CAPS LIKE WHOA (jc) wrote,

  • Mood:

And that makes me a sad panda.

The curse of the dreaded Wonky Power Connector Of Doom has returned to haunt my aging laptop.

Since I first bought my G3 PowerBook almost five years ago, I've been wholly dissatisfied with the connector that supplies main power to my computer. About a centimetre and a half of wire connects the main connector to a similar-shaped cylinder, which I can only figure acts as some sort of capacitor. This second section isn't that heavy, but is heavy enough to stress and weigh down the 1.5cm section of wire connecting the two. As a result, the power cord has to be threaded back about two inches to attach to the main connector, to prop up this secondary cylinder.

Added to this, the computer's socket progressively starts to loosen and wobble inside the enclosure. If the power connector sags too much, the computer loses the connection and mains power with it. This wasn't much of a problem in the early days, because I had a battery to fall back on, but I eventually had to take steps to keep the connector propped up at the back. Predictably, this would worsen the socket's wobbliness and eventually the connection would be lost altogether, prompting an urgent servicing.

Twice now, this has resulted in the fraying of that pesky 1.5cm of wire. There's only so much room for it to maneouvre, and eventually cracks begin to appear in the insulating wire and sparks are let off. Because the thinner wire is moulded onto the power "brick" adapter that sits in between the computer and the electrical socket, every time the thin wire breaks I have to replace the whole section, brick and all. This is A Bad Costly Thing, and means that I'm now on my third damned brick. Worse, the battery has since died the death.

In the past few days, my PowerBook has been spontaneously dying on me. I'll be typing an e-mail or chatting in IRC, and suddenly the screen will flicker between full brightness and slightly dimmed for about three or four seconds before the power manager forces a shutdown, accompanied by the power light blinking on for about a second. I could restart as normal, but I'd lose any unsaved work as expected. After about the third or fourth occurrence, I decided to investigate.

I eliminated all possible sources of hardware intervention first. I reset the power manager twice, and then I reset my parameter RAM. I thought the first measure and not the second would solve the problem, to no avail. I even dismantled the thing, taking out the HD and daughtercard and blowing out any dust that might cause a problem; no effect. Finally, my attention turned to the power connector. Despite it being a bit wobbly, I couldn't induce a forced shutdown by manipulating its position. I eventually decided to try propping the connector up with a folded sock, being careful not to push the connector up so much that it stressed the socket. Damn thing's been on all night without incident.

I really, really am lost to a solution that will not leave me hundreds of pounds out of pocket. (Way to go, Apple.) I am convinced that this problem lies in the PowerBook's power socket not being firmly attached to the logic board. If I even knew what my logic board looked like, and if I knew it was simply a matter of using the screwdriver to firmly reaffix the socket, I could easily get at the secluded logic board if I had the required tools to prize open the casing. I really cannot afford to support this computer financially any longer, if all I'll be doing is paying for repairs to what I consider to be a design flaw.

Considering my current situation, thoughts of purchasing a new 17" AlBook become more urgent. It's going to be a massive loan...
Tags: computer problems, consumer whore

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