware of lurking dangers so you can avoid accidents and maintain your equipment properly, and avoid these costly and preventable laptop repairs completely.
DC Jack Repair
DC Jacks or charging ports take a lot of abuse. I know I’ve had several ignitions in my car replaced over the years. When I was a starving college student I remember one winter I would spray deicer in the ignition so my key would work. It got me through the winter, but finally I had to replace the ignition. The DC Jack on a laptop is the hole where the power adaptor or “charger” plugs into the computer. In most laptop units, the DC jack is directly soldered onto the motherboard — which not only makes it delicate but also expensive to repair. Often the entire laptop has to come apart to do the repair as there is no access anywhere around the jack. The three most common reasons the jack breaks is: 1.A child or animal trips on the cord. 2. People jerk the cord out hard and at an angle and do not realize it is not that difficult to break a solder joint and 3. People travel — either across the room or across the city — with the charger still connected to the laptop. Don’t do it!
Perhaps even more common is laptop screen repair and replacement. I have seen laptop screens break when someone picked up a laptop by the corner of the screen to move it off of the floor up onto a table. Their thumb went right through the screen. I almost did it once myself. It is a very delicate screen. It does not have to be a dropped or take a hard impact to cause a cracked laptop screen. Another common scenario is closing something in the laptop. A mouse, a letter opener, even a flash drive left on the keyboard when the laptop is closed can cause a screen to break or fail. It is an expensive repair depending on the laptop screen and computer make and model. So, be aware of this “soft spot” on your laptop and be extremely gentle with it.
Perhaps the most expensive and devastating, but rather common laptop repair is motherboard repair. This is what I consider a “catastrophic event” in the computer repair business. The entire machine has to come apart, the board taken out, and repaired at the microscopic level with expensive equipment. Sometimes this part simply fails, but often it is the result of what’s known in the industry as a “thermal event.” That is a heat related issue. To prevent this from happening, keep your laptop computer as cool as possible. Despite the name, a laptop should NOT be anyone’s lap. While the exhaust fan for the CPU is often located on the side of a laptop, the air intake is often located on the bottom. If your laptop is on your lap you are probably covering up the air intake for your exhaust fan which is extremely dangerous. You want to keep your laptop on a flat, cold, hard surface at all times! You can install free software such as the core temp monitor (be careful not to get a virus infection when you’re downloading free utilities) to monitor the actual temperature of your laptop from the inside. Also you can leave the battery out. I’ve never even had a battery in my laptop it’s still in plastic. It is not necessary to power a laptop that is plugged in to a wall outlet and only generates more heat. Keep the fan basins blown out with compressed air – especially if your home is dusty or you have dogs or cats. And as the computer starts to age if the heat monitor utility shows your laptop heat is on the rise, you can even go to the power options and turn your processor down a bit. As your laptop ages you probably don’t need your processors to run at 100% constantly. Mine is set to 95% and that alone gave me about a 5 degree drop in core temperature.
My old laptop, which is now my field machine, lived the first years of its life set up in my home office. It hardly ever went mobile (only when I traveled out of town). It is way past average life expectancy and still runs great at ten years old. So, heed the warnings and follow these simple suggestions and avoid these expensive and common laptop repairs in your future. You can find more information on laptop repair here.