Whenever he thought about it, he felt terrible. And so, at last, he came to a fateful decision. He decided not to think about it. ~John-Roger and Peter McWilliams
Question #53735 posted on 10/01/2009 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Sometimes I store my laptop vertically, leaning against something like a table or couch. Back in the day, one of my roommates used to borrow my laptop (without asking and when I wasn't home...but I'm not bitter). When she was done, she would set it back down vertically, but she would position it upside-down with the cord side contacting the floor...the least logical position for such a device. So the power connection took a lot of stress from this, and I think that busted some of the internal wiring in the cord because it's getting harder and harder to keep a continuous power connection. Most people would say it's got a "short" but I've heard that term is inaccurate. But she basically destroyed the computer-end of my power cord.

I've seen some electronically-savvy people replace the plugs on certain kinds of power cords (like the ones for lamps or small electronic devices). Can you do the same thing with a laptop cord? Or would that be too difficult/risky? I'd rather not shell out fifty bucks for a new cord if I don't have to. I'm hoping for a new computer next year, anyway.

-Nope. I'm not bitter at all.

A: Dear Nope,

It's possible, but unless you have somebody who's able to order the right part (probably impossible) and willing (and able) to install it cheaply, and you're aware of possible safety issues, it won't be worth it. With the going rate of labor of somebody skilled enough to replace the plug safely, it would cost more than a replacement. Just buy the cord. Look on ebay for deals. Then when you sell your old computer, you won't have to try to sell damaged goods.

Love,
Waldorf and Sauron
A: Dear Bitter,

I'm with Waldorf and Sauron. The best option is to just replace the cord (or the whole power adapter, if the cord is built in like with most I've seen).

Due to sheer use, my power adapter started behaving erratically too. (This was due, as far as I could tell, to the weight of the cord itself hanging down while I was using my laptop.) I looked into repairing it (and I talked with one of the best electronics men on campus), and although it would've been possible, the time and hassle just wasn't worth the ~$30 for a new adapter.

A note: buying a new adapter from the manufacturer can be expensive. Try looking for a refurbished one on their website. I got a refurbished adapter for $30-$35 from Dell, and it was basically brand-new. You can also find cheap generic power adapters advertised to work with your laptop, but you'll want to be a bit careful (quality can be so-so).

—Laser Jock